Making Long Distance Relationships Work & Be Less Painful

All capital letters in my thread title, I dunno. Anyway.

In a relationship right now where my BF is ~2 or 2.5 hours away and we are both very serious about our grades and all that so visiting will be slim…maybe like…every other weekend to be realistic. So ya…lots of video chat/phone calls…but that’s not really enough I assume. Any tips on making this work? We love each other a lot so I know it won’t crumble or anything…I just want it to be more fun and less "work" for both of us.

Cheating is a non-issue too. I’m in the closet at school so no dudes for me and as for him, I can trust him.
Out of curiosity, how long have you two been together and how old are you?

I did long distance for one year at school. We were 3.5 hours apart. We saw each other only once a month or less. We talked on the phone at least 3 hours every night as well as on instant messenger randomly during the day. It’s really hard, but it can work. Whenever I was home we’d spend as much time together as possible which helped, but then leaving was really hard. Something we did to make it more fun was randomly write letters, poems or take pictures and mail them to each other. I never got any mail at school so it made me look forward to looking in my mail box.

Actually we are about to be doing sort of long distance again. He’s going away for training for work and he will live at the training facility during the week. We probably will not get to communicate at all during this time. But he will be living with me on the weekends. I am not looking forward to this, that phone call every night really made the difference.
how long will you guys be long distance?

if there is an end in sight, its helpful. my SO and i did long distance for about 8 months before we decided it wasnt working, so i spent the next 4 months figuring out how to move closer to him (i know being in school makes that part impossible) and the last 4 months of the long distance were easier knowing there was a plan to be closer and an end in sight.

we chatted during the day online, saw each other as much as possible, and played an online video game together during the week when we couldnt see each other so that we could still semi interact (it sounds so nerdy, but it was extremely helpful to feel closer to him)

best of luck, its hard even in the best circumstances
Long distance relationships are fine if they are temporary. And by "temporary" I mean anything UNDER 1 year, but preferrably less than 6 months.

Anything more than that just isn’t worth it and takes too much of a toll ont he relationship. The longer you drag out a LDR, the more likely it will be that when you DO get to be together, you’ll discover that it simply isn’t the same or what you thought it would be.

Long distance relationships are fine if they are temporary. And by "temporary" I mean anything UNDER 1 year, but preferrably less than 6 months.

Anything more than that just isn’t worth it and takes too much of a toll ont he relationship. The longer you drag out a LDR, the more likely it will be that when you DO get to be together, you’ll discover that it simply isn’t the same or what you thought it would be.

thats a really good point. have you guys ever been in the same place for an extended amount of time while dating? or did your dating start off long distance?
Heya, I totally forgot about this thread. Sorry. Anyway…we’re both 19 and have been dating this whole summer…I know that is not very long but I really cant put it in words how much we like each other. We are perfect together essentially. As for how long it will be long distance…at least until Christmas (early December). Then we’ll be on Christmas break which is a month long and he is transferring to my school. He’s not ONLY transferring to this school because of me, so dont be alarmed by that…he also just doesnt like his current school. When we first started dating we would be with each other at least 5 days a week…so ya going from that to 0 days a week is pretty hard but we talk on the phone a lot so that is helpful. That and I got him started on video chat. That’s been fun… (Yes it got naughty) He is actually visiting today and should be here really soon. Sadly though I can’t tell anyone he’s my BF I am just saying he’s a friend because I"m still in the closet at school. I just came out at home this summer.
Don’t listen to the Debbie Downers in here (Viper *cough *cough)

It’s totally doable as long as you both are willing to put in the time and effort. Sure, it’s not fun- but it has it’s perks. I don’t think its a matter of distance as much it is a matter of compatibility. If you don’t want the same things, don’t have the same end goal or aren’t willing to see your time apart as an opportunity instead of a challenge, it’s not going to work. Just like any relationship.

It’s hard, I won’t deny that. But here’s what you do:

– Have your own life. Both of you need to do this. I cannot stress this enough. If you waste away every extra moment thinking about them, calling them or wishing you were there with them, you won’t make it very far. The stress is too much. Have your own activities (besides school and work) and incorporate your SO into your life. Don’t let them BECOME your life. (this is SOP for all relationships in my opinion)

– Find something you can do together, even though you’re far apart. Like Vodka said, play a video game, designate a specific time to talk each day, write letters, video chat- whatev. Keep in contact, just don’t smother.

