LDR Honeymoon Period

squeeze

We’ve all heard it. “Oh, you guys don’t fight? You’re happy and in love? You’re still in your honeymoon period. Just wait.” Or something to that effect. Those statements do have some truth to it. Usually, the beginning of a relationship is about getting to know your significant other more and during that time period you are merely enjoying each other’s company without the bickering and without the realization of their daily (bad) habits. That is an over-generalization of the honeymoon period, but you get the picture. A lot of people believe that once the honeymoon period is over is when the “real” relationship begins (meaning it was easy peasy at first, and then takes a little more work). This can last a few months for new relationships, or a couple of years for newlyweds. As for LDRs? I’m here to tell you that the honeymoon period is ALL KINDS OF JACKED UP.

I am going to use my experience in an LDR as a point of reference for this post. What does that mean? That means that as soon as we began dating, we had to transition into a long-distance relationship while I was still in undergrad and he began law school. Our honeymoon period experience may be similar to those of you who began your relationship in an LDR as well.

1. The LDR honeymoon period is kind of opposite of the normal honeymoon period. What do I mean by this? Remember how I said a relationship is “easy peasy at first” during the honeymoon period, “and then takes a little more work” once that period ends? Well, it’s opposite day for us LDRers! The beginning of LDRs are TOUGH. With the whole trying to get to know each other better whilst trying to figure out each other’s schedules in order to actually schedule your phone calls but still trying not to bawl your eyes out everyday because other couples are being all couple-y and you’re just depressed because you can’t see, feel, hear, smell your S.O. whenever you want like they can… Not to freak any new LDRers out or anything, but that is pretty much the first… year (?) of your LDR. Once you make it through the first year (or however long it takes you and your S.O. to establish a routine and get you both busy enough to not continually focus on the fact that you’re long distance), the distance gets easier. The relationship may or may not get easier, but the distance does.

2. LDR honeymoon periods last longer. Normally a honeymoon period would last until you get to learn all the quirks and habits of your S.O. (messy rooms, doesn’t pick up after themselves) and until you become comfortable around your S.O. (going without deodorant, peeing in front of each other). Since being in a LDR means you may only see your significant other four times a year, twice a year, once a year… You see where I’m going? What may be a three month or six month honeymoon period for a non-LDR couple may be a one year, two year, three year honeymoon phase for an LDR couple.

3. You get multiple honeymoon periods. Wait, whaaaat? Think about it. Couples in non-LDRs get their honeymoon period while being together, which means they typically get to experience any quirks and habits before moving in together. Not only do we get a “beginning of the relationship” honeymoon phase (which, as mentioned above, can last years), we get a “we live together now” honeymoon phase. Some LDRers may learn the quirks and living habits of their S.O. while in long distance, but others may not. I was super nervous to live with A after we ended our long distance. Every time we visited each other, we made sure our places were pristine. We made sure we looked awesome 24/7 and we never really let on that we both let dishes “soak” in the sink for a bit (luckily, neither of us gets annoyed about this). Once we moved in together, we tried not to step on each other’s toes and tried to see if make sure that this relationship would survive outside of long distance. This honeymoon period does not last as long. And of course, us LDRers get a real honeymoon period. That one is called being newlyweds.

4. Your relationship undergoes a sort of arrested development in comparison to other relationships. Because our relationships may have a longer honeymoon phase than non-LDRs and because we basically get three honeymoon phases, our relationships may not progress at the rate of other relationships. I am by no way saying that LDRs don’t progress while in long distance (because I can very much argue that LDRs create a much stronger relationship when successful), I am just saying that you may feel like you are starting all over again once the long distance portion of your relationship ends. Therefore, you may not feel like your were in a real relationship during your LDR. To those of you who think this way, I say: “You were damn straight in a real relationship! It may have been the realest one you’ve been in yet!” So, although your relationship timeline may not be similar to the relationship timeline of your friends who do not undergo long distance (I’m talking about those wedding bells I hear from every which direction), be confident that the extremely strong and sturdy foundation you’ve built with your LDR S.O. is all you need to  progress along that timeline.

As I mentioned before, my interpretation of LDR honeymoon periods is solely based on my personal experience in an LDR. This may not be what you will/do experience, but hopefully it will give newly-formed LDRs an insight into their future honeymoon phases.

What was/is your LDR honeymoon period like?

