We’ve all seen those movies like Going the Distance and Dear John, but what’s it really like to be in a long-distance relationship? Do long-distance couples experience the same connection with their significant other as people in geographically close relationships? And do they last as long as other relationships do? Well, as someone who is currently in a long-distance relationship myself, I’m here to tell you the real truth about what it’s really like to be in one. I hope you enjoy having a read:
01. PEOPLE JUDGE YOU
There’s a misconception that the success of a relationship hinges on 24/7 contact with your SO. And people on the outside won’t be afraid to tell you that! It’s like they presume there’s something wrong because, well, why else would you choose to leave your partner? For independence and life experience, Karen, that’s why.
02. YOU FIND OUT WHAT IT REALLY MEANS TO MISS YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER
The ‘missing’ part of the relationship will go one of two ways: 1) You’ll either miss them terribly at the start. The goodbye is a horrendous ordeal and before you know it you’re in the groove of your single-yet-attached lifestyle and happy as hell. Or 2) the goodbye is sweet AF and you’re super-rational about it. Besides, it’s only a month or two before you’ll see them again. Until the weeks start to pass and you feel your whole soul deplete with each day of their absence.
03. YOU NEED TO SORT OUT YOUR PHONE PLAN. ASAP
If you’re the 50% that’s left your other half in search of a land of opportunity, chances are you’ve probably left your friends and family behind, too. Ten days in you’ll most likely find that you’ve run out of data, minutes and texts. And suddenly time goes super slow and you learn what it means to budget your time. Now is a good time to update your phone plan to ensure you get unlimited texts and minutes as an absolute minimum. Oh, and the phone is life. Get yourself a power bank while you’re at it.
04. IT TAKES TWO
OK, this point is gonna blow your socks off. Turns out, for your relationship to flourish and not suffer a long-distance demise, it takes two people to work on it, not one pouring their heart and soul into making it work, while the other kind of thinks about it. Two people, equally making an effort to keep communication open. Plus, trust more solid than great Aunt Dot’s Christmas cake. That isn’t to say there won’t be moments of compromise – such as “Hey babe, can you call me this week, please … I’m running low on minutes?” – because life happens and one of you may have a week of late nights lined up or are busy with training for a marathon. This brings me nicely to point five:
05. YOU NEED TO KEEP YOURSELF BUSY
It’s hard to miss someone when you’re busy working or being a social butterfly. Committing to plenty of distractions is the perfect solution to reducing those lonely moments where you find yourself thinking about your boo too much and spiralling into a messy night in, scrolling through your camera roll until the ungodly hours of the morning. Or worse, stalking them excessively on social media. Because you’ll just end up getting yourself upset. And trust me, you don’t want that!
06. THE INTERNET IS NOT YOUR FRIEND
This one mostly applies to people who are dating someone in expansive, socially-active circles. You know the ones – they post rowdy pictures on their nights out. One’s of them with their mates getting up to who knows what. Then they tag one another in memes that you can read into a million different ways. You get the idea! Whether you’re looking up your SO on purpose or they simply appear in your feed, social media is a one-way ticket to FOMO-town. But, if you’re in a solid relationship and keep the lines of communication open, this shouldn’t be a problem. You’re across what they’re up to, and you keep them informed of what you’re up to. #HAPPYDAYS
07. TRAVEL IS EXPENSIVE
“You’re only a 4-hour bus/train/plane ride away from me, we’ll be fine”. Bless you and your naivety! Unfortunately, optimism won’t fund your travel expenses here, pet. Try return train tickets in excess of £125 and/or multiple tanks of fuel and mileage. Plus all the money you’ll be spending on eating out when you meet in a remote location somewhere in the middle. But hey, you wouldn’t have it any other way, right? So it’s worth it. Even if it is very, very expensive.
08. EVERYTHING TRIGGERS A MEMORY
Good luck watching any kind of film, listening to any kind of song or spending time with your loved up friends. You’re going to be kept on a constant loop of missing your other half and all of the things you used to do together and you’ll be feeling single AF. A word of advice: As hard as it is, try not to go on insufferably to the people you live and work with about your significant other. Word vomit is a very real disease that affects 99% of victims exposed to long-distance relationships.*
(*May or may not be a real statistic)
09. PEOPLE WILL START TO QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER IS REAL
Induced by word vomit, people begin to wonder if this amazingly perfect person you keep harping on about even exists. You’ll notice an influx of probing questions like “So… when are we going to meet him?” and “Hey, when’s he coming to stay?”. A big giveaway is when they start to invite you on single nights out or encourage you to sign up to free dating sites uk. Maybe send yourself some flowers on the down-low from your SO? Subtle gestures, that kind of thing.
10. YOU NEED TO BE COMFORTABLE WITH UNINSPIRING CHATS
Contrary to the quality over quantity belief, there will be late-night conversations where both of you will just sit there in silence. You’re not always going to have something to talk about, and the day-to-day stuff you used to chat about isn’t worth bringing up because – newsflash – you kind of needed to be there. And that’s okay. You’ll spend hours chatting about all sorts of unnecessary stuff just to ‘spend time’ with them or hear their voice. And when you do finally see each other and they start to encroach on your reclaimed personal space, you’re going to engage in an awkward dance around not picking fights (because let’s face it, you’ll be hopping back on some sort of public transport in less than 24 hours, so why ruin the moment?)
11. THERE ARE MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO GET CREATIVE
Keeping the spark alive is now at the top of your to-do list. Well, technically it should be on every kind of relationship’s list, but I digress. Plan a virtual date night. Do some saucy sexting. Send some sassy Snapchats. And talk about all kinds of mischief you’re going to get up to when you next lay eyes on one another. I mean, distance makes the heart grow fonder, and all that.
12. IF YOU WEREN’T A GOOD LISTENER BEFORE, YOU ARE NOW
This is one of the greater lessons learnt in long-distance relationships. Your friendship goes from strength to strength because you’re having conversations dedicated to talking to one another, not just in passing as you get the dishes done or the laundry underway. Actual conversations. You learn more about one another for better or for worse. And if you’re meant to be together, you’ll keep each other positive, indulge in a few “I miss you/I miss you more” squabbles and motivate one another to keep on your individual paths that run in parallel with the prospect that they might just come together one day.
13. YOU LEARN QUICKLY IF IT’S WORTH IT
Long-distance relationships aren’t for everyone, I’ll tell you that much for free. But there’s only so much beating around the bush you can do before you confront your underlying issues and/or goals. When you’re with the right person for this stage in your life, it’ll work. If you’re uncertain as to where it’s leading, not sure they’re your forever, or you’re simply charging forth at different paces, you’ll park it. Breaking up is never a final decision. You can get back together. If you’re needing more commitment from your significant other than they’re willing to give, that expectation is more than likely going to assume the role of a death sentence in a long-distance relationship. Everything happens for a reason and everything works out the way it is supposed to. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to go with your gut.