There’s no way around it. Long distance relationships are tough. Maybe one of the most difficult romantic choices a person can make, and therein lies the rub. Only a bona fide cretin would set out with the express purpose of finding a lover many time zones away, especially given the inherent accompanying stress of not being able to see your sweetie on a daily basis, but it still happens. However, once you make the decision to go that route, we’re talking simple survival.
All relationships are complicated but doing the deed long distance means you better be prepared to put in an extra dose of elbow grease to keep things running smoothly. For the literal-minded, that means work. If you’re one of the flights-of-fancy crowd who still believes that love should never be work, get real. For a love to last, expect to have to exert some effort every now and then. The first area to concentrate on when it comes to long distance love sounds suspiciously obvious…
The very nature of a long distance relationship dictates you’re probably not going to be able to work in as much face-to-face kissy time as you might crave. Luckily there are a few modern day conveniences to help you along the way: Internet, email, cell phones, texting, Facebook, Twitter. Though not as satisfying as touching the one you love, these digital doppelgangers may be all that keeps you sane. Take advantage early and often.
If you’re not willing to make time in your busy schedule for your long distance partner, what’s the point of trying at all? Seriously. The two of you need to put your heads together and schedule regular online or telephone time. Don’t make the mistake of letting your significant but far away other become just another part of the generic Facebook crowd. Sure, Facebook is great, yada, yada, yada but it ain’t all that AND a bag of chips. You need time away from the static to focus on one another and find out how their day REALLY went. Set up a schedule and then, by gum, better stick to it.
Gifts are ‘Da Bomb
With a long distance relationship, it’s a given you can’t reach out and touch his or her hand on a whim. You’re going to have to figure out a way to send other tokens of affection. Guys, we’re talking about gifts here. You simply must find ways to let her know you’re thinking of her on a regular basis. Notice we didn’t say you’ve got to spend a lot of money on it, but if you don’t, you better kick that gray matter inside your head into creative high gear. Random postcards and pictures are a great start, though you shouldn’t be afraid to think out of the box. Traditional movie nights might be out of the question but there are alternatives. How about you both rent the same movie and fire up the DVD player at the same time on a Friday night? A smart phone in your lap loaded with Facebook or Twitter applications completes the necessary equipment. Remember all those witty and silly comments you used to whisper in her ear at the local megaplex? Set your fingers to tapping in real time as you watch and you’ve got some semblance of a movie date.
Probably the number one secret to making a long distance relationship work for the long term is to set intermediate goals. It’s critical to have something to look forward to. Let’s say you’re working your fingers to the bone at a six month gig in New York City. Meanwhile your sweetie is finishing up her Master’s Degree at UCLA. That’s three thousand miles apart, bucko. Why not set a weekend date to meet in St. Louis at the halfway point? Or maybe you’ll be able to fly home over the Thanksgiving holiday. It doesn’t really matter what the goal is, only that you have one and stick to it. A shared goal and mutual waiting period is so much easier than going it alone. Plus think of all the fun you can have with that long-repressed but wonderful invention called the hormone.
Is all this going to make long distance relationships the preferred method of dating in the future? We certainly hope not, and Jake Swank isn’t silly enough to claim it’s as good as the real thing, but you got yourself into it, which means it’s squarely up to you to make the best of it. Finally, we’re assuming you have a plan to turn this long term arrangement into something more up close and personal eventually. Otherwise, what’s the point?
The Swank Life Team
Flickr / Ferry Hattawidian