I can still remember myself, several years ago, chatting with some friends and telling them loud and clear: “Me? I would never go for a long-distance relationship!”
I had to change my opinion when I met my boyfriend, a little bit over two years ago. We met during our Erasmus year, in Sweden. He’s Spanish, I’m French, and we have lived apart for one year.
How did we make it work?
- We knew the distance was temporary – make a plan!
Our plan was to move together a year later, when we will be done with our Bachelors. This plan got us through the hardest days, and helped us keep it together. Just like you know your degree is 3 years, our distance relationship was 1 year. This is the first, and most important piece of advice I would give.
- We never said goodbye without knowing when we would see each other again – schedule, schedule, schedule!
This was a hard rule to keep, because finding the right flights was not always easy: it was time-consuming and always ruined our day. Finding matching dates, the right journey with acceptable layovers, not crazy-expensive price… It was a hassle. Having very few days together, it was sometimes hard to be like “Ok, let’s make today a terrible day and take care of the tickets”. But we always did. This way, it kept it real, and we always knew what to expect. We wouldn’t have made it without knowing this.
- Always make time for each other – but make sure to leave space for your “local” life too!
A long-distance relationship has another complicated aspect, and it is how you handle it with your relatives. Friends, family sometimes offer you to go out for a drink, come over for dinner, or go to a movie. But this day is the day you Skype with bae… The balance is hard to maintain. Whenever I was at a party or with some friends, I always made sure I would call him to wish him a goodnight. And we never canceled our virtual movie sessions. BUT, we both made sure to always make space for our friends, and never got mad at each other for going out late or postponing a Skype session.
- Small attentions are the key – don’t see big, see with love!
A short surprise call (“Hey, I just wanted to hear your voice!”), an unexpected SMS, a letter by traditional mail, an Amazon surprise delivery (doesn’t need to cost you an arm nor 3 hours of search), a small gift whenever you meet each other (we would always pick up each other with some nice treats and a bottle of water after such long journeys), a handwritten letter hidden in the suitcase – to be found after departure, etc. It’s all about nice touches.
- Virtual dates may sound odd – but they are romantic, somehow!
I loved our movie sessions. We picked a movie, got in bed with some popcorn, with the phone/Skype on and counted to start at the same time…“1, 2, 3, play!”. Some people also do it for dinners, we haven’t tried, but I’m sure it works too!
Have you been – or are you – in a long-distance relationship? What are your tips to make it work?