Surviving the Distanceby Jennifer Wong on Jul, 13 2012
You start a fabulously fun relationship with someone you got to know from your DeCal class, and everything’s been smooth until summer happened and life put 1,000 miles between you two. Maybe you already have a fabulously fun relationship, but fall is approaching and it’s prepared to pull you back to your schools across the nation. Changing circumstances throw people into long-distance relationships all the time, and although some choose to discontinue their ties before moving away from each other, there are still some tips out there to make yours a success.
1. Define the relationship
Whether you’re in an exclusive relationship, or in an open one, or in some completely complicated third option, it’s always best to make that clear to each other before you embark on your long distance relationship. It may be a difficult subject to bring up and one of the least romantic topics you discuss with your significant other, but it’s important to clarify the guidelines of the relationship so that you both know what to expect. Doing this will also spare you a lot of emotional fuss while the relationship commences. And when it comes to a long-distance relationship, any fuss you can save yourself is worth it.
2. Solve your problems as soon as possible
Distance doesn’t even need to function in a relationship for fights and disagreements to happen; every relationship has some bumps along the road, but when long distance is the case, it’s key to discuss and resolve each issue as soon as possible. Communication gets complicated when you’re a couple of cities, states, or countries apart, so it’s easy to let a problem just linger between the two of you for days and weeks. The strategy for this one? Don’t let it. Some couples even have a “never go to bed angry” policy. If that sounds like something you would want to implement in your long distance relationship, then give it a try and tackle your issues before they escalate.
3. Talk at least once everyday
If you have a phone, use it. If you have a webcam, use it. Want to be a Noah Calhoun and have tons of stationary? Use it. It’s crucial to keep in touch while separated and talking as often as possible can help make up for what the distance takes away from the relationship. Remind each other what it’s like to be together and bridge the distance with time well spent as a couple.
4. Have your own life outside of each other
There will inevitably be moments where the distance may get to you, and you find yourself feeling the pain of missing your partner. Do your best to remember and participate in the other parts and activities you have existing in your life— be it your job, your schoolwork, your hobbies, or even your other (platonic) relationships. This isn’t exactly to make you distracted from the difficulty of a long distance relationship, but to help you remind yourself of the other many ways you are important in your world. Find the balance between your various enterprises and your relationship, and try not to get hung up on either part of your life.
5. If possible, visit each other
Have you ever been away from your family or friends for a long period of time only to be welcomed by a multitude of plans together when you reunite? That’s the saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” at its finest. All the longing you endure while apart can culminate into a burst of affection when you’re brought together again. The same thing happens when you’re able to visit each other during the time you’re separated, and if there’s any blessing a long-distance relationship allows, it’s that you begin to realize how valuable each moment is that you get to spend together.
5a. Understandably, issues of money and transportation can prevent a lot of couples from scheduling dates. However, if a visit is out of the question, try planning a date anyway and execute it via technology. Arrange something like you would if you lived near each other, but use Skype or other video chat programs to see one another. For example, you can buy the same foods and have a dinner webcam date; FaceTime while watching the same TV show or movie on Netflix. It’s 2012, so utilize your technology and make the distance a little fun.
6. Exchange personal items
Clothes are often nice things to leave behind with each other because they can comfort several of the senses. A shirt can act as a visual representation of your partner, fabric can capture your partner’s familiar scent (which is hopefully something you will enjoy), and the material offers your skin something to enjoy while you wear it. A personal item is important to gift to your partner as it serves to remind them of you. It doesn’t have to be an item of clothing; anything of personal value can be a great token for your partner to revisit when they miss you. It’s the little things like this that make the distance all the more manageable.