Long-distance relationships (LDRs) require commitment and work. That’s the obvious bit. But how do you do it?
I had a great LDR, despite being at a uni with six or seven females for every one male. If I hadn’t been interested in my relationship working out, it definitely wouldn’t have worked out!
At times like these, you have to assess what you truly want. The moment you’re not 100% happy with the idea is the moment you will wander off. Be clear from the outset for your own sake as well as for everyone else.
Writing about LDRs for Norwich student paper The Tab, Rachel Moss has some great advice. With lots of Skype, FaceTime, and Facebook available, it’s easier than ever for you to contact loved ones. But, as Moss says, you have to both want the relationship to work. And it’s not worth constantly checking their social networks or freaking out the second you don’t hear from them when you expect it:
“Stop being a Facebook stalker. It’s easy to overanalyse photos/statuses and think that your partner is having more fun without you. Step away from the laptop and have some fun of your own!”
Paranoia is pointless and needy is unnecessary. Natural development is much smoother. And if things are sadly not working out, you’ll see other signs of it without having to seek them out and panic at every last word uttered. Sometimes the paranoia and constant contact can be the main cause of discomfort.
My LDR started when I went off to university. Moss says her relationship started at uni and her boyfriend graduated. However your LDR begins, it’s best to deal with the situation up front, rather than vaguely ‘see how it goes’.
Are you in a long-distance relationship? Here are a few more of my own tips:
- Let life without you (and life without him/her) continue – You’re allowed to have fun. So is your partner. Just because you aren’t in each other’s pockets doesn’t mean you have to mope around until you next see them. And you shouldn’t expect that of your partner either. If they’re having an amazing time, that’s great. It’s nothing to do with you being somewhere else. Would you wish unhappiness on your other half? Of course not!
- Don’t fix the same time to contact each day/week – Life is full of plans. If you’re expected to drop everything at a particular time no matter what, that’s a big ask. When one of you has other plans and has to get out of that contact, it can feel like a slap in the face, especially if the other one of you is at a loose end. Be flexible.
And if you must have a fixed time for contact for some reason, discuss in advance how you’ll deal with things when you’re not both available at that time. Remember, it’s all about communication.
- Focus on the relationship, not the distance – As I said above, it’s easier to contact than ever. You can now talk face to face, regardless of your location. Concentrate on the importance of your relationship and you might as well be in the same room.
You can blame distance when things go wrong; it’s an easy option, because distance is a challenge. But it’s not the only challenge. You don’t have to build up being apart as a problem in itself, even though it’s hard to be away from someone you care about that much. I was head-over-heels in love. Three years away at university didn’t stop that.
Like Moss explains, when you’re both “on the same page about giving it a go”, it doesn’t matter whether you’re on the other side of the world or in the house next door. You’ve already decided not to measure your relationship in miles.
What have I missed? Share your own long-distance experiences and tips in the comments below.