-Desiree

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Dear SLD: I’m Scared No One Will Try

On occasion, I will receive a question from a reader via email or ask.fm asking for help with their LDR. I decided to create a new series called Dear SLD (Dear SurvivingLongDistance). Here is the most recent question I have received (and I apologize for the delay in response to this anonymous reader):

“My boyfriend is really bad at multi tasking. So he can’t talk to me whenever he gets busy. Lately, he’s been very busy at work. I don’t wanna seem clingy or whatever. So i kind of just leave him messages and i guess i’m getting too annoying i don’t know. He has things to pass the time when we can’t talk. I start school soon and i iwll have things to keep me occupied while we can’t talk. but not i’m scared no one in our relationship will try. i don’t know hwta to do :(“

First of all, I want you to know that I totally know what you’re going through. I’m sure most couples in LDRs have had at least one point in their relationship when one person is busier than the other, and one person gets antsy about the lack of communication, etc due to the other’s busy schedule. I know I have been there. When A first started law school, he was extremely busy. It’s a whole new level of study compared to undergrad (which I was still in). Seeing as how I was just a sophomore, my school work did not keep me occupied enough to match his level of distraction (for lack of better word).

The first piece of advice I can give you (which you’re already anticipating) is to find ways to keep yourself busy. Once I started taking more difficult classes towards my major, and once I found myself as a Community Advisor for a residence hall on campus, I noticed the difficulties of keeping up with A‘s busy schedule dwindling. However, keeping yourself busy can only do so much…

If you are afraid neither of you will try once you both begin to keep yourselves occupied at the same level, then force yourselves to make time. Find a time to Skype or talk on the phone in order to hammer out your schedules. Based on both of your availability, schedule times during the week for you to call each other. Write it down on your calendars, in your phones, on your hand if you have to. And don’t forget to call. If it seems like one of you may not be able to chat that night, be sure to send the other person a text or Facebook message or whatnot to let the other know. If your schedules change week to week, sit down and hammer out your communication schedule week to week. Once you get the hang of this, begin to schedule Skype dates (I kind of prefer Oovoo) once a week. Or once a month. Whatever works for you (A and I only did every other month, if that, towards the end of our LDR).

I believe that once you have a schedule down for communication, you have a strong foundation for success. Anything you do beyond that schedule is obviously amazing (and sometimes needed): sending gifts, letters, etc. I know it sounds weird to schedule your relationship like that, but I promise that structure amidst the chaos of an LDR will surely ease your mind and heart.

-Desiree

Learn How to Give LDR Advice

In honor of this blog lasting a full year today, I’ve decided to give you all a piece of advice that is a bit bigger than you, me, and our relationships:

Giving Advice

If you are in a long-distance relationship, you probably have more experience with LDRs than some of your other friends… even if you JUST started. LDRs seem to be becoming more and more popular recently. Or maybe I am just now noticing the trend because they are almost the norm in college. Anyways… This means your friends may start to look to you for advice. I know you have your own long-distance relationship to deal with at the moment, but learn to embrace your new role… To your friends beginning a new LDR, you will always be the expert.

How in the world can you even give advice on something you’re trying to figure out yourself? That’s a great question. Before you can give advice to someone else in a LDR, you need to sit down and get crackin’ on your own. Or, do what the rest of the world does: give the advice you wish you would follow.

Either of those methods could work (preferably the first), but where do you begin?

I would start by making a list of all the things you wish you would have known before getting into an LDR, the things you have learned since entering an LDR, and the things you still don’t know the answer to. And be frank with your friends. Sugar coating and beating around the bush will not end up helping them in the end.

A few points to consider bringing up with your newly-LDR friends:

1. If you haven’t had THE conversation yet, have it. When will your distance end? Once you know the answer to this, you have something to work towards.

2. Long-distance relationships can suck. They can be brutal day after day, and newbies need to fully understand this. However, you also need to understand that these relationships come with perks as well (trying to put a positive spin on things, FTW).

3. Your social life might suffer. Don’t want that to happen? Then once you understand what to expect and how long to expect it, the biggest piece of advice we can give is to learn how to balance your life. Do what is best for you and your partner.

When giving relationship advice, you may want to talk about your own experiences with your LDR, and that’s fine! That’s what your friends want to hear: stories/advice from someone they trust who is in a successful LDR. However, the biggest thing to remind them is every relationship is different. What works for us, might not work for you. What doesn’t work for us, might work for you. Allow your friends to play off of your advice, just be sure to stress the importance of open communication with their partners.

