Every relationship comes with its challenges, but none perhaps more so than the 'long distance relationship'. Phone calls in the middle of the night, sexual frustration - but the happiest reward of being reunited after you've made it through the distance. Hella Péter shares her tips on how to ride the trials and joys of maintaining a relationship when far apart.
So you left your long time sweetie in your hometown, or you met the love of your life, but they happened to be an exchange student from the other side of the planet? Worry not, you can still survive and have a healthy and fulfilling relationship (if that’s your thing, I mean). Here are some tips and tricks on how to keep up with each other, how to make distance a bit more bearable and, in worst case scenario, when to call quits.
Ways to stay in contact:
First, obviously, is Skype, Facetime, or whatever free international video calling you choose. It allows for face-to-face, real time conversations, and overall is just a very nice and intimate way of keeping up with each other. Go for spontaneous calls, or make it a part of your daily routine - it’s your choice.
Second, instant messaging apps allow you to quickly share everyday bits and bobs with your partner: a cute dog you just saw, the joys (or horrors) of your current essay, Janetta’s selling their favourite ice cream, anything.
Another method, though it might seem old fashioned, is writing letters and sending packages. Yes, it might be slow, it might cost a couple pounds, but there is a reason why love letters were quite a thing back then…plus, there is something very cute and intimate about reading a whole handwritten letter from your partner, or finally getting a carefully put together package from them.
“Okay, this is all very nice, but sex is important for me, what do I do then?”, you might ask. Well, there is nothing stopping you from using above methods for that as well. Just talk about what both of you are comfortable with, and then get creative!
Yes, you read it right. ‘Dates’ when far apart do not necessarily have to consist of desperately trying to connect to Skype in your living room at midnight. There are countless websites that allow you to do activities together from completely different parts of the world. The website Gaze lets you watch movies together at the exact same time, while also having a video call option. There are several online multiplayer games you can play together, or you can just simply show them around your town on Google Earth!
Actually meeting them:
Congrats, you made it through being apart! Now it’s time for the “real” thing: meeting again in person. While it sounds relatively easy, there might be some problems arising, so let’s go through how to tackle them. The most important thing to figure out is who visits whom. In my relationship, we take turns, so it’s all even. However, one of you might have a free train pass, which makes traveling easier, or an unwelcome family, which technically cancels out staying with them. Another way of evening out costs and distance spent traveling is to just meet halfway, and have a nice trip together. But essentially, just communicate, communicate, communicate, and find out what works best for you.
When things go wrong:
Being apart in a relationship can be hard in different ways than in a normal relationship. Both of you have to put in more work, and might have to spend more money than you would otherwise. If you feel like your partner does not put in equal effort, talk to them, let them know how you feel, and suggest what would work for you.
Not seeing each other that frequently can also very often cause jealousy to pop up. Try and think through whether your suspicions or claims about your partner being unfaithful are reasonable, or if it’s just that missing them so much making you a bit more moody than usual. Otherwise, you just have to be honest and trusting with each other. If the relationship has blown out, let it go. If they are really cheating on you, maybe it’s time to end it.
And there’s also the LDR blues – not knowing when are you going to meet again, how are you going to make it work, and is it actually worth it? First, setting a date, even an approximate one, helps a whole lot. Much better than the nondescript “whenever”, right? Also, holding onto the happy memories together makes the waiting much easier, so document your time together: take pictures, hold onto tickets, write down all the things that you did. Remind yourself how happy this relationship makes you and the reasons you are in it. Just know, you two are in something that requires a lot more trust, patience, love and communication than a different relationship.