I always wondered how people did it. How they could date someone who lived so far away. I always thought there was something so magical about that kind of love but always knew it just wasn't for me. I'm way too much of a "want-to-see-you-as-often-as-I-can-if-possible" kind of gal. That was until some Irish accent won my heart over at a bar in Chicago. Flash forward to months full of daily FaceTimes, endless texts, and way too many airport security check-points and you'll find me here in Boston way too in love with a guy who's also way too head over heels 1,000 miles away in Chicago.
It could be worse though, right? Like he could live a few timezones away, both of us could not have the financial resources to constantly be jumping on planes, or we could have never met.
So I'm sure there are plenty of you who have been in this type of situation for way longer than me. But a few months in, I want to share what I've learned so far.
1. Verbal communication is key
Having good communication skills will seriously either make or break any type of relationship. But, when you're long distance, you can't always see those non-verbal cues your S/O is giving from a bad day from the look in their eyes, stressed movements when they're getting angry, or tears welling up when something hit a wrong chord. You can't see those non-verbal messages so you have to rely on the verbal ones. The "how was your day?" "fine." doesn't cut it. Verbal communication is key because assuming your S/O knows what went on throughout your day, can read your mind, or can see your facial expression with each antagonizing or incredibly fantastic thing that happened throughout the day is just not in the cards.
2. FaceTime is the realest thing you have
You know how I said verbal communication is key because non-verbal communication just isn't in the cards right now? Well FaceTime can help fill that void a bit. Do it, as much as you can, whenever you can... seriously, it's a life saver!
3. You stop shaving real quick
Oh I won't be seeing you for four weeks? ~* four weeks pass, picks up rusty razor *~
4. Trust is everything
This is probably way too obvious right? But trust really, really, really is everything. When you go out to a bar and you see some guy or girl who you know is in a relationship flirting with someone other than their S/O, you are prayyyyying that's not happening with your relationship right now. Being able to trust that they can go weeks without seeing you and not have to find someone else to fill your void is everything.
5. It's super awkward when you get hit on
After having such a fun conversation you get the...
"So, can I have your number?"
"Oh sorry I have a boyfriend"
"Where is he?"
"He doesn't live here but if you want to be friends I'll totally give you my number!" << Why would I say that, I'm so embarrassing.
"Nah, I'm good" followed by some long silence, looking around, slow sip on a beer, and then he walks away...
6. You almost never have to turn down some serious girl-time
I have to say, as much as I would love to be able to see my boyfriend whenever I want, it's really nice to be able to hang out with your friends and not have to jeopardize or choose one over the other. In my opinion the right relationship wouldn't force you to do that regardless, but not being able to see your S/O every day means you're always down for late-night ice cream, brunch on Sundays, and a quick walk around the park with your friends.
7. Gross habits? Don't have any!
Gross habits get sheltered for a bit of time. I'll leave this one at that :)
8. Knowing when you'll see them next is always the light at the end of the tunnel
If my boyfriend and I leave a weekend together without the next flight booked, we at least know the dates we will see each other next. Having that countdown is so important because it truly is the light at the end of the tunnel no matter how long it's going to be!
9. Leaving some time for normal stuff when you do see each other is needed
Grocery shopping, walking the dog, running to the bank, getting a haircut, going for a jog... pulling your S/O into the normal things you do is really important. You don't always have to have an exotic trip or activity filled weekend planned. Bring them into your normal life to see if you guys make a good match that way too!
10. Planning for the future isn't the worst thing you can do
You might feel like planning for the future is a little bit too much but if this is going to last, you won't be in a LDR forever so you should have that conversation when the time is right of "okay, so who's going to move to who?"