As much as I would love to give more advice on how to give advice, it’s almost impossible. Your friends may want advice specific to their personal relationship, and that’s not something I can help with. Just trust that you know your relationship well enough to communicate your successes and failure with your friends…

…Because once you begin a long-distance relationship, you become the “go to” friend for LDR advice.

-Desiree

A Second Dose of LDR

Round-Two

When you finally reach a point in time to close a significant yet understandably stressful chapter of your life, most people would rush to slam that chapter and lock it shut. And most people would rush to the opportunity to start a new chapter and not look back… Or at least, not revisit that previous chapter. But sometimes life just gives you rotten lemons, says “haha, here’s a big F U”, and then you’re stuck with these nasty F U lemons wondering how life pushed you back into that chapter whose lock’s key you’ve already melted down and reshaped into a beautiful new ring. Well, hey. Better figure out how to make a new key, because guess what… You’re about to start a second round of LDR with THE SAME PERSON.

I’m not sure how many people willingly (and by willingly, I mean fully look forward to the opportunity to) start a second round of long distance with their significant other. I’m pretty sure most people would cringe at the thought of even having to have that conversation. I know I have. I’m not saying that A and I are entering a long-distance relationship again, but it is something we have had to at least throw out in the air when it comes to job hunting. There is a chance that A could potentially get a position somewhere outside of our current metroplex that would cause us to endure an LDR once more, even if just for a short while. And as someone who has already paid her dues (three years worth), that 1% chance of LDR Round 2 sucks.

So that had me thinking. There’s bound to be people out there who have gone through long distance with the same person more than once. And there’s bound to be even more people who, throughout their lives, have gone through more than one LDR with various people (let’s call you folks Serial LDRers). Where are you lovely people at?

If you’ve been through a round (or two, or three) of LDR, I’d say you already know what you want/need out of a long-distance relationship. This should, theoretically, make going into LDR a bit easier. But let’s get real. No matter how many times you have gone through a long-distance relationship, beginning a new one (or starting one again) will never be “easier” than the last time. Especially if you thought you were finished with LDRs for good.

So, what can we do if we find ourselves stuck in that position again?

1. Turn up the music. Whatever genre floats your little boat. Taylor Swift. SOAD. Go all out. Get it all out. You thought you were finished with this. It’s okay, I won’t judge.

2. Collect yourself. Come on. We’re all adults here (unless you’re not… in which case, continue screaming if you’d like). Let’s collect ourselves. Cool ourselves down. Calm. Breathe in. Breathe out. Count to 10. Whatever it takes to level your head.

3. Make a list of your LDR thoughts. Record everything you wish you knew before your previous LDRs. Keep this list with you. Discuss it with your partner. You’ve done this once before, and you are totally way more prepared than last time. It might not be any easier emotionally, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be easier mentally.

4. LIVE YO’ LIFE. You’ve been through this. You’re an LDR survivor! Don’t stress, keep busy, plan your phone calls, and spend time with your friends. LIVE YO’ LIFE because even though I said it won’t be any easier this time than last, I’m hoping I’m wrong.

Is anyone currently in a second round of LDR/has gone through (and survived) multiple rounds of LDR? Let me know how they turned out! And, how is/was it different than the first time around?

-Desiree

Brand New Long Distance Relationships

survive

I’ve noticed an unusual spike in viewers of this blog this summer. Now, I only started this blog in December (or was it November?) 2012 so I haven’t been at it long enough to notice any trends, but this spike in viewership means something to me: brand new long-distance relationships. Why a sudden spike in brand new LDRs? COLLEGE. So, to all of you googling away for advice on how to approach and sustain a LDR: welcome! I hope this blog will help prepare you for the turmoil while also keeping you sane in knowing there are many of us who have survived the distance and continue to strengthen our relationships every day!

To those of you entering LDR straight out of high school:

There are a few things you should know about college. College is a magical place. As cliché as it sounds, you will find yourself in college (or more than likely, you will find out who you are not and will continue to wonder who you are well into your 20s). You will join organizations you actually care about because there are practically an infinite variety just awaiting new, eager members. Your best friends from high school may only continue to be “your best friends from high school”. Let’s face it, we didn’t really know what we wanted out of life in high school. We were too caught up in the superficiality of it all. But don’t worry, your new college BFFs will be lifers.

