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Everyone knows what a long-distance relationship is – when two people are in a relationship, but they aren’t together in the same location. Each circumstance can be different depending on he couple and the success of such a relationship depends on the people in it.
My husband and I met near then end of 2008 via Facebook.
We didn’t know each other at all – he says that I added him, and I say that he added me. I am pretty sure that that will be our eternal mystery that may never be resolved :). Anyway, in one way or another we ended up in each others’ “friend” list and we have been living the dream for the past six years and have two little boys that we love very much. Although having a long distance relationship was not easy, our history proves that where there is commitment, respect, and goals a long distance relationship can be successful. In this article I want to share more about our experience and some basic advice that helped us survive our long distance relationship.
One day out of nowhere I noticed that this handsome guy was “online” (even though I admit, some of his pictures were kind of weird!), so I decided to “talk to him.” I was bored and just wanted to talk to anyone that was willing to talk back. That first chat was pretty short and all I remember is that he said he had to go to work so we only chatted for about 10 minutes. After that I talked with a couple more people before logging off to do something else.
Exactly one month went by before he talked to me again (I know it was one month, because at that time Facebook told you how much time had gone by between your last chat). He said that he was working, but was not doing much at the time. After a few minutes we realized that we had a few things in common – including that we were both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (I had converted about 2 years earlier). He had been a missionary in Bolivia for two years for the LDS Church which is why he knew Spanish and that was very important for our relationship, because at that point I didn’t speak any English!
After that day, not another passed by that we didn’t talk. We always had a set time that we would both login an chat for hours. A few months later (and many phone calls) he asked if I would be his girlfriend and I said yes! Looking back that was kind of strange, considering the fact that we hadn’t even met in person yet. It was pretty informal at first, but with time we realized that this was turning into something more important and real than we had imagined. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to Mexico where I was living and we met in person for the first time. After that first visit he came to visit me once every month and would stay for close to a week each time. He proposed to me and we got married 3 months later. After we got married, we lived separately for close to 8 months while we waited for the US Government to approve my spousal visa (although he did come to visit pretty often too).
So how did this crazy love story result in such a strong relationship?
Here is some advice that helped us to stay strong and committed to one another.
1 – Communicate As Often As Possible
This doesn’t mean that you have to be hooked up to your computer or phone 24 hours per day, 7 days a week or that you have to rack up hundreds of dollars in cell phone bills. In fact, that kind of contact might not be 100% healthy even for non-long-distance relationships! That said, technology does play a huge role in long-distance relationships and we are so grateful for all of the advances in modern technology that helped us to be able to communicate so often. I cannot even imagine this type of relationship working back when people could only communicate by sending letters or making long distance phone calls. The internet definitely was an important part of our relationship, but it is always good to take precautions as well. I will write an article about this later.
Even though it wasn’t that long ago, technology has changed since we were beginning our relationship too. For example, back then, WhatsApp (and other similar apps) didn’t exist (which would have saved us a lot of money!!). We did have Skype, Instant Messenger, and Email though :). Staying in constant contact and communication is a game-changer in these relationships. For example, every morning when I woke up there was an email or a text message telling to have a great day, or wishing me luck in some test that I was going to take, or asking me about something important that had happened. These sweet messages helped us feel close even though we were physically far apart. It helps to have set times when you will talk – whether via video or telephone. Let me tell you – there was nothing better in that time than finishing my day with a great conversation with the person I love.
2 – Make The Most Of The Time That You Are Together
Have you ever heard the phrase, “it isn’t the quantity, its the quality”? This is definitely true when talking about the time spent together during long-distance relationships. My husband and I made the very most of every time that he came down to visit me – we would go out every night, we would go to movies, we visited my extended family, we went to activities with my friends, we went to tourist locations, and much more! The purpose of all of that was to strengthen our relationship and to make the most of the time that we were actually together. This is so important, because one of the biggest challenges in making a long-distance relationship work is the distance. The time that you actually spend together is your best chance to grow closer as a couple.
