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How to Survive a LDR

LDR (n): acronym for long distance relationship; having a boyfriend or girlfriend who lives far away from you that you can’t physically see them as much as you would like.

 

Dating your high school sweetheart and don’t want to break up just because college came? Found someone online who you really like but can’t see since you’re in N.C. and they’re in Cali? Dating on its own can be difficult and adding distance makes it seem impossible, but it’s not! Distance is the enemy of LDRs, but it can be easily conquered. You might be declaring a war on distance, but if you believe your relationship is meant to be, it will be worth it in the end.

 

Establish ground rules

This might sound weird at first, but it’s important to know what’s okay and what’s not okay in a LDR. Distance and circumstances may change some things. Alicia, a junior at University of North Carolina Charlotte, has recently become engaged to her boyfriend (now fiancée) of seven years and talks about how they transitioned into a LDR. “We were so comfortable with each other that we decided to try an open relationship our first year in college. We still loved each other and wanted to be with each other, but didn’t want to miss out on the ‘college experience’ so we made hooking up with other people an option,” she says. “We later decided that it was best that we were exclusive because we didn’t even have the desire to hook up with other people, but it was something that we wouldn’t have even considered when we were in high school.”

 

Of course an open relationship might not be for every couple, but there are other questions that you want to address and answer in the early stages of your LDR, such as:

o      Is it okay for us to dance with other people at parties?

o      What about letting other people buy me drinks at the bar?

o      Is it okay to sleep in an opposite gender’s room/house as just friends?

o      Can I take other people to formal/other date functions?

When answering questions, you and your SO want to reach some kind of middle ground. There might be some disagreements, but listen to one another and understand his or her argument before you get emotional about it. When making these ground rules, remember that trust is a basis for relationships!

 

Communication is key

I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but it’s true! Long distance relationships NEED good communication if you want yours to last. Make time for each other by either talking on the phone or “FaceTime-ing.” Designating time for your significant other is essential when trying to keep your relationships afloat.

Lexie*, a sophomore at University of North Carolina Wilmington, says, “My boyfriend and I started dating senior year of high school. At first I thought it would be easy to have time to talk since we’re both glued to our phones, but during school, we both had so much going on that sometimes I would take a step back and realize that I haven’t talked to him in a week and didn’t know what was going on in his life. When we were in high school, we would spend almost every day together and I would know everything that was going on with him, but in college, I don’t know the details about his life and it’s hard.”

It’s easy to get caught up with everything that’s going on in your life and forget to keep your SO up to date. Try to set up a time that would work everyday for both you and your BF or GF – the best time is usually sometime after dinner when there’s less distractions and less going on. Make sure you tell your SO everything that’s remotely important. You don’t want your SO to get mad if he or she hears something that you forgot to mention. Also, mention what it’s like where you are. Since you’re in different places, you’re experiencing totally different things; so talk about weather, classes, encounters and other little things to make the distance feel smaller. The amount of distance between you and your SO is fact, but there are always ways to make the distance feel smaller than it actually is. Long distance relationships can totally work out even though some people say they never do. Don’t listen to others and listen to your significant other instead. If you’re too busy on one day or too tired, don’t fret. It’s okay to go a day or two without talking, but make sure you’re putting effort into making time so your SO knows you care or else he or she will feel neglected and out of the loop.

 

Who says you have to give up romantic dates just cause you can’t see each other?

Romantic dates can definitely still be a thing for you and your SO! There might be some limitations, but there are many ways for the two of you to enjoy each other’s company:

o      Movie nights: FaceTime or Skype one another and decide on a movie you both want to see. Hit play at the same time and voila! You’re watching a movie together and you can even see and hear each other’s reactions while you watch so it’s like you guys are on your couch at home.

o      Board games: This is super fun for couples that are competitive! There are so many two-player games you can play on the Internet. This may sound lame at first, but if you FaceTime while you play, you can make jokes and laugh while beating your SO at your favorite board game!

o      Dinner dates: You might think taking your laptop to a restaurant so you can Skype while eating filet mignon is weird, so this is a more practical way to have a romantic dinner date. FaceTiming/Skyping is part of it, but make the food come to you instead! Together, decide on a type of take out you both want (Chinese, Italian, etc.) and Skype each other once both of you have your food! You can talk over dinner and you can stay in your pajamas!

There are more ways to have dates via Internet, but these are just some options. Some may seem cornier than others so decide with your SO what you both want to do. It’s more fun to pick something you guys like to do a lot when in the same place because you know that you both will enjoy it.

Plan when you’ll see each other again

The days of phone calls and FaceTiming may start to drag on if there isn’t a date that you and your SO are both looking forward to. It’s always easier to do something when there’s something else to look forward to. Long distance relationships can definitely get hard, but it’s important to keep in mind that you’re doing it because you care for one another. Countdown the days and feel the excitement grow as the date to see each other gets closer and closer. It also makes the time you see each other again more meaningful knowing that you’ve been looking forward to it for some time.

Even if it’s not a certain date, have a time period that you may see each other like after midterms or over spring break. Seeing each other makes it all worthwhile, so looking forward to that makes the rest of it seem not as bad.

 

LDRs have a bad reputation, but look past that and believe you and your SO can do it. Make sure you guys are on the same page when it comes to do’s and don’ts. If you don’t think your SO would like to see what you’re doing, then don’t do it. Make sure to make time for one another and use it wisely by sharing stories and experiences. Keep going on dates and have a plan for when you will see each other again. Even though there’s some distance keeping you and your SO apart, you might feel closer than ever in your LDR than you did before.

 

*Names have been changed

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