Long distance relationships are a thing; sometimes you can’t avoid them but just because you have begun a long distance relationship, you shouldn’t think that it is destined for failure.
My girlfriend Ayo and I have been in a relationship for roughly a year and a half now and we have known each other for almost four years. We started our relationship living in two different countries and then after exactly a year, we finally were able to live in the same city and we have lived together now for six months.
That may seem like a short or a long time to you but what I am emphasizing here is that we were friends for a long time in different countries and then we spent the first year of our relationship 1,800km from each other.
So, the two of us sat down and had a look at what a random website said were the keys to a successful long distance relationship and chatted about what we thought was right or wrong.
Without further ado, here is everything we discussed.
Avoid excessive communication
Shane: I don’t think we followed this. We spoke to each other every day, voice-calls became video-calls and during the day we would text when we had the chance. If you keep communication on a daily basis then you have things to talk about on a daily basis and you know what’s going on in their lives. If you go five days without speaking then you kind of have to start again and find out what they have been up to.
Ayo: Even before we were together we were best friends and we would talk every day. I don’t think excessive communication is an off-putting thing, it worked for us. You don’t have to talk every two seconds but it’s important to always keep the line of communication open.
See it as an opportunity
Shane: I think I would agree with that because we were able to get close by being far away. Because we were far away, we were forced to be more open. When you are together you can get off topic really quickly, you can easily get distracted by having to do other things.
Set some ground rules to manage expectations
Ayo: We never really set any ground rules but we did have to talk about what we were. We started as friends and because of that we needed to both be on the same page about where we were in our relationship because we both knew we liked each other but we weren’t ready for a relationship for a while.
Shane: We were always pretty clear on what the situation was at all times.
Talk dirty to each other
Shane: You take this one.
Ayo: Just because you are in a long distance relationship doesn’t mean you can’t still do nice things. I would talk on the phone dressed nicely, not in pyjamas all the time. Simple things like flirting and complimenting each other, those are really important things. When you’re not with each other and you can’t feel the other person it can be difficult but it helps to be open-minded. You don’t have to do anything extreme but showing a bit of effort can make you feel closer.
Do things together
Ayo: You helped me with my assignments. When we were in a long distance relationship, I had assignments and I was so frustrated and didn’t want to do them. You would call me and ask me to talk you through it and then you would help me. It was great.
Shane: We definitely did things together. We did proper couple things like we had impromptu date nights where we would watch the same film and have one earphone listening to each other too just to do something together.We also played games on Facebook while chatting which made things fun and interesting and we didn’t have the same face to face all the time. So definitely do things together, especially movie nights.
Make visits to each other
Ayo: At the beginning we weren’t great, we saw each other once in the first year.
Shane: The last six months before I moved we saw each other twice so we did get better. If we stayed in the same places it would have probably been four times. It can’t just be one way though.
Ayo: Yeah, we rotated. Last year I came to Ireland twice, you came to Milan once and we also had a holiday together in Romania. But we went to different places when I came to Dublin, we didn’t just stay at our family homes.
Shane: We stayed in different places in Dublin so even though I was still living there it felt like a holiday for me too. Especially because we did things I wouldn’t normally do living there.
Stay honest with each other
Ayo: I agree, I’m very straight forward and I say anything and everything but it worked because then we knew where we were. Not only in long distance relationships, communication is key.
Shane: We always brought up questions about how we felt about us and how we felt about where we were and what we were going to be doing so we had those conversations. I wouldn’t say we had those regularly but every now and again we would ask ourselves has anything changed from the last time, what are we feeling now.
Keep track of each others social media activity
Ayo: We never did that. You don’t post ever really and I rarely do so it wasn’t something we had to do but again it depends on the couple.
Shane: If you are scrolling through Facebook or whatever it is trying to see what pictures they liked and stuff, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Gift a personal object for the other person to hold on to
Shane: That’s nice. We didn’t do it but that’s nice.
Ayo: Well actually, you bought me this necklace and I wear it all the time so it is something personal from you.
Shane: And I have a fridge magnet that says “You’re special” which you bought in a pound shop.
Get a good messaging app
Ayo: Yes we used everything. When we started out we were using Viber, then we moved on to Whatsapp but Facebook is what we used because the quality was so much better.
Shane: Yeah, Facebook was just what worked best for us and we still use Facebook when we need to message or call.
What is the most important thing?
Ayo: Communication is key but also being open and being able to feel as if you can say anything without being judged. We’re very good when we have something we need to solve. We have a discussion, then we have a short amount of time to ourselves where we think about things and then we come back and talk about whatever it is.
Shane: That’s probably from having to talk about things long distance. We solve our problems in a very civil manner but being in a long distance relationship really helped that. I think staying involved in whatever the other person is doing is crucial too.
Ayo: I also think it’s really important to have an end game. Where do you see us in a year? Who is going to move where eventually? You have to discuss those things because you will have to end up together somewhere at some point.
In general, we did do most of the things mentioned above and we are together now for a year and a half so we were able to fight through the long distance period. Hopefully giving our thoughts and experiences can help anyone in a long distance relationship or someone about to start one and if you are, know that they can be successful.
I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about our story. Leave a comment if you have experienced anything similar or have any further questions.