Like the honest girlfriend that tells you too much information, I am here to advise you about the trials and tribulations of long distance dating. Trust me on this one.
1) Avoid the “psycho girlfriend” stereotype. Trust is essential; this seems like an obvious point, but most young women forget that trust should be effortless and natural. It does not mean calling him a million times to make sure he isn’t looking at the girls dancing on the bar (FYI he’s probably looking, but definitely not touching). You can’t lose your marbles every time he leaves the house or find suspicion in everything he does. You can’t cry every time he doesn’t call you on time and leave radical two-minute voicemails about how you’ll wait up forever for him to call you back like you’re some crazy martyr of romance. Nothing is less cute than someone who isn’t confident in their relationship or themselves.
It’s not easy and I certainly think about his choices just as much as any other girl (and maybe I have left a few radical voice mails in my day), but do I lose sleep about what he’s doing? I can’t. I have my own life to be preoccupied with and so do you. In the end, you must trust the one you love and respect their judgment. Without the trust factor you are doomed to a relationship of paranoia and potential stress ulcers- no fun for anyone.
2) Listen. This goes without saying. Listening and clear communication is the key to any relationship, long distance or not. When you’re communicating from a distance you lose all body language cues; this is a perfect breeding ground for concepts to be lost in translation, brewing some huge misunderstandings. We know that traditionally men are not the best communicators, but deciphering what your man is trying to say and not overreacting when you don’t “get” it can avert most disasters. Be patient, be present and listen carefully. Also, give him a break every now and then. Not everyone is as great of a communicator as you are!
3) Let it go. I’m not so good at this one, but it’s an honest truth. You can’t drag a disagreement out for weeks on end as if some solution will magically appear. Frustration can stifle all communication that you dutifully rely on to keep you connected, and it’s not healthy to hold a grudge anyway. Most couples can kiss and make up but we don’t have that luxury; I have to let it go, say mushy things via BlackBerry and hope that we get back into the swing of things. Although I’m still pissed about that one time…just kidding. Did I mention I have a hard time letting go?
4) Make the ‘little things’ count. Make sure to remind each other how much you care. In a long distance relationship you tend to miss the ‘little things’ that you take for granted when you’re with your partner all of the time. Instead of treating him to lunch, I place orders from my NYC apartment and have our favorite take-out places delivered to his work in Florida. Last month I told him my back hurt and the next day I received a heating pad in the mail (total heaven, may I add). You need reassurance that in some ways you are still a ‘normal’ couple; you want to be there for each other in every way you can be…you just happen to be miles, hours, states, or even countries away from one another. Make it work.
5) Do what you can. ‘Going the distance’ inherently comes with limitations. The circumstances are not ideal and managing a long distance connection is difficult. If you’re a perfectionist like me, you must understand that doing your best is all that you can do. Keep up with the terms of endearment, remind him how much you love him in the slight chance he forgot, and don’t lose touch with why you’re doing this in the first place. You wouldn’t be trying so hard if you didn’t care, and that’s enough motivation to persevere. Accept and embrace your situation — it’s not the end of the world, just a whole new way of looking at it.