How To Handle A Long Distance Relationship

If you’ve ever experienced being in a long distance relationship then you’ll know how difficult it can be. Yet plenty of people end up in a relationship that, for whatever reason, suddenly has to span some distance across the world. This is the situation I currently find myself in, not for the first time, and I doubt it will be the last (the only downside of living such an exciting life). But since I have had some experience in this realm, I wanted to share some top tips for surviving the distance.

The first thing I should say is that, whilst it is rubbish, there are some upsides to being apart from your SO. If you’re living your dream, which I am and hence is the reason I’m now 3,600 miles away from him, then you owe it to yourself to enjoy it in every way you can. I’m getting to live in Paris and learn French which I have always wanted to do. Even though there are many times when I sigh and wish that he were here with me, and that we could wander by the Seine hand in hand (it is the city of love after all), I’m actually kind of happy to be living my dream by myself. It’s giving me a sense of independence that I have always craved, and I get to be totally selfish about it. If I want to go and spend the entire day in the Musée de l’Orangerie I can, and without an SO to spend Saturdays with I get to be more creative about how I spend my time. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, and I’m happy to be throwing myself into the experience. Paris isn’t what he wants, and that’s okay. The best bit? We get to Skype and tell each other about our adventures. We share stories and enjoy the knowledge that we’re both in the places that we want to be, even if that unfortunately means we’re not together right now. So what else can you do to make it that bit better?

Assume positive intent: This is actually one of my top tips for life but it’s particularly good for LDRs. Does it seem like he’s being dismissive? He’s probably busy and is finding it hard to take the time to message. Is he telling you about a new girl and you’re feeling prickles of jealousy? He’s probably just trying to include you in his life and the new friends he’s making. Okay the intentions might not always be positive. But not only does assuming good save unnecessary arguments, and let’s face it any kind of negative conversation over Skype feels horrible, it will make you feel better. Assuming positive intent isn’t always easy, but it’s worth putting the effort in to talk ourselves into a positive state, trust me.

Make time for talking: It’s easy to get caught up in your life but make the time to catch up, whether it be Skyping or messaging. Arrange a time to have a good old chat, tell them lots about what’s going on and hear all their stories. It’s really important to have that time in order to stay close but…

Don't make it all about them: Message, but don’t message all the time. Give each other the space to do exciting things to then later recount. Miss them, but don’t become a wailing mess. Sure there are plenty of times where I just want to curl up in his hoody and imagine being with him, but I feel so much better about the relationship when I’m not constantly pining. If I spent all my time wallowing then I wouldn’t be doing justice to being in Paris (i.e being apart). Missing someone is totally normal, but try to do it in a ‘oh, I guess it’s a little bit sad but isn’t it great that we can make this work’ way rather than a ‘how can I live my life without him’ way. Again not easy, but you’ll be so glad you did.

Do little things for them: In my last LDR, one of the nicest things that happened was receiving a surprise letter from then-boyfriend when I was staying with my cousins in Australia. He was in England and I didn’t even know he knew exactly when I’d be there (it was part of a long stint of travelling) but he secretly messaged my cousin to find out his address and then timed sending it perfectly. I was so touched by the effort and thoughtfulness he had put in, and after being apart for three months it was the perfect way to feel like he cared. Sadly things ended when I moved to Abu Dhabi – sometimes distance is just too much – but I’ll always remember how loved it made me feel. Find a way to write a cute message or surprise them. It will make a big difference, and most importantly…

Remember you won't be apart forever: No matter how long you’re in an LDR, there are times when you’re together and being apart makes you really appreciate how special the moments you have are. Cherish the memories, and plan the ones you’ll make together the next time you’re reunited.

I really hope this can help anyone who finds it tough. I’ve always thought it to be worth the struggle, and I hope that whatever reason you are apart is fulfilling you in other ways.

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