Hi everyone, and welcome to this week's installment of Tuesday Tales. The theme this week is long distance relationships - you may or may not know that I am currently in a long distance relationship but this is soon about to change as I am finally moving in with my boyfriend in August! We have been long distance (London > Leeds) for the duration of our relationship, which is over two years, but even before that I have been long distance in other relationships. When you add the time together I've spent almost SIX YEARS of my life in long distance relationships! Which I hope means I know a thing or two about how to get through one - so here are my top ten tips!
1. Make sure you are both in the relationship for the long term
This seems like an obvious one, but it's really important. Generally you can't do a casual relationship long distance, and you have to commit to each other long term for it to work. Most people don't get into long distance relationships indefinitely and this usually means there's an end date in the distant or near future that you plan to be together, i.e. you're in it for the long haul. Now, I know from experience that one person might be completely committed to that but sometimes the other person isn't, and that is pretty much the end of your relationship. If you don't make sure you're both on the same page, equally committed to each other and moving towards the same goal, you may as well call it a day now before someone gets hurt.
2. Have a set number of times that you see each other per month or year
Now this kind of depends on how big the distance is between you, but in my long distance relationships we always had a rule to stick to which dictated how often we should aim to see each other. Obviously it's only to aim for and if Uni exams or other parts of your life get in the way that's okay, but I always tried to see my boyfriend at least once a fortnight. Having the certainty that it would only ever be two weeks between visits really helped me get through many a sad, emotional night!
3. Make plans together
This kind of ties in with number 2, but when you do see each other, make it really special! If you have a plan to go out for the day to somewhere you've both always wanted to go, you will make a magical memory and really enjoy yourselves. Having these memories is a good weapon to fight the days when you're despairing at your relationship and want to throw in the towel. It can be tempting to spend all the time you're together in bed, but if you get out and see the world you'll feel much better for it!
4. Make plans separately
Perhaps a contradiction from number 3, but it's ridiculously important to make sure you have an active life and plenty going on outside of your relationship. Your other half won't be around very much at all, so if they are all you have that makes you happy then you're not going to be happy. The best way to keep yourself going through a long distance relationship is to spend time with friends doing fun things that distract you. This is also the healthiest way to be in any relationship, so it's good to start out as you mean to go on.
5. Use Snapchat, Pair, Skype, Whatsapp, etc
Being in a long distance relationship these days must be so much easier than in the times before the internet and amazing phone apps that let you send photos, videos and messages to anyone anywhere in the world at the touch of a button. Skype is my personal favourite and I have relied on it heavily in the two years I've been with Neil. Sometimes there's nothing you want more than just to see them, and with Skype you can do just that, and it's free! Make use of all the technology that's around, it will make you feel more connected.
6. Don't compare your relationship to other couples
This might be the most difficult tip - as human beings it is in our nature to compare ourselves to others even if it makes us feel bad. If you're in a long distance relationship and the people you know are not, then for the love of God please don't compare yourself to them! You will only make yourself upset and feel alone. Every couple is different and you can never know the complexities of someone else's relationship simply from looking in as an outsider. Yes, they have the person they love close by and they could never imagine how lonely and sad you feel some nights, but remember that you will be with your other half and it will be worth the wait!
7. Make the effort to meet each other's friends and families
When you're in a long distance relationship it can feel like you exist in a bubble, away from the rest of the world. In a way you do exist in an alternate universe, at least for those few days a month you're with the one you love. But you've got to remember that for your relationship to work in the long term you have to both be integrated into each other's lives, and this means tearing yourselves away from each other to go out and meet friends and families. If you last the distance and make it to be a 'real' couple, you'll see plenty of your loved one's friends so make sure they know who you are and like you!
8. Try not to argue over text / telephone
Now for this tip I am 100% guilty of not taking my own advice, but try try TRY not to row with your other half over text or on the phone. It's really tricky because if you're long distance chances are most of your arguments will happen when you're not together, but try and resist it, get some perspective and cool down before starting something that could end very badly indeed. It can be so easy for someone to overreact over the phone and it's much harder to calm down and rationalise things when you can't just cuddle and make up! So do your best to keep a cool head and count to ten before saying something you'll regret.
9. Get a railcard
A pretty self explanatory tip, but if you're in the UK and facing a relationship that will involve lots of train travel to see the one you love, you'd better find the cheapest way of travelling or you'll find yourself penniless! Railcards are great and save a fortune, you'll have made up the purchase price after your first journey!
10. If possible, decide on a review or end date for your long distance
This one depends on your individual circumstances and where you both are in your lives, but I have found that it really helps to motivate you and keep you going if you have a date picked when you will either review your long distance and decide if you can be closer together, or when you will (eek!) move in together. In my two longest relationships there was an end date and the closer it got the more excited I felt! Having something to aim for will give you something to wish and hope for. I will be able to verify this in a few weeks' time, but I imagine there's nothing better than reaching your end date - it must feel like such an achievement!
Have you been in a long distance relationship before? What are your top tips?