Here comes the not-so-fun part: as your preference in friends change, so might your preference in significant others. Mine did an almost 180. Like, forreal. My boyfriend is SO MUCH BETTER than anyone I had “dated” previously. There is a chance that your new LDR may not survive the first semester. If it doesn’t, don’t fret. The love of your life will be waiting for you right around the corner. Well, I’m almost positive. As long as you have your priorities straight, I don’t see why you wouldn’t find a charming, good-natured man. Yes, man. Because we leave those boys behind in high school, yeah? Yeah. (To all the guys out there: this goes for girls too. You want a woman, dammit!)

However, if you have already caught a keeper, hold on tight! If you’re actually deciding to endure long distance, he or she must definitely seem like “the one” to you (if not, LDR just might not work). You have to be sure (at least in this moment) that your significant other is someone you want around for the long haul. I honestly believe this is very important to figure out before going into a LDR if you want to be successful. Because if you’re not sure, and if you’re not sure that you are both sure, you could be setting yourself up for a horrible heartbreak later. (Could, not necessarily are.)

There’s definitely possibility that you and your partner could grow together rather than apart, but I’m a pessimist. I like to prepare myself for the worst (not necessarily expect the worst) and be overly happy when life decides to play out the way I want it to. (Actually, in the world of LDRs: life does not just “play out”. You have to work at it! Work at life and at your relationship.)

To those of you entering LDR straight out of college/while in college:

You have a better understanding of who you are. Right? Well, at least a better understanding than when you were in high school. You should now have more faith in yourself, your decisions, and in your significant other and his or her decisions. We’ve matured over the course of four years (hell, we mature tremendously over our first year of college). This new maturity comes in handy when approaching LDRs (in no way am I saying those fresh out of high school are immature, just–as I said–college changes and matures you more).

You know what you want out of a relationship, and if you don’t, you should sit down and figure it out. You should (hopefully) trust your significant other, because you’ve picked out a real winner.

Right??

See, I knew it!

Hopefully, if you and your partner are serious about your relationship, you already have and end in sight. I can’t stress enough how important this step is when entering a LDR. Especially post-college. You are both going out into the real world with real jobs (or one may still be in school). These jobs could keep you apart for longer than anticipated if not careful. At some point, in order to have a truly “successful” LDR, your lives should merge and intertwine. However, if you’re comfortable with not knowing when the distance will end, then by all means, go for it. Just know, it can be a pain in the ass not knowing when you will finally drop the long distance.

In the end, we’re all here for one thing: we’re trying to figure out how to survive these pesky (yet wonderful) things called long-distance relationships. To those entering new LDRs and to those expecting to enter a LDR in the future: YOU GOT THIS!

-Desiree

PS: I’d just like to note that this is the first blog post in like 3422434 months that I have not used a list. It’s kind of making me itch.

What’s your reason for going into LDR?

LDR Communication Awesomeness

Oh, hey. Remember me? I didn’t think so. I know it has been WAY too long since my last blog post. About four or five months? I promised myself I would try my absolute hardest to keep up with this blog even though I am no longer in an LDR with A. (Life post-LDR is pretty fabulous, I must say. So STICK WITH IT, no matter how difficult it may seem in the moment… It’ll be worth it.) So, on to today’s topic…

A LOT of people say that the progression of technology is actually a regression for communication. I say it is totally a progression for LDR communication. I can’t even imagine surviving an LDR with just handwriting letters… Or even just emailing! There are SO many different websites and apps that can help assist with the communication process for an LDR… So why not give them a try?

This is in no way an extensive list, and I am sure I am leaving out awesome technological ways of communicating.

My preferred methods of LDR communication:

1. A simple telephone call. You can never go wrong with a telephone call. If you’re not using this method of communication in your LDR, I’m not sure how you’re surviving. No really. I don’t know. So please tell me how, if you are. In my opinion, smell and sound are the two strongest senses associated with memory. Listening to your significant other’s voice can flood your brain and heart with emotions, leading yourself back to the ultimate goal of a short-distance relationship, even in the toughest of times. And as we all know, there are some pretty tough times.

