Long distance relationships: The good, the bad and the reality

A guide to long distance relationships as told by a veteran…me.

The beginning of a new relationship is all about chemistry, not geography. It’s about finding your new partner totally irresistible. There is seemingly nothing you don’t love about them…until you realise they live 283 miles away.

This was the reality for Ross and I when we first got together 7 and a half years ago.

How to survive a long distance relationship

We met whilst I was studying in Bristol. I was living with one of Ross’ school friends and he visited on my 19th birthday. When we first got together the excitement blinded us to the reality of sitting in cars for hours every weekend to visit on another.

Admittedly, in the first few years Ross did all the leg work. He had a car so he used to drive to see me and we’d spend weekends either at my uni place or at home in Plymouth/Cornwall. He could spend upwards of 8 hours driving to see me…I’m obviously worth it.

Anyway, fast forward 4 years and we were both at the end of our tether. The distance was becoming an ever-increasing issue; something had to give. Either we broke up (something we really seriously considered) or one of us had to move.

After a lot of toing and froing we decided that I would move to St Albans. Long story short, Ross had bought a flat so won the whole argument, ha.

A few months later I was moving for the 100th time in my life, petrified I was making the wrong decision. There were a few hiccups along the way but overall it was the best decision we could have made. 3 years later we are now moving into our first house together and are happier than ever.

Now, long distance relationships aren’t ideal and to be honest I’m not sure Ross and I would ever willingly enter one again, however, they can work, you just need to know how to manage them. So I thought I’d give you a bit of a guide using my insider knowledge.

Here goes…

The good

– You know that old saying ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’? It’s true. Each week I went without seeing Ross made me miss him and appreciate him more when I finally saw him.
– It gives you time apart. Ohhh I can throw in another saying here…’you can have too much of a good thing’. Sometimes you can overdo the whole boyfriend girlfriend thing, but being long distance gives you the chance to take some time off, to spend time apart and not feel guilty for it.
– Being long distance gives you the opportunity to test your relationship. That sounds bad, but I what I mean is that if you can survive a long distance relationship then you can be pretty sure your relationship is real and will last.

The bad

– You spend a lot of your time travelling to see each other. I can’t tell you how many hours Ross and I spent sitting in cars and on trains…at least 8 hours each weekend. It’s so boring.
– You can’t be spontaneous. Mid-week plans are a no. Spontaneous weekend trips become more challenging. And quick hook-ups, one big nope. So make sure you have a good phone plan because it’s you’re new lifeline to keep in touch.

The reality
– Having an off-weekend when you see one another is a no-no. If you’re in a bad mood, had a shitty week or generally just can’t be bothered to make an effort then you’re in for a rough ride. You have to make sure you’re on your a-game when you see your partner otherwise you’ll have wasted your time together.
– You have to compromise. You’ll have to find a happy-medium between what you want vs. what you’re long distance relationship needs.
– There will be uncertainty as to whether you’re doing the right thing. Accept it and stop suffering from the “what if’s.”
– You are in 2 different cities/counties/countries living your own lives so you may not talk as much at times, and that’s OK, just go with it and make the most of the time you do get to speak.
– There is no easy way to get through a long distance relationship you just have to grin a bear it and hope it’ll all be worth it.

And a few tips to help you survive
– Try and see each other at least once a month.
– Endeavour to put a stop to the distance. Try to plan a future when you live close to one another.
– Mix up where you meet up. Being long distance is a great excuse to meet up in new places and make some exciting memories together.
– Don’t bottle emotions or feelings up. Let each other know how you’re feeling or if your struggling with the distance, keeping these emotions to yourself will only make them worse.
– Ignore the skeptics. There will be countless people who don’t believe your relationship will work, don’t listen to them.
– Make sure you always text goodnight and good morning. The small things make a huge difference in feeling closer to each other.

And finally, don’t just give up. Unless you really can’t take it anymore or someone did something unforgivable, just keep going. It’ll all be worth it in the end.


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