For those who know me and my story, know that long-distance dating is a huge part of it. Wyatt (my boyfriend) and I managed long distance for 4 years. We both went to two different colleges, he plays D1 football and I was extremely involved and busy at my undergraduate college. So how in the world did we make it work? Today I’m letting you guys in on the best advice I have for those who are in long-distance relationships. This can apply to dating relationships, friendships, or even potential relationships. Where there is a will there is always away. Before this season of my life, Wyatt and I had always been together in the same town. We did basically everything together. The idea of me leaving for college sounded crazy. He was a year younger than me in high school so when I graduated he still had an entire year left. We both knew that long distance was going to be different but we had no clue how different it would be. So how did we both manage to make our relationship work through 4 years of not living in the same town? This is how we did it...
1. Communication and Scheduling
This might sound really lame but it is what helped us make it the 6 years we have been together. If you can’t communicate your fears, your dreams, or expectations, forget maintaining that relationship. You have to communicate with each other. I’m not talking about texting all day either. Using the technology, you have today to your advantage. Use Facetime, snapchat, and the good ole classic phone call. You have all of these resources, don’t just text each other.
Schedule a time whether that’s in the morning, at lunch, during a class break or at night to call each other and talk over your day. Making a schedule “phone date” will help you both get into a routine of talking to each other. Won’t be able to call during a certain time, COMMUNICATE that with your partner. When you apply this to your long-distance (or even regular) relationship, I promise you will begin to see a change in how you both communicate with each other.
This is a BIG one. Without trust, Wyatt and I would have probably broken up a lonnnngg time ago. Also, let me add that trust isn’t just freely given either, it is earned in a relationship. Ask yourself “Can I trust my partner to be away from me”? If the answer is no, you need to do some deep soul searching.
Being able to trust your partner comes from answering these few questions:
Are they honorable and truthful?
Do they let you know information on what their plans are and who they are with, without being shady about it?
Is there clear communication of boundaries and expectations?
Do they respect you and themselves?
If the answer is yes to all of those, they would seem to be a pretty trustworthy person. Remember it is okay to trust someone, it is not okay to completely rely on someone to fulfill every single need in your life. That pressure can make a relationship fall apart quickly.
If you can’t trust a person when you are with them, there is a chance you can’t trust them when you are away with them. You need to ask yourself, why don’t I trust them. The honest answer to that question will give you the much-needed clarity you deserve.
3. Being Intentional
a. I talk about intentionality so much, because I believe it is so important. When you are intentional with your partner especially in a long-distance relationship, it goes a long way! Wyatt and I made it a priority to communicate every single day whether that was throughout the day or at least before we both went to bed. A lot of people would call this “annoying” or “excessive”. However, in a month we will be celebrating our six years of dating, so I’d say it’s gone pretty well for us. Whatever season you and your partner are in whether long-distance or not, it’s still so essential to your relationship to practice intentionality. When you are with them, BE WITH THEM. Don’t be on your phone, and make time away from your friends. Hanging out with a group of friends is great but take some time to be with each other every now and then.
4. Keeping the “butterflies”
a. Okay, before you roll your eyes, hear me out for a second. By “keeping the butterflies”, think back to how you acted when you started dating your partner. Remember how you felt all the butterflies when you got to see them at school or on the weekends, you made sure you washed your hair and actually put on some kind of perfume/cologne? What made you stop? I think we get so comfortable in our relationships we get complacent. Wyatt and I, make it a priority to always show up and try for each other. If we are going on a date (which with college football games and school is rare at the moment), we make it a point to dress up. We also make sure to stay off our phones and give each other our undivided attention. I’ll even let you in on a really cheesy thing we do almost during EVERY phone call. We made it a habit a long time ago and it just kind of stuck. At the end of each phone call, we stay “I love you, and Muah”. Yes, we do a fake kiss over the phone. Judge me all you want, but don’t let Wyatt fool you, we are cheesy people. We only do this for us, not to look “cute” around friends but to keep the relationship fun and romantic. My point is, figure out what your partner thinks is romantic. Because more than likely you both have two very different ideas of what that looks like. That is where communication comes in quite handy. I promise because we choose to keep romantics in our relationship, I still get butterflies around him. I believe that indescribable, unthinkable love isn’t found out of luck, it’s built from two people who want to work on it every single day.
5. You will grow individually, and that's a good thing
When we started long-distance dating I had the biggest case of FOMO (fear of missing out) on Wyatt's life. I'm that person that hates to miss anything. I will try to make every single event if I can. After Wyatt graduated high school and went to college 3 1/2 hours away from me, God slowly showed me this was for our good. We needed that space more than we both could understand. I learned who I was outside of our relationship, I was able to make friends that Wyatt didn't know (unlike high school of course). He did the same thing, worked hard in football and made great friends. Each of us would then become friends with each other's friends. It is good to have some distance from your partner so you can find your identity and who are without them. God doesn't want you solely dependent on your relationship, he wants you dependent on HIM. Once we had that mindset to focus on what God is doing in our lives individual we could then see the bigger picture of what he was doing in our relationship.
Let me leave you with one more, honest thing. Long-distance no matter if you are 4 hours or 48 hours away from each other, it is hard. It takes dedication, time, and work. This type of dating begs the question "is this worth it". For me it was a big yes, for others it may not be. You have to decide what it's worth. Each relationship is very different, and some of the things may not apply to yours. However, this list of tips helped Wyatt and me so so much! I hope it helps you in some way!