Saturday, July 26, 2014

How To: Long-Distance

   Throughout my short, nineteen years (plus a month) on este planeta, I have experienced the often dreaded relationship: the "long-distance relationship." I have experienced such a relationship not once, but twice, out of the four romantic relationships of which I have had. With this statistic, it would seem as if I enjoyed putting myself in long-distance romances, but alas, this is hella false (so false, indeed, I failed to find an adjective more appropriate than one from the realm of NorCal slang). After my first long-distance relationship ended (Cali to New York), I vowed to never engage in another long-distance relationship "ever again." Six months later, I'm experiencing an even greater amount of long-distance. Welcome to Angel's long-distance relationship numero dos.
This is  a lot of distance. Oh hey, Australia! 

     From my grand total of seven-ish months of experience long-distancing, I present to you the following pointers. 

Tips to Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship

Trust is a must
     (Assuming you are in a closed, monogamous relationship) Do you trust that your partner will not cheat on you? (In the case of any relationship) Do you trust that your partner will stay faithful to the boundaries of your relationship? (I.e. If you say you agree that seeing other people is okay, but only if you tell your partner if you do see another person, do you trust your partner to be honest with you?) 
     Basically, if you do not completely trust your significant other, your long-distance relationship may cause feelings of worry, jealousy, and other emotions you most likely do not wish to feel. I personally prefer going long-distance only if I know there is transparency between myself and my partner, meaning neither of us will hide sketchy stuff behind the other's back. Honesty is key. Trust is a must. 

    With in-person communication off the table, couples in long-distance relationships often turn to Skype, Face Time, Snapchat, phone calls, texting, etc. As my relationships both began in-person and eventually turned into long-distance stints, my boyfriend at the time and I were able to establish a vague communication schedule. Right now, my schedule involves a 13 hour time difference, us knowing roughly what times we're both free-est, and our daily (sometimes more frequently, sometimes less frequently) hour-ish Skype date. Aside from this, we Facebook message each other updates about our day. I like knowing how and when I can communicate with the boyf before the long-distancing begins because it reassures me that we'll still be able to spend time together though we'll be miles apart. I am a firm believer in the cliche that "communication is the key to any relationship." So, I try to maintain as much of the same level of communication we had prior to long-distance. We usually fall short, but even a little conversation helps lessen the "OMG I MISS YOU."

Have fun
       Yes, you're doing long-distance, but dates and fun can still exist in your relationship. Here are some (clean!) tips I've used, heard about, and picked up from friends on how to keep a long-distance relationship fresh and exciting. 
  • Have fancy dates (A friend of mine would find a nice location on campus to act as a fancy backdrop for her Skype call and dress up for special Skype dates)
  • Tell each other bedtime stories before saying goodnight (Bedtime stories are an interesting way to keep a convo going and get to know more about each other; you can recite stories your parents used to tell you, show off your creativity by making something up, or tell stories about your childhood, etc.)
  • Snail-mail (Send a heartfelt letter, a postcard, or if you're feeling Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants-y, pass a light journal back and forth. Fill it with a letter or a Polaroid or a scribble or a fun memory from the day and send it back. It'll make an epic keepsake)
  • During your next skype date talk like pirates or in British accents or like Yoda (until it gets too annoying) just to change it up a little
  • Watch a show together. You two can comment as the show/Movie/etc. goes on. During the World Cup, my boyfriend and I would spam each other with Argentina and other World Cup stickers on Facebook chat during the matches we'd watch together.
  • Get your game on. Challenge your partner to an online game of pool or League or whatever online, interactive games you both enjoy. Or just see who can make the most awkward face during a Skype date. 

Keep some normalcy
      Yes, you'll look weird if you do this in public, but if your significant other appears to need a hug or kiss, wrap your arms around that laptop or make that kissy face. Keep telling each other about your day and telling each other how much you love each other (if you've already reached the L-word stage). Keep conversations as regular as possible, and it'll feel like you're having a typical face-to-face convo.

Remember the pros
       Unfortunately, when I'm dwelling on my long-distance relationship, my mind instantly switches into negative-nelly-mr.-grumpy-gills mode. I am so glad for my current boyfriend because as much as I bitch about long-distance sucking (because sometimes we have to go days without a Skype date if there's a rut where we happen to never be free at the same time) he reassures me that everything will be worth it. We only have to long-distance over the summer since we go to college together. But ugh, I'm such an impatient human being. If I did not have him helping me through our long-distance struggs, I do not think I'd be as hopeful about enduring the distance. He tells me how fun your year will be once school starts, and seeing him so positive makes me feel positive too. To quote my favorite animated fish, "When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." 

It's okay to not survive
     I could not survive my first long-distance relationship. It was one of those high-school relationships that, when put to the distance test, did not pass. I know other girls who began college with their high school sweet hearts but lost stamina after first semester, and I know girls who are going strong. Long-distance does not work for many reasons: some people cannot stand the lack of physical contact, others get bored, for some couples it isn't even the distance but something wrong with solely their relationship, etc. I knew my long-distance relationship was not working early on, but I pushed through, determined not to let the distance wreck us. But it turned out what was wrong with our relationship was not the distance. For one reason or another, if you feel your relationship presents itself with more harm than good, more cons than pros, evaluate the factors which draw you to the relationship and the factors which pull you away. Then, it's up to you to make a decision on whether or not to breakup or stay together. 

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