A friend of mine who moved to an adjacent town to be with his lady love endearingly called his relationship a short distance relationship. Long or short, a relationship that endures time and space can be good and bad depending on the way you treat it.
I’ve known so many couples that put themselves through a long distance relationship, I’ve been one of them too. My husband and I endured a three year long long-distance so that I can go finish graduate school. Before that, while we were still dating we were on a year long long-distance so he could go finish school.
Here’s what I’ve known from seeing others do it and from living it:
1.Being a 100% committed to the relationship: if you are starting a long distance relationship with a “lets see how it goes” attitude you are not really invested in making it work. You will need to agree on what will work for the both of you. While my husband was on a year long long-distance to go study, it was way back when I was broke, didn’t have enough money to make phone calls, and he was just a student scraping by as well. So we stuck to emails and chat. We would email each other every day! Well, it was early in my relationship and we were smitten. You don’t have to write emails everyday or even chat. I know of a friend who speaks to her long distance fiance only on weekends, that works brilliantly for them. So make a commitment about how you stay committed to making your long distance work. What works for the both of you is what counts.
2. Introduce your partner to people around you: For weeks no one at my work place knew that I was married, this was when I was away. It didnt strike me that I should tell. What would I say ” I just finished the project you asked me to do, and by the way I am married”? In a conversation with my boss about husbands I mentioned to her that “my husband does that too!” and oh what a surprise! We sat around talking about how she had no clue that I was married. Well, yes I didn’t wear a ring (that was not part of my tradition) but I didn’t wear my tamilian “Taali” either so how was she supposed to know. When you think it appropriate go ahead and let everyone know that you have a partner, albeit ocean’s apart. It helps when people see you as engaged/in a relationship. For one, you will know how to keep off possible attractions and another important thing, you get to talk about it, how difficult it is, how wonderful it is and how happy your partner makes you! I eventually got a ring that lasted for my stay in the States. Now I am ring-less and chain-less but with two kids in tow and a husband from aeons ago you cannot miss that I am married.
4. Take breaks together: If you can take breaks from work and go meet your beau for a while and if your partner can do the same, great! Its a great way to figure out who does the laundry and who does the cooking. If you both can take breaks and go on a trip together, even better! My husband and I used to see each other every once in three months. Was great for us. You will need to find what works for you.
5. To befriend or not to befriend the opposite or same sex (depending on your orientation): Both my husband and I just kept off opposite sex friends, (I’ve had the ability to make great girl friends and stick with them so that helps). It happened naturally for us. You will need to find your midpoint. Eye candies are everywhere, there is no denying it, you will just need to be aware of it and know how truly blessed you are about being in a relationship with your partner.
4. Take breaks together: If you can take breaks from work and go meet your beau for a while but if your partner can, great! Its a great way to figure out who does the laundry and who does the cooking. If you both can take breaks and go on a trip together, even better! My husband and I used to see each other every once in three months. Was great for us. You will need to find what works for you.
6. Don’t be a martyr: The martyr act pisses everyone. You need to realize that if you are going long-distance on a relationship then it is YOUR choice. Your partner cannot force you in on this one. So don’t become a nag and tell your partner that it has to stop before the stipulated time. Long distance is already difficult, you don’t want to cause terrible heartaches by being a martyr too.
7. Know when it ends: There has to be a “happily ever after” (until you actually start living it, that is) but jokes apart. It helps when both of you know when the long distance will cease and when you can move in, and “start” a life together.
8. No children commitment: See, I just think it is the hardest thing to do EVER, to have a baby and be on long distance. You need to know that as adults you have chosen to be apart, but your baby did not choose this. So while you are apart, stay committed to sustaining and enjoying your work and each other.
If you have been in a relationship that was long distance come talk about it! Did it work? What helped? A great many people wonder about the stability of long term relationships. I did too. Its a scary proposition and it can be heart wrenching but you’ve got to do what you got (read want)to do, so embrace it proactively and continue to be in love!