My experience, thoughts and advice
I remember googling » long-distance relationship« when I first got into one. We all search for answers on the internet in this century, so I’m writing this hoping someone might benefit from mine. It feels weird to write about it because it’s not some city about which I can make a list of pros and cons. It’s something very personal, and yet it’s something that I feel like sharing. So, with the boyfriend’s permission, here’s my honest experience of a long-distance relationship.
How we met
There’s a big chance that you already know that because you’re my friend or you’ve read my previous posts here and on Instagram. In case you’re not and you didn’t, I’ll very happily tell this story again; it’s my favorite. We met on our Erasmus exchange in London, in a neighborhood called Cricklewood, in a dodgy old student residence. In the beginning, we were just friends, we both belonged to a group of exchange and international students from all over the place. We got along, but nothing much more than that. I thought he was cute, but at that time everyone was flirting with everyone, and we both had other things going on, let’s say. Until something clicked, and we became something more than just friends.
How did we agree on staying together?
We only defined ourselves as a couple a few days after we had left London. In London, we behaved like a couple, but we never said we were one. That goodbye was the hardest in my whole life. What scared me the most was that I didn’t know what we would be when we’d see each other again. We agreed on me visiting him at the end of summer, and him visiting me at the end of October, but it wasn’t enough for me. I didn’t understand whether that meant that we’d be with other people or not, whether we’d keep in touch, whether he’d forget about me in a couple of months. Luckily, we both wanted the same thing. It only took some texting to confirm that we were together and trying this whole long-distance thing.
The reactions, at least on my side, were pretty bad, to be honest. I could count the friends and family that were optimistic about us on the fingers of one hand, and I don’t know if I’d get to five. Some were somewhat optimistic, but in the sense that it was a good experience and »worth trying«. What they really meant was that it was a nice temporary thing, and I’d get over it eventually because it was impossible and wouldn’t last. My mum was skeptical, my close friends were skeptical, not to mention my grandmother, of course. I wasn’t, though, at least not much. And here we are a year and a half later.
How do we do it?
Well, we spend a lot of money on plane tickets, a lot of time texting, and many hours talking on Skype. We try to visit each other at least every month and a half to two months. The longest time we spent without seeing each other was three months (right after London), and the shortest was about three weeks. To be honest, time passes quickly, especially if you’re busy. And you get used to it.
I think communication is key: we’re in touch through WhatsApp throughout the day, and we skype about two times per week. We don’t do many phone calls, but I guess that’s because we belong to the generation that stopped using phones for that. We tell each other about what we’re doing, about the problems we have, and the good things that happen to us.
Why it’s somewhat easier for us
I’m not saying it couldn’t be easier; he could’ve been from Venice or something, and then we’d see each other every couple of weeks (I live on the coast of Slovenia, just a couple of hours from Venice). Valencia is further away; it’s too far to travel there by car, train, or bus. And yet, it’s not that far. The flight only takes two hours, and I don’t live very far from Trieste’s airport, and neither does he from the one in Valencia. The tickets aren’t that expensive if you buy them in advance and you aren’t picky about dates. Sometimes Ryanair cancels a flight and you have an excuse to stay longer. Plus, we’re in the same time zone which makes things a lot easier as well.
Would I recommend it?
When we had just got together, I talked about it with a guy who used to be in a long-distance relationship (at the time he was still in the relationship, it just wasn’t long-distance anymore). He said that he wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. That you’re simply not there when something’s wrong. I have to agree with that; no hug for you when you need it. He also told me that I should be prepared to move, and I can’t say this isn’t true either. It’s in the back (and often in the front) of my mind every minute of every day.
I would only recommend getting into a long-distance relationship if you really love the other person. If you’re in love with them, you think they’re the one for you, and that it’ll never be as good with anyone else. I felt all that, and that’s why it made sense for me. But I knew the guy, we lived in the same flat for nine months. I doubt that you can feel that for someone you’ve known for three days, but who am I to be the judge of that. Not living ten time zones apart also increases your chances and makes it more worth trying in my opinion.
If you feel all the right feelings (and the other person does as well, that’s obviously crucial), and you get into a long-distance relationship … You need to trust them. You need to believe that they’ll wait for you, and you can’t panic every time they go to a party. Trust is fundamental in every relationship, but it’s absolutely necessary for a long-distance one.
The second important thing is to plan ahead and make sure you’ll have enough time and money to visit your boyfriend/girlfriend. It’s fair that you visit each other more or less equally, even though that’s not always possible. That’s okay too, you just both need to agree on it.
The third key point is, as already mentioned, communication. You won’t see each other after work/uni or in the evening, so you’ve got to text, call, skype, ask and answer. You need to plan cool things, like watching a film together while skyping, send songs to each other, record audio messages and write nice texts.
I’m usually pretty down after we’ve spent time together, and then one of us must go back home. It’s not that difficult to adjust later, but the actual goodbye is dreadful. That being said, I’m absolutely thrilled when I’m about to visit him or he’s about to visit me, so that makes up for it.
The thing is that a long-distance relationship is not only a romantic story of lovely messages, getting to know another culture (at least in my case) and seeing new places. It is all that, but it’s also a lot of waiting and missing, some severe phone addiction, lots of staring at each other through a screen, many hours at airports, and a lot of tears. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret anything about my relationship, and I’d do it all over again any time. But it’s not because of the long-distance relationship itself. It’s because of the guy with whom I’m in it.
In somewhat kind circumstances (as in not living on different sides of the planet) long distance relationships are possible. And they can be pretty damn great. If they don’t work, they probably don’t because the people who are in them aren’t fit to be together, not because of the distance itself. The distance is manageable, and it’s temporary. Getting yourselves to the same location, you leaving your home and family or he/she leaving theirs, is a whole different story, worth another blog post. I’m into travel and living abroad, and I’d obviously like to eventually live in the same place as my boyfriend, but the future and leaving home scare me. I suppose that’s normal, and I still have time to deal with it. We’ll deal with it together.
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