How to Survive and Thrive in a Long Distance Relationship

Friday, January 29

It has been over a year now since Daniel moved across the country, making us an official "long distance relationship couple." Before he moved, we lived a little over 100 miles away from each other for a year; so we have been apart for over 2 years now. One of the biggest things I have learned is that you definitely need a gallon of chocolate ice cream in the freezer at all times! Some days it is really really difficult because you miss your significant other (SO) like no other. What I have experienced is if you keep yourself busy with school/work/friends then it is a little easier. Also, distance definitely does make love stronger and that kiss sweeter! I'm not an expert with long distance relationships but I feel like our relationship has grown so much over these past two years and I wanted to share a few tips that I have learned...

To do:

1. Communication: Make sure you communicate a lot! It can be really challenging to explain yourself and really make sure the other person knows what you are trying to say. Daniel and I text a lot so it can be really difficult to understand the whole picture. Whenever we don't get what the other person is saying, we just ask "what do you mean" or "can you explain it better?" If texting isn't working, we will call each other to get things figured out. 
2. Trust: This is the #1 thing in long distance relationships! You need to fully trust the other person or else it just isn't going to work out. I'm not going to lie, the hardest thing I have done is say goodbye to Daniel at the airport. However, I know that I trust him and know that he will be faithful to me and not do anything that would put our relationship on the rocks. I will talk about honesty later but you need to be honest and tell your significant other everything so that they can trust you even more.
3. Create a memory box: Daniel and I started our memory box a few years ago (before he left). I cherish our box so much because it contains pieces of our life. I recommend making one of these and putting little mementos into it that remind you of your SO. Then, when you are especially sad/missing them, you can open the box and reminisce on all the fun you have had. I also would make a bucket list of all the things you want to do together. These can be little things like cook dinner together to big things like go to London together (this is on our bucket list currently). The box and list will give you memories from the past as well as things to look forward to in the future. 
4. Make time for each other: We always take a few min (or hours) out of our busy lives to talk to each other. Whether it is a quick "goodnight, I love you" phone call or a 2 hour face time call, we get the chance to hear the other's voice. I know that hearing his voice makes me so much happier. I can seriously be in the worst mood ever and when he calls me to say he loves me, I'm instantly happier! Face Time is also the greatest thing ever invented. This gives you and your SO the chance to see each other's face. You can see their eyes light up, their smile spread across their face and you can pretend for a min that they are there with you again. I think it is extremely important to take just a moment to talk with you SO over something other than texts because it builds a stronger relationship.
5. Establish practical expectations for each other when you are apart: It is easy to say "don't hangout with the opposite sex" "don't go out drinking" "don't do this or that.." However, you cannot do that. You need to set up practical expectations. If you don't want your SO going out partying just let them know what you expect from them and come to an agreement. You don't want to seem controlling but at the same time I think it is good to know what you expect from each other. By establishing expectations, you avoid arguments down the road.
6. Always be honest: This goes along with my earlier point of trust. You have to be honest with your SO so that you can gain mutual trust. One important thing is knowing that you have to tell the whole truth even if you know it will upset the other. Don't leave out parts of the story or make slight alterations. If it is something they will get upset about, you probably shouldn't have done it in the first place, but it happened so there is no point in dancing around the topic. When it is all on the table, it is easier to talk through issues and make your relationship grow stronger.
7. Plan trips to see your significant other: This is a big part of what keeps me going! I always have a countdown to when I get to see Daniel next. It really helps me when I'm having a bad day because I look and see that I'm going to see him in 44 days (this is the current count as I'm writing this) which makes me happy. I know it isn't always easy to see each other because traveling can be very difficult and expensive but I think it is very important to save up so you can take that trip. Daniel and I went 4 months and 18 days without seeing each other so when I got to see him at the airport it was one of the best days of my life.
8. Write letters: When Daniel was at Officer Candidate School (12 weeks), I wrote him a letter every single day. While he only got to write me a few times, those letters were the absolute best! I cannot emphasize how much a hand written letter means. In this day of age, everyone texts/emails and it just doesn't feel as personal as a letter. Don't get me wrong, I love waking up to long texts from him but there is just something about seeing his handwriting that makes it so much more meaningful.

Do Not:

1. Assume: You know what they say when you assume... you make and ass out of you and me. This is a very true statement! If you assume it almost always will lead to an argument; so just avoid it. It will make being in a long distance relationship so much easier if you don't assume things.
2. Get upset if they don't respond right away: We have definitely fallen for this one because it can be difficult to realize the other might actually be doing something. I think the worst thing I do is call him over and over after about an hour or two of him not answering because I get worried haha. So basically, don't get upset if they don't respond to a text or have to call you back a little later. Life is busy and while all you want to do is talk to the other person, it is difficult. 
3. Be controlling: Please don't tell your significant other what they can and cannot do. I have seen relationships like this and it is so unhealthy. You should establish expectations like I mentioned earlier, but don't control them.

Well thats about all I have for now! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for long distance relationships. Also, feel free to contact me (in the contact tab) if you ever need someone to talk to. I know that being in a long distance relationship can get extremely difficult (especially when the Military is involved) so I'm always here to chat.
Thanks for reading my blog!

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