Anna’s Declassified Long Distance Relationship Survival Guide

Long distance relationships. When one first hears this phrase, one might think that this word combination is an oxymoron. How can one have a functional relationship when both parties involved can’t go on dates and see each other on weekends and at school?  These people may not even be in the same time zone. Ladies in long distance relationship land, I feel your pain. We share a special bond, a support group if you will. If you are in a long distance relationship you probably have many questions and fears. Well, have no fear; I am here to suppress your anxiety. I have ten tips on how to survive your long distance relationship. Before I begin I would like to stress that I am not an expert. No relationship, no matter how strong it may seem, is perfect. So let’s get started.

Tip #1: Always plan a time to utilize modern technology. In this day in age, you don’t have to just depend on hearing your partner’s voice. You can see him/her. This creates a comfortable environment to have real conversations as if the glass of the laptop screen were not there. Feel free to use this time to be open with each other.

Tip #2: Know each other’s schedules in advance so you are not anxious about the next time you will speak to your partner. If you have a club meeting, schedule your “FaceTime” around it. If your partner has a cross-country meet, then a tutoring session, and then a huge English paper due the next day, you know that it may be a while before you and your partner talk for an extensive amount of time. Don’t stress because he/she is NOT ABANDONING YOU. This brings me to…

Tip #3: Always send little reminders throughout the day that you are still there playing it cool. Whether it’s sending a good morning text, a picture of something that reminded you of your significant other, or even just a cute little voicemail for your partner to hear as a pick me up after class, little gestures make all the difference. It is in this way that both parties know that they are loved and cherished.

Tip #4: Don’t forget to say to your significant other that you love them. Life is short. Heck. Tell everyone you love.

Tip #5: Create a ritual that you do with your partner. For example, you can start a TV show together and watch it over FaceTime or Skype. You can have a book club. You can even read each other a bedtime story before one of you (or both of you) go to sleep. Share a Spotify playlist so you can listen to each other’s music. Create songs on GarageBand together. Start a book together where you each write a paragraph a day. The possibilities are endless and create great bonding activities to use with friends or your campers if you work at a summer camp.

Tip #6: Utilize the beauty that is the American Postal System. Before we could check our grades on our phones and receive annoying texts from our parents, there was something called “a letter.” It came in a white rectangular envelope and would be given to you by a “mailperson.” In the envelope would be a note written by someone you loved. There is no reason that distance can stop your communication through the old fashioned art of “love notes.” These notes are great because you can see that your partner is alive and well because he/she took the time to use his/her HANDWRITING or typing as some cases may be and actually went to the post office to mail a letter. Also, unless there was a sticker, your partner licked the enveloped shut. Just a thought :)

Tip #7: You can also use the American Postal System to send gifts and packages to your partner. On your “monthaversarys” or just because, you can send anything from posters you thought your partner might like from the poster sale, to personalized phone cases with pictures of the two of you. Another thing you can send brings me to…

Tip #8: Keep track of the dates of the next time you will see each other. A great idea is to create a photo calendar online for both of you to have that has all the dates you will be seeing each other during the next year. You can even keep a countdown on your phone. This idea works not only because you have a visual reminder of times to look forward to, but you can feel a positive presence of your significant other when you look at the calendar.

Tip #9: There is a common misconception that those in long distance relationships will eventually forget about each other because sometimes months go by without physical contact. That is not true. As long as you have positive reminders of each other, you know that your partner will always be there. It could be a bracelet. It could be a love note. It could even be the photo calendar I mentioned before. #9a: DANGER: It can get too excessive. Don’t crowd your room with pictures of him/her. You will get even more sad. Don’t bore your friends who are probably already sick and tired of you complaining about your partner. Share with them the funny and positive things and ask for their advice if you need it. But, most of all….

Tip #10: COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE! Studies have shown that most relationships fail because of lack of communication between partners. If you want your relationship to last past the “Turkey Dump” or the “Back to School Breakup” or the “I just want to hook up with other people but have you to come home to (BS)” make sure to tell your partner if you have any concerns about any part of your relationship. Hooking up does not sustain a perfect relationship. You need to find a perfect balance. Thus, use this time you have apart to talk. Share what happened during the day. Since you don’t see this person daily, chances are that you don’t know about certain things that he/she could be upset about and may unknowingly be taking out on you. Never be afraid to tell your partner that they need to talk to you more. If your partner is in the relationship 100%, then you need to give 100% back or else it will be a battle of “who does more” and someone will end up getting hurt.

Those are my tips. I hope you take them to heart and share them with those who need them. Just remember that no relationship is perfect. However, if your relationship lasts past the distance, than you have achieved something beautiful. For, as they say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder."