Love in Long Distance
As most of you know, I relocated for a job opportunity towards the end of last year and have been living in Tampa, Florida ever since. I miss Gainesville everyday, especially a certain someone that I left up there. My boyfriend and I have been together for just shy of a year and we spent as much time as humanly possible together while we were finishing out our senior years at UF. I think the longest we ever went without seeing each other was a week over Spring Break while I was in the Bahamas and he was in New York. Since I moved down to Tampa, however, we now only have the ability to see each other a few weekends here and there and I was really struggling with how to keep the love alive. We’re already distant, physically, so I wanted to make damn sure we wouldn’t be able to become emotionally distant, too. Long distance relationships, no matter how many miles apart you and your significant other are, are undeniably hard and only the strongest couples make it out alive. Here’s some tips that I’ve personally noticed have helped me continue to love in long distance.
You are your SO are no longer a short car ride away, so it’s time to put full trust in the person they are and the undeniable fact that they love you. Jealousy, worrying and over thinking things can lead to serious problems in any relationship, but are devastatingly harmful to long distance ones, in particular. If you see your SO has been tagged in a picture with another girl, do NOT allow your mind to wander to places it should never be. If your SO has never given you a reason to not trust him/her in the past, why should things change just because you’re now in different cities? If your SO says he’s going bar hopping with the guys, believe that he is doing just that. This is not code for “pick up as many girls as humanly possible,” it legitimately means he’s had a tough week and his bros are going to take him out and get him drunk and talk about whatever the hell guys talk about. Also, trust that no matter what, he’s constantly thinking of you. Just think how you would feel if he lost faith in you when you knew you were doing nothing wrong. It would hurt a little and confuse you.
I can’t say it enough, communication is key. If you are only able to actually see each other in person a handful of times (or God forbid, less) a semester, you have to make a point to communicate in every other way possible. Write letters, text, talk on the phone, have Skype dates, etc. Communication also isn’t just through which mode you talk to the other. You must be completely open and transparent about your feelings, your thoughts and your daily experiences. If you have something on your mind and you keep it bottled inside, you’re going to explode when you actually get to see your SO in person. When you’re talking to your SO, make sure you’re being as descriptive as possible about how your day/week/whatever was. They no longer get to experience daily life with you, so they want to hear all of the details that they are missing. Also, never forget to truly listen when your SO opens up and tells you what’s been going on with them.
People in long term relationships usually say the reason why they’ve lasted so long is because their SO still finds ways to surprise them. This is crucial for long distance relationships, because you want to find ways everyday to keep that spark you had when you were together all of the time ignited. If you see a trailer for a movie you think your SO would like to see while scrolling down your newsfeed, tag him/her in it. It will let them know that even for just a brief second, you were thinking of them and you were probably thinking how much more fun it would be if you two were to watch that movie together. If you have a random weekend off, make the trek to surprise them! You’ll be glad you did! Or, something as simple as an “I’m thinking about you” text could be just the right amount of spontaneity for that day.
Make it fun
When you have a Skype date, don’t just talk to each other about your week. That’s important too, but there’s gonna come a time when you will inevitably run out of things to say. Instead, play a game with them, cook a certain recipe you two found together, but in your separate kitchens, watch a movie together on Netflix as if you were sitting in the same room. Skype dates should be just that, dates. Think about what you would do if that person was physically able to be with you and do that during your 2 hour Skype session each week!
Focus on yourself
You are alone right now, whether you chose to be or your SO chose to be. Understand that this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Use this time to find yourself as an individual. Sleep in later, focus on your career, eat the last piece of cheesecake you know your SO would try to eat if they were there, binge watch every episode of American Horror Story with no regrets or condemnation, whatever you gotta do! If this is someone you want to be with for a long time, maybe even marry, once that time comes, you will no longer be able to do these selfish things all the time, so soak them up while you still can.
Pick up a hobby
Go to the gym, paint, write, try out a musical instrument. Find something that you enjoy that will direct your attention away from your SO. Yes, you can be sad, it’s inevitable, but if you are constantly surrounded by things you are passionate about, it’s hard to find time to miss them so much it hurts.
See each other as often as possible
Maybe your SO is oversas and you only see him/her every 10 months or so. That’s a different type of scenario. If you’re closer in distance and have the ability to see them once a month, every other weekend, whatever the case may be, realize how lucky you are and take these opportunities whenever you can. And, the effort must come from both people in the relationship. If only one person is making the trek every month, it is going to seem as if the other doesn’t care as much, which can lead to much bigger problems.
Make time for each other
With all of the hobbies and selfish things you are picking up, because you are trying to focus on yourself, and with work/school every day, you’re going to get busy. Make sure your SO knows that you are still making time for them. Think about your week and pick out a certain day or two that are the least busy for you and make those your Skype or phone call days. If you take time out of your busy schedule to “be” with your SO, your week will be so much better, guarantee it.
When you’re finally together, be together
You’ve been apart now for 6 weeks and have had to make a relationship flourish through technological advances such as social media and video calls. Now that you’re finally together, REALLY BE together. Put your phones on silent for the day, make it a point to spend a whole day (or hopefully more) just the two of you. You can go out together and show each other off, or you can stay home and watch episode after episode of Game of Thrones in your underwear and be completely content doing either. Just make sure you are really honed in on your SO and focused on them while they’re with you, because you will regret if you do not the second they return to their designated city.
Also, always remember that you are one lucky son of a bitch. Yes, it’s hard, and when you see a couple together at a restaurant, it’s gonna sting a little, but I would personally choose to never see my boyfriend again and still be able to call him mine, than be with someone physically all of the time who was not my right match.