General comments on long distance relationships

I spent a good hour working on this blog entry only for it to disappear. I don’t think I’ve ever been this upset over losing an entry so either I’m feeling emotional and just using this as a reason to express this emotion or maybe I just really regret the loss of my hard work.

Anyway, here is my rewritten (as best I can) entry:

To me, there are two kinds of long distance relationships: the ones that start long distance and the ones that don’t.

I dislike long distance relationships but if I must be in one, I’d rather have enjoyed some in-person time before we’re parted than be in a relationship where you haven’t had a chance to stand beside them and see how you fit together, smell them or see if any of their mannerisms would drive you nuts. What if they are PDA-averse while you like holding hands in public? What if they hum while eating their food (a pet peeve of some)? These may not be deal breakers for you but I’d rather know sooner than later. No one wants to pour years into a long-distance-from-the-start relationship, only to meet and have things fizzle.

If you do find yourself in a long distance relationship where you haven’t had a chance to meet the other person face-to-face, I recommend the following:

Talk often

How often will depend on the couple but for me, I’d only enter into a long distance relationship with someone I was considering as a husband and as such, we should talk regularly, which to me means at least once a week. Since we haven’t met in person we should have plenty of things to talk about, and as things progress (well), I’d imagine that we’d talk more often than that.

I am a fan of voice chat, whether you use a telephone or something like Skype. There’s nothing like communicating by voice and learning more about each other from voice inflections and speech patterns. That guy who writes the most romantic emails might not be so eloquent over the phone. That hopefully won’t be a deal breaker but it’s good to know, isn’t it?

Try to meet as soon as possible

This is a no-brainer, I hope, though some fall in love with the perfection of the long distance relationship and are hesitant to break the magic by taking the relationship to the next level. Flying across the country (or around the world) is costly but so is investing years in a relationship that ends up fading within a day or two of the face-to-face meeting. Both time and money are valuable commodities. Another benefit to meeting as soon as possible is if those people who lie about their appearance online are still out there, meeting sooner rather than later will give you an opportunity to confirm that someone matches their profile picture.

Share the minutiae of your life

Despite all your best efforts, your colleagues or roommate might still know aspects of your daily life that your long distance love cannot know. For example, I am unbelievably grumpy in the mornings and I have this absurd habit of sprinkling my speech with French words and phrases. My grumpiness hasn’t been perceived because I guess I’m cheerful when I get the phone call. Also, I am too busy trying to practice my Yoruba on the phone to think about adding French to the mix. As a result, the guy I’ve been talking to won’t know those two things about me from experience, so I have to share them.

I am a firm believer in sharing those little details that make you a regular human being with your “person”. We sometimes get into the habit of only discussing the big things (work or school or the relationship), that we don’t share those minor other things we do like taking out the garbage, going to doctor’s appointments or doing volunteer work. I’m sure some don’t think this is important in the grand scheme of things but for me it just makes the relationship feel more real.

(PS: I love the word minutiae.)

Share family details

This is similar to the previous point. If you’re planning to have an in-person relationship with someone, you should know about their family, even if all you find out is that (God forbid) they are estranged from their family. I’m not suggesting that you whip out any sordid family history or share drama before meeting but you should know the basics about each other’s families: how many people are in the family and what your friend’s birth order is at least. I would also ask the ages of siblings and what the family members do for a living and I’d try to indirectly find out about the marital status of the parents, but that’s just the way I am. I’d be comfortable answering all the same questions too of course.

I think distance will play a role in more relationships moving forward, due to the increase in online dating, so it’s important to know how to deal with a relationship in a way that will help your relationship. Are there any other things you’ve learned during the course of a current or past long distance relationship that you’d like to share?

7 thoughts on “General comments on long distance relationships

  1. i’m in a long distance
    i did the math yesterday
    we have spent 13 months together and 31 months apart
    of course it was like 5 months together 3 months apart, 2 months together 4 months apart and so on

    but your advice is point on
    of course i miss him like crazy but communication helps and talking about the nitty gritty helps

    • I wish you and your boyfriend all the best. I think you guys do a great job of having in-person time too, which is so important.

  2. ok, im going to calculate …*punching calculator furiously*…my boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship. We have spent about 38 months apart and probably 4 months together in all. Wehave been dating for 4 years before the long distance kicked in. It. Sucks!!!!

    • You’re funny!

      I’m sure the four years together before being separated have really helped the relationship flourish. I hope you both get to live in the same zip code soon!

  3. why I just stumbled on this post, I don’t know. But I am not about to blame my good luck. This post is soooo on point! I have been in relationship for almost 4years and long distance for over 3 years.
    The voice communication thing can’t be over stressed!!! Emails dont cut it, bbm isnt it either. As much as we can afford to, we talk multiple times a day….sometimes, it is even ridiculous because we get to know what’s happening with each other before the people around u geographically know. In fact that man takes the minutiae down to another notch entirely…let’s just say sometimes I get to know how many times he has had to go in a day because he has deemed it important for me to know! *scrunched up face*

    The meeting part has been sort of difficult (I have seen him only once in 3 years) but it doesn’t feel that way because your last and first points tie in. We talk and exchange pictures so often that for all we know, we still saw each other two days ago. Also, his family members are aware of me and my family members (except my dad) are aware of him. He visits my mum very often (cos she is constantly in Nigeria) and his mum calls me occasionally so that sorts of puts us in a good place.

    In all however, I don’t think we could have synced that much if we hadn’t spent sometime together (only a few months in my case) before we began the LDR. Where it will lead? As of now, I will like to think a good place….but then, you never really know these things.

  4. i cant begin to explain or describe how much i hate distant relationship…..i mean living just 2hours away from me could be a problem. Not that i love the idea of my man been all over me but i rather have that than him been way over somewhere.
    my mind is a very busy one and so once one item leaves it something else occupies it hence the reason why i always want my man around not somewhere far plus im terrible at voice chat i prefer a face to face convos and all. it hurts alot to me so i dont like to try it and all

  5. I think long distance relationships can work if both people have trust, are committed and have an end goal to eventually be together.
    I wouldn’t be with someone that didn’t take into consideration that eventually the distance would have to change and either him or I would have to make a big decision to make a move.
    Being in one without a light at the end of the tunnel to me seems kind of meaningless.

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