How to survive being apart
We sometimes get so caught up in our own daily mundane routines that we tend to neglect even a simple "How was your day?" to the person who matters most to us. We sometimes let a day go by without speaking to our loved ones, while we are just trying to get everything done in our own lives.
I always thought an LDR was only for the really lonely ones, the ones who couldn't find their partners right where they are now. Just like most of what I thought of in love, I was wrong. I did not expect this, nor did I even want this in the first place. It's great because you really have to be creative with everything that you do. It keeps you on your toes and keeps your brain cells working.
These are some tips I have gathered within a month's time, sort of a survival kit for couples who are miles and miles away from each other:
1) Always start your day with a good morning message. - I figured out that since I loved seeing the messages in the morning as soon as I woke up, it had the same effect on my partner as well. The first thing I do now upon waking up is to grope for my ipod and check FB if there are any messages. 99% pf the time, there would be. The remaining 1% are for the times that my partner fell asleep before I did and I woke up earlier than usual.
2) Familiarize yourself with what timezone your partner is in and learn to adjust how you tell time. You'd realize that you now look at the time and tell it two different ways, your time and your partner's time. - In my case, I got used to asking, "Have you had lunch?" at 4pm my time, because that was my partner's lunch time and I got used to reminding my partner to grab dinner at midnight or so my time.
3) Be creative. - Figure out how else you could communicate with your partner. Do not limit yourself to just chat, pm's and such. Sometimes, all we need is to hear their voice. Call. Even if it would just last a minute, cherish every second that you can hear your partner's voice. Send pictures. Engage your partner in your activities. Take a snapshot of let's say, what you're cooking for lunch and attach a message that say's "Can't wait to cook this when you get home", Or maybe take pictures of stuff that interests you. Or maybe just everyday normal things you do around the house or at work. This helps your partner get a clear idea of what mood you are in and could also help your partner understand you better.
4) Write. - And I don't mean just sending out a long SMS declaring your love for your partner. What I'm talking about is actual hand writing. Take time out of your day to write or scribble a little note here and there about things that you think your partner would appreciate or would like to know. I have a cube of colored paper stacks always handy just in case I think of something I want to share with my partner. Small things that would usually read "I thought about you today and smiled. thank you for loving me" or "Watching White Chicks would be so much better with you". Put the date on each paper whenever you're writing. Fold them into small shirts, hearts or whatever shape you can and put them in a small box. When your partner comes home, give it to them and let them read all the thoughts you've had during the times you were not together and try to re-live those moments and have a good laugh together.
5) Set expectations. - Even at this day and age when the internet and gadgets can bring people together, remember that it can work both ways. You may not be available online 24/7 and there may be days where you will be out of reach or without internet connection, therefore leaving you sometimes with no means to get word to your partner. It helps that you always make your partner aware of what your schedule for the following day would roughly be. You don't have to give an itemized schedule, simply let your partner know that you'd be stepping out for a while and doing whatever, and that would help avoid missed calls, voice mail, lots of pings and what-have-you's.
6) Listen with your heart. - Yes, Grandmother Willow gave the same advice to Pocahontas. Listen with your heart, you will understand. Sometimes, our partner may be trying to tell us something but we were just either too self-centered or stubborn to listen. Read between the lines. Feel what your partner is feeling by 'listening" to the tone used in conversations, key words used in chats, emoticons used in sending responses. If you ask how your partner's day went and the response you got was a straight faced emoticon, for sure there's something amiss. Probe and find out why your partner chose to send you a straight faced smiley. It could be because of a tough day at work or a really intense brainstorming that left your partner drained. These are the small yet very important cues you need to "listen" for.
7) Don't "sleep on it" when it comes to disagreements. Like a normal, here-with-you-now relationship, do not sleep until disagreements are solved and out of the way of a good night's sleep. Talk. Rant. Rave. But most of all, get things resolved after talking things through. Divorce and couples that separate are usually caused by one thing, lack of communication. If something is bothering you, talk. If you feel something is amiss, talk. If you think you need to say something, talk. Remember, talk and not nag. Look for an amicable way to settle whatever difference of opinion you may have had and make sure you still get to say your usual "I love you so much, goodnight." before you go to bed and call it a wrap.
8) The element of surprise. - Once in a while, it would be best to surprise your partner with something special. I'm not talking about expensive store-bought gifts. I'm referring to little stuff that your partner likes and you know would brighten up their day. Sending stuff via courier can be very expensive and oftentimes, the cost of sending a small token for your partner would cost way higher than the cost of the actual item. You can still do it by perhaps teaming up with one of your partner's work buddies and try to get them to do something for you. Like maybe you could scan a handwritten love note and email it and have the buddy print it out and pin it on your partner's work station? That would surely brighten their day. One thing is you could also wire over some money to have your partner's friend buy flowers or maybe a bunch of small balloons, a small plush toy that you know your partner would love, or maybe even ask the buddy to get your partner a cup coffee made just the way you would make it, and leave it on your partner's desk with a little note from you.
9) Sexy Time. - Sure, you love your partner and vice-versa. You remain faithful, but what makes you so sure that your partner is doing the same? Some people would say pictures and dirty messages, that's what. I say different. Keep your partner interested without endangering yourself (in case your partner's phone gets stolen, of course you wouldn't want any nude pictures of you flying around cyberspace would you?) and compromising your beliefs. I know a lot of couples send sexy, sometimes explicit photos to one another, but this accomplishes nothing really. Better to send your partner stuff that would stir longing, yes, like maybe a picture of you smiling, and not doing a duck face or something. Maybe a picture of you in your fave PJ's instead of in sexy negligee. Remember, always think before sending a photo you might regret.
None of these tips are guaranteed to make your relationship last forever, but I am hoping that I was able to share some important and helpful information to all you guys out there who are in long distance relationships. Remember, communication and creativity is key. We have to constantly work on our relationships, more than the normal couples do. Lacking face to face interaction, physical touches and geographical proximity, we are left with more to compensate for. Just remember, make time for your partner, and your partner will make time for you too. Make a conscious and constant effort to be in your partner's daily life and make them see that if a long distance relationship with you is this awesome, then just imagine what it would be when the time comes that you'd be finally together.