Dating is hard. Throw long distance into the mix and it just becomes that much harder. Many couples see distance as daunting. As a result, they don’t give the relationship or the person the chance that they deserve. In this article, I speak from experience. I hope that my experience of dating long-distance can help make your relationship stronger, or give you the confidence to go the distance.
Here’s a handful of ways to make the distance easier:
- Always communicate
Being in a long distance relationship is equal parts being glued to your cellphone and actually being face to face with your partner. Your friends and family will be able to mimic your text tone with ease. They will probably tell you that you’re wasting your time. They may even introduce you to people that are local in hopes that you’ll ditch the person who lives 300 plus miles away.
Communication will be the life-blood or your relationship. When you aren’t in person, you’ll be texting, hopefully, every day. I can’t stress this enough. Always talk to your partner. Keep the conversation going, even when it’s hard to. Learn how to communicate, and be willing to say “hello” first. Sometimes, people think that one partner is supposed to initiate the conversation. That’s not always true. You never know, that person might have been waiting all day for you to reach out to them.
- Be the one willing to travel
Another thing I’ve learned about dating long-distance is that it gets very expensive, very fast. Thankfully, my partner was within driving distance. But when you drive, you have to factor in gas and maintenance on your car. When I was dating my now husband, I was always the one driving. He wasn’t able to travel to see me often. Thus, I found myself driving the 300 plus mile round trip with an old car. I couldn’t begin to think of how much time I spent traveling. Sometimes, you have to save for a trip and it may take awhile. But know with every dollar that you put back, it’s a dollar towards a trip to the one that you love!
Be willing to travel, though. Be it by plane, train, or automobile. Try and be the one to sacrifice when the other can’t. It says a lot when you make the effort to travel for the other. It’s just another form of saying, “I Love You.”
- Never argue over a text message
When texting is your main form of communication, it can get very hard to understand the tone of the other person. Especially when you’re arguing. If at all possible, try and call the other when you have a falling out. Sometimes texting can only make the argument worse, and often times, it is a huge misunderstanding. Being able to hear the tone and voice of your partner is extremely important, and it can also be calming. Never get into a yelling fight. If you’re unsure and don’t feel comfortable in a heated discussion over a text, ask if it would be okay to resolve the issue over the phone. Tone is an important way to be able to tell how your partner is feeling when you can’t see them face-to-face.
- Be creative
Spending time apart can be REALLY hard. But in that time apart, it gives you the opportunity to get creative in how you can surprise your significant other. One of my favorite memories from dating was when my partner surprised me with a scavenger hunt around his house! It kept me busy for hours and it eventually led to a dinner date in town. Sometimes, the littlest things can mean so much in a relationship. Sending a text late at night when the other is sleeping can be a special surprise to the other. Being creative helps keep the relationship alive and it makes things fun when you finally get to see the other person.
- Go old school for an extra form of communication
We live in a digital age where everything is texting, emails, and social media. But when you’re dating long-distance, it gives you the opportunity to go back to the roots of communication and write letters. There’s something special about getting something in the mail, especially when you don’t expect it! Sure you still can text every day, but when you take the time to sit down and write a letter about your day, your dreams, or about your partner, it makes it special. And it’s something that you can go back and read when you’re really missing that person. It’s like having a little piece of them to hold.
- Make time for phone calls or Facetime/Skype
Have a set time for phone calls and Facetime calls. Being able to hear that other person’s voice is very comforting and it makes everything worthwhile. It may not be possible to talk on the phone every day, but it sure does take away from the monotony of texting 24/7. Make a plan to talk a few times a day. When you would typically have date night, turn it into a Facetime night and have a virtual date. Being able to “see” the other person is another helpful way to make the relationship last.
When I was dating my husband, we would call each other when we would be playing a video game. It made storming dungeons easier, and it made playing the game more fun knowing that you could talk and play at the same time.
- Be open
Long distance relationships require A LOT of trust. You have to trust that the other person is in it for the long haul. You have to trust that they are faithful, and you have to trust yourself too. Do your best to be completely open. It’s very easy to keep secrets when you’re far away from the other. A long-distance relationship can be draining, and it gets even harder if you aren’t prepared to be open and willing to trust another person. It takes a lot of work. If you aren’t willing to put yourself into the relationship, it only puts another strain on things.
- Be ready for a roller coaster of a ride
Dating already has a bunch of emotions that come with it. But dating long-distance is an even bigger trip. Here’s a short list of the emotions you may or may not feel: excitement, doubt, happiness, betrayal, joy, fear… and the list goes on. Long-distance is scary, and quite daunting if I had to be honest. But there is so much joy in the journey. You learn to get excited over that “good morning text” or when you get to take a trip to see the other. There is always doubt in every relationship, but it’s harder when you don’t see that person every day. You always wonder what they’re doing when they aren’t talking to you, and that’s when fear sets in. I want to let you know that even though it’s hard and it sucks, it’s worth it. And here’s why:
I dated my husband for FOUR YEARS long-distance. He helped me through college, and he was there when I graduated. I helped him move twice. We helped each other through the good and the bad. I always had a friend and someone to talk to. I had someone to dream about, and it made our love story so, so special. We made the distance work through letters, playlists, video games, and even watching movies and TV shows together over the phone. We learned to get creative, and I promise that, while long distance relationships are hard, they are worth it. You really get to learn about another person when you are apart from them. And it also can be a learning experience about yourself.
I’m happy to say that I married the man that I’ve mentioned here and there throughout this article. And there’s something special about that. We made it work when we were apart and now we are together, and we will never be apart again.
Do you have any tips for making long-distance relationships work? Let me know in the comments below!
Edited by Viveca Shearin