Something for you long-distance lovers.
Hey guys, "A" here. As you all know, this amazing piece on long distance is written by a long-time fan of Relationship Rules, Krista Renee. When I wanted to work on long distance, I wanted it to really speak to the people who are in LDRs, that's when I found Krista. I loved the idea of this article being written by someone who's actually in a very strong LDR. So, without further ado, here's Krista, enjoy guys. "A" out.
You can read countless articles about long distance relationships that will have plenty to say about the pros and cons; the good and the bad will sometimes seem like they are battling for which is better. But the truth is, you are the only one who can decide if a long distance relationship is worth it. The statistics mean nothing, unless you’ve decided that it’s worth it to become one of them. I myself, though, don’t like to view myself as a statistic. I see my significant other and I as one of millions of couples who have been put through numerous obstacles, but ultimately our love and dedication overcame them all. Some people ask why in the world I would do such a thing; and simply put – I’d rather have him in my life 1680 miles away, than not at all. After all, the distance is only going to be temporary if this turns out to be a long-term thing.
I’d be lying if I told you it was a complete walk in the park. It’s anything but, actually. More like… competing in a triathlon - and the whole course is nothing but thick mud and brush. It takes trust, communication, compromise… and a LOT of work. It takes a lot of things – both physical and emotional commitment and sacrifice. You both have to be willing to put in the same amount of effort, with a strong understanding of yourself first. Think of a teeter-totter: the only way it’s balanced is if both parties are level with the ground, supported by their own two feet. Each couple is different, and the stories behind your relationship are different. Two months or two years, time doesn’t set a limit on how you feel for someone – and neither does distance. So I’ve put together a list of 20 ways that you can make a long distance relationship work.
20. COMMUNICATION IS KEY
Whether the distance is 20 miles or 20 states, communication is the most important thing. In this day in age, the ways to communicate with one another are endless. FaceTime, Skype, Snapchat… or traditional text, maybe even email. Communicating all things – how your day was, how you’re feeling, what your dinner consisted of – is a healthy component of making a long distance relationship work. Not only does it remind your partner that you want to include them in your day, but it shows that you want to let them know about what your life consists like while you’re apart though. With that being said, you also have to be realistic. The first thing couples do wrong in long distance relationships is set guidelines that they expect to follow every minute of every day, such as texting 24/7. If either of you are like me, your days are sometimes sporadic and spur of the moment – even if you have everything planned, that doesn’t mean your day will always go according to it. I am mostly busy, all day every day. I’ve known couples that have rules such as it being mandatory that you talk on the phone every morning while you’re getting ready for work. Maybe for some people, that works out for both of you. If so, that’s great! But for others, that may not be possible. Some people work twelve hour shifts that allow little time to even sit down and have a meal that doesn’t consist of chips and other vending machine snacks. Remember that even couples that live in the same city, don’t see each other every single day (with the exception of those who live together). Doing what society deems is ‘required’ is the quickest way to ruin a good relationship – so make sure to set expectations of communicating with each other, but also be realistic about the separate lives you two live while you’re apart.
19. BE REALISTIC
With my significant other in the army, we can only plan so far ahead to see each other. He doesn’t exactly get to choose when we can see each other, we just have to plan it as we can. Learn to be realistic about the time that you have between seeing each other (again). Take time to sit down and consider all factors: is your significant other in a career that requires them to move often? If so, you may not see each other for months at a time – are you prepared for that? Thinking realistically will eliminate the option of getting your hopes up and allow you to be completely grateful for any and every chance you get to be with each other. At times, it also may give you a definite date/time that you can look forward to seeing one another.
18. LET YOUR CREATIVITY FLOW OUT
Being in a long distance relationship, I’ve noticed that my creative side has grown ten-fold. I have a Pinterest board full of ideas that I use all the time, whether it be a birthday, anniversary, or just because. My significant other loves to be surprised randomly by a package in the mail that he had no idea was on its way. I like to send him what I call ‘man baskets’ – a lot of times I fill a flat-rate box with beef jerky and other snacks, along with maybe a shirt or iTunes card and a few other ‘dude’ gifts. There doesn’t even have to be a reason behind it, it’s just to let him know that I was thinking about him and wanted to do something sweet for him. He also loves when I surprise him with something that he was talking about – like a new pair of sunglasses or even a pack of socks. It’s the times when he least expects it. It doesn’t put a price on my love for him, but it shows him I was listening. Your creativity doesn’t even have to come at a price – try sending your significant other pictures of you/you two, writing them a poem, or making them a handmade card. It really is the little things that will make a huge impact, and make them understand that you’re thinking of them and wanted to make it known.
17. APPRECIATE ALL THINGS, BOTH BIG AND SMALL
Being away from your significant other, your appreciation for everything increases significantly. You appreciate the ten minute phone call she makes just to see how your day is going, because you’re on her mind. You appreciate the picture he sends you of him eating your favorite burrito from Taco Bell because he misses you. You appreciate the snapchats throughout the day because it makes you feel like you’re there with them. It’s nice to remind your loved one that you appreciate the gestures they make, both big and small. It drives them to do it more often, knowing it produces a positive reaction from you. Appreciation stems from the other’s effort – you have to be willing to put forth the effort to put a smile on their face, and constantly work at showing them how you feel. I was once in a serious relationship for almost 3 years. We moved in together after dating only a few months – and while it wasn’t the worst thing I could have done, looking back – I still feel like we should have dated for a longer period of time. It’s not that things changed dramatically, but the element of appreciation wasn’t the same after the first year or so. I stopped appreciating the little things because they didn’t happen often, because we both got comfortable and stopped trying. Always remember to not only appreciate your partner, but let it be known that you appreciate them.