It’s Saturday morning, daylight peers through sheer curtains in your bedroom window. You’re snuggled up with your sigfig (significant other), rolling around in the bliss of morning breath, kisses, and a little bit of thigh sweat from the body pretzel you’re in and you think “damn, I’m in love.”
You say “damn” for a few reasons:
1. You actually let yourself fall in love, even after dating all the scrubs who almost made you think for a split second you wouldn’t find someone amazing.
2. It feels really good.
but at the same time, 3. You know that the following thought will haunt you for the rest of your relationship: The thing about loving someone when you have the burning desire to travel the world, is that it’s going to hurt like hell every time you go away.
Just one glance at your boo and your emotions will be duking it out in a boxing match; Your feeling of joy and happiness that they’re in your life VS. The thought of when you have to say a painful goodbye and get on a plane to some far away place without them.
And don’t think I forgot what I said in the “Tips to Studying Abroad” video… “if you’re in a relationship, BREAK UP.” I’ll keep it real; I’m a hypocrite cause ya girl is guilty of not doing exactly what she said you should do; aka, I’m whipped. If you find someone who’s worth the work, you shouldn’t throw out your relationship because you booked a plane ticket, unless you really feel like it, then guhbye.
But this blog isn’t about the easy way out, it’s for when you don’t want to choose between feeding your soul by traveling, or feeding your heart by letting yourself be in love, so you’ve now decided to do both. Welcome to the hazy rollercoaster of a long distance relationship.
First things first, let’s not ignore that there are two completely different sides in a long distance relationship: the person who leaves, and the person who stays.
For the person who leaves:
You’re going to unknown territories so you’ll find excitement in every little thing, but seeing beautiful places and meeting intersting people will give you a sour taste and add to the guilt you feel because you’re not sharing the experience with the one you love. Things just don’t seem as much fun anymore.
For the person who stays:
Staying back home just sucks, there’s no other way to put it. You know exactly what to expect in your regular ol’ day-to-day routine, and you’re bitter that your sigifig is globe-trotting without you. At the same time, you love them and want to see them happy, but it’s obviously not the same without them by your side. And plus, you now have to live with being the boring other half, because nothing comes close to climbing volcanos.
Regardless of who you are in the relationship, it’s gon’ take some work from the both of you’s, so listen up
1. Phone plans make a huge difference
When you even think about a long distance relationship, the first thing you should be saying to yourself is “phone plan with unlimited data.” Your other half will live on your phone. They’ll be in your pockets, in your backpacks, and will even hold your hand in the bathroom. For this, you need a reliable and cheap phone plan while you’re abroad. Not a sponsorship by any means, but I’ve found that the T-Mobile’s Simple Choice plan is exactly what you need because it gets you free unlimited data in 120 countries. Data, meaning you can access the internet from your phone to access Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, iMessage, FaceTime, etc.
2. Seeing is believing
On the subject of FaceTime, while you may not appreciate the beauty of a FaceTime or Skype call (yet), it’s undeniable that seeing your sigfig affects you psychologically more than a plain phone call. Sure the pixels might be thicker than rice grains, but at least you can sort of see that they’re blowing you a kiss, or making that goofy face that makes you smile like a little kid.
3. Make and send videos to each other
Last video related tip: Make videos and send it to your bae. If you’re busy because of a day-long hike up a calanque, you can still remind them that you’re charming and love them with a quick 3 minute or less video from our smartphone. Don’t use the “I’m busy traveling” excuse if you’re trying to make it work, that’s asking to be cut.
4. When wifi isn’t your friend
So you’re abroad and data’s not coming through on your phone, and not even McDonalds can save you on this one. You’re SOL (sh*t outta luck) in your hunt for good enough wifi to FaceTime, or even send a few texts. Here’s what you do: start jotting down all of your funny moments on postcards to give to them at the end of your trip. Don’t forget to write the date. When you come back home and give them their goodies, they’ll be able to follow along with moments that changed your life. Same thing applies if you bring a journal; write to them, it’s therapeutic. And plus, after traveling with a buddy all day, the last thing they want to do is hear you talk about your boyfriend or girlfriends for the 208490 time while they’re trying to enjoy their hike to Machu Pichu.
5. Have an end date to the distance
This one’s easy for short trips, difficult for big moves. Lucky for me, I’m doing the latter. Regardless of if you have to sync up vacation days, or crunch down for a few weeks just to have a week off for some face time, not on your iPhone, it’s crucial that you plan when you’ll be seeing each other next. There’s peace of mind when you know, or think you know (most of the times, long distance relationships turn into surprise wars; who can surprise who the most), when you’ll see each other again.
6. Don’t be a loner and make friends again
No, Netflix doesn’t count. If you’re the one staying behind, try to surround yourself with people who know your sigifig, it’ll comfort you when you’re not the only baby crying about how much you miss them. For the one traveling, don’t succumb to the #1 absolute no no of long distance relationships – rotting away on Skype and declining ever invitation to go out. You’ll feel like crap after two weeks of having no friends and it’ll make the time you do spend speaking to your sigfig a complete b*tch-fest because you’re even lonelier than you thought you’d be.
7. Take advantage of investing time in yourself
Fill your time with positive hobbies that you used to do, but stopped doing because you were madly in love and sucking face 24/7. The best perk of a long distance relationship is that you get to have your own damn life. Invest time back into yourself and your mind will be less focused on the sh*tty feeling of not having your sigfig near, and how your flab is finally turning into abs (sort of) after hitting the gym religiously for months.
8. Don’t let yourself go
And like going to the gym and taking care of yourself, make sure you’re keeping yourself right and tight. Nothing screams “Unmotivated” like waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror to see Chewbacca staring back at you because you haven’t done your eyebrows or waxed your stache in over a month; *guilty.* A little pampering will remind you that you’re a good catch, and there’s no reason why your sigfig wouldn’t want you. You fioooonnne boo.
9. Keep sexy time in the mix
10. Cook together
And you can also still have dates. DateTime on FaceTime is what I like to call it. Pick a recipe and go grocery shopping for the same ingredients, schedule a time and get ready for your date. You’ll be sharing an experience instead of just moping about how much you miss physically being together.
11. Compensate for the time difference
Depending on where you travel, there’ll be a time difference that might make all of the above steps extremely difficult, or doable. Regardless, you need to know that time differences matter, a lot. If you want to make time to speak to your sigfig, you might need to compromise by waking up at 6AM or going to bed at 3AM a few nights a week. Regardless of what you decide, try to create a schedule, or a routine of when you’ll speak to one another. When there’s a gameplan, you can each go about your days on the same wave length.
12. Support the sigfig’s journey
Regardless of whether you’re the one leaving, or the one staying, the most important part of a long distance relationship is supporting one another’s journeys, one point for #Joprah. It’s easy to let yourself get swallowed by the gloominess of not having your Sunday-morning-spooning-sessions for months at a time, but remember, it’s not permanent. And when you finally are rolling around in bed, glued to one another again, all the BS will have made you realize that you’re some badasses who can get through it together, time and time again.