Often, it’s a question that comes up.
After I explain that I grew up in California and now live in Texas, and my husband was an army brat who grew up all over the country, it’s usually a question that comes up. “How did you meet each other?”
I take a deep breath, because I know the reaction that will follow.
Usually, looks of surprise or confusion start to surface on their face, which launches me into further explanation.
“No, we didn’t meet on Spring Break. We met as interns at Disney World after college.”
Then, I’ll break it down into how we got to where we are now. Whenever I look back at how far we’ve come, from being apartments apart to states and time zones away from each other, I think, “Well, I’m glad we don’t have to do that anymore.” Trust me, long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart.
It’s typically a question I get asked in the midst of our story. “How did you work your long-distance relationship?” And when I say that Cent and I dated for 3 years long distance, jaws drop, and responses include “Congratulations”, “That’s amazing”, and “I could never do that.”
So that led me to whip up this blog series on long-distance relationships. I’m far from an expert, and I’m writing from my limited experience, but I think that with three years experience, I have a few tips to share.
5 Things to Consider in a Long Distance Relationship
1. DECIDE. Long distance relationships are not easy and they are not for everyone. If you’re serious about making your long distance relationship work, you’ll need to really decide and commit to making this work. Talk about it with your partner. What is the distance you’ll be separated? How often do you want/can you see each other? How long will you be separated for? A few months, a few years, indefinitely? Is this person worth it? In some cases, that person may not be. In other cases, that person may be the one. It’s a personal decision, and it’s a big one. Cent and I are evidence that a long distance relationship can work.
2. INDEPENDENCE. I think it’s incredibly important for each partner to be independent. What I mean by that is that you need to have your own life without your boyfriend or girlfriend. You need to have your own set of friends and be comfortable hanging out with friends in lieu of your significant other. If you’re a co-dependent personality, a long distance relationship is probably not for you. If Cent was my only friend, and I had to live 2,000 miles away, I don’t know that it would have worked out very well, and the reverse is true. Because we each had our lives (between visits), I didn’t feel dependent on him for human contact, and later, when we caught up with each other on the phone, we had things to talk about.
3. COMMUNICATION. Figure out how you’ll be communicating with each other when you’re not together. Is that the phone, e-mail, Skype, smoke signals? It’s paramount in a long distance relationship to know when you’ll be touching base and catching up with each other. When we first started dating, it was still back when “Night & Weekend” minutes mattered on cell phones, especially with separate carriers. Cent was living in Georgia, and I was in California. With a three hour time difference, and having to wait until 9pm in California, which was midnight in Georgia…it made it a little complicated during the week. Once we were both on AT&T, with unlimited mobile to mobile minutes, it made things a million times easier.
4. PLAN. One of the things that made our long distance relationship easier was that we would plan on when we would see each other next. At least as much as possible. We would take turns flying to California and to Texas about every 8-10 weeks. I think the longest we went without seeing each other (which was the most difficult) was about 12 weeks. Too long when you’re in the same country, in my opinion. One of the minor perks was racking up a bunch of frequent flyer miles with all the flying, although, I am thankful I’m not on a plane all the time anymore. By planning when you’ll see each other next, you’ll have a goal date to look forward to, which will help the weeks in between pass faster.
5. COMMIT. I dare to say that many long distance relationships don’t work because either party isn’t fully committed. Long distance relationships are not for everyone. There are some people in my life that I know would fail miserably at one because of their personality or commitment issues. If you succumb easily to temptation, then a long distance relationship is probably not for you. If you want to make your long distance relationship work, you need to be committed. You need to be able to live your life away from your significant other, while still being in a committed relationship. For me, being in a committed long distance relationship made things simpler in some ways. I didn’t feel the pressure that some of my friends did when going out and trying to meet someone. Instead, I knew that I could go home, call Cent, and tell him funny stories of what happened that night.
These are just some thoughts to consider if you’re in the midst of thinking about doing long distance. It’s totally doable, for the right couples. In fact, I was just thinking about it and three of my couples last year were in a long distance relationship of some sort, and I shot all their weddings, so they are also proof that you can work a long distance relationship.
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