Lets just start this off right… I am no love expert. Far far FAR from it. But I believe that there is a great deal to be learned from other peoples experiences in things of love and I’m sharing my person thoughts on what my journey of long distance was… and still is and what I believe are things that make it work.
First time was after we met in London and I was still living in Canada. I was in the UK to do recognisance, to see if I loved it enough to move there at the end of the year. To travel. To have an adventure. And what’s an adventure without meeting cute boys with cute accents?! A holiday fling at best was why I met with him the first time. He made me laugh and something just clicked with us. We went out 7 times in the 3 weeks I was in London and texted constantly. I just knew that it was something, and he was someone I couldn’t just end it and leave. Thankfully he was up for something silly as well!
My partner and I have been together for 4 years and 3 months. In that time we’ve done long distance 3 times.
Long distance doesn’t work for everyone and it’s hard. Exhausting. We managed 8 months of long distance after only knowing each other a few weeks. We had two glorious visits in this time when he came to Canada, which was helpful with the length of time we spent apart in total.
The second time was a month, at the end of my lease in London where we moved out of our flat and I crashed with friends while continuing to finish up work for the last month and my other half had gone back to his hometown to hangout with friends and family before we headed off on our 18 month world travels.
The third time is now, during COVID-19 pandemic. And it is a very different experience. Prior to flying to our own countries from Australia we had been together EVERY SINGLE DAY for 18 months of travel adventure. This also included 10 months of us living in a shoebox of a teeny tiny van in Australia while we simultaneously working at the same places. Talk about zero personal space.
It’s been an adjustment going from spending so much time with someone you love, to then have only a small window of time to be able to connect with them each day. It’s been 60 days so far and we have no ‘end date’ in sight. That is the hardest part this time around.
Our long distance may be thousands of miles apart and many many time zones, but it is the same as many people right now who are in a place where they are unable to see their significant other due to social distancing and isolation rules.
People are making the choice to either be together all the time in their relationships when they were just ‘dating’ not living together yet in order to be able to still see their partner. This can be stressful because sometimes you’re just not ready to be full on 24/7 with your S/O yet. Too much of a good thing, right? Others are choosing a more long distance approach with keeping in contact via online calls and video chats even if they live close to each other. Both options are doing their part to help stop spread the virus.
Know I know every couple is different and these are by no means set in stone rules, but I find them helpful with our current situation and with long distance in general.
- Keep a date night. Same day each week and try and DO something together rather than just video chat or call. This time around is the first time we’ve implemented this and it’s been great! We have a yoga night (at his) morning (at mine). You can both follow the same You-Tube video or just freeform your flow… but having an activity to do together makes it easier to just BE with that person rather than feeling like you need to fill your time together talking. Because let’s be honest. If you’re having a call every day during a pandemic… there’s not much going on day to day that’s different so it can get boring. And boring doesn’t make your relationship feel very awesome.
- Let it be ok to not call every day or to need a break. Personal space is still something that you need in any relationship, long distance ones included. Some day’s you just feel like you’ve got stuff to do or just wanting to (in my case) have a lay in. It’s not personal. Just go with the flow and what amount of contact works for you. You don’t love them any less if you don’t call every day.
- It’s ok to be sad about it. It really is. Sadness is a valid emotion during this time. But try and not let it affect your whole day. Give it a few minutes, embrace that you miss them, or that you’re not off on the next big adventure together. Feel that, breathe and then let it go an move on with your day. Shoot them a message that you miss them and thinking about them. But try not to dwell on the sadness. I struggle hard with this as it feels like grief to me and it comes in waves. I’m fine for weeks and then I have a week where I cry myself to sleep, because it seems unfair, or that I miss him, or even that I’m angry in the situation. I work on this one the most.
- Have a discussion on what amount of interation you ‘need’. This can change but for example my other half doesn’t care if I send voice notes or photos of what I’m doing. A few little texts is all he needs and then he catches up when we call. I’m more needy. I want cat gifs, texts, personalized you-tube links to things I’m working on. So we work on me not bombarding him with things to look at when he wakes up and he tries to remember to send me what I call “nice things” more frequently. Find what works for you because you may not have the same level of need for interaction.
- Care packages. Postage is expensive, so if you know someone who lives near your S/O and can deliver something local to them, perfect. If not a small care package is great! The more unexpected the better. It could be some saucy polaroid’s you took (face book will never get their hands on those!), something tasty you think they’d like, love letters, drawings, something you found that they may like, a favourite article of clothing they can hold onto until you get there. You name it. It doesn’t have to cost much; it just has to come from you.
- Keeping the sexual side of your relationship alive. Sex-ting or if you’re good with your words a kinky phone call can keep that side of things going. Or go all in with video. Again just have that conversation with your other half about your comfort levels first then dip your toes! Or as my other half would say, dunk your balls. There’s also no pressure in leaving it until you see each other again in person! To each his/her own.
There are tons of sites that have other options for long distance activities, find what works for you guys and run with it.
If you’ve been thrown into a long distance relationship or it’s by choice just remember that eventually you’ll see the other person. It may be a short visit or it might be at the end of the time you have to be apart. It’s not as uncommon as it once was and with all the technology at our fingertips it helps to make it more bearable, and even fun. Hope you’re all doing ok whatever your situation. Xx