I’ve only ever been in one long distance relationship. And it just so happens to be the one I am currently in.
The phrase ‘long distance relationship’ is something that strikes fear into the heart of every couple, but even so some people swear by it. Some people even have entire relationships without ever meeting each other (but that’s a topic for another time).
For me the thing that differentiates a long distance relationship from an online romance is that an LDR has an end point. Whether you’ve already been physically together for a long period of time or you visit regularly or know that in one year and six months you will be moving to the same place, your relationship needs to be moving forward (and closer).
During my relationship, we have had four periods of long distance. Each of them has been equally hard, but I am getting better at dealing with them.
During my first separation from my partner I spent so much time missing him and moved my whole life around so I could take his skype calls from another timezone. We were only apart for three weeks, but it felt a whole lot longer.
Our last separation was completely different – I had my own routine, got comfortable with doing things on my own, and was okay if I didn’t hear from him for a few days.
I think the most important reason for long distance relationships to have a timetable is that they aren’t sustainable. No matter how much you love the other person or how good you think your communication is, you can’t indefinitely lead separate lives and expect your relationship to stay strong.
For me, what makes the time apart bearable is knowing that we will be back together. That our relationship will go back to normal eventually. Even if your relationship ratio includes way more alone time, it’s important to know what you want your relationship to be like and to remember the reason that your partner is worth suffering through the struggles of a long distance relationship.