As Dave and I have been together for twenty years and living together for nearly seventeen, it’s strange to remember that we started off as a long-distance relationship. I was a student living in Manchester, while he lived and worked over two hundred miles away in Pembrokeshire. It’s fair to say that this was both a wonderful and really difficult time for us both. We loved the excitement of getting to see each other for those rare occasions but there were also lots of tears each time we had to say goodbye and when we were missing each other. Here are a few ways that we made our long-distance relationship work until it was possible to finally live close to each other:
Make Regular Contact
When you are living far away from a partner, whether it’s just along the motorway or overseas, it’s important to remain in regular contact with them. This is far easier today in the digital age than it was for Dave and me at first when we had to rely on payphones and shared household phones. Even though it was harder for us we still made sure we had phone contact every day. Eventually, when I got a mobile phone we could communicate by texts throughout the day and phone calls each evening to catch up on each other’s day. Today, skype, facetime and video calls make life a lot easier for long-distance couples so there’s no excuse not to stay in contact and show your partner you’re interested in their life and vice versa.
2. Write to Each Other
I know it’s not actually necessary for long-distance couples to write to each other anymore but it’s still a romantic gesture to be treasured. While our texts and emails are great to let out our impulsive thoughts, a letter allows you to really think about what you want to say to your partner and the words flow. Receiving a letter from your loved one is so exciting and a treat to your senses that you won’t experience through video calls. I used to love taking in the fragrance of handwritten letters. Snail mail also allows you to pop little gifts and printed photos in the envelope. I still have a box of letters from Dave that I treasure to this day.
3. Always Have the Next Date Arranged
It’s important to always have the next date arranged to look forward to. We always made sure we had planned when we were going to see each other next before we parted ways. This really helped us get through the goodbyes and the lonely days of being apart. Sometimes, of course, we would spontaneously get to see each other sooner than planned, which was amazing! We also often extended our time together when we could as we really hated saying goodbyes.
4. Remember it Doesn’t Have to be a Long Distance Relationship Forever
In our situation, we knew that once I graduated we could plan to live in the same area. Eventually, I came back to live in Pembrokeshire, where we made a home and life together. I would never rule out a long-distance relationship. I mean, I know that if you live in Bristol* then you’re more likely to date Bristol Singles. But even if you find love elsewhere, If you’re really in love, you can make it work wherever you both live. I know many couples where one partner still works away, but they all have a plan of how many years this situation will continue for and like us, they make the most of the precious couple and family time that they do get together.
5. Meet Half Way
Throughout our long-distance relationship, I would try and come home to Pembrokeshire during half terms and summer holidays. Dave would come up to Manchester for the weekend when he could. We also liked to meet halfway in Bristol while visiting family and friends. I know couples who live overseas from each other often try and meet in a halfway country to avoid expensive long haul flights. As well as meeting halfway geographically, like in any relationship, it’s important to “meet halfway” figuratively and make sure both partners are making the effort to meet each other. It takes work to make a long-distance relationship survive and this needs to be fair on both sides.
I know we both experienced heartache during this time as it was hard to be away from each other, but we look back at this time with fond memories and it’s definitely made us stronger as a couple.
Have you been in or are you in a long-distance relationship? I’d love to hear your thoughts.