LDRs

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.

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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!

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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!

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