Long Distance Relationships – Do they really work?

I was in a long distance relationship for nine months. That’s no longer the case since I’ve married the guy mentioned below. Enjoy.

I preface this entry by saying I don’t believe in “the one”, your “soul mate”. Saying that there’s one, perfect person for you sounds confining. Out of millions and millions of people, only one person is suited for you? I don’t believe that at all. Whether your significant other is down the street or across the country, every relationship takes work.

I’m often asked how Matt and I went months and months carrying on a Long Distance Relationship. People want tips or secrets – anything about how to make it work. When I was clueless about LDR, I asked the same question. 9/10 times people told me, “As long as you two love each other, it’ll work!”

Thanks for the horrible advice.

I won’t deny that love plays a huge role, but that’s not the only factor. People break up, couples divorce – love clearly wasn’t enough to keep them together. What may have worked for me and Matt may not work for you and your partner. However, here are some things to try.

  • KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid – (Don’t you just love The Office?) I think it’s great to talk about the future, necessary even, but sometimes that can drive a huge wedge between you and your significant other. While the distance may seem overwhelming at times, so does nagging your s/o to figure things out. Who’s going to make the move? Who needs to find the new job? Where will we live? WHEN WILL WE GET MARRIED?! Yikes. Keep It Simple, Stupid. You’ll know when it’s a good time to talk. Don’t rush things or else you may end up alone.
  • Date night – I get it. You’re thinking that you can’t go to the new Thai restaurant down the street or go see an action packed flick together, but you can. Both of you should order Thai, pick out what movie you want to watch, rent it, and follow through. It was always fun to watch a movie with Matt. Now, it was stressful when we’d count down to try and start the movie at the same time, but it made for good laughs. We’d get our food, watch the movie, and thank our bluetooth headsets for being so wonderful.
  • Phone/Cam chat – Calling just to say hi or leaving a voicemail is a great way to make someone’s day. You two may already have a set time to talk, but a sporadic call doesn’t hurt. Also, I always thought webcams were pointless. Then I realized there was a program that would make it look like I was on a roller coaster or turn my face into a monkey – pure fun. Anyway, whenever we’d have time, we’d chat from anywhere between half an hour to an hour. It was nice to see him and interact as if we were together. Technology continues to evolve and it quite exciting. Sometimes I’d joke with Matt and say we should do long distance again – just so I be on that roller coaster again. He never laughs at that joke.
  • Care packages – I love receiving and sending mail. It’s nice to mix things up by sending gag gifts (tasteful, of course) and things you know your s/o would enjoy and use. Thankfully, Matt listened and knows that I hate all things pink, dislike Hello Kitty, and don’t go bananas over candy or flowers. You know him/her best. Purchase things that would put a smile on their face.
  • Go the distance – Yes, it gets pricey. Airfare plus a hotel or even airfare alone gets expensive. It’s worth it as long as you both know that the constant traveling will eventually come to an end. Now, I’m not saying visit the person every weekend or necessarily every month. Plan ahead, budget – be responsible. I would see so many people on Facebook/Twitter ask if they should buy a new phone/a pair of heels OR see their s/o. Really? You may need to ask yourself a more important question.
  • Scribble – Keep a journal. I know some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking “how lame”. It’s corny, but it can be wonderful. You had an awful day, you weren’t able to talk to your s/o so write, scribble furiously. Before you take your frustrations out on your s/o, use the journal. Let him/her read what kind of day you had even if it’s a week later. A lot of times I’d be frustrated after work and the last thing I wanted to do was tell Matt about my awful day and somehow turn it into a fight because he should be here. I’d be candid, tell him it was an awful day and then quickly change the topic to something positive. I know Matt was genuinely concerned and wanted to carry my burdens, but it just wasn’t the right time or place. Emotions can work in your favor but sometimes they truly work against your better judgment. All that to say is, my entries were novels and Matt’s were blurbs. It was our perfect.
  • The obvious – You know the rest. Trust, be patient, and love one another. Never go to bed angry and learn how to read your s/o even when miles and miles apart. Use your situation to spend (more) quality time with friends and family. Take advantage of the distance to truly appreciate your s/o.

LDR’s aren’t easy, but I think every couple should endure being apart sometime in their relationship. You learn so much about him/her but really, you learn a lot about yourself. I hope you can take an idea from the list above and make it your own. Remember, every relationship takes work. The question is, can you handle it?

Oh and Happy Father’s Day, Matt! We may only have furbabies, but in my eyes, that still counts.

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