Shake off the bad day

Whether you make use of Whatsapp, Facebook, email, or phone calls in your relationship, these still aren’t as effective as Skype can be. When you’re leagues away from one another, Skype is the closest thing you can get to a normal conversation – which is wonderful. However, because of this simulated normality, Skype conversations may also come with the drawbacks of normal conversations.

I too often find that when I’m in a glum mood, I bring it into my Skype conversations with my partner. For example, when I was busy with my exams, I was stressed and working all day. The only time that I stopped was when I Skyped with my partner. Ironically, because he is a source of comfort for me, and this was the only time I wasn’t distracted with work, I would vent and take out all my frustration on him. People do this with people with whom they’re in close proximity as well; friends, partners, family. They’re not angry with them, but there’s something about familiarity with a person that makes you want them to really feel your frustration. Astonishingly, he understood and would be able to calm me down and put me in a good mood. But in a long distance relationship, you don’t have ample time to spend together. You have a fixed time to have a conversation. This time that you spend together is valuable and you don’t want to waste the first few minutes coming out of a bad mood.

If you’ve had a rough day, perhaps take a few minutes to disentangle yourself from your thoughts, so that when you log onto Skype, you feel nothing but excitement to see your partner and enjoy the time you have together. Share what is frustrating you, but don’t take it out on your partner.


Time economy

Despite its many blessings, a long distance relationship doesn’t exactly seamlessly fit into your life. Even if you aren’t battling with the difficulties of time, language, and lifestyle differences, the time you spend with your partner can’t really be done simultaneously with anything else. You need to make time to be able to go home, sit down, and have a Skype conversation with them. Evidently this is going to have to be when you have free time and if you’re studying or working or both, you don’t exactly have much of it.

Generally people spend their spare time with their friends or their partner, or by themselves. Sometimes you need to be selfish and snatch some “me time”. When you’re in a long distance relationship, you have to negotiate these three, and compromises are going to have to be made by you, your partner, and your friends.

It’s important to keep a balance. It’s not healthy to sacrifice your social life for your relationship; however you do need to spend effort and time on your partner for your relationship to function. If your friends haven’t been in a long distance relationship themselves, they may not understand why you need to meet an hour later so that you can Skype your partner beforehand, or why you’re sending them pictures of what you ordered at a restaurant. Explain it to them.

In addition to balancing your spare time, you should devote yourself to your respective activities. While it’s good to let your partner know what you’re doing and where you go, don’t spend the whole time you’re with your friends on the phone, and, likewise, don’t text your friends when you’re Skyping your partner. And when you’re relaxing on the couch or at the gym, ignore your phone and focus on yourself.


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.


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.


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

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!