Surviving an LDR
A long distance relationship (LDR) does not always mean that both parties are separated by borders or oceans. It can mean living two hours via car, or 16 hours via plane. It can mean seeing each other once a month, or saying goodbye and not knowing when you will be together again. An LDR can be forced upon a couple, or entered willingly. Regardless of your situation- an LDR is never easy. Whether you signed up for it or not, an LDR will challenge your relationship.
Admittedly, the LDR has a bad reputation. ” I could never do that” or ” even a night apart is too much” are responses to my situation that I hear often- responses that two years ago I myself would have said to those in LDRs. Yes- I miss my husband everyday, and yes I ,at times, envy the married couples who were able to start life together right away; but to be honest…this experience is making us stronger as both a couple, and as individuals.
It is so easy to get discouraged and question yourself about your situation- this is normal. If you asked my husband he would tell you that as easily as I can be supportive and give advice, I can also become an emotional wreck! At the end of the day, an LDR is a type of relationship and all relationships have challenges; though, the luxury of resolving conflicts or speaking face to face is not an option. Instead you must be creative in how you show your love. I have compiled a short, yet encompassing list of what my husband and I value in the success of our LDR.
1 Kill the communication overkill
We all know that couple who is always on FaceTime or Skype. They usually don’t actually speak, and often have the screen paused as they scroll through Instagram. I get it. Having them ‘in the room’ may make you feel close, but the danger in this is that the value of your (cyber) time together is being depreciated.
At first, my husband and I were that couple. We would FaceTime while I read, while he was making dinner, and even while we were with our own friends. We both agreed that this was not making our time together special. It felt like an obligation rather than a choice. When we began to limit conversations, we noticed that 1) our conversations became more meaningful and 2) we were able to focus on our individual lives, which helped keep us busy as we are apart.
TAKEAWAY:Do not schedule or expect calls or messages! Instead, wait until there is enough content for a purposeful conversation. Keep notes of topics you want to share, and share them at once in one exciting conversation. You’ll be surprised as to how much more special conversations are when they happen naturally, and more seldom!
2 You must trust the trust
No brainer right? Trust is crucial in any relationship. The LDR has a special way of making you doubt a good thing! Trust does not always pertain to the faithfulness in a relationship. While this is undoubtedly important, trust means so much more. Trust that your significant other (SO) is working towards a common goal, Trust that he just did not have time to call you, trust that she is in this for the long haul-just like you! Be open and honest, even when you think it’s not a big deal.
TAKEAWAY:Do not let your resentfulness for your situation blind you to the fact that you are in this together! Trust that your common goal is the glue to your relationship. Trust is unspoken when communication is open.
3 Embrace the (not so) single life
All the single ladies, all the single ladies, put your hands up! Kidding. You can’t put your hands up, BUT you can join in on the party! Use this time to get to know you again. I had lived with my husband and been married in England, so now with my family in Canada as my visa processes, I have time to myself again. It is so important to preserve your self-identity. It is, after all, what your SO fell in love with. Cook what you want, workout when you want, watch what you want ( I could do with less Tottenham Hotspurs in my life… sorry Spurs!), do what you want! With your open lines of communication and trust, you are free to put your interests and hobbies first.
TAKEAWAY: You do you! Your girlfriend doesn’t love watching football? Take this time- go to a game! You feel like you drag your husband around when you are shopping? Call up an old friend and hit the mall! You may not be single, but you are still you. Your partner loves you for it.
4 Little surprises
What is more personal than receiving something to your door (when it is not from yourself ha)? On an emotional level, it shows that your SO has been thinking about you, but on a physical level, it really does trick your brain into feeling like that distance has been temporarily bridged as you reach out to grab the item. Your SO picked this thing out for you and now you are actually holding it! Get some flowers delivered, order something online and deliver it to your SOs house. Be creative! Moonpig.com has very affordable items that you can personalise, including cards, mugs and much more. Or, simply write him/her a love letter and spray it with your scent (scent is a powerful thing- laugh if you will but I occasionally spritz my husbands cologne on the pillow beside me!) . There are so many ways to surprise each other and feel close because of it.
TAKEAWAY: Be creative in the ways you surprise each other. There are ways that can fit any budget, if you think outside the box. Online delivery services or snail mail are the way to go!
5 Have something to look forward to… together
One of the most important…Hope. Without hope for a future together, the journey of your LDR is going to feel redundant. For me and my husband, looking for houses online gives us something be be excited for. This is a common goal we share. We are excited to finally start our lives together and by pretending that it is happening sooner than later, we truly feel more hopeful. For some, it may be the hope of a vacation in the near future. It could mean the hope of reaching an anniversary together. Whatever it is, know that it is a milestone that you two will reach together.
TAKEAWAY: Do not lose hope. You are not alone, and you are so lucky that your biggest support system is going through this right there with you. Make realistic expectations of what your goal is, and work towards this together.
There you have it! The LDR is a weird thing, and it takes a special person to survive it. I have learned that the worst thing you can do in an LDR is to put your own life on hold. Do not think of this as a pause in your life, rather use it as time to better yourself. It is going to be hard at times, but you are not alone. From my LDR to yours, good luck!
TELL ME: What are some tips that you would share with someone in an LDR?