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Mental Health

How To Deal With Long-Distance Relationship Loneliness, According To A Her Campus Editor

Today, we’re talking about long-distance relationships. In Ask An Editor, Her Campus Editors answer readers’ questions about how to be a human. This month, Her Campus’s Deputy Editor, Iman Hariri-Kia, hosts office hours. 

Dear Editor,​

How do I deal with a LDR during the winter?

Sincerely, 

Getting Freaky On FaceTime

Dear Getting Freaky On FaceTime,

God, is there anything worse than the sun setting at 4:00 p.m.? Days get shorter, work stretches longer, and the loneliness just hits different. That’s especially true during cuffing season when everyone and their mother is cozying up to the closest warm body until the ice melts and temperatures rise. And that’s especially, especially true when you’re incapable of cuffing because your warm body is living miles away, in a different city, state, or even country. 

To state the obvious, long-distance relationships can suck. They test our resolve, challenge us to become more creative and experimental in our quest for connection, and they involve a lot (too much?) downtime. LDRs can be trying for even the most independent of minds — looking at you, Sagittariuses — so please allow me to say that I see you. I hear you. I feel you. And I’m proud of you for waking up this morning and starting your day when you might have preferred to burrow yourself under the covers and listen to the new Adele album. Small victories, am I right?

Unfortunately, the only way out is through — and we are going to get you through this so that you can reap the benefits of seeing your partner again. In fact, by the time daylight savings rolls around, you’ll even be sad to see winter go. Well, just kidding. Spring is fab. But you won’t need to exhale a sigh of relief, which is good enough for me.

Get Creative In Your Long-Distance Relationship

The key to keeping any relationship alive and full of BookTok tropes is trying new things and taking creative license. I’ve spoken ad nauseum here about treating your relationship and your partner as brand new each and every day, so I won’t bore you. But I will suggest you spice up your routine. On your next date night, Postmate them the same dinner you’re eating, so it feels like you’re at a restaurant or cook “together” by using the same meal kit — as if you’re taking a class! Use that app that syncs your Netflix accounts together so that you can literally pause your movie whenever you have to pee (or check TikTok, whichever comes first). And consider investing in a long-distance partner toy that allows you to control the speed and vibrations of your partner’s pleasure. Who can focus on the sounds their radiator is making when they’re anticipating that?

Combat The Loneliness By Starting A Project

I know you’ll feel tempted to reach out to friends, cry on the phone to a family member, or silently FaceTime your partner, but combating loneliness is so much more effective when you take solace in yourself first. So, here’s what I suggest: Outline a project that you’ve been putting off for ages, whether that’s a screenplay for that TV show idea you got in English class or knitting that Ganni sweater dupe you just can’t afford. Map out the timeline of your project so that you have to work toward accomplishing a little bit each day, culminating in the grand finale right before you see your partner again. Not only will this serve as a distraction, but it will also fill you with a sense of self-reliance and confidence.

Give Yourself What You Need

Lastly, and perhaps above all else, be kind to yourself — and don’t be shy about giving in to what you need. Does that mean drinking an entire bottle of wine and rewatching the Reputation Tour on Netflix? I get it. Does that look like soaking in a bubble bath while wearing a way-too-expensive face mask and writing down manifestations in a vision journal? Chic. Does that mean canceling on plans to stay home and cuddle with your vibrator while finishing a taboo romance novel? Sounds like an absolute blast. Instead of focusing on what you should be doing and feeling, tune into what your body and mind are truly craving. 

Lastly, remember that seasonal depression is 100% real, and everyone feels lonelier in the winter, whether it looks that way on social media or not. Ignore the Snapchat stories, mute the couples TikToks, and tell yourself that you will get through the next few months. And by the time you see your partner again, you might even be better for it. 

And if you need someone to talk to? Reader, I’m always here for you. 

Love,

Iman

Iman Hariri-Kia is a New York-based writer, author, and Her Campus Deputy Editor. A 2017 recipient of the Annabelle Bonner Medal and a nationally acclaimed journalist, she covers sex, relationships, identity, adolescence, and more. Her debut novel, A HUNDRED OTHER GIRLS, will be published in spring 2022.
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