Long distance relationships are not easy. At all. Anyone who tells you that they are is honestly lying!
Here is a little history lesson in the life of Kayla: all of my adult relationships have been a long distance relationship at some point or another. I had a boyfriend when I graduated from high school. He left town for college and I stayed put. While we tried to make it last, we just couldn’t. I had another boyfriend that ended up being long distance because I went away to basic training and tech school. That didn’t work out either.
The relationship I have with my husband has been long distance on multiple occasions and obviously that one worked out! We met in tech school and then spent a year traveling back and forth between Arizona and Nevada until I moved to Arizona. Then I went TDY for a little bit. Then he deployed for seven months; went to OTS for two months; and had a three month TDY after he graduated from pilot training. We have been apart quite a bit.
What is the difference between him and the other two relationships I had?
I am about to tell you what we did to keep the fire lit, as they say, and survive the distance.
Note: I don’t have anything at all against the other two guys. Literally the first thing I have learned about LDRs is that you have to be with the right person for yourself. Which, in my case, is my husband!
- An LDR is a two-sided relationship. It has to have both people giving 100% effort because if it is only one person giving all of the effort and the other doesn’t care, then it is not going to work.
- Trust. You need to have absolute trust in your partner. This was a struggle for me in the first two relationships because I was honestly insecure. If you do not 100% trust your spouse, then it is going to be a rocky road!
- Communicate. Yes, I know, you have heard that one before but it is so true. Michael and I found ways to communicate with each other all the time. What worked for us might not work for you, which is fine! We were often on opposite schedules so this is where that effort point comes into play. When I was still in tech school and on the night shift, he would wake up in the middle of the night to talk to me on the phone for a few minutes and say goodnight. EFFORT. Another thing we did during tech school and his deployment was send videos back and forth for each other to watch when we woke up (because we were on different shifts). So, while he was deployed, I would record a video right before I went to bed to tell him about my day, current events, and anything else I felt like telling him. When he woke up for his shift (while I was still sleeping), he would watch my video and then before he left for work, he would record a video to respond to the one I sent to him. We did that almost every day unless something got in the way. Then we would IM on Facebook while we were both at work (because with the time difference, sometimes that would overlap) and then when he was done with work and getting ready for bed, we would Skype until he fell asleep.
- Little things to let them know you care. We saw each other pretty often when we were working in separate states, but he would still do cute things like send me flowers. While he was deployed, he missed our first wedding anniversary, but he still sent me flowers, wine, and chocolate. He also missed my 23rd birthday, so he again sent me flowers and other gifts. There were a few times while he was deployed where he would send me things like a lululemon e-giftcard because he wanted to treat me to a new outfit or something! I sent him care packages every single month and made sure to decorate them in some sort of theme. Then I would send him things he had asked me for (usually it was Lenny and Larry’s cookies, beef jerky, CLIF Bars, water flavor enhancers, etc) and then I would add some other things in there. I ALWAYS included a card of some sorts to write a cute note in so he could read them whenever he wanted.
- Don’t use the distance to your advantage. NO – this does not mean what you think it means. Or it could, whatever. What I am saying is if you guys get into an argument – and you will – don’t hang up on them or start ignoring them. That will just create even bigger issues. Talk it out, stay honest, and keep that communication open with them! Communication is key when it comes to being apart for long periods of time.
- Never take the time you have together for granted and when they are gone, never take the time you get to talk to them for granted.
I know it is so tough to be away from the one you love! Find a support system back at home to help you through the tough days and keep reminding yourself that the time apart is only temporary.
You are tough and you will make it through!
I wear a lot of hats; NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Weight Loss Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist; wife; fur mom; writer; college student; mental health advocate; pet sitter; Airman; athlete; and many more. I love my home in the southwest and my favorite season is summer. I am a sepsis survivor and I battle with generalized anxiety disorder and depression.