- I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for three years.
- Despite the distance and huge time difference, we’ve learned some tips on how to make our relationship work.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t love at first sight with my boyfriend. But it didn’t take long for our vacation fling to turn into a full-blown committed relationship.
I met him more three years ago during an Intrepid Travel trip through Southeast Asia and it took us less than three weeks to decide we didn’t want to be with anyone else.
So we embarked on the cruel, and often-torturous, journey of a long-distance relationship. When I say long distance I mean it – I’m a New Yorker and he’s from Melbourne, Australia.
The distance between us is over 16,500 miles and it takes well over 24 hours to get there by plane. There is a 12+ hour time difference between the two.
Despite the difficulties and the occasional tears, I’ve learned some important things from my long-distance relationship. Here’s what I know to be true:
Patience is key
When you’re wrapped up in your relationship, it’s hard to remember that your partner has a whole other life that you don’t quite understand. They have a job, a social life, and family needs that take up their time.
As much as you’d like to spend hours on the phone with each other, they have got to be on time to work and so do you. Patience is key in these situations. Sometimes that may mean waiting for a weekly Skype call on Sundays, but it’s worth the wait.
You have to trust each other
Trusting your partner can be difficult, even for couples living in the same town. But when you live miles away, things get even trickier.
There’s no use stalking the people leaving comments on their Instagram or their latest Facebook friend. You just have to believe what your partner tells you because as soon as you start to distrust each other, a breakup is imminent.
Skype is your best friend
Talking on the phone is great, but actually seeing your partner’s face makes the conversation way more meaningful. In a relationship where getting close isn’t always easy, being able to see the other person is a much-needed intimacy builder.
Make an effort to be a part of their life
Whether that means adding his friends and family on Facebook or Facetiming into a family dinner, this can go a long way. A lot of people act like a long-distance relationship is a crazy idea. The more they can get to know you and see that you’re normal and nice, the more they will support your partnership.
An end goal is necessary
Whether it’s a visit in three months or a plan to move in together in a year, having an end strategy in place is key. Otherwise, you feel like you’re caught in a hellish limbo of missed calls and lonely weekends. Living separate lives can last for a bit, but actually being able to hug your partner once in a while is necessary for survival.
Make time for each other
When there is only a small window of time to talk during a day it’s crucial to block it off and devote your full attention to your partner. That may mean joining your friends for drinks later or shutting off the TV, but the undivided attention definitely boosts your communication and your connection while apart.
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