I’m Here. You’re There. Now What?

Last week I told you why you shouldn’t fear a long-distance relationship. Now, it’s time to talk specifics. You’re in a long-distance relationship, but how do you make it work every day? Whether you’re doing long-distance across cities, states or even countries, the fundamentals of keeping long-distance love healthy are basically universal.

1.) Know your phone plan: I say this because when I was in London and my boyfriend, Chris, was in Syracuse, we thought we had a great calling plan. Because of this, we would talk on the phone almost every day. One morning I woke up to an e-mail from my mother with a subject line that read “!!!!!!!!!!” In the e-mail, I found out that we didn’t completely understand the details of our calling plan, and therefore had racked up a $3,000 phone bill. After much pleading and begging with Verizon we were able to knock it down to a reasonable fee, but needless to say our error was almost disastrous. This is why you should figure out your phone situation before you begin a long-distance thing.

2.) Plan your calls: This is especially important if you’re dealing with a time difference. You don’t want to be sitting on Skype sad and pissed off that the only person you can talk to is the robot you call to see if your sound is working. If you want to have a long catch-up, plan it out in advance so you’ll both be free and ready to chat.

3.) Share pictures of your city: Take pictures of the new views, restaurants, and attractions that you discover in your city, and share them with your guy. It’ll help you feel like you’re experiencing the things your city has to offer together. If you’re feeling really romantic, make a little sign that says “I love you” or “I miss you” and get a picture of you holding it in front of a cool landmark in your city. Send it to your guy to remind him that you’re thinking of him even if you aren’t together.

4.) Plan virtual dates: Just because you’re in different cities, doesn’t mean you can’t go on a date together. Rent the same DVD, get on Skype, press play and watch it “together.” Order/cook the same type of food, and eat it while you Skype. Pretend like you’re out at a restaurant and have a virtual date.

5.) Share the good and the bad: This mostly pertains to studying abroad, but could also apply to other types of long-distance too. If you’re in a new city experiencing amazing things and your significant other is stuck at home, make sure you share the good and the bad. If you’re constantly talking about what a fabulous time you’re having, how beautiful the city is, how nice the people are, etc. it can make your partner feel like you’ve built a new life without him. Don’t feel bad about talking about the great things that are happening, but be realistic about what your life in the new city is like. Tell him when you’re stressed about a paper or a work project. Include him in all aspects of your life, not just the exciting things.

5.) Don’t be afraid to fight: When I first went to London, I was afraid to disagree with Chris about the slightest thing. We were on separate continents and I was scared what would happen if I brought up an issue when we weren’t in the same room. What if Skype cut out? What if he interpreted what I said differently because he wasn’t there to read my body language? I was there for four months, so after a while I learned that you have to maintain a normal relationship even if you aren’t in the same city. If something was bothering me, I would bring it up just like I would if he was sitting next to me. It was a little strange at first, but I felt a lot better once I knew that no subject was off-limits. With that in mind, be careful not to pick fights because you miss each other and don’t enjoy doing long-distance. Being apart can be frustrating, but don’t take out that sadness and frustration on the other person. Are you really mad at the way he answered the phone when you called, or are you mad that you have to talk to him on the phone instead of seeing him? Keep it in perspective.

6.) “Check in” whenever possible: Balancing two busy schedules is not easy, and it’s more difficult when you can’t come home and see each other at the end of a long day. “Checking in” is a strategy I heard about while watching the show “Giuliana and Bill” featuring E!’s Giuliana Rancic. Don’t judge me. Anyway, G says that whenever she or Bill travel, they always “check in”. Basically this means that if you have five minutes, you call the other person to remind him/her that you love him/her. Even if he/she doesn’t answer, you leave a voicemail and then he/she knows you were thinking about him/her. If you talk, it doesn’t have to be a long conversation. The point is just to show that you care.  Sweet, right?

Have you tried any of these tips while doing long-distance? Any others I haven’t thought of yet? Let me know! Leave me a comment, or find me on Twitter @lifewithlauren1.

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About the Author,

Proud Syracuse University alum. I work in radio by day, but at night I run my blog "Life with Lauren"( http://lifewithlauren.com/). I'm also a freelance writer and contribute to other terrific blogs (such as the one you're reading right now). I've been dating a great guy for three years. Our relationship started right as I was leaving to study abroad in London for a semester, so I write a lot about long-distance relationships. Find me on Twitter: @lifewithlauren1. Thanks for reading!