Jonathan and I began dating when I was a junior in high school and he was a senior. Our relationship moved pretty fast. We talked for only a week before we became a couple, said we loved each other after a month and half, and we had sex for the first time ever only after six months. Before our one year anniversary we almost broke up. For Jonathan’s first year of college, he went to our local community college and lived in his great-grandmother’s house, which was about a 15 minute drive away from me. Honestly, even during that little span of distance, I noticed things were changing. He didn’t come over as often and it didn’t seem like he wanted to come over at all sometimes.
By the time I was graduating, we had both decided to go to university. I would be leaving for Nacogdoches in the fall, and Jonathan for San Marcos in mid-August. The drive to him would be about four and half hours. I cried a lot the day he left. From that point on, we’ve been in a long-distance relationship (LDR).
Besides summers, we see each other about once a month. Now that I live at home, the journey to him is anywhere from three hours to almost four. Usually, I go to San Marcos for a weekend and we lay around and cuddle and fight. We’ve almost broken up more times than I can count. We’ve actually broken up about three times. At beginning of last summer, we were broken up for three weeks, though I was still living with him.
So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
I actually did some research for this post. It’s important to note that Jonathan and I were in a relationship for almost two years before we became long-distance. So for the duration our almost four and a half year long relationship, most of it has been spent long-distance.
We’ve lasted two and a half years in a LDR, though statistics seem to point that LDRs only last about 4.5 months. I assumed those were new relationships, or relationships that started out as long distance.
Fourteen million couples in the US claim to be in a LDR. That’s a pretty staggering figure, considering there are about 325 million people in this country. That’s 4% of the people in the US. My brother and sister-in-law were forced into a LDR because he was deployed with the Marines, which lasted for the first few years of their marriage. My best friend and her long-time boyfriend were technically in a LDR from day one, being young and living in different cities. When she went away for college, they worked for another 5 months, before falling prey to the statistics’ prediction.
There’s this big number (70%) of relationships that end because changes weren’t planned for. Whether that be changes like going long-distance, someone moving again, or things of that nature. Jonathan and I are constantly planning the future. Well I am, and he just nods. I plan every visit, months in advance. I’m always planning for our move to Savannah, and our eventual move overseas. Jonathan seems to be on board with everything I want, and I make sure he has a say in the plans, and that he gives his input even when he may have nothing to input.
There’s other things that articles touch on, like whether couple are more likely to cheat in LDRs, if they do cheat more often, whether or not the relationship is stronger, etc.
Statistics seem to say that it is not any more likely for someone to cheat in a LDR than in a close proximity relationship. Though couples may be more paranoid, there is nothing to prove that. And when it comes to a relationship being stronger, some articles say yes. Personally, I think our relationship is better when we’re together, but that’s because we’ve had some problems because of being far away from each other.
Anyway, I named this post “How to Deal with a LDR.” Here are some simple rules:
- Trust Each Other.
- You need to trust that your partner is open with you and is staying loyal. If you’re feeling paranoid, you need to discuss this with your partner. And if you still feel weird after talking to them, it may because your head is trying to tell you something your heart won’t accept. It may be better to get out before you get too hurt.
- Communicate with Each Other.
- Talk to each other. More than just texting. Try to talk on the phone or FaceTime/Skype once a week. If you’re fighting, don’t do it over text. Too easy for things to be misinterpreted. Call each other. Tell your partner you miss them. Send them things just cause it made you think about them.
- Try to See Each Other.
- If you have the ability to, try to see each other at least once a month. Plan a weekend trip when you both can just get away and be together.
- Plan, Plan, Plan.
- Plan for the future. Make sure you’re on the same page together. Don’t let fear of the future keep you from planning it. If you want to spend your life with that person, plan for it.
Relationships are hard. In my opinion, long-distance is horrible. But never once have I considered breaking up with Jonathan because of the distance. It can be managed, you can make it work, if you want to. Distance definitely doesn’t make a relationship any easier, but it also doesn’t have to be the end of it. We’ve made it work for two and a half years, and I think we can do it for another year.
Have you ever had to deal with a LDR? Got any of your own suggestions for handling it? Leave your answers in the comments below!