It’s summertime – a time for making memories with friends, family, and your beau. But what if you and your guy are miles away from each other? Then what?
Long distance relationships often have the reputation of being strenuous and tiresome. They often end because one party can’t handle the distance or both parties feel that it is just not worth having a relationship from miles away. While both rationales are perfectly valid, I’m here to say that long distance relationships are not as bad as they seem.
My boyfriend Jay and I have been together for almost five years, most of which has been long distance. With Jay being one year older than me, he left for college within our first year of dating. Also, we attend two different universities. As a result, we normally only see each other during school breaks and some holidays. This summer, I accepted an internship here in Raleigh, which is about three hours away from our hometown of Charlotte. This has been quite a transition for us and there are days when it truly takes toll. Fortunately, Jay and I have 7 pieces of wisdom that’ll help keep your relationship strong.
- Make Distance Fun: While I miss seeing him in person, being away from him gives us the ability to have fun virtually. Jay and I are frequent abusers of the Facebook Messenger GIF keyboard.We have watched movies, played games and even taken naps on Skype. These all help with making things feel less distant.
- Invest in Yourself: This doesn’t just go for summertime, but all of the time. Do things that make you happy and grow as an individual. Start that blog you’ve been talking about. Make something. Check that yoga class you’ve been wanting to go to. Don’t sit and sulk about the things that you can’t do with your significant other. The world doesn’t stop because bae isn’t there. You were you, before you became us. Never forget that.
- Learn to Detach: Girl, get a grip. Yes, we all would love to spending every waking moment with our significant other, but we can’t. I repeat – YOU CAN’T. You have to be patient. I can’t express how grateful I am for Jay’s patience sometimes. Similar to #2, he has his own life just like you do. If he doesn’t text back in 2.45 seconds, I promise he’s still into you…he’s just feeding the dog.
- Take the Time to Understand That Person’s “Love Language”: Obviously, being away from your significant other changes how communication takes place in your relationship. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a great book that features a test to help you better understand what matters most to you and your partner in a relationship. A girlfriend of mine recommended that Jay and I take the test for the fun of it, but I will admit that it is quite accurate. Based on a series of questions, the test ranks the dimensions in importance to you – my highest ranked love language was quality time. Take the online test here!
- Talk About the Future, but Don’t Force It: Be open about what the future looks like for you two as individuals and as a couple. I’m fully aware of Jay’s dreams and intentions for our relationship and vice versa. If you’re anything like me, you’re a planner who gets excited about the future; but, I quickly remembered that I cannot try to fit a square peg into a round hole. Don’t spend excess energy trying to fit him into your future plans or you trying to fit into his. After all, if it is supposed to be that way, it will happen.
- Be Open: I’m not the type of person who wants to sit and talk about my feelings all time. Being in a long-distance relationship places you in a wide field of emotions: loneliness, bitterness, pettiness, etc. Don’t be afraid to share those emotions with your significant other, but don’t shy away from the emotions you get in response. Never let someone tell you what you’re feeling is wrong, but understand that everyone has feelings.
- Be honest: By now, you may feel that long-distance relationships are super easy. No, they are not. It’s work; a 17 credit hour class, a 40 hour job and 20 flights of steps. Keep it 100 with your partner, but 300 with yourself. Know if you’re able to handle the real responsibility that comes with a long distance relationship and accept that it’s okay if you can’t. Long distance relationships are feasible, but are truly not for everyone.
What are your tips for managing long-distance relationships? Let me know in the comments!