Conquering Long Distance Relationships
As many of you know (or not know), I was in a long distance relationship for 2 years. We've been together for 5 years, and the last two years were spent at separate colleges. I go to the University of North Texas and Tyler went to Ole Miss. He is two years older than me and he graduated and is back in Texas. I wanted to wait to write this post until I could officially say that we conquered long distance as a couple and could give my entire view and advice on it.
Here's a little background info before we get into it... For 3 years, Tyler & I were together constantly. We didn't go to the same high school but we were always together after school and on weekends. We went from spending multiple days a week together to living 551 miles apart in one day. The beginning of it was tough not seeing each other every day. We were both finding our own routine individually, without each other but still had to find ways to include each other in our daily lives. We were very fortunate to have been able to see each other roughly every 3 weeks.
So here's my advice to you couples who are about to be in a long distance relationship, or who have been in one and want to make it better:
These pictures were taken August of 2016, the day he left for Mississippi and I went off to UNT. I wanted to include these because it's not some "perfect" picture you'd see on Instagram where everything is all fine and happy. This was real life.
TYLER'S ADVICE: : "I think the main key to a long distance relationship is obviously trust. It's as cliche as it gets but usually cliches become cliche for a reason. You have to remember that your girlfriend or boyfriend is with you for a reason. I say this because I oftentimes see other couples fight over the pettiest things and most of these things could be avoided if you just know that they're with you for a reason so there's nothing else you can do besides trust them and let the tiny things go. If you both want to make the relationship work, then it can be easily done. It's not rocket science- just trust the other person and LISTEN TO THEIR FEELINGS."
2. Don't hold your significant other back from doing things in college. There are so many opportunities to grow yourself and get involved. You should want them to be involved and be doing stuff and have friends to keep them company when you aren't there. There are so many times that I hear people in long distance relationships say "well he won't let me do this... She doesn't let me do this..." Nooooooo. Your bf/gf is not your parent and they aren't in charge of you. You can't control what the other person does and you shouldn't want to. You should trust that their actions would never hurt you and let them live it up while you two are apart.
3. Make the effort to see each other as much as possible. Now I know not everyone has the means or the time to see their long distance bf/gf a lot but thats what makes long distance so special- it's the butterflies you get when you're about to see them after not seeing them for so long. Putting forth the effort to drive or fly to your significant other is the greatest gift you could ever give them. I can't tell you how many times Tyler and I have both made the 8 hour drive or the $300 flight to see each other. It's so important to spend quality time together when you do get together again. In the summer of 2017, I literally had to sneak into his summer dorm for 10 days in a row because they weren't allowed to have girl visitors LOL. I pretended to be a resident there and throw up my fake Ole Miss ID to act like I lived there. It's funny because every day I'd have to sneak back out to get my clothes for the day because I obviously couldn't bring in a suitcase. HAHA I'll always remember how stressful/funny that was. Anyway, have those conversations you need to have in person and soak up every second of the few days you have.
4. Have a serious conversation BEFORE you decide to do a long distance relationship. Or maybe 15 lol. There was never a question about whether or not we would do long distance. It was a matter of "How are we going to get through this?" Because it's honestly very sad to go separate ways in hopes of it working out. It was so important to have strong communication before we went off to school and during. You want to make sure you're on the same page about things before y'all just move away from each other.
5. Have daily FaceTime dates. It doesn't matter if it lasts for 2 minutes or 2 hours. There's nothing like seeing their face and having a conversation even if it's not in person. It's the closest you can get and I would take advantage of that. There would be days when Tyler and I would sit on FaceTime for a few hours while I did homework or he played video games. It was just like we were hanging out at home together.
6. Communication is KEY. This goes for all relationships, not exclusively long distance, but it's so important. Talk about everything. Share your feelings. Share what your day has been like. Let your partner know the little details of your day so that they feel included and feel like they know what's going on in your life. Tyler and I have always told each other everything, even if it's things you don't think we'd care about. Like what we ate for dinner, what our professors are like, what errands we ran, etc. Keeping them informed on all the little things about your day makes them feel like they're still living near you and not like you have to catch up every month on everything going on. It makes things more "normal".
7. Keep the romance alive. Our first semester apart I paid for a customized post card thing where it sent Tyler a customized postcard with a picture of us and a letter from me and he would get it every month in the mail. He would send me flowers or cookie cakes on my birthday/anniversary/valentines day so it felt like he was still there and not 500 miles away. It's really important to do nice gestures for the other person so that they know you care and are thinking of them.
8. NEVER go to bed mad..... talk it out, take some space for a few hours, then come back and FIX the problem. Every situation has a way to be fixed if you want it to.
9. When you visit each other, integrate them into your life. Let them meet your friends, go to your usual hang out spots, show them where you spend your time. I can't tell you how comforting it was to visit Ole Miss for the first time and could finally picture WHERE he was and where he spent his time. Then would he would say "Oh I'm at _____" I could picture it instead of wondering where the heck my boyfriend is going to school lol. When he came to UNT, he met all my sorority sisters, spent some time in my dorm, went to my favorite spots. It was really fun having each other in our college towns.
All of this being said, I am extremely grateful that we went through this together and came out stronger on the other side. I absolutely HATED missing each other, but we've come to appreciate each other 10000x more now. Now we're just thankful we don't have to do that EVER again LOL. That's pretty much all I have about this. What are your experiences with long distance? What worked for you and what didn't? Obviously not every relationship is the same and what works for us might not work for another couple. But in general, I really loved doing this post and hope it could help you or your relationship in anyway. And hey, don't be scared to send this to your boyfriend or girlfriend ;)
(Continue on to see how happy we are to never be apart again hehe)
Mexico trip after he graduated
We were Daisy and Gatsby at my date party