the long distance relationship: how to stand the test of time
I consider myself to be an expert when it comes to the LDR (Long Distance Relationship). When I tell people that I have been in one for the past three years they look at me like I'm an idiot. What is the point of dating someone that you can't even go on a date with? It is a common misconception that LDRs are impossibly hard and are no way to maintain a real relationship. Sure, plane tickets are expensive and it's lonely at times. But, for me, it has actually been a blessing in disguise. Living in a different time zone than my significant other has allowed me to focus on my career, my friendships, and most importantly, to build a life outside of our relationship. I am a strong believer in the fact that your partner does not make you whole. You need to become strong individually before you can dedicate yourself to someone else. Being in an LDR has its challenges but if you can stand it, I believe you can make it through pretty much anything.
Below are 8 MUSTS in order to be in a successful LDR.
1. Don't be a bitch in order to get attention
Let's face it- every girl needs attention and if you are saying that you don't- you're lying. The easiest instinct is to be a bitch when we are yearning for attention- we've been doing it since we were children. And, we are pretty damn good at it. However, starting a fight or being passive aggressive is not the way to get your man to show you some love. Choosing your battles when you are apart is extremely important because you literally cannot just kiss and make up. Being confrontational with your partner will push them away, not bring them closer. If you are craving something that is missing from your relationship- be creative. If you put more effort into your partner, he will naturally want to reciprocate.
2. Let it go
So, your significant other pisses you off and you get angry. Whether the anger is warranted or not, you need to get in the habit of putting your anger aside, having a mature conversation about it and then deciding if you can move forward or not. If it is something small and you decide to move on from it, do not resurface it every 3 months to prove a point. If something monumental happened that you absolutely cannot move forward from then you need to move on without your partner. If you do not have trust in your relationship or if you are going around in circles continuously having the same fight- things are not going to work out. Let it go or let him go.
3. Be Thoughtful
It is important to show that you're on each other's minds, especially when you are apart. You don't need to make large decelerations of love everyday. Instead, send him a playlist of songs that remind you of him, snap him a selfie or quick video in the morning before work (this sounds cheesy but waking up to a selfie of your partner will make you start your day with a huge smile) Take note of important events going on in his life- a doctor's appointment, meeting with his boss, a Grandmother's birthday- and ask him about it without him having to tell you first. When he is coming to visit, stock the fridge with all of his favorite treats, surprise him with dinner upon his arrival, or plan something unique to your city that he'll enjoy. When you truly love someone, taking the time to make them feel special will come naturally. Being thoughtful is important for any relationship but vital in an LDR.
4. Don't waste the time that you have together
You only get to see each other on weekends, once or twice a month at best. That is 48 hours per visit, 96 hours per month, and only 13% of your entire year that you get to spend with your number one!!! Each couple is different. You may get more time than this; you may get less. The point is that it's a hell of a lot less time compared to couples who live in the same city and see each other daily. Weekends are short. Use the time that you have wisely. Get up early and seize the day- explore his city or show him around yours. If it's the dead of winter and all you want to do is snuggle, that's fine. Do whatever you'd like to do except one thing. Do not, under any circumstance, do the F word. Of course I am talking about Fighting! This is not the time to fight. This is the time to love, to hold each other, to talk and to laugh and to enjoy each other's company. Don't waste a minute of your precious time being angry at each other. The 48 hours will fly by and you'll regret it come Monday morning.
5. Give Them Space
You already live in different time zones but ,yes, you still need space from each other. Just because you don't live in the same city does not mean you have to be up in each other's business about every little thing. If your boyfriend wants to go blow off steam with his buddies, and this mean forgoing your nightly video chat sessions- be easy about it and understanding. Just because you live far apart doesn't mean you should dedicate all of your spare time to each other. When you're confident in your relationship you don't need to be engaged in constant communication. My boyfriend and I would rather have a 15 minute phone call before we each go out on a Friday night than spending all night texting and being aggravated if the other person doesn't respond right away. Trusting your partner enough to give them space is the basis of a long distance relationship.
6. No Ultimatums
There is a reason you are living in different cities. It may be your job, your family or your desire to be more independent. Whatever your reason is, your partner needs to respect it- and vice versa. Do not force your significant other to do something that they are not ready to do- that sounds like something a mom would tell her teenage son. Do not give your partner an ultimatum. No one responds well to a threat and most of the time it wont end in your favor. If my boyfriend were to say to me, "If you don't move here, I am going to break up with you." My response would be, "Fine, then we should break up." You never want your partner to make such a large and impactful decision based on the fear that they are going to lose you. This is an unfair tactic and they will resent you for it.
7. Take Advantage
Don't spend your time apart being sad and missing each other. You live in different cities. Accept it and move on. When you are done being sad and counting the minutes until you will see each other again, you will realize that you have a lot more free time than all of your friends with boyfriends do. Take advantage of this time. Start up a new hobby, establish a night time ritual, begin a daily exercise routine, get to know the ins and outs of you and learn how to truly take care of yourself. You may never have this much time to dedicate fully to yourself again. Take advantage!
8. Set an end date...on your own time.
It is not important to have an end date from the moment you enter an LDR. It's almost better that you don't so there isn't any pressure or expectations. When the time is right, and you'll know when it is, you will be in a crossroads. Will he move here? Will I move there? Will we find a new location somewhere in the middle? This decision needs to be made between the two of you. If the LDR has run its course and still neither of you are ready to commit to moving- it may be time to move on. However, when you come to the decision to set an end date, it is so glorifying to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It may take one year or five but when it does happen you and your partner will have something that normal couples wont- the appreciation of seeing them on a Wednesday (I don't think I've seen my boyfriend on a Wednesday in three years) or the excitement of being able to get groceries together. These simple day to day activities are gold to people in LDRs.
A long distance relationship is certainly not for everybody. But when done successfully and honestly, it can make for a perfect romance.
Now, off to the airport to see my man!