2. BRB. I has 2 txt my bf. lol. Yes. The action that drives many adults who never had the opportunity for such a convenient form of communication crazy: texting. I don’t think this really needs much of an explanation: you can communicate anywhere, everywhere, and whenever with this awesome tool. (Just NOT WHEN DRIVING people. And not when walking if you’re not an observant person, and my biggest pet peeve: NOT WHEN CONVERSING WITH SOMEONE ELSE FACE TO FACE. Okay, I think that’s it now.)

3. Facebook. I know not everyone has a Facebook, but I highly recommend it if you don’t. Even if your 13 year-old daughter threatens to disown you as a parent. She can get over her embarrassment for the sake of enhancing your long-distance relationship. There are Walls, Messages, Instant Messages, Video Chat. Heck, the act of Poking lets your significant other know that you’re thinking of him or her. And more awesomness: Facebook Games! Miss having Friday night game nights? Set up a weekly (or daily) game-fest with your love and challenge him or her to one of Facebook’s many online games.

4. Speaking of Facebook video chat, Skype, Oovoo, and Facetime are all great methods of communicating as well. I know I’ve already talked about the benefits of video chatting in at least one or more blog posts, so no need to rehash that information here!

Interesting Semi-New Ways of Communicating:

1. Instagram/Snapchat. (Let me preface this by saying I have never used Snapchat, but I believe it is only available on Apple and Android products. Correct me if I am wrong. The same with Instagram. However, owning a Windows phone myself, I have found a way around not having an Instagram app. Check out Instance. And to add more filters to your pictures: Instacam.) So, basically, these two apps are picture-taking apps. The beauty of this in an LDR, is sharing random moments from your day with your significant other in picture form. It sort of allows for your bf or gf to sneak a peek into moments you are experiencing.

2. Vine/InstaVideo. I have not used either of these before (once again, a Windows phone hindrance), however, I find these fads very fascinating when applying them to long-distance communication. Vine allows for a six-second video recording while Instagram’s video feature allows for fifteen seconds of recording. Like Instagram photos and Snapchat, Vine and Instagram videos allow for a peek into your everyday life. The great thing about using these video devices is that the time commitment needed for Skype, Oovoo, Facetime, etc. is not needed. Similar to texting, these videos can be taken and sent almost anywhere and whenever. And, let’s face it, whipping out your phone to snap a picture or take a video is becoming the norm in our society. Lucky you!

3. Walkie-talkies? Psh. How about Voxer? I honestly do not know if this app is still in existence, but Voxer is like texting, but better. Voxer is like a mixture of a walkie talkie and a text. Voxer is not as instant as a walkie talkie, but allows for the convenience of time that texting allows. It could be better than texting, in my opinion as it is safer, and allows you to listen to your significant other’s voice! YAY!

4. Tweet tweet! Twitter! Really want an inside look into your bf or gf’s life? Enter Twitter. Constantly updating your twitter is more socially acceptable than constantly updating your Facebook status. Why? I’m not sure. It’s just an unspoken rule. So, more than likely, your significant other will update the world about the more mundane happenings of his or her life in Twitter form. It only gets creepy/annoying when you constantly bring up updates you see from your significant other’s Twitter/Facebook. Just know, your partner’s random thoughts can now be experienced by you for 140 characters or less.

As I mentioned before, this list is in NO WAY extensive (and I’m not entirely sure how accurately I described the apps I have never used). Feel free to add on to this list! Most of the apps and methods of communicating mentioned are already in use by just about all of us, but I’m sure many of us never realized how lucky we are to have these methods of communication. Especially when it comes to keeping LDRs alive.

-Desiree

EDIT: I received a comment on my About Me page from a man who created a mobile app (currently only available through iTunes and Google Play) called Twyxt. It’s an app in which you can share messages, pictures, calendars, and lists in one convenient location. It is great for acting as a scrapbook of digital memories to later reminisce upon! Check it out.

Goals to Survival Series: Maintaining A Balanced Life

Balance

It’s finally time for the second installment of the Goals to Survival Series!

Goal #2:

If you’re not a professional at prioritizing your life just yet, get to it, because life in a long-distance relationship is a balancing act. If you think scheduling your day is meant just for work or school, think again. Another major goal to achieve daily is maintaining a balanced life. Balance work, school, your social life, and now your relationship. Trust me. Scheduling in your relationship will save you a LOT of mental and emotional stress throughout your long distance.

