Sitting down and writing a post focused on LDR makes me think about how long we’ve been together and what a grand journey it has been. We met in 2012 and since then have balanced our fair shares of long-distance relationship dating. Long-distance relationships aren’t for the faint of heart as slight misunderstandings and miscommunications can lead to arguments but we’re here to share what helped us and how we navigated our long-distance seasons.
Chi: “Being in a long-distance relationship formed our current relationship. We focused on being best friends and would have conversations as such. Thankfully, because we had learned how to make the most of our time when together during our first long-distance season, we’ve learned how to “seize the day” in our relationship now. Early on in our relationship, we realized the commonality we shared in adventuring and exploring together, so naturally made sure to incorporate it into our later seasons after our long-distance stage. Fast forward seven years later, any free weekend we have, we’re still trying to get the most out of our free time together. Quality time together became a cornerstone of our relationship, in addition to our other shared passions. I’d like to say our relationship is strong because we began working on trusting, communicating, and relying on each other at an early stage in our relationship.”
Things to Remember
- Find shared interests or hobbies you enjoy doing together
- Exercise grace, understanding, and patience
- Long-distance status is not permanent
- Your significant other is going through this with you
1. Stay Busy
When Chi was stationed at other duty stations, I kept myself occupied with work, hobbies, seeing friends, and spending time with family. The biggest piece of advice I could give anyone preparing for a long-distance relationship is to find ways to keep yourself occupied.
Keeping yourself busy with work, hobbies, or building relationships will help to distract from focusing on being apart. It can be easy to lose your self-identity when you’re in a loving relationship and while it’s completely normal to grow together as a couple, it’s important to have time set outside of shared activities. Self-care goes a long way in helping you feel confident so be sure to set aside time to work on yourself – the best part is that you’ll be able to share these experiences with your significant other while they’re away!
2. Build your community
Surround yourself with encouraging and uplifting individuals. Doing so will help you from feeling isolated or lonely. During our first season of long-distance dating, it was summer break and without school, I decided to dedicate my time to work. I was a second-year university student working in F&B by Camden Yards in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. I remember picking up as many doubles as I could to fill my weekdays and reserving my weekends for spending time with family and volunteering at the Hostel in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. I’m incredibly thankful for the relationships I made during that season: the coworkers with larger-than-life personalities, through my family, and with the fascinating individuals who would visit the hostel during their trek across the Appalachian Trail.
3. Try something new
Thanks to the ease of being able to quickly find local events and experiences online, there’s bound to be something that’s interesting and new to you! This exposes you to a new group of people and introduces you to a subject you’ll be able to learn about. While finding unique experiences and events weren’t as readily available in 2012 as they are today, finding something new to do could always lead to a new favorite activity. You’ll get the chance to share this newfound hobby with your significant other and who knows, maybe they’ll enjoy it just as much as you do!
Things we did that worked for us and what we’re doing now
- Letters: Chi and I wrote letters back and forth to each other for the longest time, even after we married – it’s something we still do!
- Gift Boxes: Something I looked forward to every few weeks was sending curated gift packages. Gifting is one of the ways I show my appreciation, so baking pastries and filling a themed gift box with items, letters, sketches, and whatever else I could think of was an incredibly fun experience.
- Shared Hobbies: In addition to curated gift packages, one of my favorite things we used to do was send a sketchbook back and forth to each other. I would open a new page and begin by sketching or painting a new concept then send it back to Chi for completion. It was a fun way of getting to know each other and seeing each other’s artistic talents. His detailed, intricate fine-line sketches still blow me away and I still have our sketchbooks on my office shelf – it’s fun to look through them and remember how far we’ve come since then!
- Plan trips together: We would look at airline flight schedules and plan ahead for traveling together. Planning ahead and creating a schedule of activities together for your next reunion or getaway keeps you excited as you anticipate seeing each other again.
- Dates: You can still have dates! A few times a week, we would set time aside to watch a movie or show together through Facetime. I know I’ll sound redundant in saying this but I can’t emphasize enough how scheduling time for each other is just as important, if not more when you’re in a long-distance season in your relationship.
Fast forward a few years…
As of 2019, we’ve since gotten married and now have a few years of living together under our belt, so facing a long-distance season is a bit different this time around as I’m in the Lowcountry while Chi works in the DMV. While he’s away, my routine revolves around working out, seeing as many sunrises and sunsets as I possibly can, spending time exploring new trails with our dogs, and spending time with our friends. However, every other week when we get Chi back for a few days, we’ll explore and do all the activities on our list of to-do’s and soak up every moment with each other!