Monday, August 11, 2014

Ten tips to surviving your long distance relationship

There is no greater dating conundrum than the dreaded LDR.  You meet someone you like and now you have to ask yourself-- are they worth the pricey airfare and the long ass TSA lines AND the lonely nights in between visits?  But I'm here to tell you: don't be scared of the distance.  I married the guy I got into a long distance relationship with and if done correctly, dating someone in another city could be the best thing that ever happened to you.  Here are some tips to ensure that your LDR gets you more than just frequent flier miles.

10. Plan two visits at a time. It's so much easier to say good bye if you already know the next time you're going to see each other.  That way, you don't have to board an airplane wondering if everything could fizzle and fall apart and you'll never see each other again.  Getting the visits on the calendar gives some consistency to the relationship and that makes all the difference.

9. Don't fuck up the good bye. There's nothing worse than spending the perfect week or weekend together only to have it screwed up by an awkward/unsatisfying good bye.  The last twenty-four hours together must include sex and a lot of "I'll miss you's" and "I love you's."  And the good bye should be upbeat and passionate.  No one wants to hear "this is so hard" and "how long can we keep doing this?" right as they're about to leave.  You're both probably thinking it, but don't say it out loud.

8. Don't go into hibernation mode together. It's really tempting to shut out the rest of the world when you have limited time together.  The H-bomb and I had our first huge fight when he came to visit me in LA and we stayed at his friend's house till 4am one night.  I was like "wtf, we never get to see each other.  Why do I have to share you with a dude?"  BUT it's important to live in reality together and reality includes spending time with each other's friends and family.  A real relationship doesn't include hiding out together in bed for weeks at a time (though I kind of wish it did.)

7. Keep the romance alive via snail mail.  And I'm not saying that just because I read recently that Brad and Angie wrote each other love letters when they had to spend weeks apart, while she directed her latest movie.  Emails and text messages can only go so far in the romance department.  This is cheesy, but during our LDR, the H bomb had bought me a pack of Hello Blythe! postcards.  So, every week, I mailed him a postcard with one word on it that spelled out a message.  I can't for the life of me remember what it was, but probably something like "I love you like a fat kid loves cake."

6. Sext like bunnies. Guys, there was a time when people survived LDRs and they didn't even have Skype or Facetime or Snapchat to help them get through it.  A nudie pic or a sexy text can go a long way.  And so can some good old fashioned phone sex.

5. Don't expect perfection. When you have a limited amount of time to spend with a person and you've taken time out of your regular life for them, the stakes are high.  Any small thing that goes wrong could make you feel like your entire visit together has gone to pieces.  And that's when you end up fighting about things that normal couples who get to see each other regularly wouldn't even be phased by.  Things will go wrong and that's okay.  The quicker you can let it roll off your back, the faster everything will get back on track.

4. Go on vacation. Neutral territory is the best thing for an LDR!  After taking turns invading each other's turf, you need a place that you can explore together.  You need a week where no one's the host and no one's the guest.  Plus, you need to know that you can travel well together.  The H-bomb and I spent a week in Cabo together six months into our LDR and it's still one of the best trips we've ever taken together.

3. Plan your end game.  The longer you're in an LDR, the higher chance it has of not working out.  Personally, I think spending more than a year apart is playing with fire.  So, if you're six months in and everything is going swimmingly, then it's time to strategize an end game.  Who's going to move for who and when?  And go easy on the person who decides to take the plunge and leave their life to be closer to you.  They're making a huge sacrifice and you need to cut them some slack during the transition. 

2. Live in the same city together without moving in together.  Okay, this one might be for those under the age of 35, because shit just moves faster once you're in your thirties.  But for all of you twenty-somethings out there, one of the biggest risks you can take with your LDR is moving in together as soon as you're living in the same city.  I get it.  You want to make up for lost time.  But you need to take baby steps.  Enjoy dating in the same city without living together right off the bat.  I was only twenty-six when the H-bomb moved to LA and I'm so glad we lived in different apartments for the first two years.  We got to have a "normal" relationship before actually living under the same roof.

1. Beware of the rocky period after your LDR is over.  If you think all of your relationship problems are going to go away the second you're geographically close to each other, then you're in for a rude awakening.  The period after the LDR can often times be the most unstable.  The stakes are now at their highest, because someone's changed their entire lives for the other person.  Anything that makes them second guess that decision will make them second guess the relationship.  And that's a lot of pressure on the person who didn't move.  You're in a transition period.  Expect that it will be challenging at times and that while all the problems you had to deal with during your LDR are gone, there's a new batch of problems headed your way.  Just keep in mind: you survived the greatest dating hurdle ever-- distance.  That means you can survive anything.

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