Love means everything. Those were the words he texted me while we try hard to fix all the damage we have caused to our relationship. Sometimes we talk about other people or other situations and then we overthink on the ways those situations apply to our relationship. No matter how hard you try, you can’t help comparing your relationship to others, even though you remind yourself (while comparing) that not two relationships are alike.
When I decided to be in a LDR, I knew it would be a challenge in many levels. We had distance and time difference, but I guess the biggest challenge was culture. Among all the differences that we had, the most difficult for me to absorb was that his culture is more closed, and not as open minded as mine. That includes the way they handle romantic relationships with people from the other side of the world.
Our relationship has always been kind of a secret. I must admit that I agreed to it from the start and got used to the way things were. But as I said before, the situations of others sometimes remind you of your own and in this case, it reminded me that to his side of the world, his family, friends… I do not exist. It reminded me of the struggle I have to achieve this sense of normalcy in my relationship. While I tried to include my boyfriend in every aspect of my life, I felt I had no real presence in his.
With all that we have been through in the last couple of months, overthinking about that issue (the secrecy) added some pressure. I was feeling bad about something I can’t change (and agreed to it since the beginning) and he felt bad because he couldn’t give it to me. We took turns to argue and hurt the other and then we would try to fix the damage we did.
But that wasn’t the only thing I was struggling with. Some time ago I told him that I felt things had changed. Somehow, our relationship didn’t feel the same (I dismissed it because I thought it was because of his time in army) but we did talked about it and even agreed to work on it. I felt that we were back to square one. Back to the way our relationship was when we started and it sucks because I know we put a lot of effort to bring our relationship to a point where we both felt happy before he left for army.
Even today I feel guilty about it. I feel guilty about telling him because maybe I’m the one stuck on a moment in time. The one who can’t stop to think that I knew the rules of the game before I decided to play. The one who is having a hard time shaking doubts creeping inside my mind. Maybe I’m the one who refuses to understand that things change and there’s nothing to do but accept it and move on to whatever comes next, even if you don’t have the same hopes you did before.
Details are important in a relationship. It can be the difference between having a healthy, lasting relationship or getting a ticket to Splitville. Every relationship is different but there are certain things (in my opinion) that can shorten the longest distances.
1. Pet Names: Having a special name for your significant other can be a sweet and unique way to communicate between the 2 of you.
2. Apps, Social Sites, Messages : There are lots of ways to shorten distance. Having an app for you 2 makes it special. Having the same apps to jump between them when one isn’t working is useful. Text and/or call each other daily. That little detail tells the other person you are thinking about them. There is nothing sweeter than waking up/falling asleep to a loving message or better yet, falling asleep together while on video call. If you follow or check each other out (is not stalking if the other one knows, maybe) on social sites be sure to check once in a while, let them know you care. it can be a fun way to leave each other messages that only the 2 of you will know even if they are public. You can use a code word or any other thing to identify your messages. It should be ok to like or comment, lets them know you care and pay attention. Make it funny or neutral if you have to keep it a secret (your relationship shouldn’t be a secret but, oh well); that sends the message “I care about your things”.
3. Talking, Listening & Understanding: Always talk about the way you feel. Listen to each other’s points of view, try to understand. Don’t let arguments or discomforts sit for more than a day. If you don’t think you can do that, think about getting out of the relationship.
4. Dates & Dates: Try to remember special dates or occasions like anniversaries or the months you’ve been together. Try to schedule “special dates” to call each other, play that silly game, watch a movie or do something you enjoy together (yes that includes sex). Those details tell your loved ones how much you care.
5. The Classics: Classics never fail. I Love You or I Miss You are always special when said from the heart. Be there for each other in time of need. Share details with each other but most importantly, find new ways of letting the other know how much he/she is loved…those are the details of LOVE.
“Being away from each other doesn’t mean there has to be distance in the heart”
I’ve been in a Long Distance Relationship for over 2 years now and still there are days where I wish someone would’ve handed me a map at the beginning of it (or maybe just a Magic 8 ball ). When you finally decide to give it a try, it’s when you realize you are already there (yikes!). The good news is that the ones traveling that road -myself included- will always leave some directions in every turn for the ones deciding to take the same route. As the Grand Master Yoda said: Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try.
Here are some notes left for the ones standing in the middle of the road:
- Make a decision. There is no “trying to see if it works”, no 50/50. If you decide to be in a LDR you have to give 100%.
- Remember you were friends before you were a couple and if you weren’t, build a good solid friendship so you can feel comfortable with one another.
- Get to know everything you can about the other person. You are not together physically so you rely on sharing to better know each other. Learn from one another in terms of language, culture, traditions. There is always something new to experience.
- Involve friends and family when you can. You want to treat your LDR as a normal relationship and support may be needed.
- Communication is the key (or one of them). There will be a lot of talking, texting, messaging and sharing in every social app/messenger you guys have. Learn to talk and listen and keep in mind you can’t actually read intonation from a text message.
- There will be arguments. A lot. Don’t let emotions cloud your judgement and don’t make decisions when angry. Calm down, talk, understand and resolve your issues.
- Knowing what you want is half the battle. If you want it to work, make it work. Make time for dates, calls, video calls…anything that can make you feel closer. There are lots of ideas to keep your LDR fun. Browse the internet or make your own. Each couple is different.
I’m sure there are a million advice for everyone that decides to embark on the adventure that is a LDR. It wouldn’t be an adventure if we knew everything that was going to happen along the way. We have to enjoy the ride while we arrive at our destination. With that said, the last thing to do is to remind you (and myself):The paths less travel by are for the bold so Don’t Quit. Live, Love, Plan your future together. You want your LDR to be a real love story and not some fairy tale written in social apps. Just don’t forget to leave some notes along your road.
To read more about Pre-LDR Advice and see the writing prompt that inspired this post, head to the LDRBN site. If you are in a LDR and want to be part of the experience, APPLY HERE. Don’t forget to mention my name Gibran.
When it comes to Long Distance Relationships (and everything else in life) everyone has some advice to give. Some of it will even come from people who hasn’t been in a LDR before. We do understand that they do it out of the goodness of their hearts but that doesn’t mean you have to follow through with it. For that reason we should listen and pay attention to what friends or family have to say but we have to choose wisely in terms of what we think it’s the best for us and our relationship.
When I started my relationship, one of the best advice I received was from my best friend at the moment. The funny thing is that he gave it to me to actually discourage me of pursuing a relationship with my now boyfriend. His words still echo inside my mind: The heart doesn’t know about distance. He said the words in order for me to give up, because once I fell in love, we would want to fight for it because after all it wasn’t impossible; there are planes and ways to make it work. With that said, you thought I was going to give up? He just said it was possible! Turns out his reasons were very personal and he was just trying to save me from heartache but his words gave me the push I needed to jump on board the LDR Express.
Because we know that sharing our sadness or talking about what makes us feel down actually makes us feel better, that is the time when we get the most advice from our best friends, close friends and even relatives (everyone you share with will give you the magic solution according to them). That’s exactly when my friend Sean gave me the best advice of all: do something to get the fucking guy. Short like a greeting card but as powerful as a nuclear blast.
His words were and still are the reason why even at my lowest I keep going forward. I do want to get the guy. Every day I work hard on keeping my relationship because I have to do something to get the guy.
In the end, everyone will have something to say. It is our right to choose what we think it’s best for us because we are the ones living with the choices we make day after day. Remember to listen carefully and choose wisely.
To read more about LDR Advice and see the writing prompt that inspired this post, head to the LDRBN site. If you are in a LDR and want to be part of the experience, APPLY HERE. Don’t forget to mention my name Gibran.