Sitting down and writing this post makes me realize “WOW, Chi and I have known each other for a good, good while.” We’ve known each other since 2012 and since then have balanced our fair share of a “LDR” or “long-distance relationship.”
Long distance relationships are not easy and can take a toll on a couple’s relationship. Arguments, bickering and broken hearts can all be products of a LDR but I’m here to share HOW we did and currently are working through our long distance relationship.
Here’s what Chi has to say about Long Distance Relationships: “Being in a long distance relationship formed our current relationship. We focused on being each other’s best friends and would have conversations as best friends. Because we learned to take advantage of every waking moment together during our first LDR, we learned to ‘seize the day’ in our relationship now. We adventure every free moment and weekend we have because it’s what we did for so long. 7 years later, any free weekend we have, we’re trying to get the most of it. The time we spent together was so valued and meant so much. It has caused and helped us form a hunger and lust for free moments together. Our relationship is strong because we were forced early on to trust, communicate and rely on each other every chance we had.”
Things to Remember
- Don’t blame each other for the long-distance relationship
- Exercise grace, understanding and patience
- Your LDR status is NOT permanent
- Your significant other is going through this WITH you. If they COULD be home, they WOULD be
If it were up to them…
your significant other would not be hundreds of miles away. If they could be home, they would be. Be careful to not point blame or accuse your S/O for your situation. Remember that this LDR had to happen because your S/O is doing something (work, school and so on) to improve life for the two of you. They’re going through this with you, to build a better future for the two of you. When Chi and I went through our first year of a long distance relationship, it was because he didn’t have a choice and needed to go wherever the Marine Corps sent him. When you suddenly find yourself looking at a future of being in a LDR, it can be frustrating. Frustrated, upset, alone, scared and worried are all words I can use to describe how I felt when we first said “see you in a few months.” Chi and I would see each other once a month for a weekend or so, whenever his schedule would allow him to visit MD.
1. Stay Busy
When he was away, I kept myself occupied with hobbies, seeing friends and spending time with family. The BIGGEST piece of advice I want to emphasize for anyone facing a LDR is to keep yourself busy.
Keeping yourself busy with hobbies or building relationships will help you to stay away from counting the minutes and counting down the days. Dive into a new hobby, explore new activities, spend time outdoors, try new experiences. It’s okay to feel sad while you’re separated from your significant other BUT it’s not okay to wallow in self-pity. Remember, you are a WHOLE person. You’re not “half” of a person. The saying of “this is my other half” isn’t my favorite as no – your S/O does not make you whole.
You – YOU on your own, YOU are a WHOLE being. You don’t NEED to have someone “complete” you and while your S/O is away, spend that time improving yourself! Of course we love spending time with our special person but sometimes we can forget how to love ourselves. It happens and it’s totally okay. We’re so focused on giving ourselves and devoting time to our S/O but what happens when they’re suddenly away? Having this alone time can really push you to figure out who you are as an individual and give you the time you need to figure out who you are. Maybe it has been a week, a month, a year since you’ve found yourself alone for the first time… that can be incredibly scary! If you’re creative and love the arts, pick up your old sketchbook, pick up your guitar, dust off your piano and get to know the person you are TODAY. Reconnect with friends you haven’t seen in a while, give your free time to a charitable cause, pour yourself into your work, volunteer for community events and JUST GET OUT THERE!
2. Build your community
I can’t emphasize this point enough. Get out there and FIND your people. Find and surround yourself with encouraging and uplifting individuals. Surrounding yourself with a solid, positive group of friends will help you from feeling so “alone.” During our first year, I poured myself into working. At the time, I was serving in downtown Baltimore and picked up as many shifts as I could. Working doubles and back to back kept me busy and honestly helped distract me from the fact I was hundreds of miles away from Chi. My coworkers quickly became a second family and helped me through a difficult year.
What did we do? What are we doing?
Chi and I wrote letters back and forth to each other. Sometimes, we would write two or three a week “just because.”
Send care packages! I loved baking and would regularly send care packages filled with goodies, letters and sketches to Chi when he was away.
Remind each other about how much they mean to you and focus on the growth you’re experiencing as an individual while your S/O is away.
One of my favorite things we used to do was sending a sketchbook back and forth. I would draw, sketch, paint or create images and leave them unfinished. I would send the book off to Chi and he would complete the art. It was our fun way of getting to know each other through more than words and to this day, we still have the sketchbook in our library.
We would look at airline flight schedules and plan ahead for budget traveling. Planning ahead and creating a schedule of activities for your next reunion keeps you excited as you prepare to see each other again.
You can still have dates! A few times a week, we set time aside for a FaceTime call. Usually we’ll watch a movie together (thank you, Netflix for your multiple screen streaming option.) As corny as it is, scheduling time for each other makes long distance relationship living a bit more bearable.
These days, our LDR is a bit different as I’m choosing to stay in the LowCountry while Chi works in the DMV. Being rooted in one place is critical for me in this current stage of building my brand as I’m able to focus and truly give attention to the Bluffton/HHI community. As much as we both love traveling, traveling makes it difficult to foster and create those meaningful relationships for growing a community.
I spend a LOT of time with our pups and couldn’t be any happier. In a previous post I mention how I keep myself busy but incase you haven’t read it, here it is: be intentional with your time and get those meetings/ coffee dates/ catch-up’s on the calendar! While Chi is away, I have a routine and make sure I keep myself busy. On the other hand, be sure to keep some quiet time for yourself – there’s a balance to everything.
Hannah and Chi’s tips to surviving a long distance relationship:
Hannah: “Hey, any tips?”
Chi: “Hm, communication.”
Chi: “Yeah, definitely communication.”
Chi: “Focus on the friendship aspect of a relationship. You know, genuinely looking out for each other and caring for each other outside of a romantic aspect.”
Chi: “Patience and erring on the side of grace.”
Chi: “Always give them the benefit of the doubt and think the best of each other…always”
Chi: “Oh and letters. Write letters.”
Hannah: “Definitely get to know each other outside of being romantically involved.” Being in a long distance relationship, you’re forced to learn about each other on more than a physical aspect. In a long distance relationship, you learn to understand each other on a deeper empathetic level because that’s all you have.”
Hannah: “Hm, okay what else?”
Chi: “I’m texting it to you.”
Hannah: “Ah, okay.”
Chi: “Find a special way to tell them you love them”
Hannah: “Haha, yes – definitely.”
*I called Chi to let him know I was writing about what it’s like to go through a LDR and asked him for his feedback. So yes, trust me – I understand what LDR life is like and am currently living through it now. Just KNOW that you are loved, your friends are there so reach out to them (same goes for family) and remember to LOVE YOURSELF.
You’re not alone.