What is both the best, and worst thing? Change. It means things will be different. You will be different. People will be different, and want to try different things and new experiences in new places. Whether this means moving to a different state, or country, the idea of being separated from your loved ones is extremely daunting. Approaching the tender subject of long distance relationships, I want to talk about romantic long distance relationships. Having been in one for much longer than I would like, I want to share the insights that I have learned:
- Get ready for effort, and lots of it – I mean this, to the point where it gets annoying, and sometimes, even tedious. Having a romantic relationship means sharing parts of your daily life that you wouldn’t otherwise share with any ordinary person. Now add distance, and this gets grossly complicated. Personally, I hate taking pictures of my food, or documenting anything. After entering a long-term long distance relationship, I am Whatsapping about how I got more raspberries than blueberries in my oatmeal, Snapchatting absurd pictures of my bonsai tree, and sharing any mundane detail in my life. It’s the little things that close the distance.
- Talk openly – Predicting how someone else feels is difficult in ‘close’ distance relationships (literally don’t know what these are anymore). This only makes the same task near impossible with long distance. The key? Open communication. This means stepping past your own feelings and talking about them even, or especially when, you are upset or annoyed. This is the biggest obstacle to overcome because if you are anything like me, you don’t want to talk to anyone when you are upset, especially to the person you’re mad at (because we’re talking romantic relationships here). Here’s my salvation, take some time to let the emotions sit and settle, mostly because you don’t want to let your emotions take control and influence you to do or say something you might regret later. Eventually, realize it’s unhealthy to bottle up emotions, and open up. It’ll be cathartic and you’ll ask yourself why you didn’t do so to begin with.
- Be realistic – Time to hit you with the cold, hard truth. Long distance relationships are not for every pair. Putting in the extra effort, being in a new place and surrounded by new people could bring out changes in someone that aren’t necessarily bad, just different. When times get tough, you should give 110% to fix things, but it is also okay to recognize that the relationship has taken a step into a different direction, and it may not work out.
Relationships are an ongoing challenge, and it’s unreasonable to apply cookie-cutter solutions of one onto another. So take my above words as suggestions only, and hopefully you too can go the distance (Disney pun intended).