So, just like perhaps most of you reading this, before I actually became involved in one, I was incredibly cynical about long distance relationships. Yeah suuure you’re content to wait 2985756593 weeks to see your loved one, good luck with that one Dear John. But seriously – they can work. I met a wonderful human being whilst on my ski season in France, and we decided we liked each other enough to give it a good go back in the UK, despite being 200 miles apart; and these are 10 very honest lessons we have learned.
1. You ain’t getting anywhere if you haven’t got trust
Probably the biggie here, and the one I’ve struggled with the most due to a previous psychotic individual planting stories in my head. Nonetheless, it is important that you don’t engage in anything that would make your partner question your loyalty, you will both have a past, yes, you will have friends at home that your partner has never met, there will be exes, just like any other relationship, and you have to be able to deal with this from miles away. It’s important that you trust each other from the outset because as the legend himself, Drake, once said, ‘it’s harder building trust from a distance.’
2. Communication is key
Teamwork makes the dreamwork, and it has to be fair on both sides. I am so guilty of rushing around intending to sit down and send a cute good morning text but never actually getting around to it – then before I know it it’s 7pm and my boyfriend doesn’t know if I’m dead, ran off with someone else or mad at him for something he doesn’t even know he’s done. Just the smallest of texts throughout the day make all of the difference. When there’s no communication, the overthinking starts, and when the overthinking starts, the doubt grows… you can see where I’m going with this.
3. You appreciate time with each other
Not to say that couples who live together don’t savour every second together, but there is something so precious and special about only having a weekend or a short amount of time together. It’s like being a child again, and saving your money for something you really want, by the time you get to the shop you’re basically drooling with excitement. You can’t get complacent, or start to take each other for granted, which is such a killer in most relationships.
4. You have your own space
Leading on from 3, it’s also really nice to have your own space and your own time to do your own thing. It’s also really common to lose yourself (IN THE MUSIC, THE MOMENT, YOU OWN IT) and who you are in a relationship, because you stop making time for yourself and the things you like to do. It’s also really easy to lose friends in a relationship because you want to devote all of your time to your new found love, but when you cant physically do that, you can keep everyone happy, most importantly yourself.
5. Saying goodbye never gets easier
No, Sam Smith, we’re not too good at goodbyes. The dread begins to sink in early on the Sunday morning, when you mentally count how many hours you have together until the long drive home begins again. I’ve probably shed more tears on the M6 than anywhere else on this planet. Sure, you’re being incredibly melodramatic because you’ll see each other in about 2 weeks and this isn’t the bloody Notebook for christ sake, you’re not Rose nudging Jack off of that door, but that person is your best friend, that person is home, and saying goodbye to them is always going to be hard, no matter how long for.
6. You do have to make sacrifices
You have to be realistic and adult about everything. Some weeks, even though you had planned on seeing each other, life might have other plans for you. Your car might need fixing, your parents or a friend might desperately need you, you might have made other plans even though you haven’t seen each other for longer than usual. But the hard thing here is, you just have to get on with it, yes, it hurts, and whoever said ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ was on the right track but should have said absence makes the heart fucking hurt. If it’s love, you will both be able to wait and see each other when you can really enjoy it, without any other problems getting in the way. Of course, there is also the flip side of this, when your relationship is going to have to come first – Sally’s big girls night out can wait if you have recently had a little argument and need to see your other half to resolve it, if you have good friends, they will understand.
7. The arguments are way, waaaay worse
The golden rule is, you can’t be stubborn when you argue in a long distance relationship. You need to man up and resolve that shit straight away – there is just no point, and don’t do it over text unless you plan on incorporating about 600 emojis so your partner knows what tone of voice you’re using. In the same way, if something is bugging you, don’t just keep it quiet because it will get worse and worse the longer you don’t talk about it. Security is so important, and knowing what the other person is thinking is essential when they aren’t right by your side everyday.
8. You can do ridiculously soppy shit and it’s acceptable
Write them 100 love letters? Go for it! Send them flowers every day for a week? Feel free! You can verge on borderline stalker behaviour and people think its cute! Not that you can’t do this in any other relationship, but it’s so much more acceptable when you don’t live anywhere near each other. Even the littlest of things that stem from personal jokes, so many everyday items I now have that put a smile on my face when I come to use/see them because they hold a memory of us.
9. At least one person will tell you it won’t work out
They might be jealous of your happiness, they might want to get in your pants themselves, or they might just not believe that people really can go the distance. This is a particular shout out to Jasmine, who told my boyfriend at the beginning that ‘it’s a holiday romance, it won’t work out’, well here we are babycakes, 6 months after returning from France, and better than ever. If anything, these people will really just make you want to prove them wrong, so thanks Jas, I owe you one.
10. It will make you stronger as a couple
I’ll admit, there have been times when I have wanted to give up, that it would be less painful to walk away, but overall I’ve realised that a person comes into your life for a reason – and why should we tell ourselves it’s not going to work based on our locations on a map? Love has nothing to do with distance, love has nothing to do with time, it’s about two people and their dedication to one another. We are as realistic as we can be about things. We drive each other crazy, just like any other couple, we argue because we are brutally honest with each other, but most importantly, we both put in the effort to make it work.