So, long distance relationships are the worst. Let me just tell you. Joe and I have managed to have a semi successful long distance relationship for the last 4.3333 years and it has not been easy. I pine for the day that the long distance-ness ends.
Lately I have had lots of friends find themselves in long distance relationships or relationships that have the potential to be long distance within the coming months so I thought why not offer some tips out there for you people who fear the LDR?
First of all, I am no expert…just one lady trying to get by, and mind you, my relationship has had to play by the Army’s rules (boooo) so this is what has worked for us. It is not fool proof and long distance relationships will probably not work for everyone. I would never wish it on anyone because lets face it. It totally sucks.
The beginning of our relationship involved daily letters written to Joe during basic training. No talking for six weeks except for the written word. What was I thinking dating a guy for a month and then going cold turkey, old fashioned, writing letters for two months? Beats me.
Looking back on it that was such a romantic time in our relationship (not that we have a romantic-less relationship now ha). There is something so powerful about actually writing someone a letter. Nothing like it. The excitement I had running out to the mailbox every day was something we don’t get to experience enough these days. At one point my parents told me to stop checking the mail every day because they didn’t like their mail…so I did any way and put the mail back into the mailbox after shuffling through the envelopes to see if Joe had sent me a letter. It is even sweeter to write letters when you are not forced to. So, Write Letters.
Technology is the greatest invention ever. There are phones that let you talk face to face, web cams that you can plug into almost any computer, and a ton of different ways to connect through web cams (oovoo, Skype, Google video chat, Facebook…and a bazillion others I probably don’t even know about). Use this to your advantage. Sometimes its just good to see each other move in real life. There were times when Joe and I would just do homework with the web cam on. Video Chat is the best.
I don’t know a single girl that doesn’t like random flowers. SO GREAT! Boys…send flowers. (Proflowers.com is the bomb)
I always enjoy making Joe random goodie boxes. Us West Point Girlfriends are pros at this. Flat rate boxes are aaaamazing. You can stuff it full of baked deliciousness, toys, pictures, kool-aid packets, school supplies, magazines, snack packs, clothes, Halloween/Easter/Christmas candy, and US Postal Service will cost you $10 to send the medium sized box anywhere. Genius. Girls…send boxes!
Schedule time together. Watching the Cowboys game weekly wile texting each other about the game is one of my favorite things ever! It happens less and less now that our schedules don’t allow us both to sit down and watch the game at the same time. But one of us is usually sending the other updates on the score. I’ve also heard of people watching movies at the same time or eating dinner together over video chat.
Joe and I talk on the phone pretty much every day even if it is just to say goodnight. Now I know what you are thinking, how do you have so much to talk about that you can talk every day? We live incredibly exciting lives. NOT. Sometimes it is okay to not have anything to say. Some days just aren’t that exciting or you may be really tired and not want to think about a single thing much less hold an intellectual conversation about the book you are reading and how it is tearing apart your spiritual life (do find time to talk about that one though. Maybe after you sleep. Fostering your spiritual relationship is important). Don’t feel bad about hanging up the phone but make sure you hear each other’s voice a few times a week.
On the subject of talking on the phone, typically the first thing I ask Joe when I call him is “How was your day?” followed by “What did you do?”. Probably the best piece of advice I can give is do not do anything or put yourself in any situation that you would not want to tell your significant other about when they ask “What did you do today?”. You have got to trust each other. If you do not trust each other the 30, 50, 270, or 1700 mile distance will defeat you. Trust them and if they are not trustworthy…you may have some rethinking to do.
You will soon have a love/hate relationship with the countdown app. Some days when the little red dot has any number higher than 30 in it I sometimes want to throw my phone across the room. BUT then there are days like this and that makes everything better. It is fun to see the countdown actually go down.
The day that boy leaves and two weeks after is the hardest on me and my little heart. This last time especially. Joe was home for 60 days this summer. I was SO SPOILED (Thanks Army!). The week leading up to him leaving all my life plans sort of fell to pieces (we’ll save that story for another day) and needless to say the day he left for Missouri, left me crying all over the place. Friends are your best defense during these days. The day Joe left two of my best friends (Holla Jess and Britt!) did not leave me unattended for long. They spent the day laying on my pull out couch, watching movies, eating chocolate, drinking wine, and letting me cry whenever I wanted. Ya’ll, I have the best friends ever. They cook me dinner and keep me busy (Love you Michael and Alison!). Jessica frequents my room with my favorite Starbucks coffee of the season (because that makes everything better) two weeks after Joe leaves or I get home from visiting him because she knows I just need her to lay in bed with me while I be a girl and wallow in the right lobe of my brain obsessing over the eighty five days I have left until I see him again. I don’t know what it is about the two week mark…but it gets me. Every. Time. Stay close to your friends. Don’t sacrifice having friendships because you don’t want to make your boyfriend mad. Your friends are all you’ve got when he is gone so he can deal.
There are a million and two other things that have made my little high school sweetheart relationship become the awesomeness that it is now but this was just a little push for those of you fearing the distance. You can do it! It is not easy….it is really freaking hard but it is not impossible. Plus, there is nothing like seeing that person for the first time after 56 days….or less…or more. The butterfly nervousness and the anticipation of that first kiss is something only you get to experience and it makes all the time you get together even more of a blessing.