Happy Sunday ladies and jellyspoons. I spent the morning writing over 3,500 words on the full story of how Paul and I met including the following advice and I lost the entire article due to a WordPress error. UGH. Anyway, I’ve re-written the key points for you all because this is something so many of you have requested advice on. If you still want the story of how we met I could do a YouTube video instead? As you may know Paul and I did long distance for six months, and although it was only between Ireland and the UK any dating that requires a flight to go see someone is, in my opinion long distance and requires work. I hope the following suggestions are useful.
- Communication is key. Myself and Paul used a variety of different platforms to keep in touch from WhatsApp to email, FaceTime, Skype and even an app called Couple which lets you ‘Thumb kiss’ when you’re thinking of that person, send special dates and share a calendar of events which makes things fun and fresh.
- Plan and book flights in advance. This keeps your cost down which in turn puts less of a financial strain on the relationship and means you can look forward to, and countdown to the next time you’re seeing your loved one. We would always plan our next trip whilst on the current one. I never once wondered when I would see him again or left the airport feeling worried.
- Read the same book or watch the same movie and discuss as you would if you were sat beside that person. Alternatively start a series and only watch it together. Every night I stayed with Paul we watched an episode of Game Of Thrones. By the time we got to the final series I was moving to the UK and it will always remind us of that journey.
- Send random thoughtful gifts. When Paul visited Dublin one weekend he fell off a tree and ripped his jeans so I ordered the same pair to arrive at his house when he got home. When I landed at the airport Paul was always on time waiting with flowers. This reminds the person of how special you are and leaves them with something to remind them of you.
- Put in the work. If one person texts more than you do make sure you make the effort to call. We used to text every few hours, always send pictures and videos and scheduled a Skype before bed to talk about our day. Face to face video calling is essential in my opinion to have real discussions and feel closer to that person. Randomly tell them you miss them and you’re thinking of them so they feel loved. Without physical touch things can feel very distant.
- Use your independent time wisely; enjoy being alone and have a full life. This ensures you never need the other person, you only want them. Remember that any partner should be a wonderful addition to your life instead of a necessity. Know that this time is making you independently stronger and you will reap the benefits when distance is no longer an issue.
- Appreciate your time together. Plan fun activities and date nights, make sure you have things to look forward to together before you meet. Think outside the box when it comes to your chosen activities so you make plenty of memories together. Just three months in Paul and I had fit in countless trips back and forth, loads of random amusements and even a holiday.
- Trust. Trust is key in any relationship but in a long distance one even more so. Know that if that person is willing to continue to fly country for you and really wants to make things work they are in this for the long haul. Remember that someone can cheat on their wife while living with them so if someone is going to stray distance is not necessarily the factor you have to worry about. Understand you will both feel jealous or insecure especially whilst on nights out without each other, this is entirely normal but again leads back to communication.
- Always say good morning and goodnight. No matter how busy your day is try and and ensure you start and end your day checking in with that person so they know you care. Work and social life will always vary for both parties so understand when the other person experiences busier spells and you may become less of a priority. Things will balance out again and the less pressure you place on someone the better.
- Remember that it’s worth it. You’re in this for a reason and no matter how hard it gets, when you do meet up with that special someone all of those negative worries tend to disappear. I would bawl my eyes out every time I had to go to the airport then feel fine in a few days and begin my countdown again. It’s a rollercoaster but it makes you as a couple and ensures you truly value what you have. Your time together is precious and you’re working towards a life together so what’s a few months spent apart in the grand scheme of things.
Speaking of the grand scheme of things, you do need to discuss the elephant in the room – if you’re going to work long term chances are you can’t go long distance forever. One person is going to have to make the big move and I think it’s important to know where you both stand on that front. I always wanted to move to London for my career so it was a natural progression for me and always on the cards. Therefore, with my line of work and flexibility I was the one making the move. However, Paul and I openly discuss the chance of returning to Ireland together at some point in the future. Thankfully both of our careers allow a certain amount of freedom and we want to travel the world together before settling down somewhere fully. Writing something off completely isn’t fair and a relationship is about compromise. If you want to be with someone you will both make it work somehow, you just need to put in the effort and trust the process.