I’m excited to announce that my LDR (long-distance relationship) will be ending (in a good way) in two weeks! My fiancé has his visa and his plane ticket and will be arriving from Japan shortly.
To celebrate this event, I decided to share some thoughts on my LDR experience. When my fiancé returned to Japan in the beginning of last year, I really struggled with it at first. Being separated by an entire ocean from someone who is so important in your life is kind of devastating.
I finally realized that I had to change the way I thought of our separation by thinking about the positive points, otherwise I would have focused on only on the negative aspects of being apart. Rather than dwelling on the negative parts, I tried to turn them around as best I could to make them something positive.
- Good excuse to travel – If you have the means and the time, being in a LDR is a great excuse to go to a different country. I love to travel, and I spent a month in Japan thanks to my LDR.
- Focus on personal development – Reasons for starting an LDR may include finishing academic studies (like in my case), a new job in a different city, the end of a study abroad term, or any number of other reasons. If you can make a firm plan to end up in the same city after a decided period of time, you can use the time apart to focus on your own personal development. That might include finishing a degree, getting qualifications for a future position, or saving up for the big move.
- Strengthen your relationship – Communicating solely through email, Skype, LINE, text, and other electronic means leads to creative ways to keep in touch. Your S/O (significant other) doesn’t get tired of your silly selfies, and will always answer your middle-of-the-night e-mails. Being apart can strengthen your relationship by making your brief Skype chats that much more meaningful, and you learn to convey your thoughts and feelings in a better way. The trials that LDR puts your relationship through will definitely make your bond stronger (although it can also go the other way, I’m being positive!).
- Living apart – This is pretty self-explanatory, because you can’t meet each other often, it sucks. That’s why it’s important to make a plan to end the long distance part as soon as possible. A relationship can’t realistically be long distance indefinitely. If you can’t set a date to end the long distance part, at least make plans to meet up in the mean time. Having a set date to when you will next meet each other will make the time apart seem more manageable, rather than having an interminable length of time apart.
- Misunderstandings – Relationships are difficult enough without the added challenge of hundreds to thousands of miles of distance between two people. Misunderstandings can arise due to jealousy, night and day time differences, cultural differences, missed communication (email, Skype, etc.), or other circumstances. These can be exacerbated when you aren’t involved in each others’ day-to-day life. The most important advice? Be flexible! Learning to handle misunderstandings can help you create a better relationship with your S/O.
- Loneliness – Focusing on the lack of an important person in your life can make you really lonely. Even if all you want to do is lay in bed and think about your S/O, I think it’s important to get out and do things. Meeting with friends or family that are nearby, and just getting outside, can make you feel less lonely. There’s no way you can constantly be in contact with your S/O, so spend time with other people. I’ve certainly had times when I just felt overcome with loneliness, and just talking with friends has made me feel so much better.
Why an LDR?
When my relationship started getting serious we had to make a decision. I wasn’t finished with my studies, and his studies in the US were complete so he was returning to Japan. We knew that we would have to end the relationship or continue as an LDR. After realizing that continuing the relationship was what we both wanted, we made the decision to enter an LDR. At the same time, we made plans to end the long-distance part as quickly as was feasible. We have been long-distance for about as long as we were living in the same city (~1.5 years). Since we both were committed to our decision and to the relationship, it’s been worth it.
LDR is not for everyone. It can be a difficult decision to enter and stick with an LDR, but it can also be tough to end an LDR (the not-so-happy way). Everyone approaches LDR differently, and it’s important in the end to do what is best for you.
Have you been in an LDR? What kind of experiences have you had?