After our exchange year in Japan ended, I had to head back to New Zealand and my Schnucki had to go back to Germany. We both had the last year of our degrees to finish off back at our own universities, so one of us following the other home wasn’t an option at the time. We were apart for more than a year…and I don’t ever want to have to repeat that again.
Here are my tips on how to survive the dreaded Long Distance Relationship and I’m not going to lie – sometimes it was really, really, really hard.
I know that it will feel like there’s a gaping hole in your chest and I know that all you’ll want to do is to curl up into a weeping ball of self-pity, but you HAVE to keep busy! If you don’t, that tsunami wave of loneliness is just going to swallow you up whole…and you really don’t want that.
Luckily, it was my last year of university so I was really busy anyway, and distracting myself also made it feel like the time was going faster. So just go out with friends, try new things and avoid sitting alone at home as much as possible.
Use Skype…A LOT!
This one is a no brainer and I am SO grateful that we live in the age that has Skype. It would have been so much harder if we had lived in the times of no internet and snail mail – heck, I don’t even know if we could have even reunited in that scenario!
Germany and New Zealand are literally on opposite sides of the world, so the time difference was around 12 hours apart. We would usually Skype after he’d got up in the morning and before I headed off to bed. Have a Skype routine and try to stick to it!
Make a Private Blog
This one was a saviour. We had already decided in Japan that we would create a private blog that only we could access and it was the best idea, ever. If we missed each other on Skype, we could always post messages and photos to each other about our day and then we would leave comments to each other about the posts.
I always looked forward to checking the blog (or Schnuckiblog as we called it) to see if he had left me any messages. It was a really good way for the us to keep in touch and if either of us was having a hard time, it was sometimes easier to write things down rather than say them aloud.
Be Better at the Relationship
You know how you’re in a relationship? Yeah, well you have to be EVEN BETTER at being in a relationship while you’re on long distance. People say that communication is the key to any relationship and it really, truly is…especially if you’re on opposite sides of the world. It seems obvious, but you really have to amp up your communication/talking game because you don’t have the physical aspects to fall back on anymore.
You have to be honest about things that are happening and you have to let him know when it’s killing you, because chances are he’s feeling the exact same way. You also have to swallow any jealousy when he talks about people you don’t know and you have to put your pride in the back seat – otherwise it will drive you crazy. You will not survive.
Don’t Ever Leave a Fight Unresolved
This goes for any relationship, but the consequences can be really bad if you leave a fight unresolved when you’re on a long distance relationship. It could even break you up. When you’re both lonely and stressed, you can end up taking it out on each other but DO NOT hang up that Skype call during a fight. Even if one of you does, call them back right away and solve that problem – no matter how long it takes.
Have an End Date
I cannot stress how important it is to have an end date to the long distance because during the time that you’re both apart, that end date is the only thing that keeps you going. I don’t even think I would have survived if we didn’t already know from the start that we would reunite in March the next year. Even if it’s not an actual end date, plan to meet up at some point because no one is built to handle a long distance relationship indefinitely.
Keep in Touch
This may seem like a strange thing to say, but you have to keep in touch especially when times are tough. They are far away from you and they do not know that you’re having a bad day unless you tell them. If I was having a bad day or upset over something, there were times when I would just shut off and not tell him anything and he would get really worried – and this was not the way to do it.
It is so much harder to know if someone is upset over messages or video calls because it’s just not as obvious as it is if you were in the same room as them and could read their body language. So be upfront about your feelings. Even though you know that you can’t get a reassuring hug afterwards, you’ll get some comforting words from your partner and that’s better than nothing.
Don’t Let the Guilt Get to You
I remember I always used to let the Long Distance Relationship Guilt get to me. This was when I would block off my feelings of missing my Schnucki because I felt like I didn’t deserve to feel bad. I had an amazing partner who just happened to be living far away from me for a year, that was all…right? I would tell myself that I couldn’t feel sad over this, I couldn’t feel this devastating heartache. But I did. I really, really did. My heart literally ached.
Even though I tried really hard not to show it, it was really ripping me up inside. I passed it off as no big deal in front of my friends and family, but being so far away from your love for so long is a really big deal. It’s just that no one realises how big until they experience it for themselves. So don’t let the guilt get to you and don’t let yourself, or anyone else, dismiss the pain that you’re feeling. Because the pain is real.
Make Use of the Time Apart
Since circumstances has you apart for the time being, make sure it wasn’t in vain! This is the time to focus on yourself and what you love to do. Keep yourself happy by doing the things that make you happy and make sure you have some projects to work on.
If you feel like you’re running out of things to talk about, take this chance to get to know your partner better. Ask questions you’ve never asked before; about their childhood memories, fears and the like (or just be lazy by looking up questions on Google) and you might just discover something new!
Throughout the year we were apart, I also made a scrapbook full of photos from our adventures in Japan and sent it to my Schnucki for Christmas and he loved it. So keep busy and keep positive! You can survive this!
You Will Know if it is Worth It
Even though we’d only been going out for less than a year when we had to start the long distance relationship, we both knew we were in it to win it. That stubborn determination we both had to beat the odds was the drive that kept us going.
Although there were rough patches, especially in the first half of the year, and there were nights I just cried myself to sleep from missing him so much, we made it through and we came out stronger than ever before. And the reunion was pure bliss.
If you can survive a long distance relationship together, I think you can survive anything. True love conquers any distance!
Have you been in or are you currently in a Long Distance Relationship?
What else would you add to this list?