So, you’ve ended up in a long distance relationship. Whether you had a summer fling that became serious or your enrolment at the University of Saskatchewan is taking you away from your partner, the situation is the same — you’re facing months on end without your significant other.
While it’s daunting, it’s not impossible to tackle and these tips and strategies will help you navigate the ordeal.
First and foremost — though it may seem obvious — a long distance relationship needs to have a solid base in trust. If you find yourself hysterically imagining the worst every time your partner is a half-hour late answering your text message, then you’re in trouble. The reality of a long distance relationship is that you won’t be able to fact-check everything your partner tells you. If you feel that you need to, distance is going to be tough.
If you’re able to check the trust box, however, then you’re ready to start keeping the romance alive from afar.
Nothing shows a significant other that you care more than putting in the extra effort of communicating without technology. For the cost of a ream of stamps and a bulk box of envelopes, you can send your partner notes and photos old-school style by embracing snail mail. Write down seven different memories and mail them off to arrive every morning for a special week, or print out some of your photos together for your partner to tack above their desk.
Technology is still key, however, and consistent communication will make all the difference. According to Canadian psychologist Lesley Lacny, who specializes in relationships, making time to talk needs to be a priority. Sending little messages via text throughout your day can help maintain your connection, while a longer chat at the end of the day makes sure that connection doesn’t become superficial.
Another fun option to stay connected is to pick a television series together and watch it from the first season onward. Skype your partner for TV date nights and start the episodes at the same time. Get creative with these date nights by choosing a new recipe that you both cook for supper to enjoy together, or toast each other through your computer screen with a craft beer you’ve both wanted to try.
Long distance doesn’t have to kill intimacy, either. Keep the fire stoked by exchanging flirty texts, reminiscing about your favourite hot summer nights and planning ahead for the next time you’ll be together. Anticipation is fun, and the adventurous couple can even find some creative ways to use video chat if the wait seems too long.
Don’t get so wrapped up in the relationship that you forget to keep living your own life, though. Just because your partner isn’t there doesn’t mean you should stop going out, making friends and seeking new experiences.
According to the dating website eHarmony, maintaining your social network is key to avoiding separation anxiety and insecurity. Look forward to telling your partner all about it later on the phone and enjoy hearing about their new adventures as well.
Another thing to look forward to is your next visit. Relationship and dating writer Andrea Syrtash told Canadian Living that having moments together to anticipate is key. Don’t keep the future uncertain — talk to your partner about the times you’ll be able to visit each other and have an end goal in sight. Even if your next meeting is far away, having that date set is good for morale.
When that happy day does arrive, don’t put too much pressure on it. Resist counting down the hours or trying to squeeze the specialness out of every second you’re together. Try to relax and enjoy the time you have.
If your partner is visiting you, show them all the places you’ve been telling them about: your classrooms, your favourite study nook in the library, the bar that makes your favourite nachos. Introduce them to the friends they’ve been hearing about and create some shared memories. Your partner will feel more connected to your world in the future.
Despite these strategies, long distance is hard and it isn’t for everyone. With effort from both sides, however, there’s no reason a couple can’t grow together through the experience.
Image: Jeremy Britz/Graphics Editor