Inside: Are you in a long distance relationship? Keep reading for some practical tips to make a long distance relationship work.
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The basic definition of a long distance relationship is when two people are in a relationship, but they aren’t together in the same physical location. Each circumstance is different depending on the couple. Being in a long distance relationship is not easy. However, our story proves that when there is commitment, respect, and goals, a long distance relationship can be successful.
In this article, I will share more about our experience and some important tips that helped make our long-distance relationship work.
Our Long Distance Relationship Story
My husband and I met near the end of 2008 via Facebook.
At that time, we didn’t know each other at all. He says that I added him, and I say that he added me. I am pretty sure that that may be an eternal mystery that may never be resolved.
Regardless, in one way or another, we ended up in each others’ “friend” list. We have been living the dream since then, and have three little boys that we love very much.
One day out of nowhere I noticed that this handsome guy was “online”, so I decided to “talk to him.” I was young and bored and just wanted to talk to anyone that was willing to talk with me. That first chat was pretty short and all I remember is that he said he had to go to work. As a result, we only chatted for about 10 minutes. After th,at I chatted with a of my friends before logging off to do something else.
Exactly one month went by before he talked to me again. In case you are wondering, I know it was one month, because at that time Facebook told you how much time had gone by between your last chat. He said that he was working, but wasn’t too busy at that time.
After a few minutes we realized that we had a few things in common; including that we were both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I had converted about 2 years earlier. He had been a missionary in Bolivia for two years for the LDS Church which is why he knew Spanish. That ended up being very important for our relationship because at that point I didn’t speak any English!
From that day on, we couldn’t stop talking. We always set times that we would both login and chat for hours on end.
A few months later, and many phone calls and chats later, he asked if I would be his girlfriend, and I said yes. Looking back that was kind of strange, considering the fact that we hadn’t even met in person yet.
Our relationship was pretty informal at first, but with time we realized that this was turning into something more important and real than we had imagined. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to Mexico for the first time and we met in person. After that first visit, he came to visit me once every month and would stay for close to a week each time.
He proposed to me on one of those visits and we got married 3 months later. After we got married, we had to live separately for close to 8 months while we waited for the US Government to approve my spousal visa. Fortunately, he was able to come and visit me quite often during that time.
Since that time, we have had our ups and downs like every couple, but the time that we were apart helped us grow closer.
Okay, So How Do We Make A Long Distance Relationship Work?
A long distance relationship is similar to any other relationship in that you have to be compatible. However, there are some unique aspects of a long-distance relationship that you should be aware of. Below are some tips that helped us.
Communicate As Often As Possible
This doesn’t mean that you have to be hooked up to your computer or phone 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. It also doesn’t mean that you have to rack up hundreds of dollars in cell phone bills. In fact, that kind of contact might not be 100% healthy even for non-long-distance relationships!
All of that said, technology does play a huge role in long-distance relationships. We are so grateful for all of the advances in modern technology that helped us to be able to communicate so often. I can’t even imagine this type of relationship working back when people could only communicate by sending letters or making long distance phone calls. The internet definitely was an important part of our relationship.
Even though it wasn’t that long ago, technology has changed since we were beginning our relationship too. For example, back then, WhatsApp, and other similar apps didn’t exist. That would have saved us a lot of money because my husband had to buy lots of calling cards. Back then, we did have Skype, Instant Messenger, and Email, so that was nice.
Staying in constant contact and communication is vital for making a long distance relationship work. For example, every morning when I woke up there was an email or a text message telling me to have a great day, wishing me luck in some test that I was going to take, or asking me about something important. These sweet messages helped us feel close even though we were physically far apart.
It helps to have set times when you will talk – whether via video or telephone. There was nothing better than finishing my day with a great conversation with the person I love.
Make The Most Of The Time That You Are Together
Have you ever heard the phrase, “it isn’t the quantity, its the quality”? This is definitely true when talking about the time spent together during long-distance relationships.
My husband and I made the very most of every time that he came down to visit me. For example, we would go out every night, we went to the movies, we visited my extended family, we went to activities with my friends, we went to tourist locations, and much more!
The purpose of all of that was to strengthen our relationship and to make the most of the time that we were together in person. This is so important, because one of the biggest challenges in making a long-distance relationship work is the distance. The time that you actually spend together is your best chance to grow closer as a couple.
