Last weekend, Campbell came to visit me for my senior ball. And as he was dropping me off at work before he left to head back to school, it hit me…This is the last time we’re going to be saying goodbye in the same sense we have been for the past 5 years or so. The last time I have to say, “See you in 4 to 6 weeks!” Almost the end of long distance how we know it. Holy shit.
The next time I see him, he’ll be coming for my graduation, and then I move home making the almost 200 mile gap between us to be about 30 miles. We can see each other every week instead of once a month. We can start spending more time together than apart. We started this long distance journey in August 2012 and there were days that I didn’t think we’d make it through…Distance can be so hard, but almost 5 years later, we did it. One more month left and we’ve done it. I’m so proud of us and our relationship. We have grown so much with each other, even though we’ve spent a lot of time apart. Our relationship is so special and man, I really love my guy.
So I decided to write a “long distance 101” and do 5 words of “advice” for the 5 years we’ve done distance. Every relationship is different and each day you might have to approach differently, but these are some general things for us that have worked, so hopefully they help someone else too.
First and most important, communicate. I can’t stress this enough and it doesn’t just pertain to if you’re doing long distance, but communication in every relationship is healthy. However, in a long distance relationship, it’s your backbone. You don’t get to see each other and all you have is your iPhone and computer to really connect you. FaceTime at least once a day. No relationship can survive off just texting, so put in that effort to pick up your phone and call a few times. Talk. Communicate. When I was in Australia, we had trouble finding times to actually talk with the time change and just texted for what felt like weeks, and relationships can’t work like that. We struggled. Find the time to pick up the phone!
Second, plan for the next visit. There’s something about having the next visit to look forward to and counting down. Life is easier in small milestones sometimes. Instead of thinking, “Oh boy, we have this whole new year to get through!” break it up into segments by planning for the next time you’ll see each other. When I know the next time I’m seeing Campbell, it makes everything so much better. I know we can make it through the next month and that’s all I worry about versus thinking too much into the future. When Thanksgiving rolls around, I just think we have to get to Christmas. Once winter break ends, I just think we have to get to Valentine’s Day. Focus on the smaller victories and it will make it go by faster AND give you something to look forward to.
Third, be honest. This goes into communication, but it’s important to be honest with what’s working for you. When Campbell and I are going through a stage that something isn’t working for me, instead of just letting it go, I make sure to be honest and tell him. Same goes for him with me. By being honest about your relationship, you are able to grow together and work on things, not only bettering your relationship, but each other as well.
Fourth, create rituals and habits. I’ve written about this before, but creating little rituals or daily habits has been a fundamental aspect of our relationship over the years. When we first started long distance, we came up with things we’d do everyday such as the first person to go to sleep calls each other so at least we talk on the phone once a day minimum. There was one point where we wrote each other letters. Over the years, we’ve done a number of these little things that worked for us made the days more manageable. These little rituals bring us joy and us feel more connected.
Fifth, trust your partner loves you. In any relationship, it’s important to maintain independence while also being able to depend on your partner. When you’re doing long distance, you should still be able to completely rely on your significant other, but sometimes, you get so caught up in your own life that this becomes array. And then doubt arises. But trust your partner loves you. Just because they’re busy doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It takes working around each other’s schedules to talk since you don’t get to come back to each other at the end of each day. I am at fault for doubting my relationship because Campbell has been busy when he’s honestly just busy! That’s it, busy!
So trust your partner and also make the time for one another. Do things that work for you. Create rituals that bring you joy. Connect with each other in unique ways. Communicate. Be honest.
I can’t believe these years have flown by so fast. Although they’ve been challenging, they’ve reassured me so much about who I am, what my relationship stands for, my love for Campbell, and the fact that we can get through anything.