1. Get in the groove of school priorities. The beginning of A’s and my relationship was highly stressful (once we both started school again after the summer break). It was A’s first year of law school for crying out loud. Remember what it was like jumping from high school to undergrad? Remember how you never studied in high school and then all of a sudden you actually have to open your book? (I know that couldn’t have just been me.) Well, apparently making the jump from undergrad to law school is just like that. Times fifty million. A’s time was taken up primarily by his readjusting life around school work. If you’re in an LDR with someone in law school, medical school, or some sort of post-undergrad education, let them figure things out before allowing yourself to be selfish with his or her time. THAT was a hard one for me.

So Step 1 of maintaining a balanced life (if one or both are in school): figure out the school/study schedule first. Although some would argue that a significant other should be the number one priority in a person’s life, I am a very money-oriented and pro-education kind of girl. So, paying big bucks for a higher education kind of takes the number one spot in this sort of situation to me.

2. Go make that money. Work. Want go on fun or expensive dates when finally reunited? We have to have our work schedules down. This is usually a set schedule every week, but if you have a part-time job it could change from week to week. I suggest letting your partner know what your work schedule will be like for the week (or in general if it is a set schedule) so he or she will know when NOT to expect to hear from you. Knowing when you WON’T hear from your significant other will really help ease your mind. Trust me. There have been times that I have forgotten A’s schedule and I wondered why he wasn’t calling me back or texting me back (which amplifies your worry when in an LDR) only to find out he couldn’t respond. So. Let your partner know your work schedule (if applicable).

3. Schedule time for significant other. I know most people do not like to feel as if they are “scheduled in” to someone’s life. But, unfortunately, that is part of the life we have chosen with a long-distance relationship. And, unfortunately again, sometimes scheduling time for your LDR will decrease your social life. This doesn’t necessarily have to happen (like in my case where I had a light semester, an amazing job with lots of free time, and I lived in the same building as my best friends), but it did in A’s case with the commitment to law school and such. Anyway. Scheduling nightly phone calls (if permitted with school/study schedule and work schedule) will definitely help relieve the stress of entering an LDR.

Not everyone feels comfortable scheduling their life, and not everyone will have the same priorities that I have listed. Prioritizing your life to meet your and your partner’s needs is most important. Surviving a long-distance relationship is difficult, but I have noticed that maintaining a balanced life really helped A and I survive our 34 months apart.

-Desiree

Passing The Time While Apart

passing the time

In celebration of my moving in with my boyfriend NEXT WEEK (AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!), what better topic to talk about than ways to pass the time while apart? I know I am not the only one who cries or gets bummed out when dropping my boyfriend off at the airport after a visit. In fact, I once broke down crying in the front office of the residence hall I worked at… with at least eight co-workers present. And I don’t cry in front of others if I can help it.  How can you not break down when you know you won’t see your significant other for months? But seriously. I want to know.

Not only is the departure torture, so is the long stretch of time you have to spend apart! I don’t think it’s most people’s first choice to be in a long-distance relationship, but we have to make the best with what life has offered us. The best way to help make the time feel like it’s flying by is to stay busy. Busy, busy, busy. I know that may not really be much of an option for some people, so I have come up with a list (we all know I love making lists!) of different activities to do to help pass the time!

Whether you go weeks or months without seeing your love, we could all use something to help pass the time.

1. Make a fun countdown to when you both reunite. It can be a paper chain countdown, a regular calendar, or any creative way you can think of. I prefer visual representations of time, as they allow you to literally see the time go by! My friend K and I made a paper chain countdown for work when we counted down to Fall Break. Each link represented a day. We wrote down the date for each paper chain link and an event that happens on that day to keep us excited. After each day, tear off the link corresponding to that day to help visualize time decreasing! It was a wonderful idea and we included the rest of our staff in the events on the paper chain countdown. It’s also a great idea for LDRs!!

Instead of a regular boring calendar, another great visual representation of passing time is a Post-It Note calendar. I made a Post-It Note calendar Countdown to Finals bulletin board for my floor in the residence hall I worked at. Each Post-It Note was a day, and on each day I wrote an event happening around campus. Instead of an event happening around campus, write an event happening in your life or a goal you want to achieve by that day. At the end of each day, peel the Post-It Note off your wall to better see the time shrinking until you reunite with your significant other!

2. Make a CD of songs that remind you of him/her. This could definitely be completed in about an hour, but why not stretch it out? Pick a song per day or a song per week (depending on the length of time until you see each other again) that reminds you of your significant other. If you want, you could also write a little note as to why you picked the song you picked on the day you did. (Maybe you were having a bad day and a certain song reminded you of how your boyfriend/girlfriend cares for you when you’re feeling down?) Give it to your love when you see each other next!

