Surviving Long Distance Relationships: 10 Tips to Keep You Close. ~ Sion Lidster

Via on Jul 1, 2013

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Venturing into the unknown, with excitement and hope.

A few years ago, I met an American girl studying in my hometown, a small village in South Wales.

I remember her exuberance for life, as she walked along the road saying, “Hello,” to strangers, she wouldn’t stop smiling. She was on her own adventure.

It doesn’t matter whether I believe in fate or any path that’s ‘meant to be’—I have no answers to those assumptions. All I know is that my eyes opened with excitement.

Three years later, Jamie is my wife, and we are half way through a visa application to live together in the United States.

It has not always been easy.

I want to help mentally prepare those of you who are embarking on a similar journey. I thought I would share with you some bare-bones tips and advice from what I have learned through this time—the blind leaps, the wayward roadblocks and the all-out explosions of this choice of living.

Here are my top 10 tips for surviving a long distance relationship:

1. Bask in the scope of your decision.

You are about to embark on an adventure that people write songs, poems and books about. The romance of a message in a bottle is what you are going to create. The seas and lands between you are going to pull at your strengths and weaknesses unlike any other relationship you have had before. This is raw; this is living.

Attempt to keep a mindset semi-detached to the situation. Take time to step back and realize what you both are doing. Be proud of yourself for being the kind of person who is willing to take the chance. This is a grand definition of character. Bask in that.

2. Realize how amazing you have it.

First and foremost, if you have found somebody you love and who loves you back—you are one of the lucky ones. Don’t get caught up in the technicalities straight away. If you have found somebody, a rarity, that compliments your every aspiration, make this the priority.

The intricacies can be mapped out as you explore your new world.

3. Communicate daily.

Whenever possible—strive to talk everyday.

We have never been in a better position to indulge in a long distance relationship. The Internet has really changed the world we live in for the better. It means distances aren’t dictated by their physical truths. Today, I can sit at a computer and talk face to face with Jamie in real time. I can send free text messages through email. I can instantly send photographs and videos.  I can map out a virtual photo-album.  With a click, I can book a last minute flight in seconds.

And this is just the beginning. With inventions like 3D printing and Google Glass, the future of time spent apart will make us closer still.

4. Honesty must be ripe.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.

~ Henry David Thoreau

If you’re going to survive this kind of relationship, this quote should be your mantra.

You see, I believe that truth is love. Or, to put it another way, love, without truth, can’t be love.

You have to be honest with each other. You have to make every effort not to waste each other’s time in this one short life. This is a huge dedication; this isn’t just some weekend fling. It is going to take sacrifice on many levels. You will need to readjust how you spend your time—you’ll spend hundreds of hours, if not thousands, on flights, you’ll miss nights out with friends, you’ll miss family occasions and you’ll probably take off a few years from your life, as a result of all the stresses that go hand-in-hand (though, this isn’t bound just to long distance relationships, of course!)

It’s easy, just respect each other enough to be truthful. Live your life in a way that merits easy honesty. Bottom line, folks—do as Bill and Ted would do and be excellent to each other!

5. See the adventure in everything.

When Jamie first left, I said good-bye at the airport, not knowing what the future would hold. How amazing is possibility? Really, think about it—everything can happen.

On this occasion, I was flying out from Heathrow toward a land that much of my childhood heroes were from. Like many others, I have been raised on a plethora of American culture, from films to books to music.

To the traveler, the ‘everyday mundane’ is magical. Landing at the Newark airport amongst a million lit homes at midnight, passing strangers with accents so familiar, and rolling a quarter into an airport pay-phone…magic!

6. Know your traits: demons and angels.

Be honest with each other, and be honest with yourself.

This kind of relationship will test your nature and temperament. You’ll have all the usual issues; only they will be magnified. You may go a little crazy over-thinking situations; I know I have. Alone, at night, thoughts stab in the dark. You are a few thousand miles away and in a different time zone. Your lover is living in a different day.

You have to overcome these demons.

The best way to do this is to draw strength from them. Rectify feelings of jealousy by making an even bigger attempt to be together. Use your unyielding conviction to overcome all of your obstacles. Counterbalance each demon with an angel.

7. Travel.

The most important thing for me has been having a date in mind to look forward to when I know that I will be seeing her again.

It doesn’t matter if it’s eight months down the line—you’ll know it is eight months down the line.

It’s expensive, but it’s the adventure once again. The adventure begins when you are sitting at your desk or wherever you earn your bread, when your mind is focused on the prize at the end of the line, when you are saving. Each step makes the next step more worthwhile.

Make your togetherness the priority.

8. Make the big decisions.

If you are coming to the point whereby you want to make the next leap, it’s time to make the big decisions.

Who is willing to move where? Will you both move somewhere new? When can you realistically be together? Are there children involved? What of work? What of money? What of marriage?

