I’m going to take a hard right here for a second, because today marks one year with my boyfriend. And though it’s not writing related, I feel like some people might like reading about this.
I’ve been in a wonderful relationship with a fantastic man for 365 days officially. I marked it on Facebook at 2 in the morning because I was drunk and happy. We made it official over the phone. I’m impatient and didn’t want to wait until the next time I saw him to ask, “hey are we like boyfriend/girlfriend now?” I didn’t know when the next time would be.
See, we’re long distance. Not the separate continents or even separate time zones long distance, but it’s definitely a trip to see each other. It’s a commitment. And, even though I’m trying my damnedest to find a new position and move (like I’ve spent 75% of the relationship trying to), here we are…in long distance.
Let me lay it out for y’all young folk who are in love and might have to do long distance (I say as if I’m old when I really am not). Or hell, you young writers who want to write about a long distance relationship. It. Absolutely. Sucks.
I wish I could say otherwise. Being far away from someone you love is dreadful. I don’t know how military families do it. Y’all are the strongest beings I’ve ever met.
I’m lucky. I have a partner I can trust. He’s only a phone call away and we text every day (or nearly every day). He’s not going to cheat on me. He’s not going to ghost me. He has listened to me cry on the phone far too often. Plus he only lives across the state. That’s a much shorter distance than so many other people living long distance.
But man, let me tell you, it’s a bit of a depressive swing when we leave each other. After a few days sleeping in his bed, driving back home, and then having to sleep alone in mine–I’m miserable. Everything hits me far harder than it would have before seeing him. Bad news, good news, anything is just one water-y eye blink away from crying. It’s bullshit. I’m a whiny crybaby anyway, but it really amplifies that emptiness.
I still wouldn’t leave him for the world.
So, on this, the day of my anniversary, I’ve decided to give some tips for those that are in long distance relationships and have horrible amounts of anxiety like me. Or if you’re doing research for some cheesy “we met in the summer, oh how will we keep this love going” young adult romance, you might get a thing or two from this.
Find someone you trust
Relationships are hard by themselves. My long distance relationship has been my only real romantic relationship, but I’ve seen so many of my friends and family go through ups and downs. You need someone you can trust. Someone you can trust with being honest with you and that you can give yourself honestly to them in a raw, this-is-who-you-are type of way. Long distance can condense things quickly. You go from three dates to staying over at their place for a few days. It’s not 6 months before they see how you are when you aren’t primped for a date. It’s maybe weeks. I had been dating my boyfriend “officially” for a month before he saw me after a shower, no make-up and wet hair.
Plus…long distance means a lot of time in the company of others. Find a partner that you can trust going out with friends. Your anxiety is going to be one thing, don’t pick someone that doesn’t give you the respect of trust.
Don’t listen to your bad dreams
This is specifically for the anxiety worriers. I had so many dreams that he was going to leave me. So many dreams that it was going to go to shit. I had been in a few almost relationships, so my anxiety was overzealous in that department. Don’t trust your dreams. They are not the reality. If you are worried about it…tell them. Talk to them. Which brings me to–
Tell them how you’re feeling
Communication is key. Not just key, required. (This is were the conflict part of a novel pops up. Lack of communication.)
Communication is probably your only form of “relationship” at times. Tell them when you feel shitty. Tell them when your anxiety flares. If they can’t handle that (just to even understand, not necessarily fix) then they aren’t the person you deserve.
Find a rhythm to your communication
This almost became my fatal flaw. My relationship almost ended because of this.
In the beginning we talked incessantly. Couldn’t make it more than a few hours without texting. Like “ugh it’s only been two hours and I want to talk to you again.” Cute shit, right? The romance novel talk. The overly cutesy, never ending romance talk. Stuff Nicholas Sparks writes about. But then it stopped. It faded away to me starting every conversation and if I didn’t, he wouldn’t text for a few days.
I was terrified. I had been ghosted before this way. A guy told me “hey let’s try to be official” and after one disagreement, he stopped talking. I messaged him like a frantic crazy woman for a week before he responded saying it wasn’t going to work. I let him make me crazy.
And it was bubbling up again. So I asked him why he wasn’t messaging me anymore like that. He got defensive. Gave me a little bit of an ultimatum. If I’m going to need attention all the damn time then maybe we should stop now.
Round two of anxiety set in for me. I didn’t want things to end. But here’s where communication was key. I told him what had happened before. I laid out our communication style up to this point and how it was hard for me to adjust to whatever this was. Everything crashed and burned when the conversation became like this.
He listened. We compromised. The conversation rhythm adjusted (not back to incessant texting but adjusted). And over time, I was more comfortable with it. Hell, now if I don’t text him for 12 hours he texts me to ask what’s wrong.
Make time for each other
Set dates. Make commitments and plans. You can’t always visit each other but plan phone calls or skype calls. Plan things that connect you. I will stand behind this even after my relationship is no longer long distance. Connect with each other. Don’t just exist with each other.
I don’t want to say this but…there is either an end date to the long distance part or there’s an end date to your relationship. You will have to figure out which it is. My goal is to move to him which might be one long and horribly disappointing road to travel on, but, just like with every novel, with every short story, and even with this blog, I have a goal. If there is not long term goal to make it a connected relationship, you’ll have to evaluate your part in things.
I’m not saying tomorrow. I’m not saying give up after 6 months of job hunting (because oh boy, oh boy) or 6 months of fun. I’m saying that after a while, if you want this to be something, make a goal. Work towards it. Be happy.
And those are my tips. I know I’m not worldly when it comes to relationships, but I think this could help at least one or two of you crazy people.
It would have helped me.
If you have any tips of your own, or questions about anything you’d think I could help with, just drop a comment below. And please share this post with any of your friends in LDRs.
Hopefully this time next year I’ll be writing about a second anniversary…where it’s no longer long distant.
Also if you liked this personal interjection let me know. I’m thinking of doing more personal posts sporadically…showing I’m more than just a bunch of writing prompts. Ha!