Sarah and I are so lucky to live together and have beat the distance almost four years ago but for the first year and five months of being together, we were over 400 miles apart.
Long distance is fucking tough. Saying goodbye after spending an amazing week with Sarah felt like my heart broke into hundreds of pieces every single time. People always asked me if it got easier over time and it 100% got harder. You continue to learn more about your partner and fall in love with new little pieces of them only to have to leave a few days later. It’s such a rollercoaster of emotions constantly.
On the other hand, if Sarah and I weren’t long distance I genuinely don’t think we’d have the strong relationship or solid communication that we have now. We were forced to learn healthy ways to handle our feelings and get through tough spots. When you’re feeling a certain way while you’re apart, the literal only thing you can do is talk about it. This forced us to face certain things and handle them head on, together. I am really grateful for starting out our relationship so far apart, as crazy as that sounds. It built us an extremely solid ground for the relationship we have today.
I’m no professional in long distance and dating with hundreds of miles between two people isn’t for everybody. You’re alone way more than you’re with your partner and it gets really hard sometimes. I’m going to list 7 things that we did that helped us get through the tough stuff and beat the distance. I hope it helps you as much as it helped us.
1.Have your next trip to see each other planned!
What helped Sarah and I leaving each other is knowing when we’d see each other next. Saying goodbye and knowing I’d see her again in however many days gave me something to look forward to. One time, we didn’t know when we’d see each other next and spent TWO months of trying to figure it out and it was hands down the worst time in our entire long distance relationship. Having that date picked out and confirmed gives you hope, it gives you time to budget for it and it makes saying goodbye a little bit easier. Whether you go there, they come to you or you meet half way – figure it out and plan it. It saves a lot of time and pain.
2.Utilize FaceTime for dates and sleepovers!
Sarah and I have used FaceTime probably more than any other humans ever. When we first started dating, we’d stay up until 6am on FaceTime just talking and getting to know each other and always hated hanging up. Then one night, we decided we just wouldn’t hang up! We started having sleepovers with our laptops propped up on the pillow next to us and we would talk until we drifted off to sleep. As time went on, we decided we could start having dates on FaceTime!
We set aside time to either have a wine night over FaceTime, play games, have a movie night (we’d try and line up our movies and click play at the EXACT same time), we’d cook dinner and then sit down and eat it together. I loved this because it made us get creative and it was fun. It kept things exciting even when it was lonely. We would plan it ahead of time so that even though we facetimed each other almost every night, we had these times set aside as special nights together. It makes your relationship feel a little bit closer.
3.Take pictures and make something to keep all of your memories together in one place.
Sarah never really understood why, but when we were together I would take a million pictures and videos. When I was missing her like crazy or I was super lonely, I would look back at all of our photos or edit together a cute video of us and surprise her with it. I still have all of the pictures we’d take and now it’s so fun to look back on those times together and think about all that we’ve done and all that we’ve been through.
Sarah and I printed out hundreds of photos and mailed out tons of letters to each other. I would save everything from movie tickets, receipts and stubs from anything we did together. I kept them in a bag and would go through them when we were apart. Having these tangible things when you don’t have your partner near seriously helps. Reading through letters, having photos – I highly suggest keeping any memory you can and going through it when the distance seems too much. It helps remind you that you love them far more than you miss them.
This is one of the most important parts of keeping long distance successful. When you’re apart and something is going on between you and your partner, the only option to fix it is to talk about it. At first, Sarah and I would run into issues because we would brush stuff under the rug or would ignore each other instead of laying out our feelings on the table. This obviously was super unhealthy to ourselves and each other. Once we learned that just communicating issues with each other and laying them out on the table would help keep the distance less painful and us way happier, it made our lives so much easier. And we still do this today! It’s kept our relationship so healthy.
One thing we made sure to do, is not to blame each other or point fingers. Instead of getting angry and being petty with Sarah when I felt like we weren’t on the same page, I would just text her or call her and say “I feel far from you and I want to fix it.” Because you’re so far apart, you can’t always see exactly how your partner is feeling and it’s easy to assume things are okay when your partner could feel so differently! Constantly check in with each other, make sure you’re on the same page and talk about your feelings. You’re on the same team, remember that.
I also think that Sarah and I making the conscious decision to not yell or say mean things when we’re angry but to try and talk it out and work through it together helps. A lot. We never yell at each other or swear at each other. That’s one of our rules. It ensures we don’t say things we’ll regret and that we talk it out maturely.
I can’t stress enough that long distance will never work if there is not trust between you and your partner. Because of the distance between you, trust and communication is literally all you have. Since we only saw each other one week a month, three weeks were spent apart. Thats a lot of nights of going out with friends and being out and about – if Sarah didn’t trust me, it would have been impossible. When we would go out, instead of blowing each other’s phone up and wondering who each other was with and what we were up to – we’d talk before going out and I would tell her to text me when she could or call me when she got home!
This allowed us both to go out and have fun and not be on our phones the entire time we were with our friends. Your long distance relationship is important, but so are your relationships with your friends. Having healthy communication in situations like this helps you stay on the same page with your partner and stay present with the people around you.
Sarah’s ex cheated on her a lot in her previous relationship and this caused a lot of ongoing trust issues for Sarah. She was always up front and honest about how she was feeling and what was making her feel that way and we worked through it together. While I never gave her a reason to feel insecure, I never blamed her for feeling funny about things or getting defensive. We would talk it out and mend those insecurities together.
Long story short – be honest, be up front and trust your partner. If something is bothering you, talk about it in a healthy way.
One thing that we learned was that keeping your priorities in order is extremely important. It’s easy to cancel a FaceTime date if you’re out having fun with your friends but it’s so unfair. You need to carve out time for your partner and treat those dates as though they were happening in person. You’d never last minute cancel on your girlfriend it was a dinner date in the same place, don’t cancel when it’s on FaceTime either.
Prioritize your trips to see each other. If you’re like Sarah and I and you’re only seeing each other once a month or even less than that – saving money and making sure you can make those trips happen and enjoy your time together when you finally see each other is so important.
Also, saving money to eventually move in together. After six months of long distance, Sarah and I knew that when she graduated we’d want to live together. I started working multiple jobs because having that money to live together was at the top of my list of priorities. Making sure you can make things work and doing what you have to is so important.
7. Keep it exciting even when you’re far apart!
It’s easy to let the distance get to you and to feel in a rut. There were times were I was so unmotivated and missed Sarah so much that I felt so blah. At those times, Sarah would surprise me with flowers at work or I’d get hand written letters from her in the mail. She’d surprise me with packages with my favorite stuff in them. We’d have cute date on FaceTime or she’d mail my friends stuff for them to give me from her at random times.
One time, she handed me tons of letters that said “Open when…” and each had a random time for me to read it. Finding creative little ways to surprise each other and help get you through the weeks apart makes things so much easier and makes those days fly by.
That’s all I’ve got! My biggest piece of advice is just to remember who you’re doing it for and why you’re doing long distance. The days in-between seeing each other seem unbearable and it’s easy to get mad at the miles between you and take it out on each other but always remember that the distance is temporary. If you fight for each other and keep the love strong, it is so worth it.
Distance is tough and testing. It pushes you to your limits. Let your love always outweigh the pain of missing your partner. I cannot stress enough how lucky I am that we made it through. The life, trust and communication we have built is the greatest gift I could have ever asked for. I’m grateful for the distance. It made us who we are today.
I love you guys! Leave some comments down below, tell me about your distance experience! I’ll be responding to all of them 🙂