4 Essentials for Long Distance Relationships
Although I live in North India, my heart belongs to someone in Canada. I never thought I’d be in a long distance relationship but as they say, it’s when you aren’t looking that someone comes along. When I came to India in January, I was very focused on myself. It was a personal decision to come here and explore who I am as well as build my skills in the sustainable development world.
Over the last couple of years as I’ve been frequently travelling, I’ve come across many people in their twenties and thirties who have successfully been in long distance relationships for years. One travels the world for a year or so while the other happily supports their decision, with the two always arranging to meet up somewhere in between their locations when their schedule and finances allow.
A long distance relationship can be just as strong, positive and supportive as any other romantic relationship, even if some shared memories aren’t spent directly next to your partner.
My partner and I know each other from home and didn’t actually start to connect on a romantic level until I was already in India. Next thing I knew, we were on our first date in Delhi! Since then, we’ve actually only spent two consecutive months in the same city. Making the mutual decision that we both want to be together came easier than I thought and is what started our whirlwind of a relationship with over 12,000 miles between us. We’ve never investigated ways of “how to make it work” or discussed the issue of a long distance relationship as if it was an issue; it just was and is our reality if we want to be together right now.
These are what we have found to be the most helpful tools to stay connected during our relationship:
1. Staying in consistent communication
Consistent communication is essential. This will save on countless calling cards and phone plans, find an app you can both use for texting, calling and video calling that uses Wifi and data network such as Skype, What’s App, Viber or BBM (Blackberry Messenger).
Or if you don’t have a smartphone, there’s always email. Use these tools to check in every other day or so to see how your partner’s week is going and be sure that responses are detailed. Being detailed helps both partners feel included, as if you are right there experiencing everything with them. It can also lead to discussions about possible conflict in the relationship, which creates a space for resolving issues together.
Making the mutual decision that we both want to be together came easier than I thought and is what started our whirlwind of a relationship with over 12,000 miles between us.
Every once in a while, I find that sending surprise love notes or recapping old memories together via post or email is helpful for your partner to refer back to when they are feeling lonely or having a bad day.
2. Meeting up halfway
If travelling for a year or more, it’s important to meet up somewhere in the world that is convenient for you and your partner in terms of both finance and distance. India is a massive country with a different cultural vibe and climate in each state, and luckily for me, my partner really likes it here! We’ve done the north and next year we’ll do the south.
Do keep in mind your partner’s travelling style. Together, think of countries you both want to visit. Look at prices weekly and compare with each other different travel sites you come across. Working on your trip together gives you both something to look forward to.
3. Planning activities for your partner
A few days before I left for India the second time, I took some time while my boyfriend was at work to write out cute memories we’d shared on little pieces of paper then hid them around his house. Once he found one, he was on a mission to discover the rest.
Some I put in really easy hiding spots, some more difficult, which could potentially lead to him finding some even next December when I’ve returned home. Planning ahead and thinking of cute scavenger hunts or activities will continue to let your partner know you are thinking of them no matter how far apart you are. Plus I love hearing when he’s found another one.
4. Supporting and trusting each other
Now for the serious point of this article: no relationship is sustainable if there is no trust. Without trust, it is impossible to support each other’s goals and wishes for the future, especially when both partners have such different goals. Before committing to a long distance relationship, it’s important to step back and look at the big picture.
A relationship is a commitment and if you don’t think you can commit or don’t want to be tied to something at home, it’s best you move forward without any ties and see what the universe brings your way. Examining where you are in life and what your goals are, and how they may affect a partner in both the short and long term is a mature and needed step before any romantic relationship is formed.
Just like travel leads you to these spectacular adventures, so does a connection, no matter how far it stretches.
Human connection is an intense and incredible feeling to share with someone, and distance shouldn’t be a barrier. I wanted to write this article not just to lend advice that I’ve found has strengthened my long distance relationship but to encourage female travellers to be open to the possibility of love from any corner of the world.
A long distance relationship can be just as strong, positive and supportive as any other romantic relationship, even if some shared memories aren’t spent directly next to your partner. Any relationship is work, whether it’s friendship, a relation with a colleague or a family member. Although distance may challenge a relationship, it doesn’t hinder one from happening. Just like travel leads you to these spectacular adventures, so does a connection, no matter how far it stretches.
Top photo by Chiarashine (Creative Commons)