LDR. Long Distance Relationship. Who would have thought that three simple letters could carry so much weight?! In your life, you will hear people say that long distance relationships never work out. They aren’t worth it. They only lead to heart break. Long distance relationships are complicated, and can be trying at times. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from my personal experience in an LDR, it’s that the somewhat cliche proverb “absence makes the heart grow fonder” could not ring more true.
I met my other half during my working holiday in the UK. We spent several incredible months together before my dreaded visa expiry date arrived, and I had to return home to Canada. We agreed to give long distance a try – both of us new to the whole thing. Entering my first long distance relationship was quite unsettling. I didn’t know what to expect, and what being thousands of miles apart would do to our relationship. The same questions kept repeating in my head: Can long distance relationships work? Will things be the same the next time we see each other? Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?
Being in an LDR can feel lonely at times. But since starting travel blogging/instagramming, I’ve come to notice that long distance relationships are far more common than I thought! I recently posted a photo on Instagram (below) with a caption about my personal experience in a long distance relationship, and asked viewers to share their own stories in the comments.
Happy Monday! Today I’d like to give a little shoutout to the man behind the cam, @joshecoller 📷 Not only is he the best insta-husband I could ask for, but soon I’ll be lucky enough to call him my actual husband! Being married to someone who lives across the ocean could pose a few minor complications. Which is why I’m very excited to tell you that come December, I will be moving to London to join him! We can’t wait to start our new adventure together in the U.K. 🤗🇬🇧 – – – – – – – – – Anyone else have an overseas love story? Please share in the comments!! 😄
I was amazed at all the responses I got, and just how many of the people I interact with on a regular basis on Instagram have experienced the ups and downs of an LDR. During a time that can feel incredibly isolating, this realisation made me feel like part of a community of people who understood what I was going through. I want to share some of their stories with you to show you that there is hope for those of us in long distance relationships!
Trying to stay warm in Budapest! Wow! This city has really blown us away! Between the stunning views everywhere, Christmas markets, and stuffing our faces with goulash, we absolutely love it here! What’s your favourite part about visiting a new city? . . . . . #thetraveltag #budapest #visitbudapest #topbudapestphoto #coupleswhotravel #wanderlustique #budapestparlament #thisisbudapest #igbudapest #thedailytraveller #sidewalkerdaily #thedriftr #iamatraveler #passionpassport #travelust #travelustcouples #thetripwishlist #travelcommunity #traveldreamseekers #insidertravel #teamkaptainkenny #presetsbymel #theglobewanderer #topeuropephoto
“Jeromie and I met at University about 5 years ago. He was living in Texas playing basketball on scholarship from Australia. We dated through college. He sometimes went home during the summer, which would be hard because he would be gone for 2-3 months, and the time difference was so strange that we would barely even speak! We got engaged on Christmas Eve of our final year in University. After uni, I ended up moving to Australia for Jeromie’s job as a professional basketball player. It was such a hard move! Jeromie traveled so much and was only home about three days a week. We also had to go through an incredibly lengthy visa process to allow me to stay in Australia with him for two years.
There were difficult moments, but also so many rewards. I really got to know the Australian lifestyle, meet Jeromie’s family, and understand what it was like for Jeromie growing up – opportunities that would have been impossible had I chosen to remain in Texas. Now, Jeromie has retired from basketball and we have moved to France to take a gap year abroad before we decide what we really want to do in life! I think it would be very difficult to keep us apart! Our relationship has definitely been tested by distance, but it has made us so much stronger together!”
– Madeline @thewinninghills
Hold my hand and I'll go anywhere with you ✨ Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! Here's to those incredible people that will join you in any crazy adventure you set your mind to. The ones that will patiently wait as you get the perfect shot, or will take that perfect shot for you. Those that are supportive no matter what goals or dreams you have and encourage you along every step of the way. Today is dedicated to love and all that it entails, but I believe that everyday should be a celebration of love. So always tell those wonderful people around you that you love them, no matter how near or far they may be. Love brings us all together, and should be celebrated everyday 💕
“My boyfriend and I met in 2011 while at summer camp! I was one of the Program Managers and ended up hiring him to be a counsellor (so yeah I was his boss :P). However, we didn’t start dating until a few years later in 2014, and we have basically been in a long distance relationship ever since. Initially, he lived in Edmonton and I lived in Calgary, which isn’t too crazy. However, in February I moved to Australia to pursue my Masters, and he is still in Canada.
