It Goes Like This

So last week, my California boyfriend flew down for two glorious days after we had been apart for four months, almost five. Of course I jumped on him as soon as he sat in my car when I picked him up at the airport. We then proceeded to go to an amusement park and then his favorite Tex-Mex restaurant after. Even after four little months, a lot had changed for us. I got my license and a car while he was gone, so the driver switch was a reminder that LDRs do take away those moments of mutual discovery. But at the same time, I rediscovered most of the reasons why I fell in love with him. Today, I’m going to mention the little things, and why they are so important to appreciate in any relationship, LDR or not. It makes me wanna write a post. It goes like this:

Their voice. I take a lot of things for granted everyday in my relationship, and this one was one that stood out the most. Listening to someone’s voice on the phone is completely different than the way they sound in person. With distance and terrible phone reception, your partner’s voice gets distorted, cut off, or quiet. Most of the time, there is no voice, just text messages or emails. You might even think you know how they sound, but when they speak face to face, it is clear as a bell and envelopes you. 

Their eyes. It’s amazing to be able to see your partner’s eyes without the glitchy skype resolution or the one dimension photos they send to you. Eyes are windows to the soul, and when you’re able to see them again, a piece of your own soul just warms and is complete. 

Their touch. This is the thing that sealed the deal to his visit. Being able to touch someone’s face, shoulder, hand and it actually be there. It’s not a pillow you hold at night or the cold computer or phone screen you reach out to touch, hoping it’s them for a moment. Just a simple touch of holding hands with your partner will make any LDR worth waiting for, no matter how long you wait.

A conversation. Nowadays talking can be extremely hard to do with other people. Social media and smart phones have become a liaison for human interaction. When you’re with your partner, there isn’t any awkwardness or need to analyze what you say before you say it. They already know you! So being able to talk to someone freely face to face, someone you love and trust, is so lovely. You’re able to regain a part of humanity you may not use much anymore with your partner.

Silence. There’s something magical about being silent with your sweet heart in the same room. Just being in each other’s presence is wonderful, but being able to confidently coexist in silence is bliss. I always think silence says a lot more that anything you could say to them at any point. 

Being able to see my LDR partner for the first time after our separation was extremely amazing and delightful. Just seeing them, interacting with them, taking them in is overwhelmingly pleasing. My heart was so full when he came to visit me. Unfortunately, he only visited for two incomplete days, and back to California he flew. It was heartbreaking to see him leave, but every day we grow together and take in these moments to turn into moments of strength. I cannot wait for the next moment I see him. Next time it’s my turn to visit! Twenty nine days and counting! 

My challenge for those out there with an LDR (or a normal one) is to find those things that make your stomach flutter with butterflies and that you notice as soon as they walk into a room. These little things can win you over as soon as you notice them. What are they? How does it go? Tell your partner!

Much love,

-D

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Southern Hospitality

No matter how far away your sweetheart may be, there are always those times that they’re able to come visit. Nothing can keep y’all apart, not even time.

It’s going to be four months since my boyfriend and I have seen each other, so his visit in two weeks is almost unbelievably close and yet still so far away. His stay is short: two days. Although it is a short time, we plan on doing as many things as possible. Whenever you are short on time when your LDR partner visits, plan the most important things to do.

Always have something fun to do planned. If you’re like me, I always have fun with my boyfriend, but it doesn’t mean that’s the only fun that comes out of your visit. Plan a good portion of the trip going out. Go to an amusement park close by, or even a park with a ball to keep you both energized and active. Plan a picnic prepared before they arrived or even grab their favorite fast food if you are super short on time. Planning dates may also depend on the physical state of your partner after the dreaded jet lag. Slow down the visit with a cozy sit down dinner, or catch a movie of their choosing. Just having a normal date instead of an extravagant one means that much more. Definitely invite family or friends to participate in a dinner or movie! The more the merrier!

After you’ve gone out, don’t forget to plan some time alone. This can be as intimate or as laid back as you need. Adjusting back into alone time with my boyfriend when we were just an hour away was somewhat of a challenge. Just be open and always communicate what you want and need from them. Beware of alone time to be the lash out of built up emotions from months of physically not seeing each other. This could come from both positive and negative energy, but you don’t want to leave this time with bad vibes. Create a warming, inviting atmosphere with comfy chairs, food, and my personal favorite: blankets! 

