Relationships are rarely easy and when you have the added paradigm of not being able to see that person every day, having to squirrel away money and be careful so that you can afford to go and see them again soon, it takes a lot of commitment to want to make that work.
As you should already know, I live over 200 miles away from my girlfriend. Each time we part it gets that little bit harder but the bonus is that each time we meet, I feel just a little bit more excited and happy to be seeing her. Here then is my humble list of my essentials things to making a LDR work 🙂
A Clear Plan
When you see each other all the time, it’s easy to go with the flow and you can get away with not doing much on occasion. When you’re in a LDR you need to plan ahead – especially who will be visiting whom and when, what you will do when you are together and how you will make the most of your time together. Plan days out, plan to cook meals together and set aside a night just to sit in enjoying each other’s company and talking – nothing beats a face to face conversation, and to avoid each meet up being a mini break together, it’s important to get used to the normal couple stuff: lie-ins, watching a film in the evening with a bottle of wine and just going for a walk.
Skype and a Webcam
You’ll wonder how you ever got by without it. Once a quirky tool for video chatting with your mum at Christmas or contacting family back home when you are on holiday, you are going to get very intimate with Skype indeed. Sure, you’ll send each other emails and have phone conversations and the occasional IM but sometimes you want to see their face and hear their voice, see their little quirks played out as if you were together. IM, email and phone will not cut it here; video Skyping is the next best thing to actually being there.
Even in a world of constant selfies on Facebook, you’ll not realise how precious your camera will be for your time together. You see each other rarely and you’ll want to feel that you should mark every occasion by taking those all-important couple selfies. A camera can help bring the two of you closer together, build memories and remind yourself that the distance and the sacrifice is worth it.
Yes you are in a relationship but in many ways you are going to be living the life of a single person. This means that away from your scheduled Skype / phone / IM time, your time is yours. Time-wise, a LDR is low maintenance even if it is high maintenance in other ways. Get out and see friends and family and do a lot of other things that you might otherwise have sacrificed for your new other half.
You’re going to need it in every aspect of the relationship. From how you express your affection (Mirror Image and I give each other virtual hugs by hugging our laptops while we are video skyping – this at least makes it look as though we are hugging each other), to the little touches that make a relationship special: random text and images messages throughout the day for example. You are not physically together so you are going to have to be more imaginative in how you bond and stay close even when you are far apart.
It’s been three weeks since you last saw them and it’s going to be at least another three before you see them again. That’s a lot of affection, company and yes… sex… you are going to go without when you are not together. Patience is a virtue and you are going to have to get used to being apart for most of the time; you are going to have to get used to not being able to arrange impromptu time together.
Having been cheated on by my ex-wife, I thought that trust would be something that came especially difficult, but it didn’t. I trust Mirror Image and the thought that she might be getting up to something behind my back has never crossed my mind. We are very open with each other about what we are doing and where we are going. Without it, no relationship can survive but in LDRs, it is even more important.