Everybody has to find their own way to get through the long wait, the lonely nights or the nagging doubts. Here are 10 things that helped me get through my long distance relationship:
Talk – this one seems obvious right? But I don’t just mean talk about the important things, talk about the little things. Again, this is all about making sure that you have a sense of each other’s normal, everyday lives. That crazy work colleague? The new recipe you tried out? The massive (I swear it was as big as my hand) spider you fought with a frying pan because you were too scared to use anything smaller? Yep, that’s all things that are worth sharing!
- Visit as often as you can
Time and money are the limiting factors, I know. But if you want to make a long distance relationship work, it is important to discuss how often you can visit one another and to make an effort to do so. Plan out your visits! Being able to count the days until the next visit makes saying good bye at the train station or airport much, much easier (I’m not pretending it makes it easy – it is still really hard, but it helps).
- Eat together
It’s often not the big things, but the little everyday things that are hard to have to do alone – the normality of being together. Everyone tells you to skype a lot, and it is of course important to talk and at least virtually see each other as much as you can. What really helped me might seem quite silly: eating together on skype. Every day, we’d sit down in front of the laptop and eat dinner together. It’s a good chance to catch up on what’s been going on that day, but it really helps to share something as simple and normal as a meal.
- Share your schedules
Even if you are several time zones apart, it helps knowing what your other half is doing. Are they leaving for work right now, getting up, in that important meeting, on lunch break, meeting friends? Knowing what your partner is doing throughout the day can help you feel closer together, even when you can’t physically be with each other.
- Don’t keep it a secret
When I first moved to university, the number of friends I had whose girlfriend or boyfriend stayed back home, and who chose not to share that information with their new circle of friends… I’ve lost count. Needless to say, these friends quickly found new partners in the new location and split up with their girl-/boyfriend back home. If your environment knows about your long distance relationship, your partner will feel more like a part of your life. You can even introduce him/her to family members and friends via skype if you want to!
- Distract yourself
While it is important to put in the work to keep your relationship going across the distance, it is just as important that you remember to look after yourself. Keeping busy is one of the best ways I’ve found to distract myself from feeling lonely or just missing my fiancé (now soon to be husband!). Try to use the advantages of having all this time to yourself: see friend and family, find a hobby, watch all the tv shows your boyfriend/girlfriend hates – every time we were apart, either of us had “catching up on X episodes of favourite show” as something to look forward to.
- Prepare Surprises
Work on something to surprise your partner with when you next see each other. Whether it’s a homemade present or a trip you will take together, having something to prepare while you are counting the days can help the days go by a little faster. I used to plan what things I wanted to show him when he would next come to visit, what restaurants we would go to or what dishes I wanted him to try, or even little normal things I wanted to do together like watching movies at home while eating popcorn. Imagining these events in detail and knowing I would soon be able to make them reality made me feel like there was something I could do other than wait for time to tick by.
- Share big occasions if you can
This could be anything: Christmas, an important family event, your birthday, a graduation ceremony, even a work celebration if your colleagues are up for it. Depending on the type of event, you could take your laptop and have your partner be there through skype, or film parts of it so he/she can watch them later while you explain what was going on. It is not the same as being there, but it’s a lot more than only telling them about what was going on afterwards.
- Don’t do things that make you feel more miserable
For me, this was attending events where I knew there would be mainly other couples. Neither of us are people who go clubbing anyway, but I started turning down some social gatherings after returning home desperately missing him each time. That is not to say you should completely isolate yourself, but I think it is ok to stop doing something that makes you unhappy. Some people might tell you otherwise, but as long as you keep up a somewhat fulfilling schedule in the absence of your partner, you are absolutely allowed to cut back on some things.
- Remember time WILL pass
Although it will sometimes not feel like it, eventually, you will be able to be together again. For some couples, it is only a number of weeks or months, for some – like us – it is years that they have to be apart. However, time will pass. In 6 weeks, 6 months or even 6 years, do you want to be with them still? Focus on the future you want to have together, and why it is worth waiting for your partner. If you have decided this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, remembering what makes them special to you can help the sacrifices feel more worth it. (Also check out Long Distance Relationships: Is it worth it?)