It seems a little like we've got the hang of it. . . or at least as much as you can get the hang of being apart from a person you care about so deeply. Regardless, we're in a good place. But it has taken a lot of work, miscommunication and frustrated texts. So, I thought sharing what we've learned may help some of you if you're going through similar things. Here is a tip for each of the months we've spent apart.
#1 My Tip: Know you want to be together. We may not always agree on the best way to cope with the distance, but one thing we can always agree on is that at the end of the day we really want this. In my opinion, this makes all the difference. You will be more likely to put in the time, money (hey, flights cost) and energy to make your relationship work if both parties have no doubts.
#2 Alex's Tip: Make sure your relationship is built on trust and work to keep it that way. Honestly, we haven't really given each other a reason to not trust the other, but trust is still work in any situation. Having a strong trust foundation has been vital for our relationship, but even then a little reassurance never hurts. However, at this point we don't worry when the other goes out with friends on Friday night.
#3 My Tip: Listen. . . Even better than before. I struggle with this one more than Alex, but it's especially important in long distance because talking and listening are all you have. There are times when I'll catch myself on the phone, but my head is in an entirely different place. It bothers me, and although Alex hasn't specifically said anything about it (other than me not listening), I'm sure it bothers him too. Now I've learned that if I can't give him enough attention on the phone, I get off and call back when I can dedicate time to listening to him.
#4 Alex's Tip: Get creative with romance. Distance is no excuse for letting things get boring. You might just have to work a little harder to show you care. For some this may mean sending surprise flowers and for others it may mean sending something a little more intimate. Either way, your romantic creativity will benefit from thinking outside the box.
We're not professionals on this matter by any means, but these are just a couple of things that we've been figuring out as we go. Long distance relationships are hard, and we hope that sharing our experiences can help some of you out there!