Set Goals As A Couple
Being in a long-distance relationship requires time, money, and extra energy to make things works. For that reason alone, if you are in a long-distance relationship, it is important to be completely honest about how you feel and your mutual goals.
Of course, this is important in all relationships, but it can make or break a long distance relationship. You have to learn how to talk early and often about the future and what you both expect to come from the relationship. My husband and I discussed very early in our relationship what we wanted and the things that we would do to make it happen.
For example, we both committed to giving our best self and doing everything we could to make our relationship work. This included saving money for his almost-monthly trips. A lot of people told us that it seemed like it was an unnecessary expense, but we saw it as an investment in our relationship. We didn’t always have enough money to go out and do a lot of fun things during our visits, but spending money so he could visit me allowed us to spend more time together.
Our time apart was not easy, but as we made goals and kept them together, our relationship grew and helped us to realize that it was something serious.
Someone once told me that long-distance relationships are only for the brave. However, I think that a better way to put it is that they are for committed, mature, and patient people.
There will be times when you will not be able to see your significant other as often as you would like, and that requires a lot of patience. Like I mentioned above, after we got married in Mexico, we immediately applied for a spousal visa. If you want to get some tips on adapting to life in the USA, click here.
We didn’t think it would take too long, but it ended up taking almost exactly 8 months from the time we married until I was able to join my husband in the United States. My husband visited me when he could, but he was working and in school still, so he wasn’t able to visit as much as he had at first. This was difficult, but there was nothing that could keep us apart emotionally.
What everyone wants in a relationship, whether long-distance or not, is love and happiness. Some relationships work and others do not. It all depends on one’s commitment, goals, and patience.
Is a Long Distance Relationship Worth It?
If you are still reading, you may be asking yourself if being in a long distance relationship is worth all of the difficulties. In our case, it definitely was, but that doesn’t mean it will be for you. As in all decisions, I recommend that you weight to pros and cons and make the best decision for you. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of being in a long distance relationship to help you out.
Advantages Of A Long Distance Relationship
- All communications are genuine, real, and meaningful: Being far apart is a unique experience. Knowing that you won’t see each other for awhile and that your only communication is via telephone or internet, really provides an opportunity to have a more deep, and meaningful conversation. Some of those conversations can go on for hours. To put it in perspective, you probably know some people that live under the same roof for years without having an actual, meaningful conversation. On the other hand, when people are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles, conversations tend to be longer and deeper. Those of us that have been separated by distance know how important it is to strive to make the most of all communications.
- You have to make better plans and you get to go on fun trips together: Being that you don’t get to see each other as often, that gives you a great opportunity to make more detailed plans. We often got to plan fun day trips too. For example, my husband often flew into airports that were a little bit further away, because the tickets were less expensive. That gave us the opportunity to make some fun stops along the way home. We always had new adventures and it was never boring.
- If your relationship can survive the long distance, you can survive almost anything: Couples that are able to survive a long distance relationship will often be even more united and inseparable when they are finally together. We have proved this in the many years since our relationship began. There have been difficulties, but we have gone through so much together and that has made these years the best of our lives.
- Both of you are equally committed: When you are in a long-distance relationship, there has to be goals and an equal amount of dedication from both parts. If you aren’t both equally committed, then the relationship likely won’t work out.
- You become more independent: Being physically apart forces you to maintain a close circle of friends. You learn how to give yourself and your spouse space when necessary and how to better deal with not always being together 100% of the time.
Disadvantages Of A Long Distance Relationship
- The Cost: One of the most inconvenient aspects of a long-distance relationship is the cost. If your significant other lives not only in a different city, but a different country or even continent, transportation costs can add up very quickly. That can make it hard to visit as often as you would like.
- Lack of Physical Contact. This is probably the saddest and most difficult part of a long-distance relationship. You really have to be patient to be able to make it through. No amount of talking or video calls can make up for a hug or a kiss with the person that you love.
- Long-Distance Relationships Are Best For Short Periods of Times. All relationships are complicated, but when they are long-distance relationships it is more apparent. Not only do you have to invest a lot of money, but long-distance relationships can be emotionally draining and difficult to carry on for a long time. You have to have goals for where you want it to go, and if it goes on forever without any hope of being together physically, it can make it hard to stay motivated.
In conclusion, if someone asks me today if long-distance relationships can work, my definitive answer is yes! That said, like all relationships, they require will power, commitment, and hard work.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? Are you thinking about getting into one? If so, please share your story in the comments below! I wish you success and luck in your own love story.