It is pretty difficult at times, but we do our best to make it work. We are so lucky to live in a world where communication is easy. From FaceTime and Whatsapp to Snapchat, we always have so many ways to keep in touch. One other thing that we always do is have “date days”. This is a time where both of us take some time out of our week to have a date. Usually we watch TV shows or movies together (letsgaze.com is a miracle), but we have even cooked together over FaceTime! It’s the small things that really get you through it, and knowing that you will reunite soon. I’m always counting down the days until I see him again!”
– Aleena, @traipsetowards
“In May 2017, I started my 4-month internship as a research assistant in Singapore. As a Canadian born Chinese who had never been to Asia before, this was an eye-opening experience. By July, I started to meet new people, and Singapore began to feel more and more like home. But as much as I was loving Singapore, I started to miss my friends and family back home.
Then finally, I met someone who was really interested in the Canadian culture, and we couldn’t stop talking about how similar but different our two countries were. Eventually, we saw each other every day, whether it was a Kopi (coffee in Malay) date or something more extravagant like going to the Night Safari. Time went by too quickly and when August approached, I was devastated to leave Singapore and my boyfriend behind. I didn’t know the next time I would see him, and long distance relationships never worked out for me in the past. But this time it was different. He made an effort like no one ever has before. He has visited me three times in Canada since I left, despite the fact that he’s currently enlisted in National Service as an army man in Singapore.
Although the past 1.5 years has been a roller coaster ride, I couldn’t be happier. I am now in Singapore for 5 months for my last study term abroad and can’t wait to explore more together. This New Years was our first spent together, but I know it definitely won’t be our last”
– Andrea, @awongderland
“When Guillermo and I met, we immediately hit it off. We had the most fun, we kissed within 24 hours of meeting and we just loved spending time together. The chemistry was just right. However, somehow, despite being in the same country for 8 months, the timing was never right. Or we were not ready to be in a serious relationship. Or *insert any other excuse you make because of commitment issues*. Nonetheless, we became best friends and even after I went back to Austria we kept in touch, talking every day and skyping multiple times a week for 1.5 years without seeing each other.
After I finished my Bachelor’s, I decided to go travelling. While I had originally planned on going to Mexico, Guillermo, by then already living in Texas, invited me to go visit him and travel together. Off we went on a 4 week road trip all the way from Texas to California and back, and what can I say? Within two days of seeing each other again, we decided to make official what everyone else already knew, and finally be a real couple.
We’ve now been together for almost 1.5 years with him doing a PhD in Texas and me studying in Europe. The distance has been a challenge and we do have another three more years to go before closing it, but every time, we get to see each other, we realize all over again why we’re doing this. People regularly ask things like “Why are you even doing this?” “Is it even a real relationship?“ or “Do you really think this is going to work?!” The only answer I have is that we love each other and we were lucky enough to find one another in this crazy world. We just have to try to make this work. We don’t know what will happen or whether we will be able to make it work in the long run, but we’ve passed a year and a half and are still going strong. So keep your fingers crossed for us! 😉”
Awww now try to tell me these stories don’t warm your heart right up!!! In all of these incredibly romantic stories, there are a few key points that stand out to me. So if you are in a long distance relationship, or wondering if long distance is right for you, here are some tips to remember:
Skype will become your new best friend
As will Facetime, Snapchat, and any other app which allows you to communicate face to face. Seeing someone on a screen definitely does not compare to the real thing. But just think, 50 years ago, there were no computers and no smartphones, and certainly no goofy Bitmojis! Make sure to schedule routine “Skype dates” so that you can see each other face to face on a regular basis. You can even play the “you hang up first! No you hang up first!” game if you so desire.
