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.

LDRs, Love in General

Closing the Distance

Of course being in a long distance relationship is no one’s perfect situation, so naturally you’re thinking about when and how you can close the distance between you and your partner and finally live in the same place. Thankfully the time we’re living in permits for things like long distance relationships, with technology like the Internet, Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook, mobile phones, and email. In addition to this, and, to a large extent, because of this, the world has become increasingly inclined towards internationality and globalisation. Nowadays living and working in foreign countries has become a case of “where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Obviously the first step is to decide where you two want to live; in one of your own countries, or another country entirely. Either way, one or both of you are going to be giving up your home, and getting to and living in your destination country is going to prove a challenge, whether or not you have a passport which allows you a certain extent of easy international movement. You will inevitably have to deal with embassy, consulate, and foreign office paper work, and you will be living in a foreign place. You may not even start out living in the same city as your partner, but in the beginning it’s about taking steps to be nearer to each other, and you can work your way to your ideal.

It’s a good idea to start doing research early into job opportunities and requirements. If you’re not yet working, you could perhaps direct your studies or internships towards opportunities in your destination country. In any event, it’s advisable to be aware of the application requirements well in advance so that you can be sure you fulfill them – in time. Opportunities may come suddenly and by surprise and it’s far less stressful if you’re prepared. If your destination country’s language is different to your own, there may be a chance for you to teach your language. You may just have to complete a simple language course and most of these can be done online. Take a look at TEFL, Inlingua, and local language institutes and schools in your destination country. Au pairing is also a good bet. As with study, internship, and job applications, it’s good to be aware of the visa requirements, should you need one. Some countries have quite specific expectations when it comes to health insurance, language capabilities, and financial prerequisites.

Nevertheless, the best advice is for you to visit, explore, and be certain of the place you intend to live and work or study in, since there is nothing more unsettling than to be miserable and stuck in a foreign country for a period of time. Even if your destination is everything you could hope for, it’s still better to go to your new home with confidence and peace of mind.

Do you need LDR help, or more specific advice? Or do you want to share your own LDR experiences? Just leave us a comment!

LDRs, Love in General

Vacationing with Your Partner

Of course any vacation with your partner should be a wonderful and thrilling experience, but a vacation with your long distance partner is so much more important, because it is the only time you two are physically able to be together (and you would have endured quite a bit of expense to make it happen). The prospect of vacationing with your partner may present itself as a daunting matter because of this, and it’s not much bettered by the fact that one of you will be in a foreign place and the other will be hoping to prove a good host. In addition to this, it will be the time when you learn the most about each other. Nevertheless, it’s supposed to be a spectacular and somewhat sentimental time, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be.

You will no doubt be wanting to fit the most into the time you have together and this may prove a challenge, since you will be making up for the time you haven’t seen each other, meeting friends and family, doing some touristic activities, showing your partner your favourite places, and getting enough sleep so that you can actually enjoy yourselves. The most important thing, however, is to take your time and enjoy yourself. No good holiday ever came from hurrying about, stressing to squeeze everything in. The simple fact is you won’t be able to do everything, and while it’s good to plan, weather, spur of the moment opportunities, and unforeseeable events will always have the final say.

There are still some things you can consider to make your vacation more enjoyable. If you’re travelling to a country with a different language to your own, it’s good to learn some phrases for the times when you’re not with your partner and need to find your way around, and when meeting friends and family. Greeting people in their own language is really polite and makes a great impression. It’s also great to meet the people in your partner’s life; you can put names to faces, be more integrated in their life, and learn more about them. Another important bit of preparation is to find out about certain cultural customs. Some countries and cultures are quite specific when it comes to things such as greetings, table manners, punctuality, or how great a tip to leave your waiter. Ask your partner about key phrases and customs. It may seem unnecessary, but you will only realise when it’s too late that it’s best to each have a camera, otherwise you’ll end up with a surplus of photos of only one of you. It would also be wise to each have a phone, because chances are you won’t always be together or you may get split up. Most people have an old phone lying around and SIM cards don’t cost too much.

Bon voyage!

Do you need LDR help, or more specific advice? Or do you want to share your own LDR experiences? Just leave a comment!

LDRs, Love in General

Communication Ideas and Difficulties

Being in a long distance relationship places, what may seem to be, an unnatural strain on communication. This is, in addition to, the urgency which naturally comes with relationships – that is the urgency to be with your partner. After all, you have chosen this person to be the most significant thing in your life and the desire to be with and speak to them is stronger than with any friend or relation. But being in a relationship where that person is not readily available puts extra importance on communication because you don’t have their physical presence to break the tension – you can’t be moved by their tone of voice through a text, you can’t smile at their expression through the phone, and even with Skype, as someone told me, “you can’t look into each other’s eyes through a webcam.” Included in the fuss of reading too much into specific words or what they mean by certain Facebook statuses, there are also the difficulties of time differences, different languages, costs of long distance calls, and finding the time to fit in a phone or Skype call.

In spite of this, being in a long distance relationship also has its priceless benefits, which one could perhaps never get otherwise. Since communication is all one has in a long distance relationship, it’s a skill – maybe one of the most important ones in a relationship – that you are bettering and practising whenever you speak to each other. Then one day, when you are together, you know the effect of certain words on your partner, you know how to speak to them when they are in a particular mood, you know what questions to ask when they are unhappy, so that you do not have to keep repeating those silly fights you had in the beginning; and if you look at your friends’ relationships where they are living in the same city, you will see that these fights are not because of Whatsapp or Facebook or Skype, they are because of poor communication. Another benefit when you are finally together is that every single moment and movement and look and touch and smile all mean exponentially more than if you had started out living in the same place.

In the meantime however, you are incredibly fond of the person you are with; otherwise you would not be in this situation, so there are some ways to put in a little more effort and make communicating a little more fun. If you are able to Skype one another, take a night or two every week and make it a date night (or day if you are in different time zones), after all you would do this is you were living in the same city. It’s a nice time to just speak with no time constraints. Do something special in this time; have a meal together, or cook together, perhaps cook the same meal together, try a dish from each other’s countries and watch how they do it while you’re trying it for the first time. Baking is also a lot of fun. You can also have a movie night where you watch the same film together – make popcorn. You could watch films in each other’s languages. Even with subtitles, it’s good practice. It’s also great if you’re shopping and you send pictures of what you’re considering and ask for your partner’s opinion. If you’re going out, send a picture of what you’re wearing, or if you cook something that looks really good, send a picture of that. Although receiving a letter in the post can take aeons, it’s something wonderfully personal to receive a handwritten letter. You could also write it in each other’s languages, which is also great practice!

Do you need LDR help, or more specific advice? Or do you want to share your own LDR experiences? Just leave us a comment!