July is a busy month in our household. We have my mom’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary and my and hubby’s anniversary. There is a lot of celebrating going on this month. We have a lot to be grateful for too. I am so happy that we can celebrate these days. I even have something special planned for hubby and me for our anniversary. But, we weren’t always able to celebrate so easily. My husband and I had a long-distance relationship during most of our time dating. You can learn a bit more about us here .My parents have also been geographically separated several times when my dad was active duty in the Air Force. So, long-distance relationships are almost second nature for us and many in the military community.
However, not every long-distance relationship survives. In fact, my husband and I are probably in the minority here. So many long-distance relationships end for one reason or another. We really won a lottery here. It is one thing to deal with distance once you are married, but it is an entirely different animal when you are just starting a relationship and getting to know each other. We had another strike against us since we were so young too. I was only 18 when I met my hubby and he was 21. There were so many who thought we were crazy to maintain our relationship, but we both knew we had something special and had to work hard to keep it going. The distance was only temporary. I honestly believe our time in a long-distance relationship and what we learned from it has helped us a lot in our marriage.
4 Tips for a Long-Distance Relationship
I have 4 tips to share with you that worked for my husband and me. All of these things helped us stay close together even when we were literally on opposite sides of the planet.
First and foremost, you MUST have trust in each other. If you do not trust your significant other, you will not be able to survive a long-distance relationship. But, what is trust?
Trust [ truhst ]
Reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
Confident expectation of something; hope.
Verb (used without object)Taken from dictionary.com
To rely upon or place confidence in someone or something (usually followed by in or to): to trust in another’s honesty; trusting to luck.
To have confidence; hope: Things work out if one only trusts.
So, if you cannot rely on your significant other when there are miles between you or you lack confidence in them remaining committed to you and the relationship, you will be in for a very difficult situation. These types of relationships do not work well with people who have struggled with unfaithfulness in the current or any past relationships. If one side of the relationship has any kind of trust issues form previous experiences, a long-distance relationship might not be the kind of relationship to be a part of.
Now, I would highly recommend not committing to a long-distance relationship until there is a solid foundation in your relationship first. That would mean that you have earned each other’s trust before one side has to move away for work or school. However, I will admit, that is not how my hubby and I did that at all. Meeting online made for a long-distance relationship from the get-go. So, relationships like that can be successful, but they can be so much harder sometimes. But, being separated from your sweetheart after being together for a while is hard too. So, long-distance relationships are just HARD! But, when you find your special someone, it is so worth it.
I know this is cheesy and cliché, but communication was very important in maintaining our relationship. It got hard sometimes, especially when my hubby was still in Korea and was 12 hours ahead of me in Texas. But, we made it work and we talked EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Well, every day we were able to. Of course, there were times where he was in the field and I could not reach him, but we talked every day he had connection.
Instant Messaging/ Texting
For nine months of our relationship, my husband was still stationed in Korea (where we met) and I was back in the states. The only way we could communicate was through the internet. Keep in mind, this was before smart phones and a lot of the technology we have today. International chips for cell phones were insanely expensive too. So, all we had was instant messaging and Skype.
Remember, he was 12 hours ahead of me. So, I had to become a morning person. I would wake up at 6 every morning just so I would get the opportunity to send a few instant messages back and forth before I had to get ready for the day and be ready for classwork. Six A.M. my time was 6 or 7 P.M. his time. So, I was eating breakfast while he was eating dinner. If he didn’t have PT in the mornings, he would send me a couple of messages before he headed to work. I would see those around dinner time my time and it was a great way to end my day.
When he got back to the states, he was stationed in Nevada. So, we were still long-distance, but at least we were in the same country! We both had cell phones finally and we had the same carrier, so that meant unlimited texting! That allowed us to text each other throughout the day to check in. I promise you; we didn’t go crazy with the texts. I think our worst day had 30 texts between the two of us. We always knew what the other was doing though.
Once my husband got back to the states, we were able to talk on the phone. Again, thank goodness we were on the same carrier that offered unlimited usage with others on the carrier. We would talk on the phone every evening. Some calls were quick 10-minute chats, or we would be on the phone for an hour. It all just depended on what happened that day. Again, being able to talk daily just gave let us know that there was someone there to lean onto. We knew that we were always there for each other despite the distance.
Skype/ Face Time
What my husband and I did is kind of dated, but the idea still stands. Once a week throughout our entire time in a long-distance relationship, we would video chat through Skype. Again, this was before we had smart phones and face time. So, you might be able to do this more often than we did. But, I highly recommend you talk with your significant other and agree to a set number of times a week you are to video chat and keep it on the schedule. It is very important to be able to set time aside for one another, especially in a long-distance relationship.
