Things to Discuss Before Committing to a Long Distance Relationship

It’s really no secret that being in a long distance relationship is no easy task and you would only consider entering into one if your prospective partner were monumentally important to you. You don’t, therefore, want to end a relationship over something trivial. Not physically being with the person with whom you’re in a relationship puts tremendous strain on communication. Everyone is different, has different habits and expectations, and you’re having to negotiate these differences over a distance.

Before committing to an LDR, it’s important to clearly define the status and perimeters of your relationship. You don’t want to be hurt along the way because one of you thought it was open and the other thought it was exclusive. It would also be wise to speak about when you two plan on closing the distance. It’s good to have that goal to work towards.

Another important thing to discuss is what you expect on a day to day basis. Your expectations and ability to fulfil those expectations may be very different depending on time differences, whether you’re at school, university, or are working. Ask each other what you expect in terms of Whatsapp messages, Skype and phone calls – how frequently? how long?, and Facebook – what are your opinions of sharing things about your relationship?

It’s also good to have the unpleasant conversations earlier rather than later and avoid nasty surprises. For example, some people keep photos and messages from ex-partners, whereas others erase everything, some people have many friends of the opposite sex and you may or may not be comfortable with that, or some have grown accustomed to a socially or professionally demanding schedule and now need to make space in their lives for a relationship.


Date Night Ideas

Although you’re not able to physically enjoy each other’s company, you are able to enjoy some special things together thanks to technology like Skype.

Some ideas are…

• Game night. You could play online board games together, or even something as simple as charades.

• Movie night. You can both watch the same movies at the same time and perhaps both eat the same snacks together. If only one of you has the film, you can use the share screen option, otherwise both press play on the count of 3 and leave comments in I.M.s.

• Series night. You could record your favourite series and watch them together if there’s a time difference or they broadcast at different times. Assign a specific snack to a specific series, for example, Downton Abbey is chocolate and wine and Suits is jellybeans.

• You could also cook together. Decide on a dish, draw up a shopping list together, and then meet over Skype in the kitchen. You can teach each other dishes or experiment together with new ones. You can do the same with baking.

• For a special night you may try tasting wine, chocolate, or cheese. Decide on the ones you want to test and taste them together. It’s a great way to find out about your partner’s tastes and preferences.


Cultural differences to consider when in your partner’s country

When visiting your partner they, and their family, will most probably have a number of cultural differences. Naturally you want to leave a good impression, so it may be a good idea to ask your partner about certain differences which might occur.

Here are some things which you may like to consider:

• It would be good to learn the names of your partner’s friends and family. If they’re from another country, you may not be familiar with the names. It’s also difficult to memorise names which you aren’t used to and you don’t want to blunder over them when first meeting or keep having to ask.

• It’s also important to check up on the appropriate greetings. Some cultures find it offensive to shake hands with the other hand in the pocket, some bow and the angle of the bow is significant, and some may even hug you on first meeting.

• Gestures may also bear some significance. In some cultures it’s impolite to not have both hands visible at the dinner table, some place a lot of meaning in hand gestures and body language, in some it’s impolite to not look people in the eye when they’re speaking to you, and in others it’s not.

• Also be aware of the language. Many languages have a polite form.

• You ought to check what the correct attire is at places like beaches and spas. Sometimes wearing too much or too little is socially incorrect.

• Be sensitive to certain things. For example, if your partner is Muslim, don’t give their parents a good bottle of wine as a gift.

• Also be aware of appropriate dinner conversation. Some topics like religion, race, and politics should be avoided.

Good luck!

LDRs, Love in General

Ways to liven up your Skype conversations

While it is great to be able to see your partner on Skype, conversations can begin to feel a bit stilted when you are having to fit all you have to say into an allotted time. There are, however, many things you can do in addition to conversing. Some of these you may not have even tried if you were living in the same place.

A great way to learn more about your partner is with question games. One of you states a question and you both reply simultaneously with an I.M. You can do this with “favourite things”, where you ask about favourite films, songs, colours – it’s a great way to get gift ideas. There’s also “either… or…”, where you pose questions about preferences like “summer or winter?” or “forest or seaside?”, “what if?”, with questions like “if you could be anywhere…?”, “if you could have any super power…?”, “if you could meet any fictional character…?”, and good old “21 questions”.

