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‘Be thankful that you have someone to love and someone who also loves you back.’  Just when I thought being in a long distance relationship would be tough, I stumbled upon the above quote from Lifehack.org’s 21 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work and it brought me back to why I fell in love with my boyfriend in the first place.  Yet sometimes, I wonder: how did I get initiated into the long distance relationship club?  Life doesn’t always prepare you for the changes that throw you for a loop. 

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A few months into our relationship, my boyfriend declared he needed a career change.  He decided to sign up for the Navy, and one year and three months later, I’m in Chicago and he’s in Norfolk, Virginia with the rest of his fleet, at one of the largest naval stations in the world.  While I’m proud of him, being in a long distance relationship is new to me.  I’m sure some of you out there are new to it as well.  I didn’t have a manual to prepare me for this.  I’m used to our occasional foodie binges, trying new chic restaurants in Chicago, or going on hunts for the coolest coffee shops serving up the strongest, tastiest coffee in the city.  I’m used to our constant PDA and occasional bickering turning into laugh sessions and ‘I love you’s.’  Those in-person interactions have turned into a virtual reality of Skyping and phone sessions, and that’s something I have to get used to for the rest of his 4-year term as an active duty sailor.  On the bright side, we do visit one another.  I never thought I would visit Norfolk, Virginia where the hills are high, the seafood is fresh and the naval stations are beautiful but massive.  The distance has made me appreciate what I have, especially those intimate interactions that couples get to have frequently.   

I’m no Einstein when it comes to knowing what to do to make a long distance relationship work, but I can say that long distance relationships can be successful.  If you were just initiated into the long distance relationship club like me, and it feels like you’re alone, I’m here to tell you that you’re not.  Here are some key takeaways I’ve learned from skimming the web for tips on making a long distance relationship work:

See It As An Opportunity

This will be the ultimate test of your love.  See this as an experience you can share for the rest of your lives.  Tell yourself that you know distance is temporary, and if you can get through a temporary distance, you’re well on your way to the yellow brick road called forever.

Engage In Activities

I stumbled upon Loving From A Distance blog created by long distance couple Michelle and Frank to help others in geographically challenged relationships similar to them.  I was intrigued by their list of LDR (Long Distance Relationship) activities such as 100 Questions To Ask Your Partner.  My boyfriend and I talk regularly, which is great.  But the caveat to talking on a daily basis can lead to possibly running out of things to say.  If you’re experiencing this, please don’t fret.  These questions can lead to great discussion starters:

1. Where have you always wanted to travel?
2. What do you think we need to work on most in our relationship?
3. What’s your favorite personality trait of your own?
4. Which of your parents are you most like? 

To get the full list of 100 Questions to Ask Your Partner, click here.

Communicate Creatively

What I’ve noticed in my long distance relationship, and through hearing about other long distance relationships, is that communication is key!  When it comes to communicating with your partner, get creative!

SnapChat - For those who don’t know, SnapChat is a popular social sharing mobile app that allows you to easily talk to friends and view and send live stories from around the world.  You can do all of this within a temporary time frame before the story vanishes into internet space.  My boyfriend and I are avid users, and this has helped us so far in keeping our communication fun, unexpected and exciting. 

Skype - We absolutely love this easy-to-use software, which allows us to video call one another as well as use the messaging system to send videos, pictures and cute GIFS.  It’s also a fun way to engage in some harmless dirty talk with your partner.  If you’re like me, you’re all for keeping your relationship spicy.  Did I mention you can do all of this for free?  Get on that.

SimilarMinds.com - I discovered this site from the Loving From A Distance blog.  The site offers an interactive compatibility test that you can take and share with another person.  Once you fill out the form, an email will be sent to whomever you choose to complete the test with.  Once you both complete the test, you’ll receive an email that reveals your results.  

Plan To See One Another

Planning a mini vacay to see your queen or knight in shining armor is possible with a little research and planning.  Talk about your schedules and plan around that.  Also take turns looking at travel deals on sites like Expedia.com and Priceline to see if you can catch some travel deals to get the bang for your buck.  I'm happy to say with a little research and planning, me visiting my boyfriend in Virginia for a second time this year has came into fruition this past week.  You’ll be happy you planned that much-needed trip, especially when you are back in the arms of your lover.

Live Your Life

Whether I’m attending a career-related networking event to help me advance my skills within my field or a social mixer to meet new people and expand my network, it’s crucial to continue to live my life outside of my partner.  Just because your partner is now miles away, doesn’t mean you have to put your life on hold. Don’t prohibit yourself from career goals, social life, and your overall growth as a person.  Stay connected with your family and friends.  They can serve as your biggest supporters while you’re in an LDR.

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The distance has made me appreciate what I have, especially those intimate interactions that couples get to have frequently.

Grey.Line.7

Be Transparent

Speaking of social settings, let’s be honest: you're constantly surrounded by both sexes, and temptation can creep up at your door.  How does your partner feel about you socializing with the opposite sex, or vice versa?  Talk about it.  My boyfriend knows I love socializing with either sex.  Of course your partner’s antennas may go up if you’re around the opposite sex and they’re not there to fend off those coyotes howling at you.  That’s human nature, and that’s when honesty comes in.  You don’t have to report every single social scenario happening in your life, but it’s important to be transparent in sharing some of your social experiences with your lover because you’re genuinely excited to tell them about it.  Not only does transparency put you and your honey at ease, it creates an open forum of communication that builds a closer bond of trust and friendship. 

Don’t Be A Pessimist

Trust me, it can be hard not to be a pessimist in an LDR.  I start to think, ‘Are we sure we can do this?’  I’m here to say, stay positive.  Think of how far you’ve come as a couple and the end goal.  The type of energy you exert on your partner can have an overall effect on the relationship.

I’m still a newbie when it comes to the long distance relationship club.  But it’s an exciting adventure, and it puts me at ease to know that there are resources out there to help my partner and I make a long distance relationship successful.  If you ever wonder why you’re on your LDR journey, remember, ‘Be thankful that you have someone to love and someone who also loves you back.’

 

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