Issues which may arise when visiting one another

While you may speak with your partner often with instant messages, phone calls, and Skype, and may know them very well – their likes, dislikes, fears, hopes – it’s an entirely different situation when you two are physically together. You will most probably find your conversations to be wonderfully efficient and flowing with limitless ease, but it’s the simplest actions and miniscule details where you may have problems. It’s because they appear to be so negligible, that you tend to dismiss them when you’re the perpetrator, but feel terribly slighted when you’re the victim.

An issue may arise if, for instance, you’re sitting together and one of you decides to leave the room without any explanation to the other. You may just be going to do a small errand which has just occurred to you or to make a cup of tea, but the one who’s left sitting in the room will be thinking, “uh, did I do something wrong?” Another is example may be if you are out together and something bothers one of you – the table is wobbling, a baby is crying incessantly in the corner, the club is too smoky. This happened to my partner and I, but instead of letting a trivial circumstance ruin our evening, I decided to just be alright with it, but I didn’t communicate this to my partner and he was confused as to why one minute I was grumpy and then next, happy.

Because you are apart for the majority of your relationship, you’re not used to sharing all the processes of your mind. Naturally you won’t have to tell each other everything when you’ve been living together for a while, you’ll get used to picking up on each other’s subtle hints, moods, and body language, but in the mean time, share what you’re thinking. You don’t want to waste your limited time together squabbling over silly things.


Things one can do to feel closer

The main problem with a long distance relationship is the distance. While there are many issues that come with this, the most pressing is the simple fact that you and your partner are very, very far away from one another, and the simplest, yet strongest, wish that you two share is to be together.

It hasn’t anything to do with the intricacies of communication difficulties; it’s merely the desire to physically be in the same place. There are some things you can do to ease the longing and feel more physically connected in each other’s lives.

A good way is to send visual information of things which are happening in your everyday life. Send photos via Whatsapp of your meals and when you cook or buy something really tasty. Send photos of your shopping; ask your partner’s opinion. Send pictures if you buy new furniture or put a poster up in your room. It’s a small thing, but it makes a tremendous difference to witness these details in each other’s lives.

Another way to feel closer is to start and end your days together. A quick good morning and good night call or Skype feels really good.

Also be aware of your messages. Use full sentences; if you’re able to send a message, you’re able to send a good one. If you have different languages, it may be easier each to speak in your own languages and it’s good practice to read their language.

Another way to feel closer and learn more about one another is to play questions games on Skype (see posts “Ways to liven up your Skype conversations” and “Date Night Ideas“).


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.

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!