You could also try out word games. You can create a story, consecutively saying one word each, and there’s the word association game, where you start out with a word, then the other says the first word that pops into mind when thinking of the initial word, and you continue the train – for example:

You: box

Partner: Jack

You: beanstalk

Partner: salad

You: tomato…

You can also play charades, share videos, music, articles, pictures, and quotes that you enjoy, and photographs from your past before you met.


Health and safety when abroad

You would have gone to a lot of time, effort, and money to travel to your partner and so, naturally, you would want to enjoy your limited time with them, not spend it exhausted, ill, in the emergency room, or stressing about stolen property.

Avoid stress. Endeavour to be up-to-date with your work before you leave. It’s terrible to be on vacation, worrying about the onslaught to come. Also try not to be overworked and burnt-out when you leave. Leave plenty of time to pack; be sure you have everything. Also leave time to clean up before you depart. When you’re exhausted from travelling, you don’t want to come back to a mess.

When there, get enough sleep and stay hydrated. Doing otherwise makes for a headache and a glum mood. If you do drink, don’t overindulge. You don’t want to waste a day feeling like death-warmed-up.

If spending time outside, even skiing, be sure to use sunscreen and reapply regularly. Sunstroke is horrid. When skiing however, it’s better to use non water based sunscreen and moisturiser. Also be careful of freezing extremities if on a motorbike, for example. Don’t leave your hair hanging out of the helmet. When on the beach, remember to apply to your lips, hands, and feet. Wearing sunglasses is just as important in the snow as on the beach.

Find and save the emergency numbers for the area on your phone. It’s also important to be aware of unsafe areas in terms of people as well as nature. Sea currents, snakes, bears, and jellyfish are hazards which may be unfamiliar to a foreigner.


Things you and your partner can do thanks to the internet

Although the modern long distance relationship truly does owe its existence to technology like instant messaging, email, mobile phones, Skype, and Facebook, the everyday use of these alone can become a bit dreary – especially if you and your partner are having to spend many months apart. Therefore you may consider trying some activities in addition to your normal phone calls, Skype calls, and Whatsapp messages.

The Internet is full of fun little gimmicks that you two can enjoy together. Here are just a few ideas:

• Online multiplayer board games. You can play these simultaneously to Skype, so you can speak with your partner while you play. You’ll find things like Scrabble and chess at Yahoo Multiplayer Games and Games.com.

• You can create amusing pictures of one another on Photofunia or have a lot of fun morphing your faces together on Morph Thing.

• You can leave notes for each other on Listhings.com or Share Square.

• There are many programs where you can raise a pet together.

• You can create an account together on Pinterest.

• There are a quite a few good online scrap booking programs like Smile Box, My Scrap Nook.

• With an Amazon account and a Kindle you can share and read books together.

It may be useful to create a separate Gmail account which you two share, as some of these programs require an email address and password.



Steps to make the phone call better

Being in a long distance relationship makes you reliant on technology, and you may not always be able to enjoy a Skype conversation, so you have to settle for the next best thing. Phone calls can be frustrating in that they don’t allow you to read each other’s expressions and place more emphasis on what it is said and less on how it is said. Additionally, there is also the pressure that comes from the expense of long distance calls, so you are trying to enjoy this time with your partner while trying to be economic with your time.

Here are a few steps you can take to make your phone calls better:

• Plan on a time to call. Just send a Whatsapp message to ask if it’s a good time or not.

• Look for cheaper options to call abroad. Perhaps your phone company has special deals. You can also take a look at companies like Nobel Com and Call2.

• Keep a basic conversational structure. It may seem dull and mundane, but there may be some things you will really want to tell or ask and you may forget.

• Run through your day. Share details like how you slept, how work or class was, how the weather was, what you wore, what had for lunch. They may seem like silly details, but they’re fun to share.

• Establish your surroundings. Share the small details like where you’re sitting and what you’re wearing. It will help you feel like you’re actually together while speaking.

• End with your main news. It’s also good, if something interesting happens throughout your day, to write it down, so you can remember to tell your partner about it.

• Plan your next meeting or call.