5 Tips To Surviving A Long Distance Relationship

5 Tips To Surviving A Long Distance Relationship

The survival manual everyone needs at some point.

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Let me start by saying: none of this is easy. I know it's painful and heart-wrenching, even, to be away from your significant other for long periods of time. However, I do regrettably have loads of experience with this. I am currently in a two-and-a-half-year-long relationship and although we see each other at college, most of our relationship has been long-distance; what with school breaks, living far away from each other, and plenty of other reasons. And I know that a lot of you out there have had the same experience; whether you're away from your significant other for different school/work choices, personal/family reasons, or anything of the like.

And I get it. It truly sucks. I'm here to tell you five major tips that have helped me survive it and hopefully can help all of you out there as well.

Tip 1: Fighting Insecurity

We all know the horror stories. The ones about getting into a long-distance relationship only to be cheated on, or break up within a month. And it's stories like these that can make us think that it's not worth it in the long run, that you should just get out of the relationship before you get your heart broken. But I'm here to tell you that it's your insecurity (and our negative society) talking.

For us ladies, in particular, it can be extremely difficult to be at peace while your partner is away. I know I think "Who is he with?!" "Why isn't he picking up the phone?!" and more 'crazy girlfriend' thoughts on a daily basis. It's way too easy to get caught up in what your significant other is doing minute-to-minute. And you actually might be justified in thinking that way. But here's a little advice: if you know you won't/can't trust your partner, save yourself the hair-pulling stress and don't do the long-distance thing. I know, seems harsh. But I promise you that stress will never go away if your partner isn't trustworthy or you're super paranoid.

So I challenge you to really think about it: Are we both in a place where we can trust each other with distance? And talk about it with your partner. The introspection on your relationship can save both of you a lot of trouble, trust me.

Tip 2: Self-Care & Discovery

No, this isn't one of those "take a bubble bath and all of your problems will be drained down the tub" things. If a bubble bath and face mask is all you need, go for it, but there's a lot more to self-discovery in my opinion.

It's a chance for you to be reminded of how AMAZING you are on your own! You're not one-half of a whole, you are a whole, super awesome person who deserves to find happiness within themselves. Personally, journaling and writing have helped me tons to get my thoughts in order. And hobbies like that can be super important to gain some introspection.

If you feel lost without your partner, use this time to find your center again. Whether it's something creative, academic, adventurous, etc. just DO it because no one is holding you back. And give it 100%. Trust me, you will be a much better version of yourself after taking time for yourself. And your partner will be happier for it!

Tip 3: Set a Time To Talk

Now, this is more than texting each other "call me at 8." I know you've heard it a thousand times, but I'll say it again: communication is KEY. If you're the type that sucks at texting or calling back, work on it. If you're the type that texts and calls 100 times a day, work on it. There's nothing wrong with being distracted or overly-enthusiastic, but if you're in a relationship, you need to find the balance.

Setting a time to talk every day/every week can really help with that. And yes, every one of you can find 30 minutes to one hour in the day to do this. There are obviously valid excuses, but communication isn't just key, communication shows you care.

It also helps to have something to look forward to in your day. The days may seem to drag on and on without your partner by your side, but getting to vent to them at the end of the day can make it a lot less dull.

Tip 4: A Little Distance Won't Kill You

Sounds insane, I know. I know the feeling of "OMG we haven't talked in two days, I feel like I hardly know him anymore" and it's really easy to get wrapped up in that. My advice is, see tip number two and breathe, baby. It's OK, and perfectly natural, to have your own lives outside of the relationship.

So don't pull your hair out just yet, you will get to talk to them again. Something that helps me is to write it all down. All the feelings, events, TV shows/movies, and jokes I want to talk about the next time we talk to each other. I call it my "Vent List" and I encourage all of you to make one of your own.

It's really easy to bombard your partner with texts and calls until they finally say "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?" but that doesn't help anyone. Long-distance relationships will teach you a lot about patience, my friend.

Tip 5: Don't Give In To Your "Needs"

Not only is it about patience, but also self-control. When that dumb kid from high school hits you up with the "Wyd ;)" text, please, oh please, ignore it. I have yet another list to help us get through this: The "Why The Hell Am I Doing This" list. It's the one where you write everything down that made you want to stay in your relationship. From the color of their eyes to the best thing about their personality, it can be so easy to forget when you're apart for long periods of time. And then read that list every time you feel yourself straying.

It can be lonely work. Whether you're lonely in bed, or at dinner, or anything in between, I won't sugar-coat it. It's super tough to get through alone. And I know the feeling of just wanting someone there, no matter who it is. But that list is there to remind you that you got into this mess for a reason, and hopefully a good one.

As someone who is currently going through it with you, I can tell you it's possible. And so, so worth it. When you see your S.O. again, the fireworks will be there all over again. Keep your heart happy with things you can do for yourself, and always remind yourself who the f*** you are. Stay strong, friends, I believe in you.

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It's Time To Challenge 'You Complete Me' Culture

Your partner should be your companion, not your completion!

pmterch
pmterch
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After having some time to reflect after "The Bachelor" finale, I think this is the perfect time to put this article out there. In this article, I want to offer you a different perspective on how to view relationships. I want to challenge you to defy cultural assumptions of what romance is and shine a light on how codependency can squash your happiness.

The puzzle analogy

In wedding vows or proclamations of love, we often hear the phrase, "You complete me." We compare finding our person to finding the missing piece of the puzzle in our lives. Once we place that puzzle piece in the empty hole, we can finally see the beautiful and complete picture. Without that piece, we would be in a frenzy, searching all around under the kitchen table and on everyone's chairs to see if we find it. We desperately hope the dog, or the baby, hasn't eaten it. We hold out hope.