These practicalities seem like hefty casualties of the free-living adventure, but I assure you they are not. They are all part of the process of excitement.

Be on top of things. Be creative. Decorate roadblocks.

9. Make the most of your time apart.

You will have long pangs of time alone. Just because you cannot be with the one you love at that very moment doesn’t mean your life must be put on hold. On the contrary—now is the time to invest in you. Not only will it make time flow by faster, but it will build your mental character, too.

How about a free college course? There are 725 of them here. Start a yoga class. Learn a martial art. Learn a new language, perhaps your partner’s native tongue? Start a business. Start a blog. Write a book. Put on a charity fundraiser. Start a book exchange.

Set your goals and ease your way through the hard times apart.

10. Time will be cruel, but your reward will be luxurious.

Finally, I want to tell you of the most painful day of my life.

Just over a year ago, Jamie fell into serious pain; a kidney stone had infected her blood. I read that survival rates for such an infection were questionable at best. Medical complications and new discoveries on top of that brought about a wave of invasive emergency surgeries—the whole thing seemed to happen so fast that I became lost in limbo.

I was on the other side of the world while the woman who I want to spend the rest of my life with lay on an operating table. All I could do was wait for a phone call to come through to tell me if she was still alive—every slow second dragged me to the next.

I have never felt more fraught or helpless.

That day, time was cruel.

Now, I want to tell you about July 29th, 2012: we had spent the previous two weeks casually viewing wedding rings. On July 29th, I had the secret of a ring in my pocket—that night she agreed to be my wife.

The next day, in a last minute collection of friends and family, brought together with the promise of an impromptu wedding day, we made our vows together.

That was the last day I spent on American soil. I had to fly out minutes after the ceremony, but I knew what we had done, and I knew what was able to come next…

That day, time was luxurious.

The next time I land there, we’ll walk to our new home together.

I wish you all the luck you deserve in your own worldwide adventure!

 

google images for reuse

 ~

Relephant:

10 Tips For Maintaining A Mindful Long Distance Relationship. 

Everything I Know About Long-Distance Relationships I Learned from My Best Friend. 

 ~

SIon Lidster

Hi, my name is Sion Lidster. I am a fan and freelancer of all things wordy, currently residing in the mountains of South Wales. I am the editor of Dayglobes—an online publication of inspirational activity. Indoors, I am a tech geek and project nerd. Outside, I like nothing more than packing a suitcase and gearing up for the next adventure with an IPA in hand! I am looking to make the best of times with my fiancée, friends and family from now until it’s too late! You can contact me through Facebook or by visiting sionlidster.com.

 

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21 Responses to “Surviving Long Distance Relationships: 10 Tips to Keep You Close. ~ Sion Lidster”

  1. 'I believe that truth is love. Or, to put it another way, love, without truth, can’t be love.'
    Great to hear someone else use these words, I've always used!
    Very nice article, thanks! :-)

  2. SvL says:

    I absolutely loved this article!! It is so bold and true, full of hope and engagement. And it is beautifully written! I hope that you will both stick to your convictions and work through the hard times that eventually will come along with everyday life train. You may already sense that your biggest longing (spending “normal couple time” together) can also become your worst enemy when the relationship started off long-distance. This is because the spaces and in-betweens that kept your imagination alive are now filled with togetherness, good times, bad times, trivial times, boring times as well…. It’s reality kickin’ in:-)

    But that’s a good thing! It helps to seperate the real from the false or futile stuff. So, if you pass the “everyday life test”, you will be even stronger as a couple. I’m pretty sure you will make it!:-) Please let us know in a year or two, and post another post, maybe then entitled “The 10 tips to survive as a couple after making a long-distance relationship into an everyday marriage”. Or something shorter, I guess:-) Good luck!

    • sionlidster says:

      Ahh thanks for the well wishing! I think I know what you mean about the reality kicking in… but I'm really looking forward to that… i miss the simple things – sharing a meal, going to the cinema or out for a few drinks… I guess time apart means that you can appreciate the everyday things even more! Would love to write up a progress report down the line! :) Have a good one!

      • gabrielmsalomao says:

        I guess reality kicking in will be the best difficult thing I will ever face. I know it will be hard and all, but it will be together, and that means much. Thank you so much for your article, thank you! I thank for the tips, but I'd figured some out. More than that, I thank you deeply for sharing the experience, the joys, the ways to make it work, to talk about it. Thanks!

  3. Leslie says:

    Living this life right now, and it is terrifying and fantastic–loving someone so perfectly, in a profoundly imperfect situation, learning an awful lot of life lessons along the way. Thank you for a wonderful article about a little talked about sort of relationship!

    • sionlidster says:

      All the best to you, it can be a strain but it's an adventure at the end of the day… here's to all that take the chance!

