How to Make Your Long-Distance Relationship Work
If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I am a very needy and emotional individual that suffers with low-attention syndrome. I need constant attention and multiple hours of sleep to function basically, like a little puppy.
Max and I started seeing each other the month before I left for university, so our relationship has been long-distance from the beginning. I guess that means we might not have created a solid foundation before I left, but because we hadn't spent that much time together, we hadn't got overly attached yet.
Although I hoped, I didn't expect a relationship to blossom, so it was surprising! My first year of university was obviously really exciting and I met a lot of new people and kept myself busy so although I missed Max, I was sort of used to being on my own before him and I had a flat full of people to entertain me. But the thing I found hardest was that the moments I shared with myself or my friends that I really wanted him to be a part of and I wanted to start creating experiences together.
Second year was the worst phase for me. In the first term I cried every day because I had got so used to spending time with Max in the summer that I forgot how to be by myself and I wasn't enjoying University as a whole that much anyway. I honestly just stayed in my room every single day like a little hermit and slept 10 hours a day. But things got better, and I started to socialise and be a little less hermit-y. Max was really busy because it was his final year of university and so we rarely had a chance to properly communicate and converse. I was very moody and sent him a lot of passive-aggressive texts.
But I have since learnt to control my emotions (ish) and third year has been the best year yet. Max and I have learnt to communicate a lot better and I'm starting to enjoy university a lot more which has meant I haven't relied on Max so much for my happiness and comfort. Surprisingly to myself, I have relished in my time alone. The fact that we've seen each other more than once a month has been brilliant for us too.
I hope you enjoyed that little rambling synopsis of my relationship but what I really wanted to share was some tips on how to make it work! so here goes...
1) Communicate - we all know that texting isn't the best way to get your message across because your tone can never really be understood but by telling each other how you feel and why you feel that way really helps you both be on the same page. Max always used to call me evasive because I would never tell him how I really felt, I'm sure he regrets that now because I never stop relaying my emotions. But try to make those everyday conversations some of the best you have by engaging thoroughly and having an in-depth chat because you'll feel 10x more connected. For me, a goodnight text and a message to say that he'll be busy all day is the most important.
2) Phone / FaceTime as much as you can - we talk on the phone every day even if it's only 10 minutes just to properly catch up and hear each other's voices as it's a lot more intimate and easier than texting long paragraphs!
3) Still do things on your own - don't just wallow around, you should do the things that you would do together on your own. It might not be the same to you, but it's important to know that you can be alone. Of course, it's unreasonable to say don't rely on your partner because that's what relationships are, but you have to be strong enough to help yourself if you're having a bad day or need a bit of love. The independence you build now will be within you forever.
4) Set dates ahead for when you're going to see each other - it will give you something to look forward to but be realistic. I think you have to set expectations from the outset so that no one is disappointed. I found once-a-month dates really difficult but sometimes that's just how it is, and you have to accept that. But this term I've seen Max every 2-3 weeks and it's improved our relationship a lot.
5) Support each other - I've missed out on Max's graduation and a lot of important things that I wish I could have been there for and I wish that Max were here when I feel down but it's so important to support each other from afar. I find it hard sometimes when Max is doing something that I want to be a part of, but you have to take a step back and let the other person blossom and have their time too so don't take it personally or react negatively. And if you feel like you're going to be a bit moody, try to restrain your emotions and remember not to take it out on them.
6) Tame the jealousy - this is by far my worst trait (closely followed by crying at everything) but I am working on it and slowly overcoming my insecurities. Max has BEAUTIFUL girl-friends, like inhumanly beautiful, and at first that hit me like a ton of bricks. Emotions are always heightened in a long-distance relationship, especially if you haven't seen each other in a while so it can be detrimental. But trusting and believing in your loved one is key. I'm fortunate because Max always reassures me and shows me love every day and really makes an effort - if you need your partner to give you a little more, then you should ask because you have to work together and find what works for you. Mainly, be confident in yourself and in your relationship!
7) Don't avoid confrontation - if there's something not quite working you have to address it. That might be difficult over the phone or over text, but you owe it to yourself and your partner. I confront Max if he's upset me or if I need him to give me more that day. In return, he does the same. I can't hold my emotions in and I need to communicate them. Don't get me wrong, it's not all calm and roses, we can be moody as hell with each other and I can give the silent treatment and slam doors, but every argument or tiff we've had, we've always spoken thoroughly about the issue and resolved it.
8) Don't play the power games - you don't need someone to prove that they care more. Yeah sometimes effort can be a little one sided but that just happens sometimes. I definitely text Max 100x more than he texts me, but that's just because I have TOO, much to say and I know, that after 2 years, that's just us.
9) Find other ways to stay connected - we like to share music, watch the same series or talk about the experiences we want to have. These valuable conversations mean so much more than just empty conversation. I would definitely recommend a shared Pinterest board, it's really fun.
10) Mostly just be kind and loving to each other - showing that you care for the person and making a conscious effort to love and support them will just build your connection to each other. Max is extremely affectionate, as am I, and he always sends me lovely goodnight messages that make me feel loved and secure. And that's all I want in my relationship, to make each other feel happy and adored.
"What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant"