Managing A Long Distance Relationship: Part I…

Rather than sharing my top picks from the Nordstrom Sale like I should be posting about, I’m sharing something that is taking over a huge part of my life right now – managing a long distance relationship from across the world – going from roommates to opposite lives. For starters, I am not good at this long distance thing and Dominik and I are trying to figure things out as we go. Secondly, we are still in the beginning stages of long distance so I am sharing what’s getting me/us through at this point of time. And third, I do not always take the advice I am going to share – sometimes my emotions get the best of me and I fail at managing things.

Dominik will hate this post – but I don’t care haha! This post is not only to help any of you reading this but to help me stay level headed and focus on what is truly important! For those of you who don’t know – after the first time Dominik and I went out, he went back to Germany a week later, for 5 weeks, and we didn’t know if he would be coming back for good. So our relationship kind of started off as long distance and I do think that has helped us a decent amount. So let’s start with what I think is important when embarking on a long distance relationship.

1. Trust!

I cannot emphasize this enough! In order to even have a chance at making things work, you have to completely trust the other person! You will both be living such separate lives and meeting with all kinds of people, you have to be able to trust them. I have gone down the path of not trusting him (in past Germany visits) and it is not a good road to go down. You will drive yourself crazy wondering what they are doing, who they are with, who are they talking to. If you cannot truly trust the person 100%, I wouldn’t even bother. That is the foundation, IMO, to making it work. If you cannot truly trust the person 100%, you will make each other absolutely miserable. Do NOT go into a long distance relationship unless trust is all in.

2. Communication, Communication, Communication

This sounds kind of obvious, right? Communicate because it is all you have. That’s what Dom and I did in the beginning and it was great. But I read something earlier that really stuck with me – you can communicate too much because that is all you have. And you can overshare with each other just to keep conversation going. I know I struggle HARD with this because I want to keep our conversations going and I want to talk to Dominik all I can before he goes to sleep but you can ask him, it can be too much to the point we don’t have anything to say or too emphasized to the point that I get upset. Give each other space but stay open in communication. Both of you need to initiate communication and it must be consistent to keep a long distance relationship on course.

Not only keep communication open, but it is vital to send positive reinforcement to each other. Tell them how much you love them and miss them, give them the countdown to seeing each other, reinforce their insecurities and there is nothing to worry about. Keep it alive and keep the love in the communication. People like me, whose love languages are quality time and words of affirmation, communication and reinforcement are critical. Learn the love languages and cater to them. Not only for distance, but every day relationship too.

3. Believe In Your Relationship

This might as well be number one on the list – BELIEVE in your relationship, believe that it will work out! You cannot leave any room for doubt or you will bring that negativity and fear into the relationship – which just makes things worse because you cannot be together. I would even go as far as to say if you do not 100% believe in the relationship, don’t even bother the long distance because it will be one of the biggest stressers you and your significant other will experience. It will bring out the good, the bad and the ugly (but rarely the good). You can’t half-a** something this big. You must be all in for the relationship to continue to grow and go where you want it to.

4. Have An End Date

Without having an end date or a goal to work towards to know it won’t be like this forever, it is virtually impossible to make a long distance relationship work. Without the end in sight, I can promise you, one of you will loose faith and break. It is so so so important to know that this will come to an end and you will be together again. Whether it be moving in together or getting engaged or planning to both move somewhere new, have an end date to reassure your relationship and work towards that goal together.

5. Work Together

I read a quote that has not left me, “It is not you against him, but rather you and him against the problem.” Do not blame one another for the long distance, as hard as it is not to. I struggled SO bad blaming Dominik for leaving me and moving on without me and it caused more issues than you can even imagine. But having an end date in mind now, we can work together to reach that date. It is you and him [her] against the distance. Work together and have patience with each other when those bad days hit, because they will.