  4. Brigitte says:

    so familiar!

    Jerry and I have had a longdistance relationship for 7 years, without a lot of the techical possibilities of today. We'd see each other once or twice a year.
    We've been together for 17 years, we have 3 beautiful children and have only been married for 5 days….:-)

    Throughout the years we were living apart, we've always believed that we were made for each other. Believing! That's what got us to where we are.
    One very important thing we learned, because telephone costs were high: communicate efficiently, get to the point fast! No time for playing games, be honest, talk about the important things.
    7 years of practicing this, is probably the reason we almost never argue.

    Thank you for your article.

    Brigitte

    • sionlidster says:

      Ah congratulations! It's great to hear that kind of success story! I like the sentiment of you not arguing, no games is key!

  5. avivajewel says:

    Perfect timing with this perfect article! I am going through the exact same thing as you, except I am applying to go to the UK instead of my husband coming to the States, so I feel your long-distance – and possibly worse – visa pain. The last couple of days since he flew back home have been tough, but this puts it all back in perspective. Thank you for spelling out what us long-distancers already know, yet sometimes forget! Best of luck to you and the lady :-)

    • sionlidster says:

      Ah yeah, the visa pain… I think we should have just a few months left but it has been a long year. A friend of mine has made a similar move and he is living in St. Louis now and is having a blast! So he's like the lighthouse at the minute!

  6. Abby says:

    Thank you for this! My husband is on his way to visit me today! Due to work, he lives in North Carolina, I live in Texas. There are things we enjoy about our separation, but yes, it's the small things I miss the most. And decorating road blocks is one of the major keys. Best wishes for you and your wife and your future together!

    • sionlidster says:

      Thanks Abby! All the best to you too… yeah I guess it's a freedom you kind of have to learn to – if not enjoy – then at least get used to, otherwise you will drive yourself crazy… i did include a link to online college courses that didn't work for some reason, but if you google 725 college courses there's a great lot of things there for free that have kept me busy through times apart…

  7. jamie m says:

    you are brilliant! love you! xo

  8. However, Jewel fractured bones in her legs just

    a couple of days before the premiere and Melissa had to fill in.

    This is because if the young puppy is made to travel a

    long distance this can be bad for his health.

    The North has green salads,The South has collard greens.

  9. Amy E says:

    Amazing. A good read for today. Thank you.

  10. Adam says:

    I have met an American lady and I live in South Wales too. I’m a year + into our LDR and we have just had the most amazing Christmas together here in the UK. She has now flown back to the U.S. and I miss her so badly. We have only been together twice during our year together but it has been quality time. We talk and Skype everyday and we have made a commitment to each other for our future. But I am a mess right now as I miss her so very much. Thanks for the advice in your article.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    Nothing can be truer that this "… truth is love". I am one the fortunate people to have found love. It has been the most amazing love story ever written. Better than any book I´ve read, than any movie I´ve watched… almost too good to be true. But it is. Our only obstacle is the distance. It´s been challenging and a true test, not only to our love, but to my sanity. I never thought I would have the emotional maturity to deal with this and yet, I have surprised myself over and over… There better days than others, but I know im my heart that the two of us together are better than the two of us alone. IWe are both extraordinary people who have finally found in eachother everything we deserve.
    Thank you for your article and for refreshing my gratitude to the universe for having found my soulmate.

  12. Leilo King says:

    I think you’re just one of the lucky ones hunny ;) and good for you. I’ve tried long distance, for three years, and it was just cruel to both of us in the end. Physical bonding is such a huge part of enjoying and building a relationship and of making it worthwhile and making it last. The smell of his aftershave on the pillow next to mine, being a part of family celebrations and simply eating together everyday, caring for each other when you’re sick and the hugs that get you through a tough day, always being able to front up together at social gatherings and actually being able to give all your support in an emergency cannot be transmitted through the Internet. Keeping intimacy and support as a belated reward is unfair to everyone. Not to mention the anxiety that comes along with long term, long distance relationships the whole thing should warrant a health warning label. You are obviously describing an idealistic situation that most romantic comedies/dramas are based on that make us all still believe in ‘the one’ and that great love requires great sacrifice, I’ve come to realise it doesn’t and if they can’t come home to you after work everyday it’s just not an option until they actually can. In my experience long distance anything is only validated if what you hope for eventually arrives, but who knows when you start out if that will actually happen. When it doesn’t it’s like a big juicy carrot has been dangling infront of your face promising to be yours and then with no warning just gets snapped away by circumstances beyond your control simply because you weren’t physically there to see it happening. Afterward in the aftermath, It’s just never worth another shot at such a difficult gamble no matter how wonderful the new person is or how much you love them. Long distance is a one time only offer. I’m guessing you’ve only tried it once and it paid off, which is wonderful for you. It is not for the faint of heart I agree it takes massive amounts of courage and hope. I liked some of your truisms however :) honesty, daily connection and keeping hope alive is paramount, as it all quantifies trust, and after all love is built on the two pillars of trust and respect. I’ll end by saying anyone who embarks on an experience such as long distance romance is crazy, but then we’re all crazy when we’re in love! But this type of crazy burns a hole in your pocket and your soul especially when being insanely in love still wasn’t enough. Time together is the biggest most influential factor. If you’re continuously spending more than three weeks apart it’s just not worth it.

