Happy Monday, everyone! We are back after a relatively uneventful weekend. Well, I say relatively because 1. my iPhone broke *cries* and 2. We went and saw Interstellar this weekend (of course, in German). We really enjoyed the latter 🙂
Otherwise, the rest of the weekend has been spent by me reading Scarlet and now Cress while Thorsten was being a good son and helping his mom out with changing the tires in all the cars at the house to their winter tires.
Between being totally engaged in my world of book reading and counting myself lucky to have a thoughtful and sweet guy like Thorsten, I also thought about how we came to be here. While I am excited to be coming home to visit Indy in a few short weeks, I am very happy where I am. It was a long journey to get here and I learned a lot from it.
Many of you probably don’t know this (of course family and friends who read this blog do) but T and I spent more than the first year of our relationship from two different continents. I was in Chicago and he was in Germany. Long distant relationships are not for the faint hearted and there is a lot that can be gleaned from this time apart and I thought that I should impart on ya’ll what I have learned from it.
1. Use Technology!
Technology is evolving at a faster rate than we can register and there are so many ways to keep in contact from anywhere in the world. Use them! T and I used (and still use) Whatsapp to text on the regular. It made the distance feel a little less because we were able to text and talk in realtime almost as much as we wanted (almost because there was a seven hour time difference). We also had a designated time for FaceTime every week. We would talk on average two hours about everything and anything. You need that connection because
2. Communication is Key!
One of the nice things about having most conversations through text is that you can’t pull the bullshit stunts with body language. There are no games you can play. You have no choice but to be upfront and frank with each other. This is what you need. Don’t be afraid to talk about anything: concerns, fears, worries, what you had for lunch today, how much you miss them, how watching E.T. say goodbye to Elliot made you weepy because it reminded you of saying goodbye to him as you dropped him off at the airport (true story!).
The point is that communication is key to any healthy relationship and just because you are far away doesn’t mean you can’t keep open avenues of communication. Talk about things from the serious to the mundane. But remember that you also need….
If you plan on being together, you will get a plan in action, but in the meantime you have to practice patience. There are also going to be times when you can’t talk. Whether it’s because of time difference or school or work or whatever has caused this long distant relationship, you will need to be patient. This also means…
4. You need to have a life outside of the relationship
As much as I love Americans, I agree with how Germans view relationships: they remember that they were two separate entities sharing a life together.
When an American gets into a relationship, it suddenly becomes their entire life. There are plenty of jokes out there about girls getting a boyfriend and suddenly ditching all her single friends. There is some truth to that. On the other hand, when I would go to Muswiese, I would see girls hanging out with their friends for part of the evening and then meeting up with their significant other for the rest.
Because there will be long periods of time where you will not be able to talk to your significant other so you should get on with your life. It’s not over; your other half won’t want you to stop because, chances are, they are also having a life on their end of the world.
This leads me to my next topic:
You need to trust your significant other. There would be times that T would go out and party with his friends or I would. My friends would ask me with genuine concern how I could let him do that? It honestly didn’t even cross my mind to NOT let him. What kind of girlfriend would I be? I always had (and still have) complete trust in T and he had the same in me.
If you don’t trust your significant other when you are apart then it will not work Simple as that.
6. The most important of them all!!!
You have to really want it. This is a conversation you both need to have in the beginning. This is not something that can be maintained by one person or the other: you both have to want it. Maintaining a long distant relationship is hard and there will be times you may find yourself questioning whether or not it is worth it (at your darkest hour). But if you both work at it together and make it to the other side then the relief you feel when you are finally together is totally fucking worth it.
What about the rest of you out there? Those of you who have survived a long distant relationship (whether it was successful or not), what other advise could you give to the fellow readers?
3 thoughts on “How to Survive a Long Distant Relationship”
I’d say you nailed the big ones regarding how to do a long distance relationship. My husband and I lived in Germany (he) and the U,S. (I) for 2 years before we were married, and then for 6 years afterwards – but now we’re together here in Germany for the rest of our lives! We had the advantage that we had been long-distance friends for almost 15 years by the time we were a couple.
Technology surely helps (though we never did the video-chat thing), but we also have a big pile of hand-written letters, which I cherish. Nothing technology-based can beat a hand-written love letter! 🙂
The only other thing I’d add – and that’s directly connected to trusting each other – is that you should _know_ the other person.
I only recently came across your blog – I’m enjoying it!
You are so right!!! It is very important to know them 🙂 where in Germany are you?
I’m in a small town in the Schwabenland – in Swabia – and love it here. Every day is an adventure and a challenge. By the way, I read in one of your posts that you drove across the Isle of Mull on your trip to Scotland – we got married on the island, at Glengorm Castle.