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Long Distance Relationships: How to feel close while afar
Are They Even Worth it?
So this is the big question that everyone asks themselves usually before they even start officially dating that special someone. You like the way you connect with him or she has that cute smile that you just can't look away from, be it whatever that has drawn you to this person you need to answer this question before you can even think of trying to figure out how to exactly make it work. For myself who's been in three long distance relationships (two spanning two years each and the third one close to our half year mark) I can answer with a solid YES YES YES! However, unlike normal close distanced relationships there are several things you need to consider.
- Are you able to be faithful? Most people believe they are, but trust me this will test your will to it's limits. This is something you must come to terms with and you should take measures to make it easier for yourself and loved one. I would suggest deleting any and all possible distractions (we are talking anyone who hits on you regularly, making advances of any kind). from all social networks. If you can't bring yourself to this first step then you are not ready for this relationship. This takes a great deal of maturity and to admit there are certain people in your life that would spoil your relationship if problems should arise. Deleting these people will show the person you're interested in that you are fully committed and you take what is happening between you two seriously. Pro Tip: Jealousy is healthy in small amounts. So if your significant other has problems with all of your friends of the opposite gender, that's a good sign. However, you need to discuss this openly with them and touch base with them on how to keep it at a controlled level. Dropping all of your friends for one person is not a good start to a relationship and will do more harm than just keeping your friends and working on the jealousy issues at hand.
- Are you willing to invest a large portion of time to this person? I can not tell you how many times I had to miss out on going somewhere or doing something because my boyfriend wanted to talk. In the end though it was worth it. If you have a pretty hectic lifestyle or a are a social creature, then I'd suggest increasing the amount of time you spend with that someone over a period of time. This won't be such a shock to your lifestyle or your friends, I.e. you won't drop off the face of the planet to everyone. Long Distance Relationships require secular time together and this will be your second biggest challenge to overcome when starting off and maintaining it. Some of the usual activities you have in your day to day routine can be adapted to be preformed while spending time with them. I stress however that you need to come to terms with this and embrace it if you want this relationship to be healthy and successful.
- Are you realistically willing to travel to that person? Let's be real here. A long distance relationship typically has the pretense of wanting to meet that person in real life at some point. This obviously doesn't have to be immediately and probably is best if you waited at least six months to make preparations. To add, the trip to them can run on the more pricey side. Saving up to see them will become part of your bills every month and will take a lot of will power to achieve. For this particular one it is best to plan ahead on travel decisions. Pay for that flight at least three months in advance (when it will be at it's cheapest price most likely) and write a list of all the things you'll be bringing in advance (so the added stress of thinking you forgot something isn't on your shoulders for when you meet them). Pro Tip: The saving and travelling is a shared commitment. I was internally infuriated when my ex would not save up for our trips and I would be footed with the bill. If extenuating circumstances exist that prevent travel to one destination or one can not afford to help out with the cost that is alright. Just discuss this with them and figure out how to make it work for your specific relationship's needs.
- Are you willing to deal with pressure from family and friends? The fact is a lot of people do not understand how a LDR is supposed to work. A lot of people have the fear you'll be kidnapped or deceived. Do not get angry for something like this because it just means they care. Try introducing them to your lover and when travelling always leave an address and number of where you'll be. Answer any of their questions they have about them, remember the more familiar they are with who you are dating the less likely they will trust them and the less likely they will be to oppose the relationship. People will make jokes or put down your decision to be with someone that is far away. At first it'll be hard to handle but you'll develop a thick skin because that person is worth being with regardless of what anyone else has to say about it.
If you answered a resounding YES to all of these, then congratulations you are mature enough to handle this relationship. If there is a NO or EH MAYBE anywhere at all, trust your gut instincts. You are not ready for this. Talk these over with your love and when you have fully understood and accepted these challenges with a 'YES I can do this,' answer, you'll be ready. My advice following this will not work if you do not have these answered.
They are so far away!
So what? The more you make this a problem the more this will become a problem. Something I can not stress enough is that if you love someone (actually love) you are with them for more then their physical presence. You are with them for who they are and that they bring out the best qualities in yourself. You will have those times when you question the relationship, we all have had those, but do not make this the reason to make rash decisions or start a problem. There are so many ways you can ail this feeling.
- Webcam I've spent countless hours in front of a webcam with my boyfriend. I would suggest using Skype because it is user friendly and fairly easy to set up. Nothing makes you feel closer (while afar) than seeing their face and hearing their voice. If you're like me you'll end up eating, watching tv, and even sleeping while on cam just so you can glance over every now and them and gawk out how perfect they are. If you do not have a camera I would suggest going to Walmart and investing in one. You can find cheap ones that will do the trick easily there. Pro Tip Set up Skype dates. It sounds silly, but getting all dressed up and eating together or watching the same movie at the same time and commenting on what's happening in it will make you feel closer and take your mind off of how far away they really are.
- The rule of sames I have no idea why this one works. Doing the same thing at the same time will give you guys something to talk about and will feel more like a genuine experience together than just constantly doing your own activities.
- Send each other stuff Maybe you have a favorite necklace or bracelet. Perhaps a childhood stuffed animal or favorite blanket. Send this to them. They will have something physical of yours to hold onto or wear to remind them of you. This brings the relationship from just a virtual context to a physical one.
- Their scent If you are missing them badly perhaps try investing in their favorite cologne or perfume. You can spray your blankets with it so at night your senses feel their presence.
- Have fun! Play games together online. There are countless sites that offer free games that you can play with your love. Stimulating your relationship with fun activities like these will positively affect the time spent together. My favorite type to play with my boyfriend is MMORPG (Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games) these are made so you can create a character and interact with your surroundings. You can run around with each other there and even fight off those evil monsters together.
There are many other ways to shorten the gap between you and your loved one. Perhaps send them a letter. While on the phone describe your surroundings or send them pictures of where you live. The possibilities are endless. Do not let others or even yourself set limits on to where this relationship could go. Stay strong and always remember that somewhere in the world you are loved and missed. Love knows no bounds, especially distance.