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!

 

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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Assistant Ed:  Tawny Sanabria/Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

 

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15 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!

  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.

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