3. Write a journal to him/her. I know this sounds lame, but try writing a journal to your boyfriend or girlfriend every few days or so. Write about things your significant other doesn’t really know (whether it be religious view, political views, deep thoughts, random thoughts, etc). Keep it all in one Word document and let your boyfriend/girlfriend read it when you next see him/her. I tried doing this when A and I first started our long distance. He thought it was a bit corny… And it is. So I stopped. But why not give it a try?

4. Make a short Bucket List of things you want to accomplish or try during the time you both are apart. Try to cross something off about once a week. As I’ve mentioned above, I am very big into material visuals. If you’re like me, then make something more creative than a numbered list on a Word document. Create a real-life bucket (use a cup or make a bucket out of paper), write each goal on a separate strip of paper, fold the paper, place it in the bucket, and blindly pick a strip of paper each week to accomplish! Pick a set day each week to draw a strip of paper. This will get you excited about something each week AND make time the time apart from your significant other seem shorter!

5. Start a new hobby. This is one that I finally got around to doing during this last stretch of distance (mainly because I no longer have school and desperately needed something to eat up all this free time I have). There are TONS of hobbies out there awaiting your eagerness to learn! I had A choose a hobby for me to start (he chose painting and got me paints and brushes for Christmas). I LOVE it. I also started blogging. ;] Not only is starting a new hobby just starting a new hobby, it’s learning a new hobby. The time it takes to actually learn something new and then build on it… You’ll be with your significant other before you even realize it. Some awesome hobbies I definitely want to try: woodworking, knitting, pottery, archery, photography, ballroom dancing, geocaching, gardening, etc.


Is there anything you do to help pass the time in a LDR?
Let’s hear them! And may your time apart not be too dreadful anymore!

-Desiree

(P.S. I might not be able to update this blog until after March 10th or so, what with all the MOVING and everything! Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to write about next!)

Long Distance Realities Pt. 2

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Here’s another thing you should know about me: although I am a pessimistic realist, I love being in a long distance relationship. That sounds absurd, I know. But once you get the hang of being in a long distance relationship, the perks are just too good to deny! Obviously I would have much rather not been in a long distance relationship for the past three years, but honestly, who knows if my relationship would’ve lasted had I not been in one? Absurd again, I know. But not really.

As I wrote last week, long distance relationships come with harsh realities that some people might run away from without powering through. But here’s the thing: I don’t want to scare anyone away from entering long distance relationships! Once you get past these difficulties and learn to cope with and live with them, long distance is phenomenal at actually making you work at parts of your relationship that those in a normal “close distance” relationship would typically take for granted, ignore, or not consider.

The benefits/perks of being in a long distance relationship:

1. Increased verbal communication skills. Unless you’re Skyping your beau (or belle) 24/7, (s)he will not be able to interpret your body language, facial expressions, or any other nuance humans typically use to nonverbally communicate. Because, guess what: (s)he cannot see you. In order to effectively communicate with your significant other, verbal communication is absolutely necessary. I’m sure most everyone struggles with this from time to time (I know I do), but being in a long distance relationship really pushes both partners to express themselves verbally rather than nonverbally.

2. Learning to have separate lives. Have you noticed when your friends get into relationships they pretty much morph into the same person as their significant other? Not a bad thing, but I’m pretty sure we all need some “me time” every now and then. Although just about every moment of a LDR is “me time”, having your own life outside of your relationship is really mentally healthy. Not having your significant other around that often can be beneficial to building your own life outside of him or her. And when you’re finally together, you hopefully won’t be that couple that fights over where the other is off to!

3. No rush for marriage. Is it just me, or have the years 2011, 2012, and 2013 (already) brought many engagements of dear friends and family? A trend (for lack of a better word) I have noticed recently is marriage proposals after only a few months of dating each other. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is also something beautiful about a relationship that has flourished and undergone a little bit of turmoil before settling down and preparing for a marriage. I’ve known I wanted to marry A for over 2 ½ years now, and I struggled from time to time with the wait, but distance has allowed us to know for absolute certain that we want to be together forever. We’ll see if that’s still true after living together post-long distance. ;]

4. Extra “honeymoon” phases. Most relationships have two honeymoon phases: the first is at the beginning of the relationship, the second is at the beginning of a marriage. WE GET THREE (at least)! The added honeymoon phase is when we finally end the long distance portion of our relationships. What can be sweeter?!

