Last week my boyfriend, Ed, and I, finally got to see James Bay in concert. I first fell in love with his music when I heard the line “I need an hour just to say hello”, and was immediately plunged back into the pain of long distance relationships. No time together is ever enough and you always have so much catching up to do.
Ed and I have been together for 11 years now, with at least 5 of those being long distance – crossing continents and counties like we were deliberately trying to test ourselves to the limits. People often ask what the secret is, and so I thought it was about time I wrote blog post on the subject. Of course, #spoileralert, there is no universal secret, but I can at least tell you what worked for us and hope that it helps you too. So here goes,
1. It never gets easier
In my experience saying goodbye is always torture. However many times you do it, or whether it’s for a fortnight or six months, it always hurts like absolute hell. You should be prepared for this and be sure you’re willing to go through that time and time again for the foreseeable future.
2. But – It gets easier!
While on a macro scale it’s always hard, on a day by day basis things get better with time. For me the first and last week/days were always the worst – either you’ve just seen them so feel the absence more strongly, or you’re about to see them and can’t bear the wait. In the middle things just blur, and time moves on. You soon busy yourself and get swept up in life.
3. Don’t count down
Just like chasing a mirage, our end date kept getting extended. “After university we can finally be together” was followed by Ed moving to America. “Once I get my dream job we can finally be together” resulted in one of us working in Dorset and one in Estonia. If, like us, you have a whole lot of life to live and dreams to conquer, you should expect your end date to be pretty fluid. But hold out for Point 6 on why this is a good thing…
4. You never die – shocker!
However hard it gets that clock just keeps on ticking. Everything in life passes and you soon realise being apart won’t kill you. Once you accept this you can’t start to…
5. Make it a good thing
Whilst it’s sad to not be with the one you love it certainly doesn’t have to mean putting your life on hold and waiting for them. We saw it as a blessing that came in the form of time… Lots and lots of time. We regained countless free hours that would’ve normally been spent together – now available to spend on random adventures. At university I joined almost every society going; because I had the time. While everyone else was watching box sets with their boyfriends I was learning archery or practising break dancing. We channeled it into making ourselves more interesting and rounded people. Which brings me on to…
6. Be a whole person, not a half
By having all these years apart we have formed into entire people, rather than two halves of a couple. We are strong enough to pursue dreams that take us in separate directions because we don’t want any regrets, and we know we are tough enough to last it. This is the biggest bonus of all – confidence in your ability to overcome.
And, on a practical side note –
1. It’s not like the movies
He’s not going to be perfect and romantic, and neither are you. They’ll be late to meet you off the train and have to write an assignment while you’re there, but that’s real life for you! Try to reduce the pressure or you’ll both go home disappointed. Just enjoy each others’ company and try to do ‘normal’ things like dinner with friends or going to the gym together. Get to know their real life rather than an over planned Instagram occasion.
2. Avoid said movies ^
Wallowing in sad songs or romantic films is only going to make you feel worse. Go learn archery instead.
Comment below if you’re in a long distance relationship and have any tips. Plus, if you want me to do more posts like this let me know!