LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS: SOME OF WHAT I LEARNED IN 3YRS
My husband and I started dating in his senior year. Including my senior year and the two and half that followed, we were long distance for three and a half years before we got married. It was hard, but spending the rest of my life with him was worth it.
- •Talk about it before you dive into itDo some research. Read about ways people survive long distance. Talk about your relationship. Deciding to be long distance is serious. Make sure you're both serious about doing it first.
- •Make a schedule for seeing each otherNot knowing when the next time you'll see each other is makes things harder. Make a schedule. Know when you'll being seeing each other. It will give you something to look forward to and make the time in between visits more bearable.
- •A lot of people will ask if it's worth itI know they're trying to be helpful. They see their friend depressed because she missed her bf and they want to make sure the relationship is worth the pain. If you're in a long distance relationship, you've already thought about that. This question can feel like your friend doesn't think it's worth it. Like they don't support you. You have to remember that they only see one half of your relationship, and this is how they are trying to support you.
- •People will act like the time you spend apart "doesn't really count"This is complete bullshit. Many people will tell me, "Yes, you were together for over four years, but you were apart for over three." As if we weren't ready for marriage bc the time we spent apart didn't really count. On the contrary, the time we spent apart forced us to talk. A lot. We talked about everything and got to know each other extremely well. We knew we functioned well together, and being apart in some ways helped us know each other deeper.
- •Being on opposite sides of the world is tough but not impossibleI was in Philadelphia and later Atlanta. My husband was in India. The time difference was brutal. He slept by mid afternoon my time, and I slept when he was waking up. That meant that on week days we only talked first thing in the morning and late at night. It's hard, but not impossible. Constant emails and messages made us feel like we were still in touch all day. Technology is AMAZING. It closed the time and space between us.
- •Finding ways to include the missing partner is keyOne of my friends invited my husband to our game night - all the way from India. She had the idea that he could skype in and play with us. Her inclusion of him, even though they'd never met, was really important to me. Find ways to include your other half. Or if your friend is in a long distance relationship, find ways to include their bf/gf
- •Doing more than just talk is importantMy husband and I made each other puzzles and crosswords, sent each other articles and videos and more, shared movies, and played games together. Doing things together is important.
- •Sometimes tensions will run highPeople don't always behave the same way when they're far away. My husband and I fought a lot more about petty things than we ever have when we are in the same place. We were more jealous of each other's time than we would've otherwise been (partially bc we felt out of touch with the other person's life at times). Understanding that a lot of this behavior was bc we were long distance was key. It's hard on ppl to be apart. Emotions will run high.
- •There will be times when it seems impossibleTimes when you're angry. Times when you just wish you had a normal relationship. But if you love that person and want to build a life with them, getting through the long distance is worth it. I am so happy I waited and fought through everything to be with my husband. I love him, and every day I am with him is a blessing. Even the days when all I had was texts and phone calls.
- •Friends: People in long distance relationships will have times they are depressedThe worst thing you can do is shy away from them. I get it. It's hard to hang out with someone who is upset. And it's hard to see your friend upset. Understand that they are constantly missing the person they love, and being around them and supporting them is a big big help.
- •Friends: Just because their significant other isn't right there, doesn't mean they don't need to spend time togetherThis was hard for people, I think. Often times friends wouldn't understand why I couldn't hang out or go to a party or something. I didn't have anywhere else I had to be, right? It's hard to see talking on the phone or FaceTime as concrete date/hang out time.