5 tips for surviving a long distance relationship

Some people swear by long distance relationships. Distance makes the heart grow stronger and all that, whilst others couldn’t bear to more than a short tube journey away, the “out of sight, out of mind” kind of attitude to dating. Whether you met abroad or one of your jobs meant moving abroad mid relationship, there’s a high chance that you may one day find yourself in the LDR (that’s a Long Distance Relationship by the way).

I have to admit though, before we go any further with this, the longest ‘long distance’ relationship that I’ve had to date was 200 miles long. I was studying in Leeds, he was working in London. Hardly what Hollywood love stories are made of! But for the sake of empathy, I’m going to draw on it for this article. In short, we met at a party in London, he was older, I was about to start University. After a few really good dates and a few short weeks we fell for each other and decided to give the ‘long distance’ thing a go.

For a few months it was great, I would travel to London every other weekend and we’d do perfect couple-like things that a textbook on ‘being in a good relationship’ might tell you to do; eat in amazing restaurants, go to the theatre or rent cottages in the countryside. It was basically a sugar-coated version of a real relationship. Then one day I woke up and realised that I was missing out on my first year of University and I ended it. Whilst it may not have been the trans-atlantic distance that many of my friends have since had to battle through, I can see the good and I can see the bad of the LDR.

No matter how you spin it, my own Leeds-to-London experience aged 19 does not quite make a ‘long distance’ relationship. I do however, have friends who have done London-to-Hong Kong, York-to-Beijing, California-to-Australia, Paris-to-New York as well as London to, well pretty much every major city in Europe and America (he was on tour in a band at the time). For all their struggles, and of course there were many, most would agree that the good side of it was well worth all the Skype calls and increased phone bills.

How to get to this point though is the hard part, and so I offer you 5 simple tips for surviving a long distance relationship.

1. TRUST
This is the make or break of the LDR. Whether we admit it or not, most people will have a slight worry about their other half going out with a group of friends when you’re not there. Try adding to that a 12-hour time difference and separate continents and one can only imagine the fear that might be induced at the thought of your other half in a club at 1 in the morning surrounded by temptation. See a picture of them with someone looking cosier than you’d like on Facebook? Trust that it’s just a friend. Don’t hear from them when you planned to? Trust that there’s a legitimate reason.

2. MAKING THE EFFORT
I’m not saying you need to be on your phone every second of the hour, or making costly long distance calls at allotted times each day, but to make it work you’re going to have make some effort. But be realistic – there will, of course, be times that a phone runs out of battery or the WiFi cuts out. If finances and time permits, you need to make the effort to visit one another.

3. DIGITAL SEX
Let’s not beat around the bush here, if you’re not having sex with your partner something is probably wrong. But, if situation is physically preventing this side of your relationship, you should think at getting digital. Sexting, phone sex, Skype sex… whatever you want to try your hand at.

4. HAVE SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Whether it’s a holiday you’re taking together to meet halfway or the dinner you’ve booked when one of you comes to visit, or even the date in the diary that one of you plans to move back to the other. Whatever it is, you both need something to look forward to together.

5. HAVE AN END DATE
Whatever the reason for you being apart is, it can’t be forever. For both of your sanities there needs to be some kind of end date in mind – not necessarily a literal date, but maybe a virtual agreement that say, after 1 year you’ll discuss one of you moving to be with the other.

Main Image: Helmut Newton “World Without Men”

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