Do ordinary things together
Just because you are both on opposite ends of the planet does not mean you can’t have fun together! You can continue doing the things you loved to do together via Skype. Again, not as good as the real thing, but still pretty damn good. My partner and I are both crossword nerds, so our thing was doing crossword puzzles together over Skype. I know lots of people who watch tv shows together over Skype. Apparently there is an app that allows you to do this? Wish I had known about it at the time!
Never underestimate the importance of open communication
In every relationship, being open about your feelings is absolutely vital, but I would argue even more so in a long distance relationship. Lucky for you, your partner probably understands what you’re going through better than anyone, because chances are, they feel the exact same way. Some tricky topics will arise, and your first instinct might be to brush them under the carpet and pretend they aren’t there. But try to delve into these topics with an open mind, rather than beat around the bush.
And while we’re at it, let’s get one thing perfectly straight. It’s ok to cry. Crying is natural, and there is no need to feel embarrassed for shedding some tears. Hell, I can’t get through an episode of This is Us without blubbering like a baby! (Although, come to think of it, is there anyone who can?)
Keep an eye out for flight sales
If you and your partner are flying distance apart, then it’s always helpful to sign up for airline newsletters so that you are alerted of any flight sales and promotions. It is also a good idea to get a travel points credit card, because from all that back and forth travel, you can rack up some serious air miles, and use them towards your next visit!
Don’t try to cram too many activities into your visits
I went to visit my partner in London this past summer for nine days. In those nine days, we maybe had one single day all to ourselves because we had jam packed our schedule to make sure we could squeeze everything into this short visit. It was still a very fun trip, but there were times when we wished we could just cancel all our plans and spend the day on the couch cuddling and watching First Dates in our onesies. Make sure your visits are filled with plenty of quality time for just the two of you. After all, that’s why you’re there!
Take your time apart to focus on your own personal growth
It is very easy to grow accustomed to having company when you and your signifiant other spend so much time together. Unfortunately for us LDR-ers, we don’t have that luxury. But instead of focusing your energy on how much being apart sucks, take this as an opportunity to focus on yourself. Go chase your dream job. Take up a new hobby. Catch up with old friends. You do you! I’m not by any means implying that having your S.O. around prohibits you from achieving such things, but setting attainable goals for yourself is a healthy way to keep yourself busy at a time when curling up in a ball under your duvet may seem like the most desirable option.
Remember why you are having an LDR in the first place
There will be times when you see other couples together, holding hands and skipping down the street on a cloud of marshmallows and gumdrops. You can’t help but feel a bit sad and lonely, right? And although you are happy for your friends who are in relationships, you feel a bit jealous that they get to see their partner any time they want, right? I totally get it, and I know how hard it is. But just remember the special bond you and your partner have, and how amazing it will be the next time you see one another. There is no better feeling than running into each other’s arms at the airport. It almost makes the distance worth it. Almost.
Take lots of pictures when you are together
It is so easy to forget to capture the happy moments on camera, especially when you are having such an amazing time together. But having photos to look back on allows you to cherish these precious moments forever. Plus, you will want to have pictures to show your kids someday. Or in my case, the UK Visa Office!
It’s the little things that count
Yes, we’ve all seen movies where the man travels across the world and shows up at the woman’s door with a bouquet of roses and a diamond ring. It’s so easy to get caught up in the fluffy happy endings of romantic films, but we must bring ourselves back to earth and remember that they are, after all, just movies. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do nice things for each other. Little gestures like sending flowers, writing a letter, or even sending a simple “I love you” text in the middle of a busy work day go a long way.
So, where has all this long distance business led me? Fast forward fifteen months since the day our LDR started, my partner and I are now engaged, living together back in the UK, and planning for our upcoming wedding! Being apart was an incredible challenge for us, but it has strengthened our relationship more than I could have ever imagined. We are now so thankful to be together, and appreciate each other’s presence every day. So, to all those who are uncertain whether long distance relationships can actually work like they so conveniently do in the movies, hopefully I’ve been able to convince you that they sure as hell can!
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What are some of your best tips?