Long Distance Relationships: What I learned
Long Distance Relationships:
What I learned
What I learned from being in a Long Distance Relationships
Long Distance Relationships are often considered "Not a real Relationship". Having been in an LDR for almost two years, I can tell you that had I gotten a Dollar everytime someone told me "But, is this even a REAL Relationship?" or "But, do you REALLY think this is going to work?", I would be a rich woman by now. Or I could've at least afforded one extra time of visiting my BF across the pond. So before we go any further, let's establish that Long Distance Relationships really are REAL Relationships. We love each other just like any other couple and just because the circumstances aren't as favorable for us as they are for other couples doesn't mean that we're not going to do our best to make it work. After all, we were lucky enough to find each other in this crazy world! I'm not going to go so far as to say that LDRs are better than "normal" relationships, but here are some things that I learned or that became salient because of my Long Distance Relationship:
1. Communication, Communication, Communication
While communication is important in any relationship, communication is even more important in a Long Distance Relationship. You can't just hug it out. Misunderstandings happen much easier over text or the phone than in person. A lot of the communication that happens in person happens non-verbally, adding depth and nuance to the conversation. A little hand movement, the angle of your smile or that tiny step you took might change the meaning of what you said entirely. When you're suddenly left without that depth you're faced with the challenge to bridge that gap with your words.
Over time you'll become more adept at talking about your emotions and expressing yourself.
Being in a Long Distance Relationship is like constantly delayed gratification - something very uncommon in today's world. Being 10 000km away from my BF means that I have to wait on average 3-6 months to spend brief and intense moments with one another. This forced even my impatient a** to acquire some patience - which turned out to be quite useful in other areas of my life as well.
Non-Travelling, not-in-a-Long-Distance-Relationship Friends sometimes ask "How do you know what he's doing all the time?" or "How do you know he's not meeting someone else?!" and so on and so forth. My only reaction is "Seriously, people?" Like, all these questions I could ask you, being in a "normal" relationship as well! Of course, I don't KNOW any of that, but I TRUST him. Isn't that the basis of any relationship? Letting our own insecurities and fears eat away at us would be the fastest way to fighting and unhappiness in our relationship.
4. Living the Moment
While most people complain about a time difference to their SO, I actually enjoy the 7 hour time difference between me and my BF. I wake up and usually get to talk to him for a few minutes, wishing him a good night and then he goes to sleep, allowing me a blissfull 8 or 9 hours without constantly being distracted by my phone, living it up in my own life. Then he wakes up and every single day it's the most beautiful thing getting that first message when he wakes up. No matter whether we're skyping or the moments we spend together in person, they are all the more beautifully intense because they are rare.
A few tearful moments at the end of each trip are the norm, usually combined with the "How about we get married in the next half hour?" or the "How about I just ball up in your luggage?" or the "How about I lock you in my cupboard?". However, spending the entire time you see each other like that would not only effectively ruin the trip, it would also be incredibly exhausting. That's why when together you actually focus on being together and making the most of the time you're together.
5. Being by yourself
This is probably one of the biggest differences to a "normal" relationship - you spend your evenings and nights by yourself, even if you do have an active social life. So, if you haven't learned it before, you learn to be okay being by yourself and even more than that, you learn how you want to spend your time. Instead of moping around, being sad and emotional, you end up finding more constructive ways to spend your time - a new hobby, learning a new skill, or whatever else engages your mind.
6. Managing my priorities
Skype with your boyfriend or sleep an hour longer? Skype with your boyfriend or go out with your friends? Skype with your boyfriend or study for that exam tomorrow? Making those decisions on a daily basis, you learn what your priorities are and how to manage them. Not just that, you learn to manage your time in a way that neither your own life nor your together-life end up suffering.
7. Getting yourself off
This wouldn't be the Female Travel Collective if I wouldn't talk about this part. Sex is an intricate part of every relationship and being 10 000 km apart obviously means that you're not able to have a physical relationship for a big part of the year. This forces you to explore your own sexuality and different ways to still live your sexuality being apart. Whether it be by phone, text, picture or video, whether you're using toys or not - exploring these options and your own body that way will actually improve your in-person sex life!
Always remember - you're incredibly brave and strong for leading an LDR. It's not always easy and it's not always fun, but the love you have for each and the final goal of being together, makes it all worth it. None of us WANTED to be in an LDR - it just kind of happened that we fell for someone who lived far away. Some days are going to be harder than others, but the important thing is that you'll get up again in the morning - remember: you're already a day closer to seeing your SO again!
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We are a team of four feminist travelers coming together from different parts of the world to share with you what we have learned from traveling, living, loving, and exploring all over the world. Join us and tell your story about female solo travel, relationships, mental health, city guides, or whatever else comes to your mind.