We got into a long distance relationship barely six months after we had started dating, actually known of each other’s existence. We both knew it was a possibility but we dint think it’d happen that soon. It’s one of those things you know but rather not think about or prepare for so when it happened it felt like quite the shock. I did not want to let go of the relationship but then I knew nothing about being in a long distance one. He was moving to a different continent, one I had never visited, one I could not visit easily and he was basically going to start a new life. This was so confusing for me, I honestly did not know what I wanted but on the other hand Mr. did not look at all confused about the state of our relationship. He had no questions about it, he was sure distance was not a reason enough to break it off. I think that gave me the confidence to dare to try. Thing is we had more work today since we were only at the beginning of the relationship, six months was not enough to really know someone but then since we started dating we had spent so much time together, he was literally where I was everytime and I was where he was every other time and we used to talk a lot and we felt that we knew each other enough to take the risk. I however promised myself to be very alert and run away at the sight of the first red flag. That is what I told myself, lol. We were in it for years. He would travel anytime he had a chance so I’d say minus the days he would visit, it was a total of maybe two years.
One way or another since we were already in this we had to make it work. I’ll share our story of how we made it work and if you’re in one know that this can work and it’ll work. The first thing that made it work for us was communication. We had a rule that we had to talk daily for atleast two hours in total and chat every chance we got, thanks to technology that was so easy to do. Thing is we were in very different time zones and this was honestly stressful but the we came up with a plan and with time we had a schedule and we had a specific time allocated for calls and then we’d chat through out if we were both awake. I had promised myself that if he went for two days without calling or texting me I was done with the relationship and I was so serious about this because communication is all you have in long distance. If you do not communicate what else will you do? It’s not like you’ll see each other at the end of the day. The only excuse to me is if you’re in the military or if you live in a really remote area and you have to walk for a very long distance to climb a tree so as to be able to make a call or you’re very sick and in hospital and you honestly cannot manage to reach me otherwise nothing else would make sense to me, no excuse should be used for not communicating for days. What I believe is that if you’re committed to someone you’ll make the effort of at least wishing them a goodnight or just checking how their day was, but again that’s just my opinion. I don’t get how you’ll have a pretty normal day, go to work and all and forget to check on your partner who you’ve not seen in quite a long time, to me that’s a red flag to be honest. Communication played such a huge role and it made me feel that truly the relationship was real and not just in my head. If you are really committed and serious about your partner, communication will be the least of your worries because all you want is to keep talking to them day in day out.
The second was trust. During that time I got a lot of advice of how long distance relationships do not work. How no one can be truthful in that kind of relationship. Let me ask one thing, does it mean that seeing your partner on a daily basis makes them truthful? People living together have no trust issues? Such opinions never moved me, I cared less. I did not spend a night sleepless wondering whether I should trust Mr. or not reason being I did not want that to be an issue especially with the fact that I could not really control much. One thing that really strengthened this was back to my first point, communication. We never gave each other reason to start doubting each other and on the other hand if this was an issue i’d have rather walked away than spend sleepless nights thinking and crying over questions I could not answer or situations I could not control. I must say though, if he did not communicate effectively I would have had trust issues, if I did not communicate effectively, he would most definitely get trust issues. If you are already in it just choose to trust your partner and show them they can trust you, it really makes the relationship easier. I remember Praying and asking God to help me not let trust be an issue in the relationship, I mean we already had distance and time zones to worry about, I just dint want more worry on my mind.
Third is commitment. We worked on showing each other that we were genuinely committed to the relationship and that we both wanted it to work. We kept encouraging each other, well Mr. was better at being positive, I was more of an emotional wreck, the moment he’d say he missed me tears would just fill up my eyes so yeah he had a lot of work to keep encouraging us. Commitment doesn’t have to be a lot of work, simply show interest, simply be there when needed, make your presence felt in ever possible way, make sure that your partner feels they are a part of your life. The good thing about not seeing each other every so often is that you end up talking a lot hence getting to know each other so much and this really creates a strong bond and other than that it creates friendship. When you’re genuinely committed to someone, showing the commitment won’t be anything hard to do at all.
Friendship. Choose to be friends. This way even when you have issues and don’t feel like talking to each other, the friendship part of the relationship will help get over the issues. At times it’s easier to talk to friends more than your partner but when your partner is your friend it’s a plus because you can be free and feel safe to talk about anything. We chose to be friends and we became such good friends such that at times I’d call him and tell him I wanted to talk to him as a friend and not boyfriend (at the time) this was mostly when I was on the wrong though, when I wanted a free pass at being forgiven, haha. Jokes aside though, friendship plays a huge role and it also creates a safe space knowing you have a true friend in your partner and guess what, that friendship just keeps growing and becomes even better with time. You get to understand each other in ways that will amaze you.