3 – Set Goals As A Couple
Being in a long-distance relationship requires time, money, and extra energy to make things works. For that reason alone, if you decide to enter into this type of relationship, it is important to be completely honest about your feelings and your goals. Of course this is important in all relationships, but it can make or break a long distance one. You have to learn how to talk early and often about the future and what you both expect to come from the relationship. My husband and I discussed very early in our relationship what we wanted and the things that we would do to make it happen. We both committed to giving our best self and doing everything we could to make our relationship work. This included saving money for his almost-monthly trips. A lot of people told us that it seemed like it was an unnecessary expense, but we saw it as an investment in our relationship. We didn’t always have enough money to go out and do a lot of fun things during our visits, but that allowed us to spend more time together getting to know each other even more. It definitely was not easy, but as we made goals and kept them together, our relationship grew and helped us to realize that it was something serious, and real.
4 – Be Patient
Someone once told me that long-distance relationships are only for the brave, but I think that a better way to put it is that they are for committed, mature, and patient people. There will be times when you will not be able to see your significant other as often as you would like and that requires a lot of patience! Like I mentioned above, after we got married in Mexico, we immediately applied for a spousal visa (if you want to learn more about this process, leave a comment). We didn’t think it would take too long, but it ended up taking almost exactly 8 months from the time we married until I was able to join my husband in the United States. My husband visited me when he could, but he was working and in school still, so he wasn’t able to visit as much as he had at first. This was difficult, but there was nothing that could keep us apart emotionally. What everyone wants in a relationship, whether long-distance or not, is love and happiness. Some relationships work and others do not – it al depends on one’s commitment, goals, and patience.
Advantages Of A Long Distance Relationship
- All communications are genuine, real, and meaningful: Being far apart is a unique experience. Knowing that you won’t see each other for awhile and that your only communication is via telephone or internet, really provides an opportunity to have a more deep, and meaningful conversation, that can sometimes go on for hours. For example, some people can live under the same roof for years without having an actual, meaningful conversation, but when people are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles, conversations tend to be longer and deeper. Those of us that have been separated by distance know how important it is to strive to make the most of all communications.
- You have to make better plans and you get to go on fun trips together: Being that you don’t get to see each other as often, that gives you a great opportunity to make more detailed plans. We often got to plan fun day trips too – for example, my husband often flew into airports that were a little bit further away because the tickets were less expensive, so that gave us the opportunity make some fun stops along the way home. We always had new adventures and it was never boring.
- If your relationship can survive the long distance, you can survive almost anything: Couples that are able to survive a long distance relationship will often times be even more united and inseparable when they are finally together. We have proved this in the past 7 years since our relationship began. There have been difficulties, but we have gone through so much together and that has made these years the best of our lives.
- Both of you are equally committed: When you are in a long-distance relationship, there has to be goals and an equal amount of dedication from both parts. If you aren’t both equally committed, then the relationship likely won’t work out.
- You become more independent: Being physically apart forces you to maintain a close circle of friends. You learn how to give yourself and your spouse space when necessary and how to better deal with not always being together 100% of the time.
Disadvantages Of A Long Distance Relationship
- The Cost: One of the most inconvenient aspects of a long-distance relationship is the cost. If your significant other lives not only in a different city, but a different country or even continent, transportation costs can add up very quickly which can make it hard to visit as often as you would like.
- Lack of Physical Contact. This is definitely the saddest and most difficult part of a long-distance relationship and you really have to be patient to be able to make it through. No amount of talking or video calls can make up for a hug or a kiss in person.
- Long-Distance Relationships Are Best For Short Periods of Times. All relationships are complicated, but when they are long-distance relationships that complication is even more apparent. Not only do you have to invest a lot of money, but they can be emotionally draining and difficult to carry on for a long time. You have to have goals for where you want it to go, and if it goes on forever without any hope of being together physically, it can make it hard to stay motivated.
In conclusion, if someone asks me today if long-distance relationships can work, my definitive answer is yes! That said, like all relationships, they require will power, commitment, and hard work. Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? Are you thinking about getting into one? If so, let me know in the comments section below and I wish you success and luck in your own love story.