Yesterday was the anniversary of my first time meeting my long-distance relationship boyfriend.
Since then, there have been many transatlantic flights, nine months spent together in England, thousands of hours on Skype, and one big decision:
We’re getting married.
I hadn’t really planned on announcing it yet – mainly because he hasn’t officially proposed. As with many long-distance relationships, the decision to get married happens a little differently. We weren’t together when we decided – we were on different continents. We’ve been talking about marriage for a long time, but we didn’t know when. I guess we can thank UK Visas and Immigration for answering that question for us. Because it’s so difficult to secure the unmarried partner visa, marriage is our best option. Besides, we knew it was coming eventually – and when you know, you know.
Still waiting for that ring, though… 💍😉
Being the anniversary of when we first met, I’m reflecting a lot on our relationship. Since we’re made it this far successfully, I want to share five tips that have helped us get here. Some of these are specific to LDRs, but some apply to all relationships!
1. Visit often
2. Communicate constantly
3. Don’t play games
4. Be honest
5. Talk about goals / plans
1. VISIT OFTEN
I’m not going to say that a long-distance relationship can’t work if you don’t visit often… but it is going to be a lot harder. This is especially true AFTER you’ve met for the first time. Once you’ve felt what it’s like to be together, being apart just doesn’t cut it. Different couples might have different thresholds for pain, but three months is the longest I can go without seeing him. We’ve been very fortunate – we have mostly been able to stick to our three-month gap. Once, we waited four months between visits, and it nearly broke us. It’s definitely a major factor: if you can’t visit often, you will have to fight a lot harder for this relationship to last. Make visits a priority, make them as inexpensive as you can, and save, save, save.
2. COMMUNICATE CONSTANTLY
And I mean CONSTANTLY. While some people may have less need for connection than others, it’s important to keep the communication lines open in a long-distance relationship, because that’s really all you’ve got. That is where your strength is; it’s where your togetherness is. Skype, text, send pictures, play Words With Friends. We created a private shared Pinterest board and saved things on it that reminded us of each other. When we’re both at home, we keep Skype open constantly – even if we’re just carrying on with our daily routines. It’s the closest we can be to each other, and it keeps us close emotionally. If one – or both – of you is having difficulty putting in the effort to stay connected, it’s possible that your bond will weaken with time.
3. DON’T PLAY GAMES
Long-distance relationships are not the place to be playing relationship games. There’s no room here for hard-to-get or guessing. From the very beginning, we were open about how much we liked each other. Some people might call that rushing in – but it would be quite some time before we actually met, so I don’t see it that way. Some would say that isn’t “playing it cool” – but it’s just too easy to miscommunicate or misunderstand when there’s an ocean between you. Drop the games, drop the hints, and simply talk straight. The worst that could happen is that you find out they don’t feel the same – and if that’s the case, it’s better to find out now!
4. BE HONEST
This is important all the time, of course, but especially in LDRs. Trust can be fragile when you are so far away from someone. If you are dishonest about small things, your partner might decide that you are capable of being dishonest about big things. Realistically, sometimes you are going to disappoint your partner. It’s better to be honest than to try covering it up. I’m not talking about cheating here – that’s a complete and total deal-breaker for us. But things do happen – people don’t stay in touch when you wish they would, people spend money in ways you wish they wouldn’t, people have undesirable or unhealthy habits. When it comes to these frustrating (but generally very normal) things: honesty is the best policy.
5. TALK ABOUT GOALS / PLANS
If there’s one thing that has kept us ticking, it’s talking about our shared goals and plans for the future. When you are in a long-distance relationship, the now can be tough. You are apart, and you miss each other. It can bring you down. By keeping your heart fixed on what you are building together and what life will be like together, you are able to fight through it. This serves another important purpose: you find out whether you are on the same path. Just like #3, it’s better to find out ASAP if he never wants to move away from his family, or if he wants children, or whether he plans to start his own cult and keep seven sister-wives in a basement. We are all choosing our road in life – and you are picking which train to board. If you don’t want a one-way ticket to the same destination as them, get off now – it only gets harder the longer you stay on.
I hope those were helpful tips – feel free to ask me anything in the comments, or contact me! Subscribe here or on Bloglovin for more.
Have you ever been in a long-distance relationship? What was the hardest part? The best part?