Anyone who knows me knows how much I need my space and time alone. Surprisingly, I don’t show much emotions as I’m heavily guarded and I’m not much of a fan of expressing my feelings or showing affection. My friends can easily say I act like a guy when it comes to the opposite sex. Don’t misunderstand, although I may act cold hearted I am not completely without emotion. In all honestly, I was never like this to begin with. After many failed relationships I ended up moulding myself to be who I am now. I used to be the hopeless romantic believing in fairy tale endings to someone who refuses to wait for a prince charming to save the day. Why should I when I can save myself, right? I think that’s why for me, being in a long distance relationship works best based on my needs and personality. Having said all this you’re probably wondering why and how I ended up being in a relationship in the first place? Easy. Because I couldn’t just pass up being with someone who makes me happy.
The question that I often get asked is: how do I do it? How do I stay stable in a long distance relationship? How do you two make it work?
1. Build a Friendship – When we first started talking it was strictly platonic. I had a failed long distance relationship prior to meting him so the idea of going through that again wasn’t something I was looking for. We created a great friendship in a short amount of time and continued it when we decided to take it to the next level. It’s always nice to know your significant other is also your best friend, not a lot of people can say that and being long distance but I believe it’s important to keep that bond to strengthen the relationship. Coming home from a rough day, I want to be able to pick up the phone to not only vent out to my best friend but for him tell me he wants to shower me with kisses to make me feel better.
2. Communication – To make any relationship work you need to learn how to communicate. Being in a long distance relationship, I feel you have to work twice as hard to keep in contact as distance can either break or make your relationship. With the technology these days, ways to communicate gets easier yet how we communicate gets harder. We post subliminal messages on social media, send emojis and misinterpret text messages. Don’t expect your significant other to be able to read you with one worded answers when you’re upset especially when he lives in another city – let alone, another country than you. I have always been blunt but when it comes to feelings it can get a little harder for me to express them verbally. Be consistent in your communication with your significant other. In all honesty, we don’t always talk on FaceTime or Skype but we do text and snapchat everyday throughout the day and call each other when we can (usually before bed or during work breaks). I don’t like being on the phone all the time and we both lead busy lives yet we still make time for each other and always send reminders of how much we miss each other. When life does get in the way and one or both of us feel like we haven’t really been able to sit down and spend time together we’ll set aside some time and dedicate it for some one on one. This may not work for all, but it works for us.
3. Trust – I’ll be honest, I’ve always had a trust issue especially in relationships. There is always that small voice in my head playing with my jealous emotions and always being suspicious. I can’t say whether this was the cause of failed relationships in my past or whether I was never with the right person to put my mind at ease. I started entering the dating world naive and controlling. Since then, I’ve made a complete 180 and I hate being told what to do. I love my freedom that I wouldn’t take his away. You need to be able to trust your SO especially when they’re located elsewhere. If there isn’t a reason to doubt, don’t create one. I believe an individual must grow both with you and without you. Being a semi tomboy/gamer it’s expected that I will have more guy friends than girls and I love that he trusts me. There is no guilt or jealousy and as cheesy as it sounds, my mind is at ease with him because we trust each other completely.
4. Choosing your Battles – I hate to admit it but I’ve struggled with my temper problems from a young age. It was just within a few years that I’ve learned how to recognize the stages of my anger and diffuse it before it gets out of hand. It’s not easy and it took a lot of work and effort on my part but it made me a happier person. Because of this, I’ve learned when to be upset and how to effectively argue without blowing it out of the water. Having said this, being with someone who’s far away can get tough and the frustration of the distance can cause arguments. 100% guilty. In my past LDR the separation caused a lot of heated, unnecessary arguments and it did not help that 1) he didn’t know how to reassure me of anything and 2) we both had issues with showing feelings. When you get upset whether it be rational or not, take a step back and ask yourself if the argument will be worth it. Give yourself a breather and leave the conversation with your SO before it gets worse. It gives you both some time to reflect and stop any words you may later on regret. What works for me is that I’ll bluntly tell my SO that I’m annoyed or irritated with him, we’ll talk about it then give each other space. Or I’ll tell him I need space and he’ll respectfully wait until I’m ready to talk. I have learned over the years it’s ultimately not worth the energy to be worked up over nothing. Why ruin your day and lose sleep just because your SO may have forgotten to mention he made plans to go out for dinner with friends?
5. Compromise – Being so far away life can easily get in the way of relationship. Not only do you have to put some money aside for a future flight but you also have to plan ahead of time for work around each other’s schedule. For me, not only do I have to think about my own wants, but I also have friends and family to visit on top of seeing my own SO. Budgeting and balancing can get tough but I always try to make it work to the best of my abilities. I never want to neglect my own friends who have been there for me since day one for my a relationship but I also don’t want to neglect him. I’ve expressed my concerns with him about balancing out myself, my friends and him. I’m lucky to say that he completely understands how much my friends mean to me. If I were decide to prolong my visit to come out to see him because I want a quick get away to see my friends, he’ll be willing to come down for a weekend in between visits to spend time with me even if it was just for a day or two. We both have different hobbies, and being a gamer there are times where I just want to spend the day playing a game with a bunch of my friends online. He’ll give me that time, but in return I’ll spend the night giving him my full attention. He likes to spend time on the track drifting so I completely understand when I go without talking to him for the day but he’ll make the effort to send me a quick text so I don’t worry and send me a snapchat videos (when he can) to make it feel like I’m there with him. It’s all about give and take.
6. Commit – You need to be able to commit yourself to making this relationship work. Considering it’s long distance, you need to work even harder to maintain stability. Without the physical connection it’s always hard to remember why you decided to be in this relationship and to re-spark that intensity that you started off with. I personally have grown more independent over the years that I don’t necessarily need him physically to stay loyal but I want it. I want to be able to close the distance and I want to be able to look back on how it all started and say we made it. So I commit myself to always choosing him no matter how hard it can get or how frustrating it can be. Choosing him not only when he’s at his best, but also at his worst. Choosing him over what’s convenient for me.
Every relationship is different, we all have to find what works for us. Being in a long distance relationship, it’s not meant to be easy but whether your significant other lives far or not, we all share one thing in common; finding happiness with yourself and with each other.