Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bridging The Long Distance Gap

"True love doesn't mean being inseparable; it means being separated and nothing changes."

"Missing you gets easier everyday because even though you are one day further from the last time I saw you, you are one day closer to the next time I will."

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I've been out of blog-spiration for a minute...lol. I tweeted that I'd blog if someone gave me a topic to write about. As usual, my tweeps came through and the topic for today is: The Top 5 Things That Make My Distance Relationship Work. Here we go!

1. COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION!
And one more time for posterity - COMMUNICATION! I can't stress this enough. If you hate talking on the phone, a long distance relationship is NOT going to work for you. LDR and I talk every day, several times a day. Every conversation is not deep and meaningful; sometimes it's just about hearing the other person's voice. He's not here, so he can't read my feelings based on my actions or facial expressions. If he's said/done something that bothers me or affects our relationship, I have to let him know. Really, that goes for any relationship, but especially for one involving distance. No matter the feeling, good or bad, you have to convey it. Also, keep in mind that email/texts don't always convey tone. What you meant might not be what is interpreted when the other person reads it. Voice to voice is usually best. It's always cool to get that occasional "sweet nothings" text message, though.

2. TRUST
You need trust in any relationship, but you REAAAALLLLY need it in a long distance relationship. We're not walking around with webcams to record every move of every day. I have to trust that when LDR says he is somewhere, that's where he is, and vice versa. This issue goes along with communication and transparency. We talk about our day and what we've done, who we saw, etc...we don't hide anything from one another. Now, I have the added security that our home town is about [ ] <-- this big. If he WAS doing something, there'd be 285 people trying to tell me about it. LOL! Not to mention, my brothers live there, and he has a big family...we have a wide circle of friends/family so eventually it would get back to me.

Most long distance relationships do not have this type of safety net. That means you're really going to have to step out on faith. If you need to constantly check your mate on their every move, a long distance relationship is not going to be a good fit for you.

3. ESTABLISHING VISITATION PLANS
Wait. That sounds like one of us is in jail. LOL! I can't think of another way to word it, so just work with me.

I find that if we have concrete plans about when we will see each other next, it reduces anxiety. Folks on FB and Twitter will tell you, LDR and I are always posting countdowns until our next visit. It keeps us sane. Because we're 700+ miles away from each other, airplanes are involved. That means scheduling well ahead of time. Not to mention, LDR has two sons so we have to keep them in mind when we make our plans. If you can, it's also important that both people do the traveling. I don't think it would be fair to ask one partner to constantly make the trips, unless it just works out easier for you to do it that way. It would actually be easier for me to go up there more, because I get more vacation days from work, but because it's my hometown, we have added distractions when I visit. Which actually leads me to my next point...

4. MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FACE TO FACE TIME
Nothing is more frustrating that finally getting to see your significant other, and then the days are done and you feel like you didn't have any quality time. We both have friends and family up north, so when I go to see him, I often feel like I'm being pulled in two directions in a tug of war. Luckily, he is very understanding about the situation. My ultimate goal is to spend quality time with HIM, so while I may spend a day or so visiting family and friends, most of my time is with LDR.

When you're together, focus on the important things. If there are big issues that you need to discuss face to face, by all means, do that. Just don't sweat the small stuff. Does it drive me crazy that the contents of LDR's suitcase usually end up ALL OVER the apartment when he's here? Why, yes. Yes it does. LOL! Do I focus on it? Nope! We only have a few days of time together. I just covertly move stuff around while he's in the shower, or whatever. I also straighten up his apartment when I'm there, because clutter puts me in a state of confusion and disarray...but that's another blog for another time. :)

You also need to strike a balance between the "free time" and planned activities. When he comes down here I try not to plan our visit to the exact minute. There are days when it's worth more to me to just lay on the couch and watch movies, or cook together, or just be random, than it is to have a night out on the town or attend a concert. People always ask me, "what are you guys going to do while he's here?" Sometimes the answer really is "nothing." Just the fact that we are in the same space is enough for us.

5. DEDICATION
When we started this relationship, we went into it knowing that distance would present an extra challenge. But we both decided: this is it. We want to be together and we're going to make it work. We didn't step in with our toes, we jumped all the way in. You have to decide that this is the person you want to be with, and focus on that. When it gets frustrating, you don't go looking for a third party to make you feel better, and you don't start contemplating starting a new relationship simply because that person is in your physical presence and your SO is not. You focus on strengthening your bond, and you believe that the light at the end of the tunnel really is the moment when you two are occupying the same zip code and working on your "happily ever after." If you start thinking the light at the end of the tunnel is a train, you're going to get flattened. Period.

Of course, there are many other little things that go into making a long distance relationship work. I think these are the 5 big ones, for us. We most certainly have frustrating days. He can tell you that many times during our conversations I've said, "I'm so sick of this damn phone!" LOL! Or we've both said, "I wish you were here." So far it's been 1.5 years and still going strong.

5 comments:

MzInspiredMind81 said...

I LOVE this post!! Yesssss!

Single Ma said...

Words of wisdom...duly noted. This just goes to show that when you're with the right person, a long distance relationship can be successful. :-)

affectionforfitness said...

Hi! My husband and I were a long-distance relationship before we got married (Minnesota & Pennsylvania)in 1988. We are still married, so we are evidence that long-distance relationships can work.

:-) Marion

Marilie said...

Hey Marion! Yay! I love hearing the success stories in long distance relationships. HOpefully we will be in the same city in the next 12 months and can move our relationship forward from there.

Beautifully Complex said...

Wow. This was so on point! I was in a LDR in the past for about 8 months but it didn't work due a couple of the things you list here. I believe if there is true love & you follow this road map it is definitely doable. Great blog.