6. Treat It Like A Breakup

It will feel like a breakup. You will feel like your heart was ripped out of you and torn into pieces, and you will feel like you can’t wake up and get going in the morning. You will feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest and a rubber band is tied around your throat. Getting separated from you S.O. feels just like a breakup and sometimes worse. Treat it like one. Get busy and make your own life without them. Heavily rely on friends and family to help you. Get involved in things and stay busy. Avoid being alone as much as you can in the beginning until you become adjusted to the situation.

What has really helped me is running/working out, book club (reading), Murray, this blog, bowling league and just going to random events I hear about – with or without friends. Keeping yourself busy and doing things shows your S.O. that you are okay and choose to share life with them, not need them. Dominik is the one who moved, so I took the impact harder than he has and staying busy has really helped and has been crucial to me.

7. Embrace The Feelings

I have learned this the hard way in so many aspects of my life. Embrace the sadness. Embrace the loneliness. Embrace abandonment. Embrace all the feelings. Do not hold them in because it will backfire. Bad. Feel it all and let it out. Scream in your car, punch a pillow, write it down and cry your heart out in the bathroom. But do not call your S.O. and blame them. I think it is okay and healthy to share your loneliness and sadness with them – share how you feel because they are the ones who completely understand where you are coming from. But as I mentioned above, do not overshare on this or you will make them feel guilty. Have a friend to go to with those feelings. Your partner is already overwhelmed with theirs, so do not unravel the negative feelings on them but make sure you feel it all! Embracing the feelings will help you cope. Take your time.

8. The Little Things

Try to do something frequently to remember how much you love them. Send them care packages, send them snail mail, make them a scrapbook. Since it is so expensive to send something to Dominik in Germany, I have my own little “ritual” I do every night before bed that I will give to him when we are reunited. I can’t share it now because he might be reading this but that little thing I do every night is so important to me and keeping his love, touch and memories vivid. It constantly reminds me of how much I love him and why this distance is worth it.

One thing you all know I do is wear Dominik’s initial on a necklace everyday. I also wear a necklace everyday with the coordinates of where we first saw each other/met (October 12, 2016 – best day ever!). Before Dominik moved, I gave him a necklace with my initial that he can carry in his pocket, his car, his wallet, leave on his nightstand. To me it resembles having a little piece of each other with us at all times. It’s the little things.

9. Bad Days Happen

Remember you will have off days. It’s inevitable. I’m not going to lie, yesterday was a bad day for us. They happen and they happen more often than I would like to admit. But we are both stressed. We are both frustrated. And the only person I want here with me to make it better is on the other side of the world, 7 hours ahead in time, and effecting this pain. Bad days will happen. When they happen, it is so hard not to throw in the towel because sometimes that seems like the easiest thing to do. Just try to think of the next time you see them and it will remind you that this pain is worth it. This distance is temporary. This stress is won’t last forever. Don’t let those bad days ruin the end result.

10. Avoid The Power Game

This is a BIG one to me because I constantly feel like I care more or I miss him more or I hurt more. Avoid it at all costs. You express your love and stress and frustration differently, and that’s okay. You will be busy and lonely at different times so you will feel lonelier than them at times. Just try to remember how much better things are when you are together and be compassionate of how they are dealing with this. You are in this together.

11. Good Morning And Goodnight

I live for my good morning texts from Dominik. He is 7 hours ahead of me so waking up and starting my day off with a text from him starts my day right. Don’t underestimate the power of that simple text. Regardless if you are hungover or mad or don’t want to, send that good morning text or call them. Saying goodnight – even if you are mad at each other. I believe this is so important and a sign of a healthy relationship. It is so powerful to end your day with the one you love regardless of the circumstances.  Again, even if you are mad at each other, a simple “good night” text is more powerful than you think.

12. Don’t Forgot The Love

Just remember you love each other and that is why you are going through this long distance relationship. The stress, the anxiety, the tension, it won’t be worth it in the end. Just love each other. Have compassion, be patient and reinforce how much you love each other.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

I hope this helps any of you going through a long distance relationship or about to! Like I mentioned above, I don’t follow this all the time and I struggle very badly with the distance. Just remember it will all be worth it!

Leave any additional tips or comments below! I would love to hear them.

xxoo, Rebekah