5. You don’t know until you try. I used to be extremely anti-LDR. How in the world could I survive distance? Proximity to the guys I was dating is what I thought drove my relationships. Hell. None of those relationships lasted, so why not try long distance? I have never gotten to know a guy I was dating as well as I got to know A even within the first couple of months. I think that’s a major pro. And this is my longest relationship… Ever. Don’t diss it till you try it!

Now with a short list of long distance relationship realities (both good and bad), I hope making the decision to enter a LDR or continue a LDR is much clearer. There are always pros and cons to every relationship, but my advice would be not to let the daunting realities scare you away from what could be a wonderful relationship!

-Desiree

Long Distance Realities

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If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I am a pessimist. And a realist. A pessimistic realist. Being pessimistic in a long distance relationship may not necessarily be a great outlook on life when trying to maintain a successful long distance relationship (luckily the bf is optimistic enough for the both of us), but being a realist is. Facing reality and considering all of life’s realistic outcomes helps to better prepare you for hardships and hurt (there’s the pessimism kicking in). While it’s great to focus on positive outcomes and forget what can go wrong when entering into a long distance relationship, preparing yourself for the hard times that lie ahead (and trust me, there will be some hard times) in advance will hopefully help you and your partner navigate with ease any storm that you might endure.

Before I go into a list of what to prepare for/expect, a good dose of positivity is in order: beyond the difficulties of long distance, your relationship will have a bit of strength and experience that other relationships have not touched upon. Think of the endeavor as an adventure! And a great story to tell to your children once you and your significant other survive the distance!

Now, for the realities of long distance that people tend to avoid telling you:


1. 
People won’t take you seriously at first. It’s annoying. It sucks. But, unless you’ve been doing long distance for at least a year or so, people won’t take your relationship seriously. They may smile and give you a pat on the back for the effort you’re putting in, but in the back of their minds many people are putting an estimated expiration date on your relationship. IGNORE THOSE PEOPLE! Either they have never endured long distance or they’ve had bad experiences. Your relationship is your relationship.

2. The first few months to a year are the most difficult. This can vary depending on how long your distance will last. The most difficult part of A‘s and my relationship was definitely the summer after we began dating (when the long distance started). Our relationship was only two months old; we were still getting to know each other! Adding distance onto that portion of the relationship makes the process more difficult. Once you’ve established a routine, distance gets easier. After the first semester of school with a long distance relationship, A and I figured out how to balance our school priorities with our relationship priorities. This takes time, but it’s worth it!

3. You’ll get jealous. Even if you’re not the jealous type at all, not knowing the friends your significant other is making might make you a bit jealous… Especially if they are the same sex as you. You can trust your boyfriend or girlfriend more than anyone in the world, but that can’t make you trust the people he or she is meeting. I know it sounds like it could be torture if you are the jealous type, but actually asking your significant other about the people he or she is meeting will help you get to know them and can help put you at ease.

4. Conversation will die out from time to time. When your whole relationship is based on communication, what do you expect? It’s normal. It’s okay. Take a break for a day or two (you’ll have plenty to talk about after!). Change up your routine a bit (if scheduling and time difference allows this). Have educational conversations (A and I have spent hours finding random words in the dictionary before; we’ve also began teaching ourselves Ukrainian). Just don’t let the lull in conversation (whether it be a day or a week) deter you and your partner!

5. Loneliness doesn’t go away. We’ve got to face this fact: although we are in a relationship, we are alone. This can be good and this can be bad. Sometimes it will be real bad. We don’t have the luxury of relaxing and de-stressing with our significant others after a long, hard day. Some days after hours of playing phone tag, curling up in a ball under the blankets is the most comforting thing to do. Seeing couples everywhere when you just want to be with your significant other isn’t easy! Allow yourself to feel bummed out from time to time (just try to put on a happy face when around friends and family).

 

Now, enough of being a Debbie Downer. Surviving long distance is a very simple thing to do (as you can read in my Goals to Survival Series). It will also be a very tough time period. However, once you have faced and survived the distance, there is nothing you can’t do. You and your relationship are pretty much invincible. Right? (Hyperboles are kind of my thing.)

-Desiree