Advice on how to make a long distance relationship work.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you might know that I used to live in Missouri and Kyle lives in New Jersey. Kyle and I were in a long distance relationship for 2 years before I moved out to the east coast. With Valentine’s Day coming up, we wanted to share our story and advice to help those in the same situation.
How We Met
Kyle and I actually met through Instagram. It was a spontaneous day where I saw him on the explore page and liked his photo. He noticed and followed me, and then “slid into the DMs” as they say. Later on, we exchanged numbers and it just started from there. I remember Kyle texting me every morning to wish me a wonderful day or a goodnight. He was the only person to ever do that for me. With his charming personality, it was very easy to like him. We talked often and never ran out of things to talk about.
Six months later, I found out that I was traveling to NYC for a wedding. This gave us an opportunity to meet in person. When we finally met, we clicked instantly – no awkwardness or anything like that at all. It felt very natural. We hung out for a whole day and enjoyed being together so much that we cried when we separated. After that, I went back to Missouri and that’s how the long distance relationship happened.
We gave it a try.
How We Made It Work
The hardest part about being in a long distance relationship is that you can’t physically be with your partner every day. It can be tough, especially with time difference. But if you really like this person and have patience, then it actually becomes a very small problem. Besides the distance, the relationship is still very similar to your normal one. All the elements that form a healthy relationship like communication, trust, and connection still apply. It just takes more a lot more care and work.
Here’s our perspective and what we think is most important.
Communication is the key to making things work. Be honest.
Hang – If I’m ever feeling unhappy about something, I make sure to be vocal and talk about it. There’s no point in keeping feelings to myself. Since Kyle isn’t with me to see my facial expression or body language, he doesn’t know when there’s something wrong. Problems shouldn’t be a guessing game and people can’t read minds. By having clear communication, we were able to resolve things easier.
Kyle – It’s very hard to express yourself through texting. There are going to be times when you misunderstand each other due to the way you write your messages. It’s trial and error, especially if you guys are still getting to know each other. You will learn what her triggers are and what she does not like. A relationship isn’t a relationship if you guys don’t fight. What’s most difficult about this is you can’t truly express what you feel over the phone. At the end of the day, try your best to make up with each other. The number one thing I try to avoid is sleeping without making amends. For my guys out there, sometimes it is going to be “your fault” and you’re going have to suck it up and apologize. Take a few minutes and think about why you guys are fighting. Would you want to end the relationship because of this single petty thing? Or is she worth it enough for you to throw away your ego for just a few minutes to apologize? If you do apologize (even if it’s not your fault), let it go and don’t ever bring it up again.
Make time for each other.
Hang – Life can get extremely busy but I believe that you can always make time for what’s important to you. If not, then it’s not the right time for you to be in a relationship. During our long distance, Kyle and I were both in school at the time and focused on our studies. Our education was our first priority. However, we always spent a spare minute to send each other a text. This doesn’t have to be an all day conversation. A text like
Hey, I’m studying for exams all day and can’t really text but I hope you have a wonderful day. I’ll talk to you later.
is meaningful. It lets the person know why you can’t text but you’re thinking of them. Furthermore, we always made time at night to talk and Skype before we went to sleep.
Kyle – Watching anime, Kdrama and other shows together at night or during your free days are fun. Just make sure to count at the same time when pressing play.
I find it really adorable to watch Hang’s expression during certain scenes through Skype/Facetime while we watch shows. Hang visited me about twice a year because there were more things to do around my area. I know it’s very difficult if you guys live in different countries, but having a money jar can help you save for your trip. If money is really tight, paying half of your partner’s trip to your place would help or meeting each other in a different place that is cheaper for the both of you could also work.
Give it each other trust and space.
Kyle – Girls, please understand that guys need some guy time with their friends (vice versa). Limiting them from going out will suffocate them. This is where trust comes in because you can’t really watch over them. I know it’s very hard to trust someone, but hear me out.
If you are able to trust each other in a long distance relationship, that trust will become impenetrable. Good ways to lessen your partner’s worries is to text them and update them whenever you are going out. Small updates or sending them a photo of what you are doing can help relieve their anxiety.
Another important thing is to respect your partner’s wishes, if they need privacy to do their assignments or study for an exam, give it to them. Sometimes, when I have an important exam, I ask Hang to stay on cam and have herself on mute. I think of her as someone who’s there to support me and root for me when I feel like breaking down because of all the stress from school.
Be each other’s friend and be inclusive.
Hang – I think the key to a successful relationship is to be a friend. Support them like you would for your best friend. Talk to them about your day, your plans, your goals, and let them know whom your other friends are. This makes them feel included in your life even though they’re far away. Being inclusive also helps with trust because they know what’s going on in your life. Nothing is a secret.
Kyle – Making friends with their friends is also a good idea. Don’t think of it as awkward because if you move to your partner’s location, you will meet them to become a friend anyway. Make sure to ask about your partner’s day even if yours didn’t go so well. If your partner is in a bad mood, ask them what you can do to make them feel better. Sending over care packages and small gifts from time to time even if there are no special occasions is also something I recommend.
Keep it fun.
Hang – The best way to keep a relationship alive is to keep it fun. Be like kids with each other. For example, Kyle and I have tickle fights, pillow fights, crack jokes on each other, and tons of other childish things. Whenever we were far apart, our interaction was limited to just a conversation. But interesting enough, our conversation never got boring and I think that’s something so special.
Some people are together because they are attracted by each other’s physical appearances, or something materialistic, and they don’t realize it. They get bored after a while because they don’t have a real connection. With long distance, all you really have is your personality and words so you can really see if you connect.
It’s ok to take a break.
Sometimes, the distance or relationship can be too much and it’s ok to take a break. Your mental health is priority. You can’t be happy with another person if you’re not happy inside. Take some time and figure yourself out but make sure to communicate and have a mutual agreement/understanding with your partner.
We’re finally together everyday now but to be clear, I didn’t move to the east coast for love.
I’m going to be honest because I don’t want to give you guys an unrealistic fairytale love story. Before I even met Kyle, I fell in love with NYC and I knew I would end up here. I had a clear vision of what I wanted for my future. It was by chance that he lived close by, which really worked out for us. Since being together every day, my love for Kyle has grown, and I’ve become certain that he’s the love of my life.
For anyone that’s thinking about moving, be sure that it’s for you. Not for someone else but for you. Love is incredible but if it’s not someone you’re marrying or already married to, think deeply before moving. Does this place fit into what you envision for yourself? Will you still like that place if you break up? Answer yourself honestly. That way, if you move, you know it’s for yourself. You don’t have regrets or worries about how you left everything behind because you would’ve made this move even if you didn’t have a love interest.
To sum it up, one of my followers @semperexploro said, “I believe both parties need to be strongly independent and have their own foundations in life before making the move.” I strongly agree with her statement and couldn’t have said it better.
Long distance isn’t for everybody. But it works.
Kyle and I were in one for 2 years and now, here we are together today – almost reaching our 4-year anniversary. It wasn’t easy but we loved each other enough to put in the effort, have patience, and work things out. If you’re going through the same thing and you two truly want to be with each other, have some faith.
By doing the right things, having faith, and a stroke of luck, it will all usually work out.
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