Find fun things to do together. Have dates on video calls, come up with fun quizzes you can do through a phone call. Send surprise sweet long messages every now and then. Have a video call where you’re both eating and it’s like a date. These are some of the things we used to do and they were so exciting that the relationship would feel renewed. Talk about how the relationship will be when the long distance is over, fantasize and dream and looking forward to such days is always so good. You feel excited. I remember Mr. would keep telling me that one day the long distance would be over and I’d forget what it felt like and to be honest I felt like that was impossible but guess what?! I honestly forgot what it was like. I know it was not easy but I can’t remember detail to detail yet it always felt so real and like it would last forever and never end. We had set time for doing Bible study together, I think it was every Sunday afternoon, where we’d just read the Bible together on phone and share a few things, no a lot of things, Pray together and start the week on that note. Any time we set to spend together was to be respected and taken seriously. Plus we really needed God for strength, long distance was no joke.
Honesty. Be truthful, be genuine, be honest. When someone is not honest trust me you’ll know. That gut feeling!! Yes that one. If you’re always questioning, there is something to be addressed. If you raise issues and they are never addressed or addressed for a day then the next back to the same old story then there is no honesty. One thing about this is that you have to be really truthful about yourself. For instance I knew everyone around Mr. not physically but he’d mention everyone he interacted with, like family and friends. Same case to me, he knew all my friends and family. If he lied or if I lied we would have known the moment long distance was over. It’s been years now and since I joined him everyone I have met or everyone he has introduced me to is not a stranger to me, maybe I am to them, I don’t know but then he’ll introduce someone and say how I know them and I’ll be like “Aaahh nice to finally meet you…” at times I just say it in my head. I don’t want people to keep asking how I know them, oh but it’s obvious, if you know a husband to someone, the wife most probably knows you. You just have to be truthful in every aspect however small if you want to build a future with your partner post-long distance. You have no choice. Leave no room for surprises. Of course you might not share each and every small detail but share enough to make your partner know they know you so that just in case something happens that you dint plan for or see coming your partner won’t be too surprised, they will most likely be disappointed but since they know you they will also know you were capable of such a thing. In short, be honest, no surprises.
Do not leave any issue unsolved. When things are not going right, talk about it, don’t leave any stone not turned, don’t bottle up emotions. Don’t wait for the next time you’ll be face to face to solve issues, no, solve them right there and then. If you keep waiting and piling up issues trust me the next time you’re together face to face you’ll be ending the relationship because of the many unresolved issues that cannot be solved at that particular time. If talking is hard, send a text and say ‘Hey, I have some issues we need to talk about’ and when you get a chance talk making sure you address everything. If it’s your partner with the issues, listen to them and together find a way to move forward. Do not be too quick to judge or jump to conclusions, if they did not reply a text or pick a call, don’t try coming up with scenarios of why unless you are so sure about it. Always be ready to listen, slow to anger and slow to judge. This is usually easier said than done though, I admit at times I’d fail miserably at being quick to anger but with time I figured it helped in no way. Make it effective problem solving, you don’t want to go for days without talking to someone you have not seen in months, back to my first point, communication is all you have. We would talk about every little or big issue we had that same day or the next and made sure it was solved before moving past it. That continues even after long distance, you keep addressing issues at hand, while still hot.
Finally, what I got to learn from long distance is that I got to grow so much as a person and Mr. also got to grow a lot as his own person. When you spend so much time with yourself you get to know yourself a lot and that way we had much more to give to the relationship because we were both at a place where we knew what we wanted, we had invested a lot of time into the relationship talking a lot and getting to know each other without distractions, like just talking all the time and sharing a lot. I ended up feeling like it was tough but it is something we needed to grow. The person I was at the beginning of the long distance was so different from the person I was at the end of the long distance relationship, Mr. too, the changes I saw and the growth I saw was nothing short of fascinating. I don’t know where we would be if the long distance did not happen but I know I’m happy with where it brought us. It was years yes, but the patience you get to learn is worth it. Part of Romans 5:4 says endurance produces character.
Those in long distance, hold on strong, it works! Shut out the noises, focus on your relationship and distance is not an excuse to break a relationship, if you’re committed and put God first, nothing should stop or discourage you.