My boyfriend and I are both rather shy, busy and indecisive people. The combination of these factors meant that unfortunately we began dating with only two months left of our final year of high school. Initially, I agreed to go out with him on the condition that we separated before I headed off to university. I didn’t want to do long distance. I had never been good at keeping in contact with people and I didn’t want to ruin the great relationship I already had. While initially we agreed on this, the date began to draw closer and my boyfriend began to make it clear to me that he wanted to keep our relationship. And, despite my worries and fears, I did too.
It hasn’t been easy. In fact there has been a couple of times where I have seriously considered breaking up. But we are still together and going strong. I’m writing this post to prove today that it is possible, but you have to be prepared to put in the time and the effort.
Here is what you need to do to maintain a long distance relationship.
Make Time For Communication
Communication is really important. Seriously. Of course the frequency of your communication depends on how busy you both are. You have to make time for it though. When I first moved to university I was super busy, getting to know everyone and enjoying my new freedom away from home. I admit that in that first week I neglected our communication quite a bit. However, previous to that I had been spending all day at home, waiting for my boyfriend’s occasional texts that he sent from work. So of course I was never going to respond with that frequency now. It was a change we both had to learn to accept.
How to do it
A lack of communication can lead to break ups. The other person will feel so far away and unreachable. So you have to make time for it. My boyfriend and I find that texting as often as we can throughout the day is the easiest way to keep in contact. However it is important that if you go this route then you tell your partner if you are going to be absent for a few hours so they understand. We also try and call at nights as often as we can, often on the phone for several hours. I cannot stress how important communication is in a relationship. Work out what works best for your relationship but NEVER go a full day without some form of communication unless it is unavoidable and if so tell the other person in advance.
Talk About Your Feelings
This was something I really needed to work on in our relationship. I like to come across as tough. If something is bothering me, I will just bury my feelings. We all know this is super unhealthy. Especially in a relationship. Your partner isn’t there beside you. They don’t know that you are upset unless you tell them. If they have done something you are not happy about, they cannot apologise or talk it over with you if they don’t know about it. There was one day that I was a little sad. I had gotten up early so that I could talk to my boyfriend on the phone, but he didn’t call for over an hour. When he finally did I was pretty unhappy. Initially, I tried to hide it. In the end I just told him and we could talk about it. We both promised to be more accommodating in the future.
How to do it
Whenever you are unhappy, no matter what it is, you have to tell your partner. Especially if it is evident in your texts or phone calls. If your partner has done something you don’t like, tell them! It is likely that they will not have realised, and this gives you the opportunity to discuss it together and reach a mutual understanding. Regardless of who or what caused it, telling your partner how you are feeling is a great way to grow closer together. I always feel so relieved after these sorts of conversations because I feel like my partner trusts me enough to confide in me, and we can approach this problem like a team. I promise you are not a burden to them! They want to know.
Always Be Honest
When you are not with your partner daily, they do not know what is going on in your life. So it can be easy to avoid telling them about areas that aren’t easy to discuss. An example of this occurred near the beginning of my time in university. I was out late with some friends and I started talking to another guy since we were the only two sober people there. I was tired and asked him to walk me back to my hall. A few days later he began texting me. He was friendly, so I didn’t want to be rude and ask him to stop, and in the short time that we were texting we only discussed casual university stuff. However, I still felt guilty, especially as I could tell the guy liked me so I stopped our conversation. I wasn’t sure what to tell my boyfriend. I didn’t want him to worry because nothing had, or would happen. In the end I just told him everything, showed him our texts and promised nothing had happened. I felt so much better afterwards and I feel like he trusts me more now.
How to do it
If you ever feel slightly guilty or uneasy about anything that has happened, then just tell your partner. Explain what happened thoroughly and answer any questions they might have. While it is really important that you never cheat or do anything to betray your partner’s trust, there are grey areas sometimes when nothing happened but you still don’t feel happy. When that happens just talk to them! Trust is key here. If your partner ever tells you anything, you must believe them and trust in their account unless you have good reason not to. And if you aren’t happy with their actions or their story, talk to them! Jealousy can break up relationships if you let it.
Find Ways To Connect
There are so many LDR resources out there for “date nights” and activities to try. My partner and I haven’t actually used any of these yet, however this is something I really want to do. It allows you and your partner to make memories and have fun together even though you might be hours away. Another way to form connections is to constantly be searching for ways to meet up. If my boyfriend is going to be in my city for a couple of hours, of course I am going to go see him. Then during my holidays, I am going home, no matter what. It is important to make memories together because when you are alone and they are far away it is all you have.
How to do it
Check out LDR resources online for activities you and your partner can do together. Some common ones include 20 Questions or watching the same movie at the same time. Try to regularly have a date night where you call or video chat and have some fun together. The most exciting part of any Long Distance Relationship is when you finally get together again so you should constantly be searching for ways to make it happen. Be on the look out for cheap transport options or days off where you can see each other again. Mark it on a calendar and look forward to it! The most exciting part of a LDR relationship is when you can finally see your partner again!
Good luck to all of you in a LDR relationship. I would love to connect with you all. Maybe you could comment down below and we could discuss other challenges that we have or ways to make everything easier. It definitely can be tough sometimes. For all those who are considering an LDR, I won’t pretend it is easy, and I won’t promise that you will succeed. But if you are committed enough and you follow the above rules, then you’ll be fine.
Cheers Alura xx