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Being in a long-distance relationship can be difficult, especially if you don't get to see your partner very often, so it's important to make the relationship work by making the most of what you have together. I have been with my partner for just over a year, most of which has been long-distance, so I'm writing this to share my experiences and to share what I believe is important in a long-distance relationship. Some of these may seem obvious, but it's surprising how many of these are overlooked.
I met my partner in France as we were both studying there on the Erasmus scheme as part of our university degrees. Living in the same university residences meant that we saw each other basically 24/7, as we could walk to uni together and then come back home and spend hours together, but then the end of our five month placement in France came upon us and we had to return to our respective countries. My living in the UK and her living in Italy meant that it would not bee too difficult or expensive to see one another compared to if I were to live in the USA, for example, but it still presented us with challenges that we hadn't faced, namely the distance between us. We both soon realised that this wouldn't be easy, but we both made a promise to one another to make it work. That's why I want to share this with everybody, because even the simple things can get overlooked and it can mean everything in a relationship:
Firstly, you need to make time for one another; in an LDR, it is important to talk with your partner as much as possible, and to establish some sort of schedule regarding calling one another. My partner and I make sure to call every single day, even if it only for half an hour or-so, and we make sure to arrange longer phone calls when possible. Sometimes you'll have to compromise; my friends meet every Wednesday and every Saturday evening, and sometimes I won't go in on a Wednesday if we haven't been able to call during the day due to being busy, or sometimes I will go in to see them but I'll leave earlier than usual so that I can make sure that I can speak to my partner.
Make sure to remember that timezones are a thing. Italy is an hour ahead of me, so I need to keep that it ind when organising times to meet, and my partner does, too. If you go on holiday somewhere, make a note of the change of timezones both with your friends back home (which most of us do when going abroad) and with your partner, too. For example, if I were to go to Tokyo, it's nine hours ahead of UK time but only eight hours ahead of my partner, and if I were to go to New York, it's four hours behind UK time but it's five hours behind my partner.
Another thing that my partner and I like to do is call overnight and "sleep together." It's a nice feeling of being close to one another even though we are only "together" over the phone, and it is definitely an important aspect of our relationship.
It's also important to text one another as much as possible, whether via SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or any other social media platform. Even though I work a lot and she studies, we always make sure to text each other as much as possible throughout the day. Even if the replies are slow due to being busy, it's still important to maintain contact with one another.
When texting and calling, it's important to make sure you don't focus solely on yourself; make sure that both parties get to speak and that both parties get to speak about themselves and what they want to discuss. This may sound like an obvious aspect about the conversations, but it is often overlooked, and it's important that both parties have equal talking time.
Arguably the most important aspect of an LDR is making the most of the time you have together. I see my partner once a month, alternating between our two countries, and we make sure to see each other for several days at a time. Furthermore, we make sure to have alone time, even if it's only for one day out of the whole stay. Make the most of the time together, go for a nice meal together, go for cute walks together, and spend time doing the things that you both love to do together.
It's also important to maintain the levels of trust between the two of you, as it's very easy for your mind to wander and worry when you're not with your partner, but it's important that you can both trust each other. Even if this means having a proper talk about it, sitting down and talking about everything.
Long-distance relationships are difficult, and I would be lying if I said that it's a piece of cake, and honestly there are going to be times when you miss each other so much, but you need to focus on the fact that you'll see each other soon. Make plans with each other for the next time you're together, like going for a walk or going to the cinema, and I find that counting down the days helps, too.
Make sure you both know that you love each other, and make sure that you make the most of the time you have together. Like I said, too, sometimes compromises will have to be made, but it's all for the benefit of the relationship, so you need to prioritise. "Compromise" doesn't mean "never see your friends ever again," but sometimes it's necessary to skip an evening out with mates in order to spend some important time calling your partner. Just remember, it will all be worth it!