I feel like the luckiest girl in the world getting to wake up with my guy every day. Yet I wasn't always this lucky. It took two and a half years of living in a long distance relationship [LDR] and their challenges to get where we are today. Since overcoming those hurdles I've always wanted to write a reflective piece about LDRs and how we made ours work. I'm never going to say they are easy but their are ways of making them easier.
What I always found hardest are the misconceptions that everyone else apart from the couple seem to have about LDRs. These people become dead set on asking you about how you deal with trust, potential lying and the all too common belief that one person will cheat. I have always held the belief that if a person is hell bent on cheating they will do so regardless of distance. As for trust - you choose to let someone into your world, it's your decision. Trust comes naturally - when you find the person you want to be with, you trust them no matter what. Predominately I think you can only understand an LDR and the mind set for living in one is to have experienced one personally.
We managed to have tonnes of fun together. We found ways of having fun "dates" by watching the same films together, swapping funny videos and playing games on MSN. You don't have to stop having fun because you're not together physically, and I always kicked butt at 3D tic tack toe.
You should also come friends with your post office. I always loved sending Joe surprises in the mail, although trying to keep surprises for upwards of two weeks because of the slowness of international mail was testing. We'd send random things - books, postcards to Joe sending me flowers. Again I had to deal with negativity - my mother always thinks something has to be up for a guy to send you flowers. I despair.
At the heart of an LDR is communication, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION. Which I know for guys is sometimes hard. You both need to be open and willing to talk about the situation and how you're feeling. Its OK to tell your partner you miss them, hell it's even OK to cry. We text'd constantly during our LDR, we talked on MSN daily and skyped every so often. But that's what we needed for us - I needed that level of communication. Some people need lots of communication, some people need only a little. You need to find the balance for you.
Ultimately you'll have to make plans for an LDR to end. Either one or both of you will move and you'll live happily ever after together. Although it's rarely that easy. For us, we had to make the decision who would be willing to move countries. It came down to money and practicality. I was in a job that I wasn't happy in and living at home, Joe had an apartment, a career, a cat and a car. Yeap I moved. We had the extra challenge of visas but the process of making the jump to living together is the same.
Every day will feel like a holiday, I often felt nervy that I'd wake up and it was a dream. You'll feel the luckiest person in the world because you knew how hard it was being apart. But you have to learn to respect the other person and their space pretty quickly, being in an LDR we all become use to doing things in our own time, at our own speed, and to have someone jumping into your life is daunting. I knew all about Joe's gaming habit but being in his apartment and seeing how many hours he plays was a shock. You'll see their habits, how they leave their socks on the floor, ask you to always get his Pepsi. You'll either love their habits or you'll hate them. Luckily for me I see Joe's habits as part of him and I wouldn't change them - he spends hours gaming so I spend the same hours crafting.
It took us over two years to live together, at times it was horrid, I missed him like crazy and I was scared of loosing him to an American girl. Nevertheless I loved him and I was determined to get us to this point and I'm glad we took the risk.
Now its your turn - have you ever had an LDR and would you like to talk about you're experiences here on my blog? What helped me was reading stories about other people who were going through what I did. Or do you have any questions about how to deal with an LDR? Leave them in the comment box and I'll do and answer post soon!