– Share the responsibility of seeing each other. You should both be putting in the effort to see each other. Don’t let this become one sided.

– Be aware of how the stress of being apart affects you- then, do something about it. For example, when I first started dating my SO (we were long distance at the time) everything was great a first, but then we started getting into the WORST fights. I couldn’t understand it. It happened a few times a week. It was horrible. Then, I started to recognize that I would fight with him only when I was really busy with school… after a few days of some serious reflection, I realized that I would pick fights with him when I felt like I didn’t have enoguh time with him. Many nights during that time, we wouldn’t get the chance to have a real, more-than-5-minute-conversation until like 11 at night. And I had to leave for class at 7:30 am. That’s not much time to sleep, let alone nurture a new relationship. I felt HORRIBLE that I wasn’t able to spend more time talking to him- so I’d pick fights with him because then I felt justified in staying up till all hours of the night to talk with him and resolve our fight. I fought with him to spend more time with him and not feel guilty about it. If I hadn’t realized that and corrected it immediately, we wouldn’t be sitting together in the same room right now.

You don’t have to have an exact plan of when, where and how you’re going to be together right away, but you will need one eventually. Be aware though, that making that plan can be very stressful and living with the knowledge of that plan coming to fruition some day soon can be even more stressful. The plan will take over you life if you let it and you’ll find yourself whining about not being able to be together sooner. It’s a blessing and a curse.
K, part II.

(Sorry, my computer is being super wonky lately and it’ll blue screen outta nowhere and I’ll lose my entire message. didn’t want to lose all that.)

So, this situation gives you numerous opportunities. I suggest you take them.
Here’s a small sampling of what I’ve learned:

– Communication. Few things suck more than fighting over the phone. I’m not saying don’t fight, every couple needs a good scrap every once in a while. I mean, if you’re going to fight, fight fair.
Don’t bring up shit from the past.
Don’t let shit build up until you explode.
Absolutely, under NO curmstance are you to ever call names.
Be calm and assertive and know when to take a breather so you can come back to the situation and resolve it.
Learn what is worth fighting for and what’s not.
Learn what signs your SO gives out before he gets to the point where he’s so aggitated that he’s fighting just to fight. I’ve found that problems are much easier to resolve when neither of you get into that "red zone."

For example, no one in this world can disarm me as fast as my SO. I’ll be ready to blow my top and he’ll come back with, "yeah, well, your mom.. (something something something).." It completely stops me in my tracks, never fails to make me laugh and gives me a minute to cool the hell down. Then we work it out. I’ve learned to do the same for him.

– Friendship. When we started dating, I was 20 and he was 22. We were long distance for our first 2 1/2 years. Like, 411 miles apart kind of distance. At first we saw each other about every 7 weeks, but then I was trying to finish my degree and for a year we saw each other once every 3 months at best.

I’ll tell you what though, I wouldn’t trade that for the world. The long distance was the best thing that ever happened to us. We didn’t know each other very well when we first started dating, so building our friendship while building our relationship had to come first. We had to build a solid foundation for this relationship to work. In the 5 years we’ve been together we have been through some SERIOUS bullshit. (His mom died, mine got cancer again, my dad broke his neck- I could go on and on… ) I promise you that if we had not had the chance to build such a solid friendship, our relationship never would have worked.

-Patience. Not everything is going to work out the way you want it when you want it to. Figure out how to deal with it, or you’ll drive yourself crazy.

-Acceptance. People are going to let you down. There’s no two ways around it. Your SO isn’t always going to act the way you want or expect. Your friends aren’t going to be as supportive and you wish they would be. You aren’t always going to be able to keep your shit together while trying to go to school, work and build a new relationship. Deal with it. It’s not the end of the world. and it’s never as bad after you’ve had time to step back and look at the situation again. Don’t let it hang you up.

-Trust. Without this, your relationship will fail so fast it’ll make your head spin. Even if you’ve been hurt in relationships before, that’s no reason not to trust your current SO (so long as they haven’t given you a reason not to). This part is super hard for a lot of people in LDRs. If you can’t trust them, either because of your own hang ups or theirs, then this is going to be really hard.

-Becoming yourself while being with someone else. I had a hard time at 20 years old learning that I could be myself, do my own things, go where I wanted to go, have my own friends and still have a loving relationship with my SO. Before then, I didn’t know that my world didn’t have to revolve around him. Learning that one of the best ways to have a healthy relationship was to have a life outside your relationship, took me a minute to figure out. Being long distance helped me realize it was possible.

