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Long Distance Relationship: When is Far Too Far?

By Rachel Burt 
Edited by Therese Mulgrew 

"If two people really love each-other, they will find every way imaginable to make it work." This is a quote my grandmother, who was married to her first love for over 55 years, once wrote to me that I will never forget. A lady who was split from her husband for two years straight when he went away to war, making sure to write at least one letter every single day while he was gone. A lady who was divorced and remarried to the same person, a lady who strove never to give up.

I just so happen to be in a long distant relationship that is coming up on 4 years now...
My Boyfriend and me

Originally from New Jersey, I met my boyfriend back when I was studying abroad in Spain. Afterwards I went on a surf trip to Portugal with my two former roommates, who brought me face to face with the love of my life. It was ironic that we met in his hometown considering he typically spends most of his time traveling the world to surf. Nevertheless, it was love at first sight. Since then, we have spent 5 months together, and then 5-6 months apart.  Each year we told eachother this would be the last time we separate for so long; yet with the physical and cultural gaps, inevitably, we have always ended up forced apart once again. 

So when is far too far? When has your heart had enough? I don't believe that distance is the problem. Just like a number is made-up to determine digits on a scale; distance is just a formula of measurements that we have made up to show where we geographically are in the world. Long distance relationships are not for everyone. That being said, I do not believe it is about distance. It is about two people, their connection, and, most importantly, their perspective. 

Here are my tips on how to make a long distance relationship work:

1. Stay Calm

Recently, a friend of mine called for advice concerning her new relationship with a man who lives in a different country. The first thing that came to mind: stay calm. You may think, what in the world do you mean? I mean breathe and relax. Don't go running around to everyone blabbing about your sadness and lonesome withdraws. In the same way, try not to constantly vent to your boyfriend about how much you miss him and question when you’ll see him again. Take it day by day and enjoy for what it is.

2. Trust 

Trust ranks number one in importance when it comes to LDR. If you have any doubts about what the other person is doing, then why would you be with them anyway? No matter where you are in the world, if someone is going to cheat, they will cheat. So learn to let go and trust each other, this will save you a whole lot of arguments and pain. 

3. Make a plan.  

Some people feel disconnected if they don't communicate at least once a day. Others can go days or even weeks without any communication at all. Figure out what works for both of you and try to plan out when and how you will communicate. This saves time, money, and anxiety waiting for the other person to call back.

4. Don't over communicate.

Daily or weekly texts and maybe a short phone call to say hi is okay, but try to minimize your Skype dates. Everyone hates that awkward silence; just staring at one another wishing you could jump through the computer and hold onto that special some one for eternity. Limiting your Skype sessions makes them that much more special while still allowing you to focus on your own life. 

5. Plan the visits. 

Some days you may feel there is never going to be a light at the end of the long, dark tunnel that is your relationship. But when you have scheduled visits to see each other, it gives you something to look forward to and gives you that extra strength to over come those lonely nights. 

6. Write letters. 

Nothing is more exciting than receiving a handwritten love note in the mail. This will keep things interesting and make you feel like you’re the star of a 1940’s romance novel. 

7. Be present. 

In the beginning of my relationship, I would skip everything and anything to go and see my boyfriend or get that Skype session in. If you consistently ditch your present life, you will begin to resent your relationship for it. Of course, there are exceptions but try not to take away from quality time with your friends. It’s important to maintain your friendships – and you may need them now more than ever. 

8. Listen to your voice. 

Take advice, but learn to use it wisely. Choose one or two close friends you can vent to. Running around to every friend asking for advice will cloud your head and leave you even more confused than you were before. Remember, we all know what’s best for ourselves, so be confident and listen to your intuition. 

9. Enjoy your space!

I realize the time I work the hardest, save the most money, and get in my best shape ever is when I am separated from my lover. Having space allows you the time to work on yourself! Often, I hear couples complain about not having enough time in their busy schedules to hang out with friends or go to the gym. Well, now you have no excuses so take advantage of it!

10. Make sure there is an end to it all.

We can't be in a long distance relationship forever. After years of putting up with the "who-is-moving-where” talk there needs to be an end in site in order for it to work. If you have a set goal, and you know that eventually you two will be together, it will make all the tears, frustration, and waiting worth it.

I’ve heard a lot of: "You have your whole life ahead of you!” or "You come from different countries - it will never work.” or "There are so many fish in the sea!" Well, you know what I say: "You cannot tell your mind something that your heart knows is a lie." 

Every relationship has its problems and divorce rates are higher than ever. Whether it’s a long distance relationship, financial problems, trust issues, family problems, different religious views, jealousy, affairs or anger problems, no relationship is perfect. They all take work. In a long distance relationship there are going to be many obstacles you will have to overcome, but the key is learning to remain close while far apart.

1 comment:

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