My guy works in rock ‘n’ roll, which I thought was super hot when I first met him. While I still think my guy is super hot, he travels a lot and the whole long-distance love thing…not so super hot. After six years of regular goodbyes, often for months on end, I am qualified to say that being in a long-distance relationship can really suck. A successful LDR is possible but it requires high levels of patience, hard work and creativity, as well as a very healthy social life, independence and tons of bandwidth. Read on to uncover five truths about long distance relationships. Maybe these insights will help you stay better connected.
In order to survive, you have to adapt to life without your partner. Friends and family will frequently and optimistically recite the old cliché, Distance makes the heart grow fonder. But when you’re the one enduring the distance it actually makes the heart grow…well…distant! Now, there is a silver lining: the excitement you feel when you see each other again. How often do proximal couples get butterflies around each other? Reuniting can feel like you’re falling in love all over again.
Set realistic rules
Other than obvious things like Don’t sleep with someone else, setting strict rules only heightens expectations, which usually leads to disappointment. While it’s vital to have some form of daily contact, policies such as speaking at the same time every day can be impossible, particularly when you are both in different time zones. Agreeing to speak ‘x’ times per week is more realistic and will thwart feelings of resentment if plans fall through. Basically, go for ground rules versus strict ones.
Conducting a relationship almost entirely online and over the phone can become mundane and predictable. Putting a little twist in communication can do wonders for a relationship already so restricted. While it’s comforting to see that he isn’t just a figment of your imagination, video chatting can be the source of extreme behaviours like hair pulling and laptop throwing. Nothing kills an intimate moment faster than a bad internet connection! Until Skype comes up with a way to touch and smell each other, try flanking your video calls with old-fashioned letters or postcards; send sexy pics or racy text messages; have flowers delivered; and email photos and songs from when you first fell in love. Being apart opens up the opportunity for creative romance.
Maintain your individuality
It’s so easy to lose yourself in a conventional relationship. The best thing about the LDR is being independent and having time to focus on yourself. When my guy leaves, I sleep like a starfish, read in bed until whenever I want, spend more time with girlfriends, exercise safe flirting with the local barista, practice more yoga and keep the house as clean or messy as I want. Time apart can be very healthy, for you and the relationship.
Always have an end in sight
Knowing when you’ll see each other again helps the days pass and makes your time apart more meaningful. Countdowns will become part of your life whether you like it or not and although this inevitably highlights how long you’ll be apart (we’re currently at 49 more sleeps!) it also gives you both something exciting to look forward to. While it never gets easier, each day can suck a bit less, as it’s one day closer to being together again. Every giddy reunion will remind you of how much you’re both in love and why you continue to do the long distance thing, year after year after year.
Louise Griew is a Toronto-born makeup artist whose second home is Melbourne, Australia. Her work can be seen in national and international advertising campaigns, magazines, music videos and on TV.