I recently read an article whose title bothered me the most:
How to Survive a Long Distance Relationship
The title irks me because it implies the only thing to do in a long-distance relationship is to survive it. (And it doesn’t help that the title is spelt incorrectly, either.) The author gives a series of headings, tips, tricks and hints as how best to endure the distance.
… so I’m going to write today’s blog post with a slightly different theme.
How to Enjoy Your Long-Distance Relationship
(Okay, so I’m being a cheeky git, but I’m also quite serious, I promise. I am also assuming that if you are in a long-distance relationship you have discussed all the important issues therein – including validated the fact that the other person exists and is corporeal. Because, if I’m candid, every relationship is different and therefore it isn’t my place to say what you should and shouldn’t be doing.)
So, most of the time, people in long-distance relationships like to pretend they aren’t in one, yeah? Closeness is one thing you can’t surpass, but coming from or living in different places has its advantages.
New restaurants or foods, sometimes different currencies, new neighbourhoods, equally bizarre public transportation, swapped seasons and skylines and everything else. Giggle over the clash in climates, sigh over politicians, become fluent in immigration law and embassies and suddenly perk up when the city or state of your loved one is mentioned in the news.
Skype calls are lovely – and they also provide one with an opportunity to talk, chat, have a ‘date’ without having to leave the comfort of one’s very own bed. Sometimes, there’s something rather appealing about talking to your significant other (and enjoying their company) without having to move or get dressed for the day.
You can still work to your own schedule for the most-part. Apart from the general lack of sleep that comes with trying to wrangle different timezones and the international dateline. But, if necessary, you can ignore your partner almost completely while studying for finals or exams. (Can you tell the wife is 17 hours behind me yet, or…?) It’s not really a pro, or a con, if I’m honest – in the same way that living with someone has its pros and cons – but it’s different, and it’s something that will come up often enough, as much as I’d rather not ignore the wife at all.
The internet affords us with little semblances of normalcy, watching a television show together is fairly effortless and rather domestic. Appropriate (or inappropriate) photographs can be swapped back and forth accordingly. Applications like Pair, Avocado, Between, Couple, Cupple, Tokii and Duet are all available for partners to access – and lessens the likelihood of anyone seeing your terribly sentimental messages.
Planning to see each other or having certain goals like holidays or long weekends is another lovely thing. And, for me, at least, it’s important to have a finite goal to look forward to. It makes me work harder, save more money and be more focused about my life in general. It’s a brilliant thing for any couple, and god knows we all need a holiday – but there’s something different about the importance of holidays with long-distance relationships.
Maybe it’s that you don’t actually get to go home together at the end. Huh.
…let’s not think about that one.
Parcels, though. Letters, postcards, care packages. For a lot of people, it’s been a long time since they last received any one of those. It’s a feature of a long-distance relationship. Even though post office queues are horrible and you’re restricted to sending certain things so it pays to be fairly gift-savvy. It’s all worth it. Seeing the handwritten address on the label, fighting through sticky tape and styrofoam. Popping bubble wrap. I certainly feel like a wee child on Christmas morning when I check the mail and see my name written across cardboard in neat, even hand.
So, in summary, (because I’ve ranted for so long I’m impressed if you’re still here), long-distance relationships aren’t something to survive or endure. They’re something to enjoy, and cherish. Being together is of course the end goal, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make the most of everything else along the way. If there’s a problem, solve it. If there’s an obstacle, overcome it. If there’s an issue, compromise.
(Like a ‘normal’ relationship – funny that.)
These are all wee bits of advice from my scarce and questionable life experience, but there they are.
Don’t panic, it’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.