Before I was in one myself, the only piece of advice I'd ever really heard from my friends about being in a long-distance relationship was "don't do it." But I suppose I've never been one to follow advice, because I got into one anyway. And guess what? You can do it. But it can get hard, and there's a lot of advice I wish I'd gotten to make it easier.
Contrary to some of my friends, I'm a firm believer that where someone lives should not be a large factor in whether or not you'll date them. Between the ability to chat over Skype and the increasing ease of working remotely, you can make it work if you need to make it work.
I'm proof of that: My significant other and I met while we were living on two different continents, and we've been together for six months, about four of which we've mostly spent apart. And I'll admit that during our first month apart, I cried a little. But I don't anymore. Now, I'm actually grateful for the kind of relationship we have.
Here are some things I'd tell people who are considering a long-distance relationship, because I wish some people had told me them.
1. This Is Actually Perfect For Certain People
Not only do I think we should stop warning people against long-distance relationships, I actually think we should be advising some people to be in them. Without realizing it, I was the perfect candidate. I prefer being in love over having casual relationships, but I work up to 100 hours a week and hate when people get in the way of it. Plus, I'm literally always traveling. Being in a relationship that's not long-distance probably wouldn't work for me right now because it's too much time commitment and too stationary. This is the only way a relationship can work with my schedule, because this way, I'm either living with my partner (in which case I don't have to carve out much time because I'm inevitably seeing him) or talking to him as I walk from place to place. When I was debating whether I could dedicate myself to a traditional relationship or should just remain single, I wish someone had told me there was a third option.
2. It's Not That Weird To Travel For A Date
Most long-distance relationships you hear about start off when two people are in the same place, and then they become separated. Mine worked the other way around. We met on vacation, and two weeks later, he traveled across the world for our second date. A month and a half after that, I abandoned my apartment for our third. I almost didn't invite him for that initial visit because I thought it was too weird and he'd definitely say "no." But people do this all the time. There's even a dating site that has people travel for first dates. So just do what you want. It's not weird.
3. Coworking Over Skype Is Actually Awesome
I'm all about finding creative ways to balance my work with my relationship, and Skype co-working is a great one. Even if I don't have time for a full-fledged Skype session, just seeing my partner's face in the corner of my screen as I work and saying the occasional "how's it going?" is comforting. Sometimes, he'll put on music loud enough so it becomes the backdrop to my work as well, which makes me feel like we're in the same room. Another cool thing about Skype co-working: You can do it with multiple people, essentially letting you be in two places at once.
4. The Meet-The-Parents Date May Also Have To Happen Over Skype
I initially planned to wait until we were in the same place for my parents to meet my partner. But it felt too weird that I'd moved across the world for two months for someone they didn't even know. He ended up meeting them via FaceTime largely by accident. It was my birthday, and we were out playing pool. When my parents called and put my cat on the phone, I (somewhat drunkenly) decided he had to meet my partner. Which also meant my parents did, since Maxie wasn't actually the one holding the phone. After that, he joined me pretty much every time my parents called, and it was no big deal. Meeting the parents doesn't have to be the stiff, formal situation it's made out to be.
5. Just Get The Damn Ticket
My partner and I used to both procrastinate a lot on getting our plane tickets, hoping to figure out our schedules so we could book the most logical flights possible. But then, we realized it was starting to feel hopeless when we had no end in sight to our time apart. Now, we get tickets months in advance. It gives us a day to count down to and lets us know the relationship has a future.
6. There's A Really Simple Remedy When You Feel Like You're Not Even In A Relationship
Pick up the phone. Seriously. Just give them a call. I know it seems like nothing will put an end to your despair, but once you see their face and/or hear their voice, you'll remember why you're doing this and that it really is real.