Alison and I have been dating for 5 years. She’s a teacher in NYC, which is a career built to keep you in the same place. She can’t move until she gets her tenure and finishes grad school.
So we’ve had to make it work.
It sucks. There’s no doubt about that. But we’ve made it work really well.
Here are some things we’ve done to make it work:
1. Get on facetime while you’re working, cooking, reading, etc.
The tough part about communicating in a long distance relationship is you only really talk on the phone, so you always feel like you have to have something to say.
Once in a while, we’ll get on Facetime while we work, cook, read or something else that occupies us. We don’t talk other than random comments, we just do what we’re doing but with the other person there (on a screen). It’s amazing how refreshing it is to just be able to connect, live, with no real purpose other than to just be there.
2. Keep your watch on the time zone of the other person
My watch is always on New York time. Every time I check the time, I’m reminded of her.
And every time I call, I know what time it is by her and can take that into account (it matters).
3. Utilize asynchronous communication
Apps like couple are cool because they allow for asynchronous communication, meaning you can talk to each other and FEEL like the other person is there talking to you, even when they’re not currently there.
Think about the app draw something (remember that?). When someone send you their drawing, you didn’t just see the final picture. You saw the picture being drawn, allowing you to see their thought process and feel connected to that person.
We use Unda to send each other video messages which are much more engaging than text messages. Again, you don’t even need to say something, so you can send a message “just because”.
4. Surprise them
One day Alison was sick.
I called a restaurant on her street and had them deliver chicken noodle soup to her apartment.
Little surprises like that go a long way.
5. Get in the habit of talking every day
You can’t just call whenever you have something to say.
We talk every night before she goes to bed.
Without that, we’d never make it. They key is to never let the other person get used to being without you. As soon as that happens, it becomes really difficult. Which is also why I fly to NY every couple months.
6. Work on something together
Alison and I have a little side business that we work on together.
It creates more opportunities to talk to each other and is another thing that connects us.
Figure out something that you can both do together. Maybe it’s a business. Maybe you just follow the same TV show.
7. Go on trips together
When you’re just visiting every time you see each other, it can be tough to spend quality time together. One of you will still be home and probably have your usual schedule, try getting a mobile home from http://www.weinerestates.com/, this way you are able to have much more adventures together.
So go away, together. Then you’re both away from your home and usual schedule, and can give each other your full attention.
Alison and I took a trip to Europe that made the relationship feel refreshed. You don’t have to go far, but at least get out of your immediate city for a weekend.
If you’ve made a long distance relationship work, I’d LOVE to hear what kinds of things you did.