My wife and I are one of the rare success stories when it comes to long distance relationships. We grew up in the same hometown and knew io each other but never really knew each other… if that makes sense. Well, one of her good friends married one of my good friends and we were both in the wedding.
I had a few buddies that were interested in her and she told me later on that a couple girls were after me. But, for some reason, we weren’t interested in anyone else. All I wanted to do is to get to know her and if she wasn’t interested then I was just going to have a good time with my friends. Well, the good news is… she was.
After a great weekend together we knew we had something there but didn’t really know what to do next. She lived in California and I lived in Minnesota and, while the weekend was great, I’m not sure either of us was ready to commit to a long distant relationship.
I just want to throw a disclaimer out there now and say that I am no relationship guru. I have had my fair share of failed relationships but I will say that I learned from each of them. So, while I’m not expert, I’m also not a novice.
At least Give It the Old College Try
I think a big mistake many people make is not even trying. You meet someone on vacation or at a wedding and you feel something but let it go because they live too far away. I’m not saying your should fall head over heels and invest everything into making it work. But, I do think you should give it a solid effort if you truly feel something for that person and they feel the same.
After the wedding, my future wife and I would text and talk everyday/all day even though we had no idea what this was. Finally, I decided that I needed to see her again but didn’t want to sound too serious like I was flying out just to see her. I made up a little white lie and said I had work in LA in a couple weeks and wanted to see her and she agreed.
We spent another amazing weekend in California together and I think we both knew we wanted to keep pursuing what we had. One thing I would highly recommend is having “the talk” where you define what you guys are. It doesn’t have to be right away… but, it needs to happen early. Otherwise, you could be all in and the other person could still be seeing other people.
The tough part is not knowing just how invested the other person is. They may say they are, but how do you really know when you can’t see them? This is where you really need to trust your intuition and gut feeling. We have all been there before when you ask someone out and they say “yes” but you have that feeling that they are really not that into it. If you have that feeling in a long distance relationship… run!
I say run because a long distance relationship only works if both people are truly all in and there is trust there. It’s funny… I never really had trust in a relationship until I started dating my now wife. I would only be with her once a month but, for some reason, fully trusted her. It was the way she made me feel and the effort she put in that I had never had before.
Show Your Love… Digitally
When you are in a long distance relationship, you need to do things that couples do even though you’re not actually together. I mean, this is 2018… there are a million ways to communicate and see each other without being right next to each other. Yes, it sucks not being able to touch the other person, but its still great to see them and be with them.
My wife and I would do a “movie night” together all the time. How we would do this is we would both get the movie set up on Netflix, we would Facetime each other, and then press play at the same time and keep the Facetime cameras on us. We would literally say “1,2,3… press play” so that we started the movie at the same time.
This may sound odd to some people but, to us, it was like watching a movie together. We would laugh together, comment on the movie, and catch each other looking at the other person instead of the movie.
I think that is the type of thing you have to do to “feel together” and in a relationship. I just don’t think calls or texts are good enough to keep that spark alive. Find something you can do together even if you aren’t actually physically together.
Your Friends Will Give You Crap
As a guy, you’re going to catch some flack from your buddies for this stuff. I remember telling my roommate that I wasn’t going to go to the bar because I had a Facetime movie night with my girlfriend. You can imagine the reaction I got… but I didn’t care because spending that time “together” meant more to me than anything else. If it meant catching some grief, so be it.
It’s a simple decision but it will tell you everything you need to know about the relationship. If you’re ok taking crap from your buds because you’d rather see your girlfriend than you got something real. If not, you’re probably just wasting your time and hers.
Have an End Game
I believe that the key to any long distance relationship is an end game for the “long distance” part. This doesn’t mean you bring up moving in together after a month of dating. That will probably end the long distance and the relationship part altogether.
It means that after you’ve been long distance for a while and you are both still heavily invested, its time to start talking about someone, or both of you, moving to be with each other.
It’s a difficult subject and it may even cause a fight or two… but, you can’t go on forever doing long distance. For my wife and I, it was tough because she didn’t want to move to Minnesota because it was too cold. And, I wasn’t huge on the idea of paying crazy amounts of money to live in Orange County. But, the great part was that if it came down to us breaking up or moving, either one of us would have moved to be with the other even though we weren’t fond of the idea.
Luckily for us, I was asked to transfer to Denver for my job and that was a happy middle grown place for both of us. I have to give all the credit in the world to my wife because while I was transferred for my job, she had to uproot her life to move to Denver with me.
Put in the Effort
All said and done, we did about 8 months of long distance together. I flew out to California 4-5 times during that span and she came to Minnesota about the same.
I never once questioned how much she was into our relationship and I think she would tell you the same. We both made a huge effort to make sure the other person always knew how we felt. I truly believe that’s essential in a long distance relationship because if one person starts to feel neglected and you lose trust, the whole thing falls apart.
So, how do you make long distance relationships work? The same way you make any relationship work… only you have to work even harder. You have to show your love more and express yourself more. And, if there are warning signs, trust issues, or you start to lose interest then you should just cut it off because you’ll just be wasting your time.
My wife and I, along with thousands of other couples, are living proof that these relationships can work and turn into a beautiful marriage. So, if you have a long distance relationship where you are both invested and will do anything to make it work… then go for it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. My wife and I both had plenty naysayers when we first started out but we didn’t listen and now those people are apologizing to us.