Dan & I have been together 2 years today. Most people know our story already, but if you don't, we basically met on September 12, 2013, while we were both on holiday in Phuket. We fell for each other pretty much immediately, and have been together since. Well..."together" is defined differently for everyone, isn't it? Because while we have been a couple for 2 years, we've only been physically together a grand total of maybe 3 months in that time.
We managed well enough with our long-distance relationship to end up married, so even though I am hardly a relationship guru, I think this is one relationship challenge I can say I have a lot of experience in!
We are looking forward to closing the distance soon. My visa application is being processed and I have ZERO idea when it'll be approved (for all those who ask!), so I'm taking it one day at a time. It's almost more difficult to cope now than it was before, because of the anticipation.
In any case, if you or someone you know is currently in a long-distance relationship and struggling, here are some ways Dan and I cope with our long-distance relationship. Hope this helps!
We Trust Each OtherThis is fundamental to any functional relationship, of course, but it becomes that much more important when you are living so far away from each other and can't "keep tabs" on one another easily. I have trust issues (if you knew me around the time of my divorce, you'd know why!), but Daniel worked really hard to prove himself trustworthy to me. It still is a challenge some days, but I can honestly say I trust him 100% with my heart, and I am pretty sure he feels the same way about me!
How: Be transparent with your activities, your social life, your feelings for your partner. In short, be honest and open!
We Make Our Commitment ClearCultivating a relationship while living apart requires extra effort in this department. Dan and I were very clear about what we wanted from the relationship and the level of commitment we expected from each other. This could be wisdom that comes with age and experience (read: we're too old to play games and too impatient for bullshit), but I think that anyone can relate to wanting to feel wanted.
What you can do: Don't try to play coy and mysterious. Be clear about your feelings and expectations. Don't expect your partner to read your mind!
We Meet As Often As We CanTo be clear: as often as we can. Which may be more or less often than other couples can. In general, we meet every 3 months or so. The longest duration we've been apart was 4 months, and it was very hard. But I know couples who spend up to a year apart at any one time. Whatever it is, making plans to meet is such a great motivation when you're in a long-distance relationship. On the days where I miss him a lot, I do things like check my flight details and plan some kind of itinerary - it helps me cope!
Pro tip: I've only ever been on flights that I got for really cheap thanks to promos. Generally, transportation is cheaper the earlier you book 'em, so plan way ahead to meet so you can save some moolah.
What you can do: Make concrete plans to meet, which means buying those plane or train tickets.
We Have Date NightsIt seemed silly when we first started this, but it's a big part of our relationship now. We take time, at least once a week, to watch movies or TV shows together. Occasionally, we'll just have a meal and talk. This isn't the same as our daily chats with each other - this is time we carve our especially for one-on-one time, with an activity in mind. The most important thing is that we are doing something together.
What you can do: Pick a DVD that you both can enjoy, and watch it together while on video chat!
We Share Our Interests With Each OtherDan knows way too much about One Direction than a normal 30-something male should know. But this just shows how much he takes an interest in my
What you can do: A really easy way to do this is to recommend music, books, movies to each other.
We Communicate With Each OtherEvery day. Every. Single. Day. There has not been a single day in the last 730 days where we have not chatted. Whether it's through text or via video chat, we make sure to touch base throughout the day. We frequently have hours-long conversations on FaceTime every night. In fact, the boys have a goodnight chat with their Daddiel every single night (my heart swells just thinking of that).
Funny story: when we first started dating, I would actually put on makeup to FaceTime with him...which meant that I was putting on makeup at like 9pm every night, lol. Oh, and sweet story: When my parents were engaged, my dad was living in the UK while my mom stayed in Malaysia, and they wrote letters to each other every single day for the whole year. Where there's a will, there's a way.
What you can do: Just communicate, yo. E-mail, Facebook, WhatsApp, Line, FaceTime, Skype, Google Chat...there are SO MANY WAYS!
We Stay PositiveThis is probably the #1 most difficult thing to do when you're in a long-distance relationship. Not gonna lie, some days are harder than others. There are days where even a love song can cause me to start sobbing. Being in love with someone 6000km ain't easy...but it is so worth it. And that's what it comes to in the end. We stay positive and we keep encouraging each other to stay positive, because the light at the end of the tunnel is worth the effort.
What you can do: Think of your next meet-up, think of the funny things your partner says, think about how special your relationship is...and remind your partner to do the same.