We would do our video chats once a week (usually Sunday evening) and on all major holidays (e.g. Thanksgiving and Christmas). We both knew to be logged in and ready to talk at a specific time too. My husband has had to kick friends out of his apartment, and I have had to cut activities short to be sure we were both ready. It was something we both looked forward to every week.
Being able to see my hubby’s face made everything better and made the distance not hurt so much. These video chat sessions would be a little longer for us simply because we liked looking at each other 😊. If it doesn’t keep you or your person away from completing necessary tasks, talk as long as you want.
There were several birthdays and holidays we missed celebrating together while we were in a long-distance relationship. However, being able to send gifts helped a lot. I LOVE giving gifts to people I care about. My husband would get boxes for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and his birthday. I would always try to make each box special. My favorite box I sent him was for Easter one year. I filled the entire box with the Easter basket grass and had eggs filled with all kinds of goodies for him. He opened it in his office and grass ended up everywhere. Another year, I knew I was going to be visiting him shortly after Valentine’s Day. So, his Valentine’s Day box was filled with two hot chocolate mugs, gourmet hot chocolate and a couple of cheesy rom-com movies for us to watch once I got there.
Hubby sent gifts to me too! For my birthday one year, he sent me all kinds of self-care goodies like bath bombs and lotion. In that box he also sent me some cookies that he baked special for me. Unfortunately, they looked more like ice cream topping by the time they got to me. But it was the thought that counts. These gifts do not need to be expensive. But I recommend sending something to your sweetheart every once in a while just to show them that you care about them. You also don’t have to always assemble the gift yourself. Send them some flowers for a special day. It is just nice to have a tangible item with you to know your person cares for you even when they are far away. Of course, everything absolutely depends on your budget.
For some inspiration check out these gifts here.
Visit Each Other
Being able to visit each other while in a long-distance relationship is very important. This is something you need to talk with your significant other about to agree on how often you visit each other, and how you will do so. What worked for my hubby and I was a visit every three months. We would take turns too. This meant that we only had to buy a plane ticket once every six months. Thankfully flying to Las Vegas from San Antonio or vise versa was relatively inexpensive. So, I would go to visit him and then three months later he would fly to town to visit me. We would save our pennies to make sure we could buy our tickets and have several sets of dates scheduled ahead of time.
Again, you and your sweetheart will have to discuss how you will be able to visit each other. You may only be an hour away from each other and can take turns every weekend to see each other. Or, you may be on opposite sides of the country and you decide to meet each other halfway for a vacation. Any option can work if you both agree to it and are able to afford it.
Keep in Mind…
One thing I recommend is to not make every visit feel like a vacation. If your only in-person experience with your sweetheart is like a vacation, then you might not get the full picture of what it is like with that person all the time. That can cause some troubles in your relationship when you are no longer long-distance. There were a couple of times where my husband could not take a lot of leave when I came to visit. But, that was okay because I was able to take my schoolwork with me to keep me busy while he was at work. It gave me a chance to see his day-to-day life and how he dealt with the stress of work.
There was also a visit I made to Vegas fell in the same week he had to go to Scottsdale with co-workers to attend a certification course. So, I went to visit anyway, and we had a road trip. Thankfully, another co-worker brought his girlfriend at the time too and we all traveled down together. I also had family nearby and stayed with them for a few days while hubby was in class. When my hubby would visit me, he would be visiting my family too. That also meant learning house rules and just getting to know my family.
When you are together, take the time to take photos of each other and of yourselves together. You may feel silly taking so many photos, but you will cherish them while you are apart from each other. I have so many photos of my husband doing rather mundane things (e.g. cooking dinner, playing video games, etc.). But when we were still long-distance, I was able to look at those pictures and remember my last visit. Our photos together from those visits are some of my favorites too. All of those photos help us remember our time together and definitely made us excited for our next visit.
My Final Thoughts on Having a Long-Distance Relationship
Having trust, maintaining communication, giving gifts, and visiting each other are the four most important tips I can give you to help you through your long-distance relationship. All four have the common theme of showing each other you love them and are making them a priority in your life. It also shows that you are making time for them to help fulfill their needs, even if you are geographically separated. Long distance relationships are very hard and very few leads to successful long-term relationships and marriages. But, they can and do work for those couples who are willing to work for it. My husband and I are proof of that. We were long-distance for three and a half years (which was also the very beginning of our relationship). Now, we are about to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary and 11 total years together.
What you need to remember is that you and your significant other are on the same team and you are working together. Talk with each other and agree to expectations of your relationship (long-distance or otherwise). If your work schedule changes and you can’t talk on the phone as often, tell your person and figure out a new plan to stick to. If you are feeling lonely or that you are not getting enough attention, tell your sweetheart. Do not expect them to know how you are feeling, especially when there are hundreds of miles between you. If you are currently in a long-distance relationship, keep up the good work, it is so worth it when you are with the right person! If you have been in a long-distance relationship, share in the comments what worked for you.