The hardest parts of relationships are not the socks on bathroom counters or conversations about the past (exes), but distance. Distance can be the hardest part. Long distance relationships are never easy. They aren’t easy when you and your partner are used to seeing each other often; and they sure aren’t easy when you’re trying to call your partner at 9 pm but it’s 3 am for them. You will never want to turn your phone on silent ever again once you experience this, nor will you want to wake up at 3 am panicking seeing multiple missed calls.
While some are able to manage long distance relationships, it is never easy to. The trust and communication that accompanies these relationships challenges you in ways unlike in a close proximity relationship. Communication is crucial to the livelihood of any relationship and that is something to be figured out between partners.
What you may not be able to provide each other is the experience of previous long distance relationships and knowing what to expect. As a semi-newly-long distance relationship participant I can attempt to aid in the struggles of long distance relationships by closing the gap.
Establish a realistic goal for how much you will communicate in a day. Skype once a day? Call once a day? Check in every other day? Figure out what is best for you and your schedule and then bring it to the drawing board with your partner to figure out what will work out the best for you to keep communication levels high so you can feel supported and loved when the other checks in! Also, if you’re living in different countries or even in the same country but provinces apart, make sure you have a national or international calling plan so your next phone bill doesn’t shock you like mine did.
Speaking of phones, use that international clock you have on it (trust me, it’s somewhere on that thing). Having shortcuts to your partner’s time zone will prevent wake up calls, and keep you aware of their daily schedule rarely corresponding to yours and the need to be patient. Regardless of preventative measures, you will lose sleep, they will lose sleep, everyone will be cranky (especially if you had less than three hours of sleep waiting for a text).
Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts. All or one will become your best friend, after your partner of course. Despite how awkward it may be sometimes speaking face-to-face, it’s bound to happen! Or for those who prefer speaking face-to-face, prepare to always carry a charger with you, as your devices will die a lot quicker than usual. Also, these can be a cost-friendly alternative to changing your current phone plan, as long as you don’t go over your data.
One platform that I have come across that has really helped with the distance is Rabb.it. Movie lovers, rejoice! Rabb.it allows you to connect your Netflix, HBO Go, etc. accounts to this screen sharing platform that is shared between yourself and who ever happens to be in your “room.” The room being the personalized and private link where only others with the shared link can enter. You no longer have to struggle on Skype trying to press play at the same time and poor Internet connection. On Rabb.it the screen sharing means everyone in the room can see the same thing, at the same time. You can also use this site to simply browse the Internet together. There’s a chat attached to the room which makes it simple to watch a movie and message at the same time, without having to change applications). Also, there’s a video feature as well, so you can see the other people in the room, just like Skype (but better). 10/10 would recommend using this site; it makes movie nights a whole lot simpler.
The last tip I can provide is start saving. At one point, there may be an impulsive trip, and even if there isn’t, the time will come for you to reunite and you know what that means: $$$$$. Start looking for flights. Check daily; see how flight prices change daily, and hourly. Try finding the best and least cost-effective method of getting to your partner. If you can, book in advance. Having something like that to look forward too is always pleasant. Also, know when during the year tickets are the cheapest. We would all love to spend the summer and New Year with our lovers but financially, that can’t always happen. So book time off in advance when work won’t be too busy and you can get tickets a little cheaper than other times in the year. However, flights may still be too expensive, in that case look into buses if possible, they are usually the cheaper, more time consuming option.
Figuring out what works for you and your partner will always be the most difficult part, but once you both establish a new schedule in your distant locals, things will fall into place. Being together physically is preferable, but being in each other’s ~cyberspace~ really isn’t that bad either.