TODAY my fave guy moves to Jackson (I'm grinning from ear to ear). To celebrate the end of distance dating, I am doing a couple posts on Long Distance Dating starting with this post.
Long Distance Dating has its challenges, so here are my tips:
(1) Flirty Texts, Concerned Texts, Loving Texts - A LITTLE EXTRA AFFIRMATION
Why do I say texts? Because most of us work and can't be on the phone all day and because texts can be read multiple times and make you smile over and over!! Its so easy for daily chatter to become about what you did at work and what your plans are tonight. This is a vital part of any relationship (no doubt!) - but when you are dating long distance, you don't get to show ANY affection - no, 'You look nice today' or quick hugs hello or a squeeze of the hand. That's why fun texts that encourage, express affection, or flirt are necessary....words are an essential way of showing affection long distance. I made it my goal to never let a day go by where I did not say something sweet (I hope I can keep this goal up now that we live 15 min apart!)
(2) Phone calls (the obvious tip)
I've never felt a need to have long calls with boys I've dated when we live in the same town. Its not necessary to finish dinner with him and then go home and talk to him for an hour. But calls are important when dating long distance...even short ones just to say hey, hows your day? And, I used to wait for Dave to call me, but now I try to make an effort to call him too, even if I only have 15 minutes.
(3) Alternate visits.
It's easy (as the girl) to put all the pressure on the man to come see you. But this gets expensive and exhausting for one person to do. We certainly weren't tit for tat....he might visit a few times in a row then I would visit a couple times, etc. But, I didn't leave the responsibility of travelling only on him. Share the burden.
(4) PLAN PLAN PLAN.
It's a little harder to just "hang out" when you are dating long distance. You can't call your BF and say "Let's go get ice cream or ride bikes or see a movie today." Dave is not a planner, I am. This probably (re: definitely) drove him crazy that we had to plan our wkds ahead of time, but I think we both quickly learned we had to be willing to plan for which weekends we were travelling (this doesn't mean you have to plan the weekend out, BUT it doesn mean you have to plan that there will be a weekend together!)
(5) BUT...allow for some surprises
I had court near Dave's hometown one day and randomly called and said, "I just found out I will be near you, want to meet up?" He worked his schedule out to see me. He got off work early one day and called and asked if he could come see me, and I willingly said yes and made last minute plans of what to cook. Having a few surprises is fun and made me realize that if I ever really needed him, he would be there..and vice versa.
(6) Time off.
This sounds silly since long distance relationships mean you have lots of time off. But I mean, don't book every weekend. I think we saw eachother 3 out of 4 wkds on average. It gets exhausting travelling or hosting. Sometimes you need girl time or a weekend where you do nothing. Be willing to give yourselves a break from the driving!
(7) Have your own life.
This isn't hard for me- or for Dave. But I think some couples maybe are a little more dependent than we are. Long distance dating might not work in those circumstances. You have to be fine doing your own thing, because you will have to do that a lot. In fact, enjoy doing your own thing. One of the blessings of distance dating is that you can still have plenty of alone time or friend time!!
(8) Set Traditions
Have silly traditions that seem consistant even when your schedules and time together aren't consistant. IE, almost every day, I get a good morning text or send one. We always say good night or text it. I know, silly stuff, but knowing there was something constant made things better.
Have countdowns, plan special things when you are together -- spend more time looking forward to when you are together than pouting because you aren't.
This is obviously a basic tip for any relationship, but its particularly important when dating someone from somewhere else....We couldn't attend every date function, every family event, so its really important that we prioritized AND made it clear which events were important. I know there were times when I said, "Nah, don't worry about coming to X" and times when I said, "Actually, I really would like you to come to X"
(11) Have an end plan.
After a few months in, you have to know long distance has an end date. Will one or both of you move? When? We were lucky to know from the day we met that Dave was moving in August. You can't date long distance indefinitely. What made long distance dating easier was realizing it wasn't long distance forever -- one day it would end.
(11) Fight quickly
Like any other couple, you will fight during your time together - over big things, over little things. What was most challenging for me is that you have to move on quickly (and in a way, this was probably good for us because we couldn't dwell long) Normally, you might fight with someone and have a few hours or days to calm down. We would disagree, discuss it, try to solve it, and literally have to go right back into "being ok" and enjoying our time together. You have to be able to just move on. You only have 2-3 days together so you can only waste an hour or two being mad. This was challenging to learn, but I think I got better as we went on.
(12) Begin on a good note and end on a good note.
Begin with a hug, a couple minutes together and a kind word. Try to end the same way. Ideally, even if you are going out with friends, try to begin/end alone. This is not always an option, but even if we are meeting up with others, I generally tried to have a few minutes with Dave at my house when he first arrived. When I would visit him, he would walk outside of his house to my car (to say hello and grab my bag) so we had a couple minutes to say hello before we begin hanging out with everyone inside. We always walk eachother to the car when a weekend is over. It felt like the last few minutes were ours.
(13) Bear with eachother.
Patience is a virtue needed in any relationship, but especially long distance dating. Sometimes, you may have to stay on the phone later than you intended because the other person is having a bad day. Sometimes you may not hear from the other person because they are out with friends. It's frustrating because you can't just say, "Thats okay, I will see you tomorrow." Patience and forgiveness are probably the best gifts you can give eachother.
*NOTE: I have never done CROSS COUNTRY DATING or OVERSEAS DATING, etc.... so I am sure that what I am saying based on 2 hours apart (or, in another relationship, 4.5 hrs apart) is not helpful to all, but its just a few tips from my own experiances. Some of the basics probably apply to any distance.