I certainly don’t think of myself as an expert in long distance, but rather, experienced in loving someone over a thousand miles away. Otherwise known as a long-distance relationship. Let me take you back to Fall 2019, we went to college together so long distance did not exist, while we are both college athletes, we only lived 5 minutes away, which was so ideal. COVID hit that March 2020, and while there were many negatives, it was the first time we could do normal couple things and not have our sport dictate most of our time, the only problem: he lives in California, and I live in Arizona. It was also at that time I was in the process of transferring colleges and knew once I left, the true distance would start. Yes, some people call a state a way long distance, but I recognize it at short distance.
I moved to the Midwest for my last two years of college, and after my junior year, he got drafted for professional baseball. It was so exciting, but in all honesty, more long distance and we had no idea where he was going until the day he got drafted. I finished up my time in college, and we are currently 1300+ miles away, have a 3-hour time difference, and his schedule has him at the field for 10+ hours a day. How we manage, geez I don’t know, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I often see people on social media talking about long distance, or talking with fellow girlfriends and long distance is no easy task. It requires trust, patience, honesty, connecting in different ways, but most importantly, being a person and having a life outside of your significant other. One thing I have found is that long distance requires you to have your own interests and be your own person, achieving your own goals, while having someone you love far away doing the same. We currently cannot achieve our goals at the same location, granted my life is more flexible, but he is on the east coast 7-8 months out of the year for season. So yeah, he doesn’t get to visit me, the only way to see him is for me to spend a day traveling to spend ¾ of my day without him while he is at the field. The best part, I am so thankful for it.
Most of my life consists of long-distance relationships, outside of the relationship with my partner. I have learned the importance of good communication, finding ways to hang out, or go on dates, and not consuming too much of your day talking to them. So, I thought, what better way to talk about this than add a list of tips that get me through long distance.
1. You are your own person with or without your partner.
a. Having a partner can be a wonderful addition to your life. Key word: ADDITION. Your partner is not your life. Your partner is not your identity. During long distance, use that time to work on your passions, goals, and dreams, while cheering them on in theirs. This is a time where you and your partner can grow together even if you are physically apart. Always remember, you are an individual with your own life and don’t push that aside for your partner, your dreams and goals are just as important.
a. I cannot recommend this app enough. My boyfriend and I use it to fill out daily questions about our relationship. I highly recommend this if your love language is words of affirmation, or even if you want something extra to feel loved despite the distance. My boyfriend is pretty busy, so at this point I pull up a question or two occasionally and we discuss it. It is nice to have that time to talk and reflect about our relationship or how we think and feel. Definitely check it out, and it’s free!
3. Limit texting/being on the phone all of the time.
a. Seriously though. You have stuff to do, so does your partner, so be where your feet are. I’m not saying never text them or have a strict limit but don’t spend your days texting away over nothing. Something that has worked for me is we don’t text too often but facetime here and there for brief times (I’m talking 2–3-minute calls) to check in, catch up, and show each other love. Not spending all day talking or texting makes the phone calls more fun and allows us to do our own thing but being confident in knowing we have each other.
a. Long distance is a little different because your partner will not always be able to know or tell how you are feeling, and they are not experiencing everything that you are. You will have to work a lot harder to communicate things going on and continuing to work on communication throughout the relationship is a commitment you will have to make.
5. Just because you’re not physically together doesn’t mean you can’t have date nights.
a. Date nights to me are anything and everything. They can be staying in or going out, but they range so much in my opinion. For long distance, when we see each other, we call our little meals at 2 am when he picks me up from the airport a date. We watch movies or shows online together and use an online source to play them together or be on facetime to watch together. We have even had dinner dates on facetime, where we order for each other and then eat together, logistically this can be a little challenging with delivery timing, but it is so much fun to eat on facetime together. Turn all those little moments into dates. I know it can seem daunting that you are not physically together creating memories, but there are ways around this, and you have your whole lives together!!
6. Value the time you do get together.
a. Let me be the first to tell you how CHAOTIC the week leading up to the visit can be. I’ll double into overtime and get homework assignments done so I don’t have to stress when I am there and plan out what to do and when, so I am confident in completing what is expected of me. I think many can relate that the week before is jam packed but also so exciting. We’ve been together 3 ½ years and it is still just as exciting to see him as it was when we first started dating. (Side note: sometimes that excitement will come and go but it doesn’t mean your relationship is bad, sometimes a lot of things going on can cloud your present moment). Be happy that you get to spend time with your partner, and even when that time is ending, I recommend having the next trip planned. It makes the process and time more doable mentally and gives you a date to look forward to in the future.
b. Also—enjoy every moment together. Don’t dwell over leaving soon or distance starting again. As I said before, be where your feet are. Your heart may be far away but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it now.
7. Be intentional in words and actions.
a. A lot of your relationship will be spent electronically. Finding those words and actions that are intentional for your partner can show them you love them in different ways. One thing I recommend is finding each other’s love languages and if they include in person, find ways to still love them with their love language from a distance. I am lucky in this case that my partner loves receiving gifts and it is how he feels loved. I am known for my gift giving so I put in extra effort for that and send them to him or whatever it may be. Being intentional from a distance may be difficult, but it is not impossible, any relationship worth it, there will be time made for it and it will work out how it is supposed to.
8. Continue to love yourself.
a. Long distance, and any relationship honestly, encourages you to love yourself in order to love others to your full capacity. You are most likely spending a significant amount of time without your partner, so why not use this time to work on yourself. Alone time is some of my favorite time and I have grown to love exactly who I am so much, empowering me to share more love to those that are important in my life.
I hope these can give you some ideas on how to go about long distance! It is hard, but with the right person and effort and communication, long distance can be done. There are so many positives in long distance, and I share the feeling of wishing you could be together with your partner, but sometimes it is not possible.
However, if long distance is feeling too difficult and causing feelings of anxiety or whatever it may be, consider reaching out for a free consultation today!