When you have a short amount of time with your partner, scheduling extra time for arrival/departure pick up and drop off is extremely important. Respecting the time they need to be at their airport or bus station is just as important as the time you both have together. Being early is always a good habit to have when planning travel. It will also eliminate stress and keep the memory of the visit pleasantly wonderful.

Finally, show your lover some Southern hospitality! Offer to pick them up from the airport, welcome them into your home and offer them a tidy, spacious room with all the amenities they might need (towels, an extra toothbrush, etc.) Constantly feed them and have their favorite snacks available! Pay for their dinner or movie ticket, and ultimately lavish them with love! Treat others as you would want to be treated. This wasn’t created in the South, but it might as well have been!

So my action for y’all is to come up with some awesome dates you and your partner look forward to going on when you visit each other next. Ask them what they dream about doing with you again. Hopefully the next time you see them will be sooner than you think!

-D

Girl, You Make Me Wanna

Hey y’all!

Long time, no see! The spring weather is a-changing, and it already feels like summer here in central Texasl! We only have two seasons down south: summer and winter. They just don’t stay in the months they’re suppose to. Young love is also in the air, but when your lover is in a different state, your heart doesn’t quite seem as full as it used to feel.  I personally need some physical love and support when it comes to being in a relationship, so seeing those couples on the street and listening to Thomas Rhett singing “You Make Me Wanna” makes me wish I had my own boy here to hold hands with.

Despite the absence, there has been an over-looming question in the air that has been floating around alongside the tree pollen and butterflies. My boyfriend asked me where this relationship was headed. This question blew me out of the water. I didn’t know how to respond or what to say. Obviously my heart said that I would run away with him on the spot, but my head was overwhelmed with college, grad school, debt, and family. This may seem like a negative, daunting question, but in all honesty, this is a great question to start thinking about before it’s even asked. When you begin a long distance relationship, what are your plans with them in your future?

Now there are a couple of different factors here at play that you may want to consider: your plans, their plans, y’all’s plans, the end goal, and time. I break this up to show priorities, and how they might intertwine or oppose each other. These are a few things you should consider, especially if you are in a seriously committed relationship.

So what are your plans? Have you thought about what you want in a year? Two? Five? For me, I already had a strict plan for the next three years: finish up my undergrad, move back to my city, and start my pursuing my master’s degree.This path was laid out for me long before my boyfriend moved. So how committed am I to this plan? Do I stick it out and ask him to wait for me, or do I drop it all and just figure out a way to be with him? Ultimately, look at the plans you have and what importance they hold to you. Identify what you need now and what can wait in order to be reunited with your lover for good.

What are their plans? What do they expect out of you? Start to consider their side of the story, and then ask them directly what they would like to happen. If you can drop everything and move to them right now, all the better. But if you can’t move, see what their limits are, what you can do to continue the relationship, and what they are planning for their lives from here on out.

What plans do you need to make together? Have you already made any? What do they look like? Looking at mutual plans (visiting, traveling, waiting) and making sure you both can deliver is important. If you can’t plan on anything together, this relationship will start to challenge you. So what are you going to do about it? Do your own plans conflict or coincide with what your partner has in mind for the both of yous?

When you’ve come to an agreement that solidifies the nitty-gritty of both of your separate lives, what do you want to achieve in the end? (Moving in together, traveling, marrying, a steady relationship) From personal experience, coming to this decision can be difficult to say out loud. I was afraid it wasn’t the same thing for us, but once it was seriously considered, it was a very possible option. If you explore every idea that your LDR can become, there is a higher possibility of sticking together. I have seen relationships flop because the ultimate end goal was completely different, and these couples just never really talked about what they wanted to achieve until it was too late.

Finally, take time into consideration. When’s the next time you’ll see each other? Can you see them any sooner? Would you have a problem waiting for them to move to you if it took months? Years? What does the arch of your relationship look like and where can you see yourself with them in five years? Ten? Time is a cruel mistress that does not stop for anyone. Especially for LDR lovers. Time quickens when you are with your lover, but drags out when you are not.

I hope these questions help you flesh out the future for you and your LDR. Asking these questions will not be easy, and you may hear an answer you were not expecting. But once you ask these questions, you’ll be glad you did. So your action this time around is to ask these previous questions! “Girl, You Make Me Wanna” ask all these questions! (Thanks Thomas Rhett!)

