“Love as much as you can from wherever you are.” ~Thaddeus Golas
At the time I’m writing this article, I have been in a relationship for 1,369 days out of which 716 have been long-distance.
Yes, I keep track of the days, not just the months or the years, because I live every day, not every month.
I will not pretend the long-distance part has been an easy journey; and anyone who has dabbled even for a little bit in the idea of long-distance relationships can tell you that it takes a lot of love, but more importantly it takes a lot of faith and courage.
My boyfriend and I met in the most casual way at a friend’s fundraiser in a club in Times Square. It wasn’t love at first sight; it was laughter at first sight.
He only knew one person there and everyone I knew was mostly busy organizing everything, so we ended up laughing and talking the entire night. That was the beginning.
Life kept us in New York for a while, then took us to Los Angeles, and then took him even father away to a whole new country and continent. Yet from the moment we met, there was this invisible purple string that always kept us connected across continents and oceans.
Along this journey of faith and courage, I’ve learned a few things that have kept our relationship going strong even through the most challenging times and have made the purple string unbreakable.
Some of them are directly related to the long-distance challenge and others are just about being in a relationship.
1. Physical distance doesn’t automatically mean emotional distance.
Yes, you will have somewhat separate lives, but making an effort to still have a life together makes all the difference. Making an effort to share our lives, our victories, our sad moments, and our celebrations sometimes made the distance seem shorter.
2. The little things matter even more.
All those little things that we all do, especially at the beginning of a relationship, matter even more now. The “happy morning” text messages, or wishing each other good night, reminding each other that how much we miss and love each other. And going even beyond that: sending flowers and love letters, randomly calling just to say “I love you,” preparing little surprises.
3. Making time for each other.
It’s easy to get carried away with daily life and activities and not even realize the last time you actually spoke in person or saw each other on FaceTime. Make time for it, a sacred time every week that’s just for you, a time when you’re not rushed or tired, a time that makes sense for both time zones and make that your date night.
Chances are, if you have a hectic schedule or if the time difference is too big, that date night will be different every week, but make sure it still happens and make it into a real date: have a meal together, talk about your lives, do all the things that make you happy with the other person.
4. Challenging each other and doing things together apart.
Find something that you both enjoy and do it together apart. For us, it was these crazy home workouts.
We started them at the same time, we’d keep each other accountable, we’d compare results, victories, the good days and the bad days, we’d bring each other up on the days when we didn’t feel like working out and kept on track because it was something we did together. It also got us in incredible shape.
5. There will be fights. Don’t worry.
Conversations over the phone or text always have the extra challenge or not actually seeing the body language of the other person. We receive 55 percent of information through non-verbal cues and body language, so you can imagine how much can be missed in a phone conversation.
Sometimes you will feel like hanging up the phone; try not to. If you think you might say something that you will later regret, ask for a short time out, take a little time to breathe, come back to yourself and continue the conversation. Don’t leave things hanging.
6. Be kind and reassuring.
There will be moments when either one of you or both of you will lose faith, you’ll doubt the mere viability of the relationship, you’ll doubt your courage, their courage, your love and their love. When you see your partner lose faith, remember it’s not about them losing faith in you or the love you have it’s about distance getting the best of them.
7. Offer information.
As people we tend to fill in the gaps when we don’t have enough information. Don’t let your partner just fill in the gaps; offer them the information they need. Since distance bends the rules of normal relationship, maybe offer a little more than you think it’s necessary.
Tell your partner about new friends and co-workers, talk to them as if they actually know them and you’re just sharing your day.
8. There’s an infinity in a moment.
Never ever waste a moment together with fighting or focusing on negative things. Your moments are your infinity, and they will live in your heart as a moment repeated over and over again.
You will relive those little moments so many times. What do you want to relive? A quiet morning full of love and light, a last stolen kiss at the airport, or a silly fight over random things? Most of the times, you won’t even remember the moment; you’ll just remember the feeling, so make that infinite moment worth it.
9. Last but not least, love unconditionally.
Unless you can give it your all, love with every last cell of your body, your relationship will crumble under the weight of the distance, the string that holds you together will stretch so far that it will break. Unconditional love is the only thing that reinforces the string over and over and never lets it break.
Love is always a journey, and it just so happens that our journey took us from one coast to the other and then across another ocean, but no matter where life takes us, the purple string that holds us together will always reach.
It’s a journey of love and faith, and most importantly a journey of courage, the courage to believe in love.
Couple silhouette via Shutterstock