This comparison, as I have found, has created quite an issue in our modern day society. We are so obsessed with finding that missing piece in our lives to complete us that we often search in the wrong places or live in unending frustration. Sometimes we find a perfectly wonderful person, but they seem to lack everything on our checklists of what we have deemed as the perfect missing piece, so we let them go. If you are one of the lucky ones who has found a person who fills the void in your life, you often try to shove them into the puzzle as hard as you can and force them to fit. You need to be filled; you need to have the beauty of the final picture — without it, how could you ever be completely happy?

Where did I go wrong?

I was riding along in the car with my boyfriend when I realized we had hit a rough patch. We are a long distance couple — going to separate colleges four hours away from each other — but we only live two minutes away from each other when we are back at home.

I had never had a boyfriend before my second semester of senior year. I had always been very independent. I moved a lot, which meant anytime I got close to dating someone, POOF, there I went. But, this time I had finally stayed and found an amazing guy — my best friend.

When I was single, I was the queen of relationship advice (as we all are when we are not blinded by rose-colored romance). Finally being in a relationship made me realize how easy it was to fall into habits that I had always scorned others for. I began letting this relationship affect me in ways I never even suspected it could.

Don't get me wrong, this was not his doing at all. My boyfriend is the sweetest guy I know. He is always lifting me up and supporting me to reach my dreams. While we both struggle with anxiety and depression, we have found a way to always put our individual mental health first. My boyfriend had dated people before me, but I had not. This altered expectations of what this relationship was supposed to look like for each of us. He knew what mistakes to try to stay away from, while I was still trying to figure it out.

How to reframe your perspective in relationships

Regardless of my background, I think I have stumbled on the most amazing way of reframing perspective in relationships. Once I started changing the lens on how I looked at our relationship, we started bickering less and I became so much happier.

Here it is: your significant other is your COMPANION, not your COMPLETION.

Of course, you should feel happy and enjoy when your partner is around. They should treat you with care and make you laugh, but they should not be the person filling the empty piece of your heart — that isn't their responsibility. They should not be the ultimate source of happiness that makes you feel emotionally whole. This perspective is extremely unhealthy because people are fickle and we make mistakes. We screw up . . . all the time. Our culture loves to use the phrase, "You complete me." It sounds extremely romantic. However, it can be so problematic.

Now, when I spend time or communicate with my boyfriend, I see it as a lucky bonus we get after we both have spent time improving ourselves that day. When I text him, I don't expect him to reply to me immediately — even though I still wish he would because of the need for instant gratification, let's be real. I know that he is going after his dreams by working as hard as he can to make a life for himself. As a girlfriend, not only should I commend him for that, but I should also give him the space to do that. Likewise, I should go after my dreams and work as hard as I can to achieve them.

Your partner should be the fun blanket you have on top of your comforter. You would be just as warm without the blanket and still get a good nights sleep, but the blanket is still really fuzzy and gives you extra joy and you can wrap it around you while you are watching tv. And, if it is a really cold and stormy night, perhaps you snuggle up with your blanket and hold it tightly for a little extra warmth and comfort.

I am a believer in God, and I believe his holy spirit makes me whole. Regardless of if you share this belief or not, I think we can all agree that we are all supposed to walk through life together and lift each other up. If we expect to put our happiness and worth on the shoulders of one person, then that relationship is going to crumble. Why would you want the person you love most to crumble? I certainly don't. I want to be able to look my partner in the eyes and say, "I love you and I want to stand by you when you need me. When you don't, I will be okay because I am still whole and fulfilled".

pmterch
pmterch

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Why The Gays Are Willing To Go The (Long) Distance

Trust me, your significant other will always be there for you, no matter how far away you are.

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My fellow queers, have you ever had this issue: You're scrolling through your Tinder, looking at all the hot babes in your area, when you suddenly match with someone who's super cute and looks as if they're into the same things as you are. You look at their location and are surprised to see that they're only 25 miles away. Twenty-five miles away? that's great!

What I've often found humorous as a gay man, is that a lot of my fellow LGBT siblings are willing to go long distances in order to find love (or a good time). This is primarily true for LGBT folk who live in smaller cities or towns where there isn't as a large a queer community that you would find in places like New York or Los Angeles (or, Orlando and Miami if you're a fellow Floridian). So, most of us are stuck going up to 20-plus miles for dates or to simply see our significant other.

While that isn't a problem for us, we'd really like it if our dates were a little closer and that it was easier to see our significant others. While a lot (not all) straight people enjoy this luxury, even fewer LGBT folk do as well.

But, I think there's a hidden romanticism in being separated by distance. Distance and not seeing each other all the time can help strengthen a relationship.

What I've noticed about straight couples (and, this is by no means a drag on y'all) is that when you see each other all the time because you live close by, it can put a strain on a relationship. I feel like when you see someone so much, it can kill the romance. The passion will be gone because you'll become so used to the person's presence.

Having distance between you and the one you care for is hard, I know. Twenty miles can feel like a thousand, but the deep connection comes from it can close the distance between your two hearts. I mean, If the relationship gets to "that" point you could always move in together and become domestic with each other.

So, I feel like my point was lost in my ramblings but I guess what I'm trying to say is this: You don't have to be on top of your significant other to be in love with them or have a relationship with them. Take some time for yourself, do the hobbies that you love. Visit your friends without your S.O. tagging along. You have to remember, that at the end of the day you are both separate human beings who just happen to be in love.

Trust me, your significant other will always be there for you, no matter how far away you are.

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