Long Distance Relationships
“I wonder why people underestimate the authenticity of long distance relationships. I fell in love with his soul before I could even touch his skin. If that’s not true love then I don’t know what is.” - Anonymous Tyler and I have been engaged for two months and our wedding day is a short 356 days away! And we have never lived in the same state since beginning our relationship. Not even driving distance actually.
We have had two occasions where we were together for three weeks straight. Otherwise we’ve only seen each other 5 days at most, 3 on average every six or so weeks for the past two years.
To most, this is the recipe for disaster. For us, it is part of our story.
I cannot even tell you how many times I have heard “I don’t know how you do it, there’s no way I’d be able to do that.” And this is not to say that our love is any better than anyone else’s, it is only to say that we have chosen to sacrifice now, so that we can spend forever together.
Distance is hard. It hurts. And when I say hurt I mean your heart actually aches, and your skin craves their touch. It hurts.
From the beginning we knew what we were getting ourselves into. And if you haven’t yet, you can read our full story here. But if you have read this, you’ll know that we’ve known each other since we were seven years old. But I can say with full honesty that we didn’t truly know each other until our relationship began. Yeah, we knew each other’s surface qualities like family oriented, determined and driven, compassionate etc. But I mean the way he sounds when he talks about his dreams; the way he looks when we talk about having kids; the love I can already see in his eyes when we talk about our four children that are years away from being born; the way I can feel the truth, compassion and love when he looks at me ; the sense of adventure and excitement I can see when I look into his eyes and see our future.
In the end, I would rather live a few years thousands of miles away from him than give up the future we can create together all together.
If you’re in a long distance relationship and you're willing to give everything you can to make it work, then I want to do my best to help you. Because I get it, it’s hard. But it is so so worth it.
And I don’t mean this lightly. I think that one of the major reasons Tyler and I have been successful in the first place is that we got rid of every single jealous bone in our bodies. Literally. I came from a relationship where trust was lacking. If I ever wanted to go out with my friends, I got questioned all night. I felt trapped. On his side, he came from a relationship where trust couldn’t be found. Loyalty was not there. As soon as his trust came back it was tested again.
From the beginning, we had established that trust is the foundation of our relationship. Going out with your friends is important. Having a life outside of each other is so important. Being able to know when the other person goes out that there is no threat to our relationship makes us solid. When someone hits on T I love knowing that his favorite thing to talk to them about is me. Seriously...he drunkenly tells our story to random girls on the regular. Or he talks about the Bachelor...what a catch am I right?! I’m going to be honest, I feel like I’m bragging and it feels a little icky. I don’t want it to sound that way. What I’m trying to say is that having the 150% confidence and trust that when your partner goes out on a Saturday night that they’re coming home thinking of you, and taking the time to spend with their friends, not hitting on other people is one of the most important things. If you don’t feel that, have a conversa tion, what can both of you do to create that 150% trust? Try beginning with boundaries and non-negotiables.
Listening to my Grandma and Grandpa talk about the time when Grandpa called from Korea at 2a.m. and was connected to Grandma’s neighbors house, of which the neighbor came running over pounding on Grandma’s window telling her she has a phone call from Korea gives me goosebumps and a huge smile every single time. If they can do it, we can do it.
I have to admit. T and I used to FaceTime probably three times per week. But we both have gotten busier (see next tip) and now it is about once per week, hopefully. BUT. we never go a day without a text or at least a phone call. And not just “hey.” But, if that’s all there is time for, a novel about each other’s day is what we get. Be invested in each other's day, be sure to ask how they are doing or how that meeting was. It's a small token of your compassion.
3. Be busy working on yourself
It becomes so much harder to make long distance successful and make the hurt so much stronger when you have too much time to think about how you’d rather be with your love. You know the quote “you can’t fill others cups if your own is empty?” Be SO busy working on being your absolute best self that you don’t have time to sit and be sad. Whether its health related, work related, relationship related, whatever it is, become your best self. What I mean by that is if you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, then sign up for one and train hard. If there is a position at work that would make you a better employee or give you a challenge you crave, work to get that promotion. You’re craving girl time and would like more high quality friendships, find your girls and love them hard. See what I mean? Be so busy working to be your best self, so that when you’re finally spending life together you complete each other in a way that you are bot h 100%. You’re whole and complete on your own, but even better together.
4 Believe in each other...hard
I am Tyler’s number one supporter and he is mine. I remember a time we were out to dinner with my family talking about our future and T said, “I’m the lucky one, we all know that she’s going to be successful.” Let me just remind you that T is training to be an Air Force F-16 pilot, got top academic in his class and also owns an agriculture business. He’s 24...Talk about a shoulder to lean on. Tyler believes in me more than I believe in myself sometimes...a lot of the time. He could easily tell me that creating a business from the ground up is way too difficult and could take too long, especially considering that I am a licensed public accountant and have the potential to make a lot of money right now by going back and staying in a safe and secure job. But T understands what it feels like to be living your absolute dream life. If you haven’t read here about when T got selected to be in the top about 4% and live his life long dream, then give it a read sister. Drive and motivation are a quality that we share. We both do not stop until we’ve achieved what we set out to do. He knows that just as he did, I will too. (chills...serious chills). So whatever that means for you, know that the distance you are enduring now is so that your partner can live his or her ultimate dream life. Why wouldn’t you want that? The distance is worth it, soon you will be together as your best selves yet.
This is a cheesy one. But I am also very cheesy so I love it. This is plain and simple. There’s something to be said about a handwritten letter in the mail. If you haven’t yet, try writing your love a handwritten letter and see how your love is strengthened.
6. Make together time...together time.
When T and I are together we put our phones away. It sounds stupid but in this day and age it’s difficult to do sometimes. Even in those moments when you’re watching tv before bed, put the phone down, it can wait. Since our time together is few and far in between we spend so much time waiting to be together that we soak up each and every second together. I know this one is simple, but notice when you start to scroll IG or look through snapchat...make every second count. :)
7. Make the wait fun
Whenever we do see each other, you could say we pack in the schedule! Making our time together really exciting and something to look forward to makes the waiting game a little bit more fun. Sometimes we meet somewhere in the middle and create a mini vacation out of it. When we visit each other’s towns we do something new and different every time. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Sometimes we try a new breakfast place, sometimes we get a cookbook and make something fun, sometimes we drive an hour and go to a new lake. Whatever it is, find something that makes the waiting a little bit more exciting. This one is one that works for us SO well. Between seeing each other I like to plan and make it something we both just can’t wait for! Things we have done range from going to New Orleans, visiting our friends in Pensacola, going tubing in Alabama, visiting the nearest big city for the day, making dinner (appetizer through dessert cocktail and all) from scratch, and trying a new local wine bar. Get creative!! Do this for your waiting time until you get to see each other again!
I hope this is helpful. In the end, long distances does work, and you can make it work for you. You know that the other person is worth it when not even an entire country can get between you. In the scheme of life, it's a small fraction of the time you will actually get to live together. You can do it, stay strong.