How to survive and thrive in a long distance relationship
Making a long distance relationship work is damn hard work, hell, making a regular relationship work is hard enough! It’s been 4 weeks since I left Peppe at the airport in Venice and as every day passes it gets harder and harder to live without him. It’s the second time we have had to spend a large chunk of time apart and while it hurts like hell we have found a few things to help us survive and thrive in the distance.
Facetime, Facetime, Facetime
In case you missed it- Facetime! Our relationship is 90% dependent on being able to see each other on FaceTime. Phone calls are great, but being able to see each other in HD (thanks Apple) makes a world of difference. It is the easiest and fastest way to communicate and reduces the likelihood of communication misunderstandings. If the WIFI is good enough you may be able to forget, for one second, that you are sending love through a screen.
PS> Skype is also great too.
WhatsApp is a chat and call platform that uses your phone’s data to communicate. The best part about WhatsApp is it’s ability to send voice and video messages. Pep and I often send each other soundbites or small videos throughout the day to share what we are doing. I love waking up to a surprise video from him and it’s nice to know that in that moment he was thinking about me and wanted to share the moment with me. Silly perhaps, but I love it!
Chat as if they are with you
When you’re living with someone you tend to share everything that happened to you during the day, regardless of how silly it may be. This kind of bonding is the glue that makes a relationship strong. Unfortunately, these are often the things that are edited out of your long distance conversations because you don’t want to waste each others time on ‘trivial’ topics. The trivial topics are what makes your relationship special, so don’t edit them out, add them to the list to talk about later.
It’s also important to talk about the people who are in your life. Describe situations and use names, it really shouldn’t be any different to when you are together.
Create routine and be clear on expectations
Setting up communication expectations right at the beginning will help avoid unnecessary fights and miscommunications. Be clear on boundaries. For us, a bedtime goodnight message is always a must, even if we know the other one won’t see it straight away. We also keep each other in the loop when we are out at night- especially if alcohol is involved. Respect your partner – don’t dally with replying to messages and always return calls.
Share your thoughts
It can be tricky to open up to your partner when you are separated by distance but sharing your thoughts will help keep your bond strong. If you love them- tell them! If you’re thinking about them- tell them what you’re thinking. Communication is your only option, so if you’re a person who generally shows love by ‘doing’ then you need to learn to show love with words because the second that love and affection fall aside is when your relationship walls start to tremble. Don’t assume your partner knows that you love them (even though they probably do) or that you think they’re beautiful- tell them.
Dealing with time differences is easily one of the most challenging aspects of making a long distance relationship work. In our case, we are dealing with a 9 hour time difference and a very difficult work schedule. When I’m going to sleep in Australia, Pep is getting up to go to work and when I’m waking up, Pep is going to sleep. The only time we get to have long, deep and meaningful conversations is on his day off work. This means we both wake up early and go to bed late so we can carve out a little bit of time for each other. I don’t mind sacrificing a bit of sleep to see him.
This is probably the most important part of thriving in a long distance relationship. Be patient, be kind. This shit is hard- it really is, and there will be times when it gets you down and makes you frustrated. Take a breath, put yourself in your partner’s shoes and remember why you go into this in the first place. Love.
Do you have any tips for making the most out of a long distance relationship? Comment below and share your story!