HOW TO SURVIVE LONG DISTANCE
I must first make a million apologies to @janetanne for how stupidly long it has taken me to write this list. My long-time person @tedf and I have been doing a lot of long distance this year, and it has felt very meta to write this... The truth is, I think, no matter what you do, it will still be HARD. But this is how to make it possible:
- •Don't do it unless you have to.I know is sounds flip, but I don't mean it that way. Long distance is really hard. Did I mention it is hard? So, if there's a way to be in the same place, that is obviously better. Ok, granted, I don't think you'd be asking if you didn't absolutely HAVE TO. But you know, it has to be said. This isn't something that ought to be entered into lightly. If you aren't crazy about the person, it probably isn't worth it. If you are, you will make it work.
- •Set an "out" date.Do not do long distance indefinitely! I know there are couples who do this, and I think they must come from a different, angel planet. I don't know if indefinite long distance even counts as long distance- it just sounds like celibacy to me. But, if you have an "out" date, even if it is years away, you have a common goal. You know it won't last forever. And you can look to your end date when things get especially hard.
- •Visit!As often as you can! Set up a time limit of how long you're willing to be apart without seeing each other, and try to stick to that. We have a rule that we don't go more than 3 weeks without visiting. Because after 3 weeks shit gets WEIRD. But some people can do longer- just obviously visit as much as you can.
- •Prepare ahead of time, together, and plan how you're going to make it work, together.Communication is key. If you know how you're going to tackle it and you know you're going to tackle it together, that is an excellent start.
- •Make sure the other person knows you are thinking about them.However you show it, make sure you show it!! This will go a long way to making you feel connected.
- •Stay busy.The more you have to do, the busier you are, the more it will feel like you have a good reason to be apart. This is key! Also, it keeps your mind off how much you miss your person.
- •Talk about it.Don't forget- the other person who is going through this difficult phase is your partner! This conveniently makes them a great person to talk to about it. BUT ALSO- sometimes you want to be able to air how difficult it is, the temptation and loneliness you feel, without hurting your partner's feelings. Make sure you have somebody else you trust to talk with about it (a friend, a shrink, both.)
- •Acknowledge what is going on with you.This is related to talking about it. The most important thing is that you acknowledge to yourself how to feel (no matter how unflattering or painful, etc.) Acknowledge it. Don't pretend it isn't happening. Sometimes a journal can be helpful for this, or meditation, or talking to a pal.
- •Make rules for the relationship and follow them.Some couples talk about their crushes on other people. Some couples insist on monogamy. Some couples have casual sex on the side when they aren't in the same city. Some couples talk on the phone a lot. Some couples don't. Some couples send carrier pigeons. Some couples set a time to talk, or a certain number of times to talk a week. You gotta do you, whatever makes you happy. And then follow whatever agreement you make together. Or revise if it stops working. But don't break it or ignore it.
- •Keep a positive attitude!Good energy goes a long way when you don't get to see each other. Try to stay positive about each other and about making it work despite the distance. If you think you can do it, you can!!