Godspeed,

-D

Talkin’ ‘Bout It

One of the hardest things I have been having trouble with in my relationship so far is communicating with my partner. With my increasing workload at the University and his continuously demanding, new career in California, there is literally no time to talk! Even text messaging becomes something that we MIGHT be able to do synchronously. With all of these missed chances to actually Skype, engage in a an online movie, or even just call, communication is lacking.  The flow of ideas, information, love, and support are starting to dry up from the gully-washer it once was. The next lesson I am taking away from this Long Distance Relationship is this: Communication is important to make time for, say what you need to say, and follow up with other creative ways to communicate.

People communicate in different ways in every relationship, so this hopefully can interpret in one way or another to someone. I once knew a girl who had an on and off relationship with a partner in Dallas who would text her maybe once or twice every two weeks, who always ignored her texts, and when they would talk, he was super negative or uninterested. As soon as they saw each other, they were back to normal. Even though this was what my friend wanted, I can safely say the communication in this LDR was horrible. There was nothing for my friend to base her trust in besides an idea of a person that was there. She would carefully monitor Facebook to make sure she wasn’t being cheated on, and constantly worried and stressed over someone who could care less about her.

I’m not saying my relationship is like this, but I have learned the basic do’s and don’t’s from both this example relationship and my own about the importance of communication.

Do make time for your significant other and try to stick to a set time you can look forward to. For me, I can depend on my boyfriend to be ready to Skype around 11pm every other night or so. Being able to set a time you are both expected to be available to have a nice long talk is essential; this is something that should be expected in every LDR. Even though your significant other is not there, they should be able to make time just like if they were physically around.

Do be up front and honest about what you’re feeling. If you are feeling amazing about the way your LDR is going, tell your partner why, and specifically what’s working for you. Also, acknowledge their efforts and show appreciation for all the things they do, whether it’s big or small. However, if you’re starting to feel neglected or you feel like the relationship is going in a different or weird direction, speak up to your partner. Tell them what you’re getting from them, how it’s making you feel, and ask them how they feel. They might not have known how you felt or even might have felt the exact same! Either way, acknowledge what you have been feeling, and agree on whatever works for y’all next (more communication, less negativity, etc.) This is a hard conversation to have, and I was on the floor balling my eyes out because of how much of a toll this relationship was taking on me. But in the end, we had a more productive relationship than the one that would have ensued if I hadn’t brought it up.

Do come up with new and innovative ways to communicate. Texting, calling, and Skyping may create a good, solid base for LDR communication, but there are many other different ways to engage in communication: watch a movie together on Let’s Gaze, a website that allows you and your partner to watch a movie at the exact same time, download apps that create a unique LDR space for the two of you. I suggest this app called Avocado, where you and your significant other can text message, send drawings and photos to each other, and share a calendar between the both of y’all. Lastly, try finding app games or online games like Scrabble and Monopoly, where you and your love can sit and engage in a game together; the only difference is y’all play online.

Don’t use communication as a device to identify your partner’s problems. This includes bringing up that one time they did that thing you didn’t like, even if you already made amends about it. If you create a defensive environment, nothing grows from it. Try to be objective in the problems of your relationship to make the best decisions; letting your emotions out during communication fogs your judgement and you might do or say something irrational that you will regret later.

Don’t start a fight, rather, explain why you are feeling the way you are feeling in an objective view and listen to your partner. If you feel like you’re about to blow your top, step away from the phone and tell them you’ll call/text/skype later when you get your bearings back. Tell them that you want this relationship to grow with love, not with anger, and that’s why you are stepping away to think over your problems before you do anything rash.

So I’ve said a lot of do’s and don’t’s and I hope they help. I’m trying to live by my own advice too, so getting it out makes me feel a lot better!

Anywhoot, here’s your call to action: some ways you can make your communicating a lot more effective (or fun) include finding LDR apps, computer programs, or good ol’ creativity and a stamp. Some apps I like to use are Avocado, an app all to y’allselves, like I mentioned. I have the free version, but I’m sure the premium app is great to! I want to start trying out Let’s Gaze; it looks and sounds really cool! Or make a care package with all of their favorite goodies. I like to theme mine, so get creative with your communicatin’!

After a while crocodile,

-D

Appreciate Ya

My next post will be followed by one in which I will discuss the diverse topic of communication and how that works, but something occurred to me today that continues to plague my restless mind.

Appreciation: it is one of the most important keys to a long distance relationship.

