5 Tips for Surviving a Long Distance Relationship
When I first spoke to my husband about writing this, I asked him if I could use his real name. He said no. So for the purpose of this article, I will call him Fred. His real name is Matt. But I will call him Fred.
Fred and I are currently living in different states and therefore have engaged in a long distance relationship. I am in Florida for 10 weeks performing in a musical called “Daddy Long Legs“. Fred is living in NYC performing in a musical called “The Phantom Project Manager of AIG”.
10 weeks may seem like a long time for most people, but I once lived in Melbourne while Fred lived in Sydney for 18 months. We flew to see each other every second weekend, but it was a really emotional and difficult time for us.
This time, it has been easier. Partly because we are familiar with the process, and partly because it’s 68 weeks shorter than the last time. So, for those that may find themselves in the same boat, here are our 5 tips for survival.
1. Speak everyday
For us, this is number one. Just hearing each others’ voice and checking in each day helps us feel connected. Living so far away can sometimes feel as though we are no longer living a life together. It can be hard to remember what reality is. It doesn’t have to be a long phone call, Fred will often finish work at 6:50pm and I need to be at the theatre at 7pm, so sometimes our calls are brief. But even if you can only spare two minutes – do it!
2. Store up stories
There is nothing more depressing than waiting all day long to speak to your love, only to have the following conversation:
“How was your day?”
“Good. How was your day?”
When you live together, typically the day’s events are told to each other over a period of hours – as you make dinner, watch tv, shower, climb into bed etc. You remember the new sandwich you tried at Subway, the rat you almost stepped on and the awful mustache your colleague decided to grow… all over a period of a few hours. But when you are only able to chat for a brief amount of time each day, you need to share all those thoughts in the space of ten minutes. And it’s hard to remember them all on the spot! Therefore, I jot things down throughout the day so when the time comes, I can fire off all my hilarious anecdotes to Fred when he calls. Lucky Fred.
3. Say the important things
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, the ways in which we show love can be categorized into 5 behaviours:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
We all need these to feel loved in a relationship, though different personalities require more of one behaviour than another. When living together, you can show love in so many more ways… giving a kiss, making a cup of tea for your awesome wife etc. It is impossible to do these things while living apart. The one love language that can be emphasized however, is words of affirmation. Tell the other person how much you love them, how much you miss them and how bloody awesome they are. Do it 5 times more than you usually would to make up for the other love languages that don’t get a showing!
4. Send things in the post
Giving and receiving gifts is another love language you can take advantage of. You don’t have to go nuts, but just sending a card or something thoughtful is a beautiful way to show you are thinking of the other person.
Matt’s Fred’s man crush is Mark Wahlberg. So I may or may not have torn out a shirtless picture of Mr. Wahlberg from a magazine, autographed it and sent it to Fred in the post. (I was bitterly disappointed to find out he knew it was from me, and not from Marky-Mark). How did he know!?!
5. Don’t go out at night and drink copious amounts of alcohol with a very attractive person of the opposite sex.
Upon proof-reading this article, Fred said it sounded like we were speaking from previous experience with this last tip. So to make things clear… we have not fallen prey to this, but it’s still a bloody good tip and should be heeded!
– Penny xo