A little over 2.5 years ago, Trey asked me to be his girlfriend. Yes, Valentines Day of 2012, cliche? you think? Well think again. It wasn’t your typical dinner, movie, and “the talk” somewhere in between. We had met 2 months before in December and he was living in Mississippi, so a fancy dinner was a no-go but I was excited to spend the night with my two girlfriends Karissa and Steph at Steph’s apartment. I arrived with a bottle of wine, a valentines day pinterest food creation, and cupcakes from Gigi’s cupcakes in San Antonio (the bomb). Steph asked me to get something out of the fridge and there was a box of chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of wine and a card with my name on it (yes in the fridge). I opened the card and it was from Trey asking me to be his girlfriend. I later found out that Trey asked Steph to put this little Valentines Day thing together for me since he was 600 miles away and Edible Arrangements deliveries were booked for the day. (Thanks again for that Steph!) He mailed her a check soon after. Weird? Yes, a little- but I quickly came to learn that in LDR everything is a little weird, and you will hear people say “Don’t you like get tired of it” or “How do you do it, I just couldn’t!” or my favorite “How do you know he isn’t cheating on you?” [Yes, people really did ask me that, ALL THE TIME].
I hate to admit that I was also one of those people who doubted LDR’s. But I learned that it is totally doable- just takes extra work. Both sides need to absolutely be in it 100%. I wanted to share the top 10 tips I would give anyone in an LDR & share some pictures of long process. It worked for us, you can totally do it too!
1. Live your life.
First of all, please don’t ever sit at home while your significant other is at the gym or playing x-box with the guys. Get busy, go out with the girls, LIVE your life. Get a hobby, adopt a dog, take up calligraphy, STAY BUSY. Don’t change your daily routines because you will end up resenting each other for it. Don’t be upset when he’s out with friends on a Saturday night and you have no plans. This is something you have to be okay with, its called trust- and that’s a crucial part of any relationship & an LDR must. If you are one of those people that rather be alone, a LDR would be great for you.
2. Skype always saves the day
It’s okay to stay in on Friday nights and stare at a computer screen all night. I can’t tell y0u how many times I did that. My friends were so supportive about my relationship with Trey, so it made it easy. Surround yourself with people who won’t think your relationship is a joke. Skype is a great outlet that people can and SHOULD use when away from each other. If we have the technology now, why not take advantage. My grandparents used to write handwritten letters to each other when grandpa was working in Chicago for the summer. I mean really? We are so spoiled: FaceTime, Texts, cell phones, Skype, FREE APPS, take advantage of technology, we are lucky we don’t have to use telegrams as a way to relay messages! Trey and I used to schedule Skype dates. For us Friday nights were the least busy day of our week, so we would talk, sometimes put a movie on and share the screen so we could watch it together. It was our way of doing it and it worked out for us.
3. It’s the little things..
You have to keep your significant other thinking of you. The “Out of sight, out of mind” concept is why most LDR’s fail. Girls need to feel like it’s real, they need to feel reassured that the relationship is the real deal. I know that’s how I felt. Trey would send flowers, edible arrangements, handwritten letters, and sweet texts that would make me feel so much better when people asked rude questions and made dumb comments. My friend Steph and I got a pizza place nearby to write a message on a box and deliver it to Trey and his roommate.Not the prettiest note, but they got the point. They weren’t expecting it at all. & Guys love food, so we knew it was a good idea. We also made them a care package for valentines day, that probably weighed 10 lbs. We put everything and anything we found that was Texas related and also baked them Texas shaped cookies. They loved it.
4. Start the visitation countdown ASAP
Something that was huge for us was always having a weekend to look forward to. It seemed like as soon as the plane landed in Texas [Alabama for him] we were already planning to book our next visit. It’s good to have a date to look forward to. Also, big tip: Book flights Tuesdays at 3pm. That’s when most airlines drop prices, and trust me, it will make a big difference!
5. Celebrate the special days
Make the relationship as normal as possible, as I mentioned, it’s the little things. Pinterest is you friend! Celebrate monthiversarries. He got a raise? make a big deal out of it, tell him you’re proud. It’s what makes normal relationships exciting. Show your support, remember you’re trying to make it as normal as possible.
6. Talk about the future expectations
Where is this going? What are we waiting on? Who is moving? When will the distance end? Communication is key in any relationship, but in LDR, it is crucial to talk about future plans early on. Trey and I decided on him moving to Texas since I was in grad school and my program required internship hours that had to be done in Texas and because the counseling license limitations and requirements vary in different states.
7. Supportive friends are the best friends
Amy Odell from Buzzfeed.com said it best:
“When I tell people I’m just getting to know that my significant other (S.O.) lives in another city, about 30 to 40 percent of them react by furrowing their brows and recoiling in badly hidden bafflement. I guess they’re thinking, loser, she can’t find a man where she lives now. Or, why bother with all that unnecessary nonsense when she can find someone here? They can’t possibly understand why I would go through the extra effort it takes to be with someone who lives elsewhere. Well, you know what? Screw* them. Screw* those people. They are HATERS. Maybe they they have S.O.s and wish they had the bed to themselves a few nights a week, like me. Maybe they’re single and don’t know what love is, like me, and that it climbs mountains and rides buses for hours and hours and hours on end (like me, again). Well, what I learned is: SCREW*. THOSE PEOPLE. Don’t talk to them. Don’t justify your choice. Just smile smugly and say, “We love each other. I’m so happy.” Let them think what they will, but don’t let that kind of stuff* cloud your positive thinking because if you’re going to get through this, you will need a lot of it!”
[*words changed to keep this post PG.] :)
8. Miss each other- it can be a good thing.
Having a relationship with somebody miles away basically means skipping the “honeymoon stage”. (the 3 month phase of being crazy about each other and that time where there are no arguments and every response ends in something mushy-gushy.) But the good thing is that, the time y’all do have together will be like a honeymoon stage. One of the best things about being in a LDR is that you miss each other. Meaning, when that one weekend of every month (or however your visitation schedule is) comes- things will be great. There will be so much to do that weekend, and everything will be peachy when you see each other. There are couples who live together, see each other on the reg, never do anything, that are sick of each other–but not you! This is a huge Pro to long distance. Also, if you’re one of those people that does get annoyed quick, or likes alone time, Long distance is best for you! You will love!
9. Better days are ahead
You know that feeling you get when you step off the plane, or when the countdown reads “1 day left”, that’s how you’re going to feel every day after the long distance ends. The best is yet to come.
10.Keep on keeping on
No matter what others say, if you feel like this relationship is what’s right for you, then you go girl. Don’t let others influence big decisions in your life, you know what’s real and you know what feels right. Keep going, keep working, trust your instinct, take risks, you never know, you may end up with a pretty ring on your finger 2 years later.