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Long distance relationships are hard, but despite what everyone says they are not impossible. I am the proof. In fact, with all of the negatives that people had put in my head in the months leading up to my departure, I thought it would be a lot harder.
So don't worry. You can do it if you both want to.
Here are just a few tips that I’ve used to make the separation easier.
I have always been cheesy and crafty and absolutely love to mash the two together in the form of homemade gifts. I spent the summer before going away making a post-it note calendar. Each day was different and the whole thing was full of fun facts about where I was going, cheesy notes and fun challenges. It even had corresponding letters every few weeks.
This may not be your cup of tea and that’s perfectly fine. The key is to find what works for you. We are a cheesy couple and I love Sharpie markers, so I found something that screamed us. If you like to write, make "open when" letters. If you’re more of an artist, draw or create something. If you’re not into making things, find something else.
The main thing is to have something for the two of you to stay connected in the moments that you can’t actually be connected.
Have a Schedule
Scheduling times to talk can be annoying and make everything seem forced and artificial, but when talking on the phone is the only contact you can have with someone it’s important to make the time for it. However, with busy lives and time differences, that can sometimes be really hard. A schedule will help make sure that despite your busy lives and the separation, you will always have a time of day that is just for you.
For us, our schedule is a phone call every night, after work for him and before bed for me, and a video call every Sunday. But life gets in the way, so just like everything else, we need to be flexible. We find it best to have a schedule and change it when necessary, but again, that might not be for everyone. Maybe you prefer to go at it a week at a time or have a loose schedule, but no matter what you choose, it helps to have an idea of when you can talk to each other. If nothing else, it gives you something to look forward to.
Video dates are surely not the real thing, but when they’re your only option, they’re pretty special. Personally, we do a date every Sunday, cooking the same meal before settling down to watch the same movie. What you do and how often is not the important part, though. Just like any relationship, dates keep the romance alive. They’re an opportunity to forget everything else for awhile and no amount of distance should take that away. It may feel silly at first, but our video dates are what makes the distance so much easier.
The Little Things
It may not seem like it, but there are little advantages to a long distance relationship. One of the biggest ones for us is that we don’t spend our whole day, or any of it for that matter, together, so there’s always a lot to tell. Every night we spend a good deal of time just telling each other about our day. Sometimes it’s mundane, but because we miss each other and don’t get to be there for the everyday parts of life, it’s nice to hear, even if it’s just about a trip to the store or a typical night out with friends.
Cherish the small advantages, because without them all there is to focus on are the daunting disadvantages. Text each other when you think of them throughout the day, send them pictures when you go somewhere new. Try to include each other in the things you do when you can because it just might make it easier that they’re not right there beside you.
Don't Stop Loving
All of the stuff I've talked about so far is only so good. No matter what you do, the relationship will never work if there isn't a mutual love. That means there also need to be trust and respect. If you start doubting your partner or pushing them away because it's hard, then your LDR is sure to fail.
Be open, be true to each other and never stop telling each other how you feel, good or bad. Communication is key to any great relationship, especially when the distance is working against you.
These tips are only a starting point and it will still be hard, but if you put in the effort a long distance relationship can work. My year away is coming to an end and my man and I are still going strong. So plan ahead, keep communicating, and most of all, love each other.