Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Top Ten Tips For LDR

Have you ever heard the phrase "absence makes the heart grow fonder"? That's just the nice way of saying ABSENCE SUCKS BUT YOU DEAL WITH IT. And now that Christmas and New Years are over, things are starting to get back to normal, which can make the feeling of being away from someone special that much harder.

But for the most part, absence is temporary. Temporary could be weeks or it could be years.

For me, it was years. More than 3 long years of making it work across two continents.

But I'm on the other side now!

Stonehenge 2009 (my first time in England) and again in 2012 (when I started calling England my home)


I've braved the loneliness, the airport goodbyes, and the night time tears. I have lots of practice with transatlantic relationships. It wasn't ideal, but it was worth it!

So I'm here to help you!

Here are my top 10 tips for couples in long distance relationships. This isn't a list from Google or from anyone else; this is first hand experience from my LDR with Alex (who you officially met yesterday). 

1. Dates from afar - Two words. Movie date. Pick the same movie and watch it at the same time at home! I wouldn't recommend actually speaking on the phone or Skype during it, but you can text or use AIM to talk about the movie. Schedule it like an actual date and commit! You can also go to the cinema to see the same movie at or around the same time, but in 2 different locations! Alex and I saw Harry Potter 7 Part 1 "together" on different continents!

And then we saw Harry Potter 7 Part 2 together in these really stylish 3D glasses!!

2. Send care packages - Send each other little things, like sweets, chocolates, or homemade gifts. It's especially great if they are things they can't get where they live. I always sent Alex peanut butter M&Ms in his care packages!

3. Send cards - If money is tight, send cards instead! Cards are so underrated these day, but I think they're really special! Always send a card for holidays. If your partner is in a different country, it's especially funny if they are cards for holidays that the other doesn't have! I sent Alex Thanksgiving cards every year and he sent me cards for St. George's Day! Sometimes we'd stick separate letters in the card, too, that way you don't have to worry about anyone seeing your mushy coupley romantic words to each other. (Moonpig.com is great way to send cards as well because you can add your own pictures and really personalize the card!)

4. Don't let it stop you from having fun - There's always going to be guilt or sadness in the back of your mind that you're having fun without your partner. You're always thinking "I wonder what they're doing" or "I hope they're not worrying about me" or "I wish they were here". But the distance gives you a great opportunity to spent quality time with your friends. As long as "fun" doesn't mean "crossing lines", it's worth it.

5. Have a plan - I'm not talking about a strict "we're getting married in exactly 4 years 2 months and 16 hours" type a plan. I mean realize what's keeping you apart, work towards being together (if that's the common goal), and discuss who is moving where in the long run. I always knew I'd be the one to go to England. It was because I waned to, not because anyone forced me to. But finishing my degree was the main priority. So I made that happen; I worked my ass off to graduate a semester early in order to move sooner. Once Alex landed a great job here and I graduated back in America, the plan was to just save money to go towards our future. When the timing was right, I would move. I think you know the end to that story!

6. Don't hang out with other couples - Some things just get you down. Being with couples was one of those things for me. I couldn't hate them, but honestly, I was jealous of their proximity to each other. And most of the time, they just weren't considerate of my situation and it made me feel worse. So just don't put yourself in that situation. If your friends/their partners ask you to hang out, just decline if you don't think you can handle it. Spend time with them on their own or risk the green eyed monster putting a downer on everyone's night. If they're really your true friends, they'll understand and won't want to put you in that situation. If they don't like it, well you have other friends who you can count on. 

7. Save money - Even if you know your not moving for a few months or few years, it's never a bad idea to have a savings account for your future together. Moves are hard and expensive. The earlier you start preparing, the easier it'll be when you take the big step. Saving money also helps you visit each other often! Plane tickets and luggage fees are ridiculously expensive. Save up! It's worth it just to spend more time together!

For me, saving money meant more trips to England!

8. Never leave a long distance fight unresolved - If you're as stubborn as I am, this can be hard (kidding.... kind of). It's so easy just to hang up on someone if you're frustrated. But just like you should never go to bed angry with each other, you should never hang up angry either. It's not worth it. Sometimes the time apart makes you so upset and vulnerable. Just think about how NOT WORTH IT the fight really is.

9. Have multiple ways to communicate - This obviously gets harder if you're in different countries, but it's worth having backup even if it's costs a little money. Have each others house and cell/mobile numbers, Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook, AIM, just have a bunch handy in case one fails. This is obviously in case of "worst case scenarios". But it's also useful to have backup in case of bad reception or other failed technology. Any time I texted Alex (if I was going to be out for a while or wouldn't have access to a computer) I also sent him a message on Facebook just to make sure he got it. You never want anyone to panic over something stupid like poor cell phone reception.

Last but certainly not least....

10. Have confidence in your relationship and beat the stereotype - People are so quick to discriminate again long distance relationships. (Seriously, I've had "friends" ask me why I never gave anyone local a chance or asked how I am able to feel so committed to someone so far away.) In all honesty, I've seen plenty of toxic relationships when the couple lived in the same city as each other. It's not the distance, it's the people. If you're one of the strong relationships (which I'm guessing you are if you've gotten this far), have the confidence that your relationship is worthy. Beat the stereotype that LDRs don't work out. Local relationships don't work out, too! People are always going to have their opinions and that's okay. But kick the negativity out of your life if it's taking a toll on you. Politely ask the people around you to keep their opinions to themselves if they don't support your LDR.

I promise, there's a happy end to the long and winding road that is the long distance relationship highway. And for me, it wasn't even a highway. It was a transatlantic flight!

It's not easy. But it's possible. Things will work out the way that they should. It just takes time, patience, and a lot a lot a lot of trust.

If it's meant to be, you'll find a way to make it work!

Are you/have you been in a LDR? What tips would you give someone? If you've never been in a LDR, do you believe they can work? Why or why not?

3 comments:

  1. One thing I would say is that at the end, when you end up together permanently, it makes all those years of being apart worth it, but it is hard to see that in the moment. I wouldn't change my years of a LDR for anything, and I love where we are now!

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  2. Just about to embark on a Canada-England relationship (I'm English on an exchange year in Canada and ended up falling for a Canadian, not something I'd planned for!) and it's encouraging to read these success stories and remember that tough though it's gonna be when I leave in a month it can work!

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