Being in a relationship is tough, put a few thousand miles between you and your significant other and things become extensively more complicated. I know a lot of people who will swear up and down that they will never consider a long distance relationship but they are literally cutting themselves off from so much potential. Seriously, there are only so many people in your city. If you think you’ll hit the jackpot without venturing outside of it, you my friend are dead wrong. Personally, I believe that everyone should experience a long distance relationship at least once in their lives. Many people assume that a long distance relationship is bound to be a TON of work, but I’ve found mine to be relatively easy and especially rewarding.
Establish a routine
My other half is living in Germany, so we have a 6 hour time difference which can make the simplest things – like phone calls – really annoying. Thankfully we’ve learned to live around it. This is a sample of what a typical day looks like for us with German times on the left and American times on the right.
(Quick disclaimer I am going to be calling him GBF – short for German Boy Friend because he isn’t the type to be all over the internet and It was the first cute thing I could think to call him).
5:00AM/11:00PM – GBF wakes up and texts me good-morning even though I am just starting to get into bed
5:45AM/11:45PM – GBF calls me while he is driving to work and we talk about what I did that day and what he has scheduled
8:00AM/2:00 AM – GBF has arrives at work while we’ve been on the phone and probably checks a few emails, gets some tea, etc. This is usually around the time that I pass out on him
5:00PM/11:00 AM – GBF calls me as he is leaving work, up until this point I’ve probably just been lazing in bed, playing on pinterest, and texting people (don’t judge it’s summer!)
From there it varies a little day-to-day, sometimes we’ll talk all night until he falls asleep which is usually 10PM-12AM/4PM-6PM. Sometimes he wants to do more work when he gets home and our calls end around noon American time…..And when there is an FC Bayern Munich game on poor little Jess gets no attention. Unfortunately soccer trumps all else in Europe. It took us a little while to fall into this routine but now that we are here I absolutely love it. We both know when the other is awake and when they are going to call and we can plan other things in our life around these phone calls so that we aren’t missing out on time together.
Live for the video clips!
GBF and I have been using viber for phone calls, text messages, photos, and video clips. It’s a great app and I definitely recommend it for anyone who has international friends they want to keep in touch with. One of my favorite things about the app is the video clip feature. You can send videos up to 3 minutes long to the person you’re talking with. I use this obsessively because I am usually too lazy to type whatever I want to say (plus no one wants carpal tunnel by the age of 30!). GBF usually wakes up to several video chats from me and I occasionally get to wake up to 1 or 2 from him – and guys let me tell you it is the best feeling in the world to wake up and see someone you care about smiling back at you and telling you how much they’re missing you – even if it’s just through a little LED screen.
Do it together
Taking activities that normal couples can do on a regular basis and incorporating them into video calls is a great way to feel closer to your significant other. GBF and I have tried watching TV together (because The Bachelor is just as important as soccer), reading a book together (but he chose a very boring book and neither of us finished it), and exercise challenges – we basically challenged each other to work on our abs or lose a few pounds and sent progress photos every day. These were all tons of fun for both of us and gave us something new to talk about. My biggest piece of advice here is to not be too serious with any of it. For example, we both thought the book idea was going to be great but it was a total flop. I had also really wanted to cook the same dinners together over a video and then eat together too but that just didn’t fly. The point is that you don’t want to get hyped up over an idea, have it fail, and then cause unnecessary strain in your relationship.
Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The big IT. A little late night loving is something that you will seriously miss – so what other option do you have than to do it over the phone?!?! So time to get a little candid, I had tried phone sex a few times before GBF and it was horrible. Like bad romantic comedy scene horrible. No one knew what to say or what noises to make (I know TMI, but you get the point) it was downright awful and ended as soon as it started. Crazy thing is that the first time with GBF was utter perfection. It was unexpected, natural, comforting, and satisfying! I can’t say that every intimate phone call we’ve had since then has been equally enjoying but there are enough great times in there to outweigh the occasionally awkward ones. If you’re in a long distance relationship you should absolutely do this and learn to love it, but the thing that is going to make it the best is to let it develop naturally. Don’t go in with a plan otherwise there is a very strong chance it will live down to your expectations (no matter how low you set them).
See the big picture
While GBF and I can have a lot of fun together with our videos and conversations there are plenty of times in between when things are just hard. You get lonely. You see other couples together and envy them. You question why your soulmate lives on the other side of the planet. You have to remember the bigger picture. When I have negative thoughts like these in my head I try to think about the future. GBF and I have talked extensively about what we want out of a future together and it helps that I can remind myself that our current situation is temporary. I can fantasize about the life we will one day lead together, the places we’ll visit, the homes we’ll have, and the people we will become. And it makes it all a little more bearable.
Alternatively, I call GBF in a puddle of tears saying how much I miss him and that I’m quitting my life to come to Germany – and then he reminds me of these things. Either way, same results.
Promise yourself never to lie
This is the biggest thing. If you read this and take nothing else away know this point. In a long distance relationship, you and your other half rely completely on deliberate communication. Unless you only talk with video chats there is next to no non-verbal communication. So when you lie, even a little bit, you are breaking down the entire foundation of your relationship. You need to trust that he is openly communicating with you and he needs to trust you as well. If you don’t have communication in a long distance relationship you don’t have anything. GBF and I established this very early on in our relationship and I believe that it is the reason we’ve had it so easy. Now look, we’re human and you are too. Humans are immensely flawed! I’ve lied to GBF and he has lied to me – not often and not big lies but it has happened. However, just after telling a lie both of us has gone to the other and corrected it, and explained why we lied. Thus, reopening the communication between us. At some point in your long distance relationship you’re going to mess this one up, but you need to be aware of what’s going on and you need to ‘fess up when it happens.
So whether you’re just contemplating a long distance relationship or already committed in one I hope you can find these tips useful. Let me know if you guys would like to hear more about long distance or interracial relationships…..but probably not in such a serious format. I feel like this post was definitely more serious than usual and I’ll try to fix that in the future – because relationships are supposed to be FUN. Until next time…