Going The Distance
So my boyfriend and I have been long distance since we started dating five years ago. We’ve never lived in the same city but thankfully we were never more than three hours apart. That would’ve made for a more chaotic love story. However, it was still a long distance thing.
There’s two sides to this:
Long distance sucks. There’s no everyday cuddling, no super spontaneous dates, and there are no elements of surprise. There’s lots and lots of planning. Sometimes too much planning.
Long distance rocks. There’s more freedom. You can live a separate life from your SO. There’s little room for fighting when you’re actually together because you’re trying to make the most of the visit so you know…let’s just leave it as utilizing your together time for more love. You can develop yourself without the other interfering so much.
I’ll kind of retract the last statement I made because this really depends on how long distance couples spend their time apart.
1) Be S-text-y.
If it wasn’t for Facebook, texting, and late night calls, we wouldn’t have gone past the first month. Luckily, technology makes the long-distance blow a lot softer. Texting throughout the day helps, especially if late night phone calls can’t be done because he’s studying for a midterm or I’m catching up on TV episodes. Uh…I mean, doing research and stuff. Totally not slacking off.
We’ve gotten so used to being apart and leading our own lives that it makes meeting up in person more special and there’s more stuff to talk about.
All this time apart makes me a little worried for the future. I mean…what if we do move in together? Would we get sick of each other’s constant presence and what if he doesn’t clean the dishes like I asked him to? What if my constant snoring and need for space bugs him to the point of him moving out?
Oh wait…that’s why you work/do volunteer work/join a book club/have a night out with friends!
2) Plan with “chill” in mind
The build! The anticipation of a long-awaited and much deserved date!
I know I initially said that planning sucks but it’s required if you wanna go all the way with your SO. I thought that since he and I would be apart a lot, every date had to be super special and grand. The fact is…it doesn’t have to be.
Sure, a night out once in a while would be great where you both dress up and stuff. But treating the date just like if you two lived nearby puts the pressure off of each other to plan the date. This actually makes me realize that we’ve never been out on a fancy dress-up date, but this is due to our lack of funds.
There’s a risk that you might not feel as special. Sometimes my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram news feeds are flooded with girls/boys posting up pictures of gifts from their significant others or late night dates at some swanky place. This always makes me feel iffy because we don’t have the sufficient funds to splurge on things like this and often times, I can feel left out and underappreciated. This is what happens when you’re super practical with your money. It’s gotten to the point where it’s annoying that I feel bad for spending money. (Mental note to self: Money is earned to be enjoyedddd as well. As long as no sporadic expenditures are exercised, spending money for fun is a good thing.)
Okay, mini-rant over.
If every date consisted of something chill and laid-back, one might start to feel as if they’re not worth all the grandeur that romance brings with it. Again, this varies with every couple, but I wouldn’t mind going the extra mile when planning a date once every blue moon.
I’m a sucker for romance and I will go out of my way to be incredibly cheesy at all costs.
3) Those Cuddle Sparks
Cuddle. That’s it. Scientific research shows that cuddling is one of those physical acts that releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone. It’s harder to cuddle when you’re in a long distance relationship of course, but time should be made for physical contact when you’re actually together.
Our bodies are physiologically linked to a reward system and when we do things that release oxytocin such as sex, cuddling, hand-holding or even a tiny peck on the cheek, we keep coming back for more.
So, yes, go cuddle when you can. Sex doesn’t hurt either.
Cuddling cons?! Is there such a thing as too much cuddling? According to this one article I read, they did a study and it showed that a lesser known effect (lesser known? or avoided) of oxytocin: it also makes you more envious. Sound familiar?
This is probably the reason why I wasn’t the jealous type before I met my current bf. Thanks oxytocin.
Give your partner space. I know it seems like the last thing you’d think about doing in a long distance relationship, but on both sides, it’s good to let the partner live their own life.
You can’t have their world revolve around you 24/7! Ah, if that were the case, then I’d be a happy camper. I love the attention I get from my boyfriend, but this strengthens the point I make about giving each other space.
If you don’t give each other space, this could lead to suffocating your partner, which is not fun for either side. One side ends up pressing for more attention and the other slowly fades away until they don’t want to pay you any more attention.
It’s a vicious cycle and it happens, even in non-long distance relationships.
4) Take a break
Yes, sometimes, a break is needed. Like any other relationship, even the best of long distance relationships suffer from fights such as jealousy, not having enough time for each other, etc.
Sometimes these relationships can feel like too much of a commitment. It’s always best to kind of outline the boundaries of taking a break. We all know what happened with Ross and Rachel. As romantic as their ending was, that relationship was just way too much drama.
Communication is key in taking these breaks and it may even strengthen your relationship if you decide to get back together.
One of you, or both of you, might move on. This wasn’t the first long distance boyfriend I’ve had. My last one ended amicably, thankfully enough, but it was still hard to let go. There were times where I wish we could have worked it out, but the truth is, we had just outgrown each other.
Did my current boyfriend and I have things going on with other people during the break? I’m not even sure what that yearlong break was all about, but what I do know is that I started to realize that:
a) Jealousy is healthy but how you handle it is a different story.
b) The kinda-single life was actually kinda-nice.
Will the same thing happen to me again? Perhaps but I choose to remain optimistic this time around.
5) Make your alone time worth it
One of the things I enjoy about long distance relationships is how much time I have for myself and the mutual understanding that we need that time.
It’s weird because we weren’t like this at all a few years back. We were insane and let’s just leave it at that. It’s a wonder we got this far.
Anyways, I love that I can binge watch on Netflix or come up with ideas for this blog and he can go on playing DoTa for hours or play basketball and we won’t really care. Okay, I don’t know about him, but I’ll admit, sometimes I care a little. And SOMETIMES, I care a little too much and cry about the irrational thought that he doesn’t want to talk to me.
Still though, in general, we respect each other’s alone time and do our best not to take away from that.
The negative aspect to this is that…I keep telling myself, oh we’ll have more time in the future to spend time together and whatnot. The thing is…uhhh…the future is pretty uncertain and there’s no guarantee we’ll stay together forever.
So I always try to shove that thought at the back of my mind when I want to spend time with him but it’s difficult when you know that love, like everything else, is finite. That’s pretty much why I get so antsy sometimes when one of us isn’t free to talk to the other. It’s like, “Hi…one of us could just walk out on the other one day and I don’t want to feel like I’ve spent 5 years of my life not talking to you when I could have.”
Then again, you may not have this problem but when you’re as paranoid as I am, it’s a lovely feeling.
This is what reality does to you. I used to be that whole “love is forever” Disney kind of gal, but certain circumstances changed that and I’m a lot more hard-skinned when it comes to love. There are times I wish I was still blissfully ignorant and vulnerable to love, but meh. We live in a reality where love softens and hardens the blow all at once.
Science: Cuddling is key to a committed and loving relationship- http://theweek.com/article/index/253482/science-cuddling-is-key-to-a-committed-and-loving-relationship#axzz34vae0SUj
The Cuddle Hormone: Lesser-Known Effects of Oxytocin – http://www.divinecaroline.com/self/self-discovery/cuddle-hormone-lesser-known-effects-oxytocin