Relationships can be difficult and lord knows I’ve had my fair share of tough relationships. I’ve dated them all.. The boring old man trapped in a young man’s body, the starving artist, the substance abuser, the witty business guy… I’ve dated different races, different social classes, men who’ve had completely different political views from mine. Obviously none of these relationships ever got really far, and now looking back although they were difficult relationships, none were the type of difficult as the kind my current love and I are in right now. This relationship is the “Long Distance Relationship” kind or as I will continue to refer to as L.D.R.
No one ever goes out looking for a L.D.R. A romance from afar? How fun could that be? A L.D.R isn’t something you set out to find, it just ends up finding you. I mean it’s like you’re out one night, minding your own business, and having a good ol’ time, when all the sudden in walks that person, straight into your life. The one who makes your soul smile. How do you say no to that?? I couldn’t just walk away from what could possibly be my shot at true love, right? That’s what love is all about, taking that risk, going for that chance. In trying to decide (which didn’t take me long at all) whether or not this was something I really wanted to invest my heart in, I though to myself, when does love ever arrive all wrapped up in an ideal situation? Never. So I went for it. I decided I had found love, and although it wasn’t the most ideal situation, I believed we could make it work. Deterred I was not.
We’ve just recently passed the 6mos mark, which in “real relationship” time isn’t very long at all, yet for me it feels like quite the accomplishment. I am crazy in love with my bf don’t get me wrong, but I’d be lying by saying that the journey hasn’t been tough for the both of us.
Just like in most relationships, an L.D.R starts off flaming hot. The chemistry is not only strong but the flame that burns is inextinguishable. Because of the very fact that you don’t see each other as often as “normal” couples do, the “honeymoon” phase seems to last much longer. You get to see one other’s “good” side for a little longer than most normal couples do due to the fact that you see one another a lot less. You often feel that longing for the person, you miss them and so when you do see each other you tend to make every moment count. A plus when it comes to not seeing each other often is the fact that you can gradually incorporate this other person into your life. You slowly introduce them to your world as you slowly discover theirs. Remember, it’s not easy for two completely different strangers to come together all of the sudden and try to build a life together. You must think, these are two completely different individuals that were raised differently and have been conditioned by life differently. To be in a L.D.R gives you that breathing room to still have time for yourself. It’s much easier to get locked into a situation of suffocating one another when you have the opportunity to see each other all the time. We see it everyday. Couples meet each other and it seems like the first two months they are inseparable. They can’t go a day without seeing each other until one day one of them realizes that maybe they miss their friends, or they miss their hobbies. This is now when the fights commence because one person needs some “me” time and the other person begins to question why all the sudden need for “me” time. Well everyone needs a little “me” time and I get that it’s difficult to remember that when you’ve just met someone you really jive with and the access to this new found love is just a call and a drive away. In a L.D.R you don’t have the luxury of having your love just a phone call away. Visits need to be planned and when you don’t get to see each other often all you can do is distract yourself with your “me” time. That’s when you do all the things you want to do that maybe the other half wouldn’t be too interested in. This is the time you take for yourself to do the things that make your soul smile, the things you should never ever give up because to do so would be closing away a part of you, and that would no longer make you you. This is often the root to many issues within relationships but that’s for a later post.
Eventually the honeymoon phase does run out and then that is when you become blindsided by all the conflicts and hurdles a L.D.R posses.
Maybe the word “blindsided” is a bit of an exaggeration. We all know what we’re walking into when we decide to date long distance. You’re already aware of the frustrating moments you’ll endure when you, for example, need your date to accompany you on an outing but between your different schedules and living so far from each other it makes it impossible for them to be there. There are holidays that you won’t be able to see one another for, or even just those long days you’ve had at work, when all you want is for your certain someone to pamper you and listen to you,but they’re not there because they live hundreds, or for some even thousands, of miles away. This is the part of a L.D.R that we do know. To go through it fully aware that is was coming sucks. All of that shit is tough, but the really tough part are all the other minor details we don’t think about.
Not seeing each other has its perks, but it too has its huge set backs. There is now a delay added to trying to get to know your other half. It takes twice as long to get to know the other person as it would take in a normal relationship because of the fact that you’re not around the other person as often. This means it takes longer to understand the other person’s likes and dislikes, their boundaries, their weird corks and their humanly flaws. And because you were so elevated for much longer than usual during the honeymoon phase, the drop back down to reality is hard. You begin to realize that you, them, the relationship, none of it is perfect. You remember about things like compatibility and begin to question everything that is no longer blurred with sugar plums and rainbows.
