My advice for a happy and healthy long-distance relationship
Are you willing to put the effort in?
Written by Olivia Dawson
Voices - Advice
Young people share advice based on their experiences.
It’s a well-known fact that long-distance relationships can be the hardest type of relationships to maintain. Commitment, love and forward planning are just some of the many attributes needed to keep a long-distance relationship intact. Below are a list of things you should probably consider before entering into a relationship where “I’m finished work now if you want to call over” isn’t always an option.
Weekends are crucial
If you and your partner are in full-time education/work from Monday to Friday, expect to spend at least one day of your weekend off with each other. At the start of the relationship this may not sound like a difficult task but as the weeks and months go by, that Premiership match on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning brunch with the girls may sound more appealing than a three-hour bus journey to see your loved one. Of course, there will be weekends where you can’t make time to see each other but that ought to be made up for during the week with a long Skype chat or even a spontaneous love letter in the post. Everyone loves a good love letter.
Get used to night-time phone calls
As mentioned above, if you’re both busy working during the day and have commitments such as badminton practice in the evenings, the best way to keep in contact is through phone calls at bedtime. My advice would be not to leave it past 11:30pm to make the call; both of you will be drowsy from your long days and the conversation will be forced rather than genuine. Also, be prepared to put aside at least half an hour each evening for the phone call if you haven’t been in touch that day. Otherwise you may as well be calling your mother rather than your lover.
The little things matter
Be it an extra-long text in the morning for them to wake up to or a selfie before you head on a night out, your partner will appreciate it more than you know. Especially when you’re passed the honeymoon phase and texting each other every waking moment is no longer a necessity. Go that extra mile and remind your partner why it is they want to be with you. Show them you still care about the little things and your gestures will more than likely be reciprocated if not topped, if you know what I mean!
Make the most of your time together
If all you have together is a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, do something you both enjoy. Treat yourselves to lunch in the restaurant you went to on your first date; go see a movie you have been talking about on the phone during the week; you know, the kind of things normal couples do. However, don’t make the mistake of saying goodbye without having had some “quality alone time”. Take a romantic walk in the park and go off the beaten track or go for a drive to the outskirts of town. Just make sure you get your fix of intimacy, because it will have to last you until the next time you see each other again.
Don’t forget about your partner
You may be thinking that would be impossible but even the most loving couples can forget about each other now and again. You may both lead very busy lives and things that are important to you may not be as important to your partner. Forgetting to pick up the phone or opening a text and not replying may be acceptable once or twice, but anything more than that is just laziness. Relationships aren’t a part-time thing; you’re either in it 100% or you’re not in it at all.
Make it work
The best way to guarantee a happy, fulfilling relationship is to always remember why you guys are together. Long-distance relationships are not for the faint-hearted and are undoubtedly difficult to maintain but if you’re as in love with your partner as you think you are, the challenge becomes a lot easier. Love makes everything easier – especially when your relationship is dependent on phone calls and Skype sessions.
If the above are things you can’t possibly imagine living with long-term, don’t engage in a relationship with someone living more than a half hour drive from you. If you found yourself shaking your head at each of those things, you more than likely will be investing time and emotion into something that won’t make you truly happy. Don’t beat yourself up about it, though – long-distance relationships aren’t for everyone. In fact, only the very committed can live with those conditions. Not being able to hack the above conditions is not a reflection of your love for your partner, it’s more a lifestyle preference. And sometimes, especially in long-term situations like this it’s okay to choose “me” first.