We’ve all heard this saying at least once: long distance relationship (LDR) will never work. You shouldn’t even try it. It will never work. Guaranteed.
I used to believe it. I even adopted it to be one of the principles of my dating life. During my last year of high school, I sworn off boys because I knew I’d be going overseas after graduation and I didn’t want to have a LDR. I thought of it like something I should and would never, ever be a part of.
Then, a few years later, destiny kicks in. Mr. A and I had been going out for about four years when I had to go back to my home country, Indonesia, while Mr. A would remain in Auckland, New Zealand. Even though it came as a shock to me, I found myself instantly jumping into the idea of LDR. Ending my relationship was never on my mind. I broke my own principle and we started our LDR.
The first few months of LDR were the hardest. We had to adapt to these new circumstances. We used to live a few minutes apart from each other, now we were separated by the sea. We used to see each other every day. Suddenly we didn’t know when we could see each other again. We missed each other terribly, but we must be satisfied with text messages and Skype. It was tough and sometimes it still is, but we held on and a few months ago we celebrated our 6th year together.
Mr. A and I have been in LDR for two and a half years now. When I tell someone new about my relationship situation, I still get the same surprised reaction, followed by a compliment. My friends and my cousins compliment me all the time. I guess people think it’s an achievement that we’ve lasted this long. I wouldn’t call it an achievement, but I am happy with how things are going and I’m proud of how far we’ve come.
Besides giving me compliments, people have also been asking about how I manage to do it. How I cope with only seeing my boyfriend every few months. I’m no expert, but there are a few things I’ve tried that works and I’ve listed them below for you to try.
Here are my tips on how to make LDR works:
Have the right mindset
Forget about any earlier perception you have on LDR. It’s not important. If people tell you it won’t work, ignore them. They’re not going to be in the relationship. You are. Don’t expect it to fail. Expect it to work.
Trust your partner completely
Any relationship without trust won’t have a future. LDR without trust is a definite fail. It is hard enough being apart from each other for months at a time, don’t make it harder by wondering all the time whether your partner is two timing you. When he says he’s out with a co-worker, then he’s out with his co-worker. Don’t be suspicious and start imagining him hitting it off with a gorgeous blonde offer coffee and then making out after. Unless your partner has shown an interest in cheating before (he or she has lied to you once before), there’s really no reason to be doubtful.
Being able to trust your partner completely also means a happier, stronger relationship. If you can’t trust him now, how can you trust him when you’re married? Constantly wondering if you’re being cheated will only drain you, make you miserable, and ultimately strain your relationship.
Be 100% committed
LDR requires a bigger commitment than normal relationship. You’ll miss each other deeply and there will be days that you will feel so lonely you’re craving for some attention from the opposite sex. When this happens, unless you are a hundred percent committed to your relationship, it’s very easy to stray.
Being committed also means that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make this relationship work. Guys, it means sending more than one text message a day. We girls like to receive texts from you, even if it’s only to talk about your bad day. We also like to talk on the phone.
My boyfriend and I are indebted to the founder of WhatsApp app and Skype. These two apps make communicating so easy and cheap for us. We chat everyday on WhatsApp and at least once a week we talk through Skype. It is very important to keep a regular flow of communication during LDR. Sometimes hearing that special voice is enough to fill that longing in your heart.
Arrange to meet each other every few months
This is vital. After spending months apart, both of you deserve to spend quality time together. In our case, it’s every seven or eight months. I’ll fly to Auckland to see him and we’ll have the best time together. We also like to arrange to go somewhere just the two of us. Like a mini road trip or a weekend getaway. Spending time with him is one of my favourite times of the year.
Keep the sparks alive
Sparks die easily on LDR. Maybe it’s because you don’t feel the presence of your other half as often as you’d like that it just starts wavering away. Before this happens, find ways to keep it alive.
Maybe your girlfriend likes flowers. Send her some out of the blue. She’d love the surprise. Dress up really nice the next time you’re going out with friends, take a beautiful photo, and send it to your guy. Let him know what he’s missing. There are many ways to keep the sparks alive. They don’t always have to be romantic gestures. Find the ones that work for both of you.
Set an end time
Agree on a time set, when will this long distance ends? Will it be a year? Two years? In our case, it’ll end next year. Having a set end time gives us the needed push. We can see the tunnel right in front of us. If we keep pressing forward, we’re going to get there soon. Without a definite end time, your relationship will become mundane and it’ll not be long before either one of you gives up.
LDR is not as hard and scary as you thought. It is also not a guaranteed fail. Given the right commitment and attitude, you, too, can survive a LDR.
Are you currently in a long distance relationship? How do you make it work? Have you survived a long distance relationship? Or did your fail? I’d love to hear your stories, please share them on the comments section below.