One thing I must say that my relationship doesn’t suffer from like most other L.D.Rs do is the fact that jealousy doesn’t apply to us. I have always said that one thing that would bother me most about trying to attempt a long distance relationship would be trusting them to be faithful. Yet not one time throughout the time that my love and I have been seeing each other have I felt a tug of jealousy. Come to think of it, I really don’t find it all that crazy that I don’t worry or doubt his loyalty. I have always held honesty and loyalty in high regard and I would have never entered a L.D.R if I felt at all that I didn’t trust this person. That for me is a serious plus. I also cannot say that he has shown me one ounce of jealousy. He never asks to go through my phone. He doesn’t trace my social media steps. He’s never asking where I am every 20 mins. It’s obvious that the trust is there which aids in allowing for our situation to be just a tee bit easier. One less thing to worry about in an already tough situation.
So if a L.D.R is so hard to maintain, how do you do it? What are some Must Do’s in order to allow for your relationship to grow its full potential? Believe it or not, it is what to do for ANY relationship…
*Communication is paramount. Even if you’re wanting to discuss something small, if it means something to you no matter how big or small the issue is, talk about it. Speak until the issue is no longer there. Resolve it because the last thing you want is to carry resentment with you long distance. Resentment is a heavy load to carry and all it will do is slow down the progress of your relationship.
*Listen to one another. And I mean like actually listen to what the person is expressing to you. People can always tell when you’re merely hearing them out instead of actually listening to them. When people begin to feel unheard not only does that too build resentment and makes them feel misunderstood, but it also sends a message to the individual that what they have to say doesn’t matter. That later turns into the person shutting down. They’ll no longer want to share, or communicate things with you. Once the communication begins to shut down, you can kiss the relationship good-bye. When you don’t listen you also tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. To listen allows you to understand and better learn your other half. The more understanding and learning that you do, the less arguing and fighting that will be a part of your daily lives.
*Patience. Patience is important. To blend two lives together isn’t easy. There will be things that need talked about and issues to be worked on. That in any relationship is a given, but remember that it takes time, and time in a L.D.R takes twice as long because you’re hardly ever around one other. People can’t better their flaws overnight and the fact that you’re not often around one another to see the small steps that are taken towards improving makes it difficult to think that progress is being made. This is why you have to be patient. Give things time to be shown. Give the person time to work on themselves while you take the time to work on yourself. The point is to be patient and supportive of one another. Remember you’re both on the same team so cheer each other on when you do see progress. Communicate to one another as to how much that means. If your relationship lacks any of these three basic fundamentals, you’re relationship will not last very long.
I’ve given you some key elements on things to do to keep the relationship a float, so how about I tell you some key things NOT to do when attempting a L.D.R,
*Don’t allow for the relationship to go stale. Once monotony and predictability set in it’ll be hard to hold the attention (and for some the heart) of their partner. Remember that you already don’t see each other often so make each time a little special. There’s no need to go over the top each and every time you see each other but little gestures to enhance the moment together go a long way. That goes for you too ladies 😉
*Never stop doing the things that in the beginning captivated the mind and the heart of your significant other. Those are all beautiful moments and gestures that will bring sweet joy to the heart of your love. Even during the dark times of a relationship, it’ll be these moments that they’ll look back on and it could mean the difference as to whether they hold on or let go.
*Never quit getting to know each other, and that means in every aspect. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and sexually. You will one day die and still not know every single little thing about your other half, but the point isn’t to know everything about them. The point is the journey there. It’s what will bond you, fuse you together until death does you part.
*Don’t ever get too comfortable. To get comfortable leads to many negatives like, taking the person and the relationship for granted. It leads to you letting yourself go, so maybe not taking care of your health like you once did, or not worrying about your appearance anymore. It can lead to one not doing the cute stuff you once did for one another, and these are all things that keep a relationship fresh and exciting. When you get comfortable, you lose all of that, and the relationship grows old.
In a few short months my relationship will no longer be a L.D.R. I’ll be taking steps to begin my relocation process in a couple weeks and by the end of July I will be closer to by beau. No.. I won’t be moving in with him right away. I’ve lived and learned and so my comfortability only allows me to take baby steps for the moment. For me, I’m happy to be taking things slow so maybe that’s why the whole L.D.R things has worked so well for me. But I will not lie, closing up the distance between us will make things much easier. Not only that but it’ll allow for us to really see how well this relationship will work. Living closer to one another will give this relationship the chance it needs to either prove that this is love and this is it, that all the hurdles and the stress was to leading up to something greater, or will it be just another infatuation, another fling, just another lesson learned? It will either be one way or the other. It isn’t a pessimistic way of viewing the situation, it’s a realistic way of viewing it. With that said, hope is a flame that forever burns within my heart and even though it’s been a little tough, I’m still happily holding on strong. The most precious things in life are the ones worth fighting the hardest for, no?
Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Location: California Yoga Fest 2015