Today marks The Tall Man’s and my first anniversary. For those that don’t know, we met in Cincinnati at a work conference and our first date was two days later. From that day forward, we have been in a long distance relationship. For the first 7.5 months of our relationship, there were 1,137 miles from my front door to his front door, but after The Tall Man’s big move this past summer to Raleigh we are currently 412 miles apart or a little over 6 hours of driving.
We will be the first to tell you, long distance relationships are hard and at times messy. But they are absolutely worth it with the right person. We have compiled some of the lessons we have learned over the past year that help keep our relationship growing and that spark alive.
One | Compromise
Compromise is key to any relationship, but even more so when it comes to those of the long distance kind. Anyone in a long distance relationship has to do a lot of compromising especially when it comes to time and money. If anything, long distance relationships cost more than traditional relationships because you have the expense of traveling to see each other. The Tall Man and I worked hard to balance the travel by alternating who travels each trip. This helped balance the expense (somewhat) and the exhaustion. Sometimes there will be exceptions to “rule” of alternating travel, but make sure you are both aware ahead of time.
Two | Stay Involved
The Tall Man says staying involved with each other’s lives is his biggest piece of advice. Talking to a phone or texting can get boring, so when do see each other try to do the stuff the other individual loves doing. We have found staying involved and doing activities we each love to do is crucial to making sure we both feel appreciated. Sometimes you aren’t always going to love what the other individual picked as their activity, but that’s when compromise comes into play.
Three | Communication
Communication is central to any relationship, but it is especially important when you can’t see the other person’s face. Texting is really convenient, but I’m talking about REAL communication. We established up front that our relationship was a safe place and free of any judgment. This has allowed us to have some deeper conversations than I think most people would have, and it has allowed us to relax a little bit more when we shared something scary. We also work to have an open and honest line of communication at all times.
Four | Date Nights
Date nights are an indispensable element that should be incorporated in every dating relationship. You need to have that time to unplug from the day-to-day and focus on each other. When you are in a long distance relationship you definitely have to get creative to make these work. At the beginning of our relationship, there were times we would go three or four weeks without seeing each other. So, we came up with date nights via the phone. A lot of our nights consisted of watching a movie or binge watching our favorite TV shows while on the phone together. We quickly established the talent of syncing our computers, and by staying on the phone we were able to chat during the show. When we are together on the weekends we try to do one “date” activity whether it’s going to a movie, trying a new restaurant or visiting a new museum or tourist attraction. We also do our best to keep our phones put away when we are on our outings so we can focus on each other.
Five | Keep a Count Down
Prior to The Tall Man’s move to Raleigh, I kept a countdown going for each of our various trips and weekends together. It helped me keep things in perspective when four weeks felt like an eternity, and I also found great joy in informing The Tall Man when we were down to single digits until our planes touched down. Countdowns help to prevent the time apart from feeling so massive. My favorite countdown app is Big Day because it allows you to add your own photos and keep multiple countdowns in one place.
Bonus | I love you.
Even if you aren’t to the point of saying those three words, never let a day pass without telling that special person how you feel. It’s a great reminder to you of why you’re holding on and working so hard to make the relationship work.