  13. Andrea G says:

    This article made me cry somehow. Its absolutely true. And I can tell cause Im from Colombia and he works in Afghanistan 14.500kms away and 9/30 hours difference.The "truth" part was amazing, it caught me. And yes, this is an adventure, but only brave ones will survive to this. I've been with Abby for 3 espectacular and painfully years. People usually tells me "just dumb people have long distance relationships" im proudly a happy dumb. What I discovered a few months ago, after we had to deal with fights and problems, is that the time you spend lonely, you should use it to self growth. To become a better version of you. I was a mess before I met him, my life was an absolute mess, people told me " a long distance relationship os not going to help" and look at us. After a lot of battles, sacrifices from bothsides, sleepless, and all that distance stuff, he decides to quit his job and come to Colombia for good. TherThere's where you say. WE MADE IT! ITS WORTHY. . HES the love of my life (or at least I hope so)
    thanks for that beautiful article and good luck with your journey. Hugs from Colombia!

  14. Jeanne says:

    I really don’t care for that Single Vs. LDR graphic. Number one, it’ sexist from both ends. Doesn’t anyone consider women could also pursue and want to continue LDR’s. Number 2, men aren’t pussy’s for wanting to have a meaningful relationships. Number 3, You aren’t a pussy if you believe that by being in a LDR doesn’t remove yourself from the commitment of a traditional relationship. In fact, you are a pussy for not thinking that you should. Number 4, if you cheat on someone that you are in a LDR with, that is plain cheating, not this “emotional cheating” that would imply you wouldn’t share the same consequences. You have the same guilt, and therefore the actions are no different. Number 5, do you really think your chances of meeting someone great are in the small area where you reside at the moment? I would think you have greater chances the further out you look, but apparently this graphic is also devoid of logic. Number 6, this graphic has a very one sided angle from which to look at LDR’s, and is also sexist. It implies that a female would only be nagged by her mother to find someone and settle down. This doesn’t consider the possibility that a mother can actually support her daughters LDR. It also implies that a mother is only concerned with her daughters settling down and not her sons. On the other end, the father is shown to be misogynistic, and believes that simply getting laid is enough for a man to be happy. Which simply isn’t true. Number 7, social media sites are good for one thing, and thats connecting with the people in your life, and that includes your partner in an LDR. If your partner has a problem with you having friends, than they aren’t worth your time. Also, if you are too busy scoping their FB for indiscretions, than it’s probably not a good relationship. Also, this implies that all LDR’s will resort in one of the partners having sex outside the relationship, which isn’t true either. Love is powerful, and when you find the right person, the person that brings out the best in you, than waiting a few months or even longer to have sex, is never a problem. There is things like phone sex, skype, etc. If you think that being in a LDR is just for the non-committal sex, than you are just a bad person. No one wants to be used–especially when they put so much on the line. Number 8, who ever said the man has to move to the woman. Maybe the female wants to leave and go somewhere new. And, why would you only be allowed a shitty job, when if you have the right skills, you can have a career anywhere. You don’t have to stop loving you to be in a relationship, and I get frustrated when I see this come up in articles. Staying single means you are thinking about the one, and when he or she will find you. Sometimes, he is out there, but I doubt if he is the local bar you go to every night with your other single friends. Love doesn’t come in one size, and if you really want to find “the one”, you might have to look outside your comfort zone, and the same goes for if you want to keep them. The fact that you are in a relationship, LDR or not, is better than sitting around being single, wondering where your soul mate is, poking fun at those you are trying to make it work. Yes, LDR’s are hard, but no harder than a traditional relationship. There is still the same amount of uncertainty when meeting people online as there is meeting someone at a bar, friends gathering, or blind dates. People who are in LDR’s I would think have it easier than traditional couples because of the fact that they are drawn to the event of meeting, making every last minute count that they are together for that brief moment, instead of the just slugging around, complaining of the lack of excitement. Distance is also a test, for both partners. If they can see the possibilities in each other and as well together, the distance is nothing more than a temporary obstacle. Lastly, this graphic insinuates that LDR’s are simply agonizingly difficult to deal with, and are a waste of time, that only hurts more as you love more. If someone is leading you on, whether in LDR’s or in traditional relationship, it hurts just the same when it ends.

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