I have always heard phrases such as, long distance relationships or LDRs “don’t work”, “they are too hard”, “it’s expensive being in a long distance relationship”, “you will get bored and lose interest”, “you won’t really get to know him (in essence he might be a serial killer!!!), “what if he has another girlfriend on the other side”, the list goes on forever. For most people, the thought of starting a LDR normally sends shock waves through their entire nervous system, leaving them feeling defeated before the “battle” even begins. But I am living and breathing proof that they do work. Don’t get me wrong, LDRs are not a walk in the park, given the complexity of trying to navigate a relationship from different parts of the world (or country, if you are lucky).
Survival Guide: How to make a long distance relationship work
At the risk of sounding prescriptive (as this is what worked for me), I have decided to articulate the attributes I think are needed to make a LDR work. These attributes should come from both parties and cannot be one-sided (unless, you are pretty much in a relationship with yourself). So here it goes.
First, they require love (ever heard the phrase, love covers a multitude of sins, well it does). You need to love this person and see a future with them, this is what keeps you going when the going gets tough (Cos trust me you will have tough times, let’s not beat around the bush about that).
Second, they require hard work. To be in a LDR you need to be ready to work hard to ensure your relationship lasts because there will be times when you feel like you are “running out of steam” particularly because you don’t get to see each other as often as you like.
Third, LDRs need commitment and dedication (an XXL size please). You need to be committed and dedicated to each other, unless what’s the point? Why waste time and energy? (You might as well date someone who lives two doors away from you).
Fourth, you need to trust each other. In my opinion, lack of trust is probably the single most important reason for the breakdown of many relationships. You can’t constantly be on the edge of your seat when he tells you he is going out with his friends. Let him breathe (he can’t always be on skype with you, come on now, that’s not practical). Lack of trust in any relationship (not just LDRs) will lead to constant nagging and bitterness. You will hear yourself saying where have you been? Why didn’t you answer your phone? etc. Eventually one or both parties will become unhappy and miserable and decide to let the relationship fizzle away (after all it’s a LDR, you can save yourself the trouble of having to say the dreaded “we need to talk” line).
Fifth, you need to have timelines. I have kept this one for last because I feel (my hubby agrees too) that it is probably the most important factor in ensuring the sustainability of a LDR. You need to set timelines to visit each other (remember to take turns as much as possible, it’s exhausting if one party seems to do all the travelling). Whether it’s once a month, once every other month or twice a year (whatever works for you), make sure you set timelines to see each other. This helps you to have something to look forward to (it’s quite an exhilarating feeling to look at your countdown calendar and see you have just one more week until you see your sweetie pie!). This keeps you happy and definitely adds to the joys and excitement of a LDR.
A few last words
As I write the concluding part of this piece, I can’t help but reminisce about my own experience; the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the laughter and tears, and all of it. But through it all, I wouldn’t change a thing. That’s why I can safely say that Long Distance Relationships are definitely worth the distance.