Let’s talk about long-distance relationships, shall we? I was in an eight-month long distance relationship until the start of January. We caught feelings right as the second semester was coming to a close and summer was beginning. I was headed back to California to spend my summer and then was headed to Madrid to study abroad in the fall.
We knew what we were getting into, I think. For months I told him that it was okay to tap out considering it was me that was going to be so far away from school, and that I wouldn’t be upset if he was ready to give up and move on. He would hear nothing of it. And although it was seriously the hardest eight months of my life, I learned a lot about myself and about my boyfriend. We got through a lot together in those eight months and found our strength to get through anything as a couple.
When I arrived back in St. Louis after eight months apart, I was ready for the best semester of my life. I had a group of girls whom I had gotten so incredibly close to while abroad, I missed my friends that had been in the states, and I was ready to get back into the swing of things at SLU. My boyfriend and I started to settle into new routines and experience life as a couple in person for the first time! We started TV shows together, went on dates, and found our favorite study spot in the library. After about two months I was really starting to feel comfortable with the schedule and routine that I had with him and all those in my life.
Here is it, what I know that all you readers were waiting for. Then COVID-19 hit. Like everyone else at SLU, my life seemingly turned upside down and before I knew it, my boyfriend and I were once again headed into the long-distance relationship that we had not planned for this time. After many tears together and one last day as I moved out and said goodbye (unsure of how long we were going to be apart), we have started once again a new routine 2,000 miles apart.
If you are newly in a long-distance relationship due to this virus or for other reasons, this one is for you! Although I know that I am not all-knowing and everyone in a long-distance relationship has very different experiences, these are five things that my boyfriend and I do to feel connected and continue to spark while miles apart.
1. Netflix party is a lifesaver.
If you don’t know what this is, it is a Google Chrome extension that allows you to watch Netflix with a group of people. The episode will play at the same time on both screens and there is even a little chat button on the side! So, movie date night am I right? Plan a little date, cuddle up in bed and watch your favorite TV show or movie with your significant other no matter how far apart you are.
2. Make sure you ask your significant other how their day went at the end of the night.
I know that seems like a given, but when time seems to be going by quickly, especially when working on schoolwork, it’s important to remember the small things. This is something that I would say most couples do in person, so in order to continue to feel connected, it’s important to continue to ask these questions. This allows your significant other to feel like you are still a part of their everyday life and to talk about the hardships and the victories of each of your days. This is something that me and my boyfriend do every night and it allows me to feel that I was somehow a part of his day and vice versa.
3. Talk to your loved ones about your significant other.
This one might not seem like it will help, but it does in a roundabout way. This is a small way to continually remind yourself how much you love and appreciate your significant other. Talking about the things that you love and even the things that drive you crazy (because let’s be real, every one that is in a relationship will say that their significant other drives them insane) will continue to be a reminder of how important they are to you and how much they mean to you. There is something about bragging about your significant other that just brings a smile to your face! Trust me on this one!
4. Go out of your way to do something small to make your significant other smile!
Again, this seems small, but it makes the biggest difference. My boyfriend is definitely better at this than me for sure! This is just small things like sending an extra text letting them know you are thinking of them, posting a little Instagram story about missing them, or shooting them five dollars on Venmo to get a coffee. These are the small things that make you feel closer and are a small extra reminder that your significant other loves and cares about you.
5. Lastly, laugh A LOT.
My boyfriend and I FaceTime often, but when we do, we try to focus on laughing and smiling! Especially in these particular circumstances it may seem like there is not a lot to laugh or smile about so it’s important to do so. I asked my boyfriend about this and he said that this is how he has coped with being apart! He says that watching me smile and laugh brightens his day and for a few seconds he can pretend that we are back together laughing and making fun of each other in person. This is so important with coping and is the number one thing that I would say you’ve got to make sure that you do! Laugh, smile, tell jokes, tease each other! Do whatever it is that you and your significant other do that makes each other laugh and smile. As my boyfriend’s said a few days ago after a call where we were laughing until we were crying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” and I fully agree.
Long distance is the worst! Trust me! I know! But it’s also a time for you and your significant other to focus on each other. To talk more and learn the small nuances about one another. Yes, you will cry together about missing one another. Yes, there will be days when it fees impossible. In the end though, you will come out stronger and more solid. There is this idea that goes around, especially right before college, that long-distance relationships never work, and I fully disagree.
They work with LOTS of effort, frustration and tears. I promise you though, it works and is the most rewarding experience in the end. If you are in a long-distance relationship, I applaud you and I wish the best for you! You are stronger than you think you are! So, fight for it and don’t give up!