This is a post I’ve actually been writing for a little while, adding to whenever I felt I had something to say (and I’ll continue to add to it, so keep checking back if you’re interested). I started seeing my boyfriend in July and after only a few months, he went to uni about 200 miles away. Quite a few people were surprised when we said we were going to make it work, but I’m really glad we did because it’s been completely manageable. I wanted to write this post with tips for those of you out there who are also in long distance relationships and are maybe finding it a bit tougher, or those of you who are about to start a long distance relationship.
The first bit of this post just has to be about trust. Trust is essential in any relationship, but I think it’s even more important in long distance relationships, particularly if one of you is going to university. It can be easy to get jealous/worried, but the main thing to remember is that when they do things like go out, that’s an essential part of being somewhere new. They meet lots of new people, and being a hermit crab isn’t going to help them! They’re not going out with the intention of cheating on you, they’re just having fun with their friends. (Also, it goes without saying: if someone cheats on you, they don’t deserve you anyway.)
Look on the bright side: Being far away from someone actually helps you to develop trust. As time goes on and nothing bad happens, you’ll begin to realise you’ve got nothing to worry about. And remember, they’d most likely rather be closer to you if they could be.
You lead separate lives – their life shouldn’t revolve around you, just like yours shouldn’t revolve around them. For instance, if they’re going to uni, they’ll have a lot of work to do. Hopefully if you use your time wisely you’ll be busy too. Remember that you won’t always be able to make up for being far away from each other by constantly talking. It won’t happen. People usually go far away to do something – let them do it. Don’t take it personally when they’re too busy to talk!
Look on the bright side: Don’t assume that space is a bad thing. It’s immature to think you have to spend every waking moment together/exchange texts every day, because really, space is a good thing. Space retains health in a relationship and makes you appreciate each other more – that’s just how it goes. Obviously don’t let space become drifting apart, but hopefully if you strike the right balance between understanding each other’s need for space and showing appreciation for each other, you’ll be fine.
Most importantly, get back to you and enjoy time to yourself. As harsh as it sounds, you’d be okay without them. It’s not the end of the world.
Try not to actually think about it too much. I always find I’m absolutely fine until I visualise how far away Joe is or the little things I miss, but really try your hardest not to do this. I know it’s easy to get sad about it, and by all means do that every so often. But believe me, once you let yourself start it’s difficult to stop. It’s better to put off thinking about it for as long as possible.
Look on the bright side: If you do upset yourself thinking about it, try to convert that into being excited for that date in the calendar when you’re next seeing them. But between now and then, plan lots of exciting things to do and lead YOUR life, don’t make their life yours.
Unfortunately, money is a big part of long distance relationships. If you’re only a 1 hour train journey away it shouldn’t be a big problem, but considering my boyfriend is nearly 5 hours away, it’s been pretty important for us. Luckily, I have a few jobs at home and so I make enough to be able to see him quite often, but if you’re not in the same position, I’m afraid you’re going to have to prioritise carefully. I’ve sacrificed naughty cosmetics buys which used to be a pretty frequent indulgence for me, but I’d much rather see Joe than spend unnecessary amounts on clothes and makeup. You just have to make that decision.
Look on the bright side: A bit of a boring one, but prioritising and saving money really helps to build that valuable life lesson of budgeting and not spending money on unnecessary stuff!
This sort of ties in with trust, but another important thing to do is to establish what you both want from the relationship and if anything is going to change. I think that actually in general, it’s important to stay honest with each other about how you’re finding things throughout. Unfortunately, it seems lots of people start long distance relationships before they’re actually sure they want to commit to them and end up changing the ‘rules’ and the relationship becomes an open one. It’s so important that you both know what you want so you don’t confuse the seriousness of the relationship.
Hopefully, if you both care about each other you’ll be able to sit down and talk about this before the long distance starts.
Look on the bright side: Sometimes it’s nice to have some clarity that you might not have even had if you didn’t have to have this conversation. It usually shows how much you care about each other because you realise the lengths you’re willing to go to in order to make things work.
To finish off, a cute tip. My boyfriend and I use an app called ‘Couple’ which is free on the App store (this is not an ad!) It really helps because it’s so personal – only you and your boyfriend/girlfriend can use it with each other. My favourite thing is the ‘thinking of you’ function; you click one button and it lets the other person know you’re thinking of them. It also has a direct button to FaceTime which is another essential thing in LDRs!
Basically, yes. Long distance relationships are tough. I’m not going to sugar coat it. There are lots of factors to consider and there’ll be many obstacles you have to work through, but if you’re both committed you can make it work, undoubtably. The price to pay is really nothing in comparison with how great it is when you finally see them.
If you have any specific questions, do not hesitate to ask. The place I’m most likely to see your questions is my Tumblr inbox (you can send them anonymously there if you want to), OR if you don’t have Tumblr you can send them on Instagram or YouTube.
Good luck, we’re all in this together *HSM reference*