Our connected world makes it easier than ever to meet, connect and start relationships with people from around the globe. Thanks to the likes of Tinder, we can swipe right in almost any country. Technology and travel are wonderful enablers!
As a byproduct, many couples find themselves entertaining long-distance relationships (LDR/s). Or, couples who initially met locally, may find one partner needs to travel for work or be based elsewhere for a fixed period. This can be a challenging curve-ball, especially in newer relationships. Whatever the scenario, long-distance relationships tend to share similar challenges.
We spoke to Cassie and her now-husband David whose romance began in a doorway in India. The couple successfully dated (and got engaged!) while living between London and New York City. We also spoke to Lolly, who met her Australian beau Jordan in New York City. Cassie and David are still managing a temporary LDR while married and Lolly and Jordan now live together in Austin, TX. We also talked to couples who were local at the time of their meeting, but circumstances saw them work away for extended periods.
1. Make plans to see each other and stick to them.
According to Cassie and David, if you are going to make plans to see each other physically, it’s essential to stick to them. It’s okay to leave gaps between catching up, but as these dates can be the only source of physical connection, they take on more special importance. Lolly and Jordan found that focusing on the times they would have together, helped to push them through the darker periods.
“Always make a light at the end of the tunnel and focus on that, rather than the separation itself.” ~ Lolly Klingler
2. Have face to face conversations, not just text.
It is easy to fall into Whatsapps of biblical proportions, but nothing compares to seeing each other. It is hard to multi-task while sat “opposite” each other on FaceTime or Skype. You should aim to rid yourselves of all distractions; dress-up, show-up and act as you would in a face to face date in a restaurant.
“We had FaceTime dates where we shared wine and talked for hours. I felt more connected to him than I ever did with others because we weren’t mindlessly spending time together, we were talking about EVERYTHING” ~ Cassie Harden-Scott.
3. Be patient with each other’s schedules.
For anyone who has worked across timezones, you’ll know how tricky it can be to manage booking times for corporate meetings, let alone booking time for love. Be patient with your other half, see what they want to talk to you, but timings might not permit regular catch-ups all the time.
“We removed all the pressure. If we wanted a date night, we scheduled it. If schedules changed, that’s okay! If we had nothing to talk about, we talked about nothing and didn’t take it personally.” ~ David Harden-Scott.
4. Be prepared to spend on travel.
If your lover lives in another country, you’re going to need to empty that savings account. Take turns to travel to each other’s part of the world, or meet in the middle, and make a holiday out of it. Travel is usually a non-negotiable component of a #LDR. Unless your beau is sent back and forth for work, you may avoid travelling yourself, but you can see it as a real bonus. Give us an excuse to travel any day!
“We were Australia/US, so time zones made it really hard sometimes. Be prepared to spend all your money and spare time on flights as often as you can” ~ Lolly Klingler.
5. Discuss your communication styles and needs.
“You must have a passion for each other and an openness to share all your feelings- otherwise it won’t work” ~ Libby Andrew.
Like the famous love languages, understand your partners’ communication style is critical, distance or not. Sharing is essential to build the bonds of intimacy with each other, revealing your most-inner thoughts, feelings and worries to your partner shows you trust them.
“We were long distance (NYC to London) the entire beginning of our relationship, and we were engaged before we’d ever lived in the same country! It worked because we made our communication our priority.” ~ Cassie Harden-Scott
6. Small gestures of love go a long way.
Dani Cochrane, says that small gestures of appreciation go a long way to remind each other that you’re there for each other. It is essential to show affection to your loved one, but impossible with 3000 miles between you, sending flowers or a simple hand-written note can stand-in for missing tactility.
In a final word on their successful LDR, Cassie and David say it helps to remember that the long-distance is just a stop-gap in your relationship. They recommend creating mini-goals and milestones, to help you ‘keep your eye on the prize’. Both couples say that their LDR experiences allowed them to get to know each other more deeply than in their past relationships. So, we might just be a little bit jealous now…
We hope that this article helps some of you in LDRs right now. Have hope, and enjoy those deep bonds.
Hero image by the incredibly talented Lara Hotz
See more of her work @larahotzphotography