There are two kinds of appreciation: showed appreciation, and appreciation for yourself. The first kind is the most obvious and the easiest. When you don’t get to see your significant other every day all day, it can cause a lot of stress and open questions to give some answer to the worst possible scenarios. (Where is he? He hasn’t text back in hours, he’s probably in trouble, he hates me, what did I say to make him upset, etc.) The truth is that they’re probably busy or have forgotten about you. (Disclaimer: I mention forgetting in the context that we are all humans and we drift, forget, get preoccupied with something else, which is okay, occasionally.) In this sense, you have to appreciate all the time you do get to spend talking, texting, or skyping your s/o. Verbally acknowledge what they did and how much it meant to you. Text them reminding them how much you appreciate the little things. Essentially, give a little love a lot. Sprinkle that stuff in as much as possible. They will see you recognizing them and they will feel great about the relationship.

The second appreciation is totally necessary to keep yourself sane in a ldr: appreciation for yourself. I say this because you are doing the best you possibly can do within your means to make a relationship flourish. If it isn’t, try to discover why, and then pat yourself on the back for having those conversations and discovering those things. Sometimes you might not get the appreciation you need; not on purpose, but because we all take things for granted. That’s where you need to evaluate yourself as a part of the inner workings of the relationship. After all, it takes two to tango. 

That comes to my next point, which is a little more difficult. If you aren’t getting what you need from a relationship, communicate that to your partner and say what you need. Your partner will hear this and hopefully start giving you what you need, slowly but surely. If not, that’s a different conversation that needs to happen. Basically, keep your standards high and make sure they’re met. You deserve the best, or at least enough to get what you need out of te relationship. 

Finally, acknowledge that appreciation should be shown in as much as possible and continuously. It is a verbal way of saying,”look! I like the way our relationship works!” Which is amazing in itself. 

Here’s your action: say thank you to at least one thing your partner does for you in the relationship, whether it’s trival (thanks for texting me this morning!) or huge (thank you for loving me for me.) Either way, I guarentee you that it will make both of your days, and add another layer of amazing to the seven layer bean dip that is your ldr.

Buenas noches!

-D

Girls From Texas

Hey y’all!

My discoveries of a long distance relationship have just begun, although it seems like an eternity since it began back on January 5th. I thought I had a grasp on what I could expect from being separated from my best friend. When I started asking for advice from my mother and my friends, there were rarely any tips that could apply to a relationship like this one. I want to aim this blog at charting my own journey, struggles, pains, and joys that can happen 1300 miles apart from my boyfriend while also helping those that might not have a fount of advice too.

Just some background info: my boyfriend and I have been dating for almost 2 years now, and we both were able to keep that relationship close to home. We lived in different neighboring cities most of the week because of school and life, which included little road trips often. We originally met at work where he was my superior. All crazy ideas aside, we were  both on the same rank our second year, and that was that. Life was dandy.

He told me last September, almost a year and 6 months into our relationship, that him and his family were being relocated. He usually stuck around his military family wherever they went even though he was well on his way to establishing a life in Texas. He ultimately moved to pursue his career there close to L.A. and stay with his family. As overjoyed I was with his career possibilities, it broke my heart knowing he would be more than just a phone call away.

Over the next few months, I couldn’t stop thinking about the day he would leave, the things that would be different without him, and the endless possibilities of dating long distance – mostly negative. I think back about how much I dreaded that day, and now that it’s past, it’s a trivial thing in the bigger scale of the relationship.

I’m about 2 months into him being far away, but so far we are so good. Of course there are drawbacks: communication limits, time zones, way too much free time. Besides all of those and more, there is always that reassuring feeling that someone out there whom you completely love and admire is going through the same struggle as you.

I am personally religious, and I think about how the Lord is testing our relationship to see if it was really meant to be ours, or if there was someone else out there for me. I know we’ve gone through a lot of trials together, and this one is just another one of them. Being open, honest, and having those conversations are really essential to any relationship, near or far.

Finally, I’ll add a bit of advice, since this is where I’m going to share an actionable item: make a playlist of songs that reminds you of them, whether they like that type of music or not. It helps deal with emotions when you’re thinking too much. It can also serve as the soundtrack to this part of relationship in its journey. I have one which includes a song that helps me calm my fears about starting a long distance relationship. And since I’m a Lone Star gal, this is right up my alley.

“But the girls from Texas are just a little bit better.” Girls from Texas by Pat Green and Lyle Lovett

Cheers to LDR exploring!

-D