How To Have a Long Distance Relationship That Doesn’t Suck
The problem is inevitable. Every high school couple has to look it in the eye at some point in their relationship. It lingers in the back of your mind as you slowly but surely approach the day that your fear becomes a reality.
“What the hell are we going to do? How are we going to survive without each other? Can we really do long distance?”
The short answer is probably not. The long answer is it depends on your circumstances.
When faced with the same predicament, most couples give the same answers to the same questions. “Of course we can make it,” they reassure each other, “we’re in love, and nothing can stop that!”
I’ve been there. As a junior in high school, my senior girlfriend and I made those empty promises to each other before she went off to college and I stayed at high school. Soon after the start of the school year, she showed up unannounced and dumped me. Just like that. Other similar couples, all separated by some form of school, followed suit soon after. The forever that was promised evaporated into the past.
Granted, my relationship lasted a total of three months, so it’s not as if I was as dedicated to the relationship as other, more long-term couples, but I still thought myself a fool for thinking it could actually last.
One year later, I’m in a long distance relationship. Again. I’m in college, and my girlfriend is back in high school. And it’s going amazingly well.
With some experience in this under my belt, I figured I would write a little about what things have gone well and what things have gone wrong in my experience in hopes of helping some of you young lovebirds when it’s your turn to face the beast called distance.
So, I’ll stop rambling and get to it. Here’s relationship advice from a guy who knows nothing about relationships.
Don’t Wing It
For starters, study up on the relationship. I told Taylor, my girlfriend, that I wasn’t going to dump her when I left for college in February, 6 months before the long distance phase actually started, and staying with her had been my intention the entire time. This might seem unorthodox or strange that I made it clear so early or even specified it at all, but I personally know former couples that planned ahead to split up, so this was necessary in my mind.
Making it clear you plan to stay together isn’t enough, not by a long shot. You can’t just say you’ll stick together and then make zero effort beforehand to ensure you’re prepared for the next phase of the relationship. Distance will hit you like a train at some point, and you have to be ready well in advance.
After Taylor and I decided we wanted to try long distance, we were able to talk about the future and essentially create a gameplan for what lied ahead. I paid particular attention to the relationship dynamic when we were apart for any reason, and tried to find a way to make it easier on us.
The best advice I could give is to understand beforehand that things will be much different when you’re away from your significant other, and to attempt to find how to optimize your understanding of the other person before attempting to succeed in something that shatters countless relationships. More than two-thirds of long distance relationships end when the couple does not plan for unexpected changes in the relationship that are inevitable. So, please, anticipate the unexpected. Otherwise, you’re screwed.
Honestly, the most important part of a long distance relationship is to do all you can to communicate as much as you can throughout the relationship, both in frequency and in content.
I can’t pretend and say I didn’t see the end of my first long distance relationship coming. We didn’t talk at all towards the end – so much so that her showing up unannounced to end it was hardly surprising to me. There was no communication, no dialogue, and no effort, all the makings of a failed relationship.
To avoid this, you’ll need to successfully communicate, which goes beyond just talking often. You have to be open and honest about every aspect. If something bothers you and you let it fester and build inside of you, it will only get worse until some miserable explosion of pent-up aggression, as it will in a relationship without distance.
Communication is especially crucial in a long distance relationship because it takes more work to communicate well with distance between people. In my subjective experience, a five-minute face-to-face conversation can get more across than an hour-long text conversation. So, in my non-expert advice of a dumb college kid, thank all that is holy for technology and FaceTime as much as you can. It’s a life-saver.
Make Good Use of the Time You Have Together
I don’t mean this in the sense that you should be all over each other and spam your social media with dumb pictures you take together (but if that’s your thing then who am I to judge?).
I mean this in the sense that you should be productive and not ignore reality. If you are struggling with something in the relationship, don’t pretend the problem doesn’t exist just because you’re physically with each other. Address it. Otherwise, you’ll just let the problems build even more, and I’ve already touched on how poorly that can go.
Try Not To Suck
Self-explanatory. Don’t be an ass for no reason. I’ll give a few examples.
Don’t ignore your significant other as a punishment or for no reason at all. He or she will care about what you’re doing, and if you’re shutting them down for any reason, it sets a poor standard for the future of the relationship. Pay attention to each other and do whatever you can to demonstrate how you feel.
Don’t do something that you know will make your partner mad for no reason other than to make your partner mad. It’s insane that I have to say this, but I’ve seen it time and time again. This goes for any relationship, really.
Act like a caring human being.
Finally, Understand That It Is Your Own Relationship
If you’re in a long distance relationship that is working well and goes against everything that I’ve said so far in this post, then forget me and do your thing. I’m an 18-year-old college kid who is happy in a relationship and decided to write some thoughts I have about my experiences for a blog. I’m not an expert and should not be considered one.
You’re in your own relationship that is unique and cannot be simplified or grouped in with other long distance relationships. Find your own dynamic. Communicate in your own way. If you’re with someone that makes you happy from any distance, you should be inclined to find any possible method to keep that going.
Relationships are hard. Everyone understands that. If you really want to succeed in any relationship, not just a long distance one, you’ll have to prepare to put in a lot of work and maybe, just maybe, it’ll turn out okay.
If you like what I write, I’ll try to post regularly to entertain you. If not, then you’re a bad person. Or maybe I just suck at writing.
Anyway, this is my blog.
Latest posts by Ben Adams (see all)
- Dealing With Not Knowing What To Study In College - September 21, 2016
- How To Have a Long Distance Relationship That Doesn’t Suck - August 30, 2016