You have a fantastic opprotunity to build a solid foundation here. You have endless chances learn about each other, what makes the other one tick, what makes them happy or sad, their dreams, their goals, their favorite breakfast cereal, the brand of peanut butter they prefer… you can’t have a physical relationship when all you can do is talk, and while it’s frustrating, it’s a blessing in disguise. I highly suggest you take full advantage of it.

Good luck out there
Oh my God….thank you thank you thank you. I will reply tomorrow with more as I don’t want to look like I’m typing an essay right now because we’re watching a movie on the bed and I popped open the lappy real quick. As for the fighting aspect…I hope that’s not a problem, we never have even been remotely close to fighting before. Thanks again. It’s nice to hear a girl’s side of things as they usually understand stuff like this more in my opinion. Two guys in a relationship is like two blind ducks running in circles. Ahh I like him so much. Time to go convince a back rub.

That’s the BEST line I’ve heard in a while! I really Lol’ed for real and my SO is looking at me funny

Don’t worry about fighting. Everyone does it. It’s perfectly natural and HEALTHY. It sucks and its nervewracking at first, but if you’re smart about it, it’ll be fine and you’ll learn a lot from it.

Enjoy your back rub!
Girls are so cool. I will enjoy it. Time to put away this stupid laptop and enjoy our time together now. It’s going to be a long night.
Wow I just read it again and all I can say is thanks. You bring up lots of good points that I will be sure to keep in mind.

for sure. Last night was fun let’s put it that way. I got my back rub too. My stupid boyfriend was being waaaayyyy tooo loud though at like 4 AM just like drunk as fuck running down the halls, yelling while talking to the drunkars who were still awake. I think everyone on my floor now hates me. All good times though…it was a fuckin Friday they can’t complain. Going mountain biking today hopefully…might have to take 2 cars…neither of us has a big enough car to throw two bikes in, sadly.
Have a great time today! Feel free to pm me if you ever wanna chat
Will do. Any others want to chime in? Always nice to hear others point of view.
I didn’t read every reply, but I will throw in my LDR experience.

My husband and I were in one for 6 months, I was 18, he was 20. I was still in high school for the first few months of our relationship. We lived 200 miles apart (~3 hours of driving). In the beginning we saw one another every 2-3 weeks for Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday for half a day before parting again. It’s very possible to make it work, as long as you both want to equally invest in the relationship to keep it working. We knew we had to trust one another completely (his ex lived a few miles away and wanted him back big time, though she was pregnant with another guy’s kid and that was a big "never gonna be together again" thing for my SO anyway – kinda made it easier to have trust in that situation). We also took the time to communicate with one another. Call on the phone, email, text, IM, when we had a chance to talk and just to see how each other’s day went.

I never enjoy reading the "It’ll never work" responses. Many people told me that we’d never work out. We’re closing in on our 1st wedding anniversary / 4 years of being together in the next few months.
Time to see how everything will go. He just left after visiting this weekend and I won’t see him for 2 weeks. I already feel sad but that’s life…he will be transferring here after the new year though. Then we can be together as much as we want. It was hard to let him go though earlier…our hug goodbye was like a minute.
That’s the one thing- the goodbyes never get any easier.

I agree I think they got harder each time for awhile.
I can already see that. When he left for school it was hard and now when he left to go back to school after visiting it was even harder. I’m feeling in the shitter about hella shit right now though so this is just stacking.
You can make it work if you really want to. As long as one of you drives or there is a train or some reasonable transportation back and forth, a bi-weekly visit is more than enough to keep a relationship alive in my experience.

I’m curious though, why are you in the closet? I bet it’s really hard to be openly gay a lot of places in the country (I’m born and raised in San Francisco so I haven’t seen that personally) but if there’s people you could come out to you should. Leading a double life will take its toll eventually.
I am actually from San Jose and I’m out there as of this summer. Everyone took it well except for the last people I told, my parents. They essentially cut me off and kicked me out of the house a day after I told them. Now I’m at school a few hours away and AFAIK, no one here knows that I’m gay. And it is kind of hard to tell people now after seeing my parents react. Plus I’m very depressed right now so that doesn’t really help anything.
I’m thinking of going to the Gay/Lesbian Center on campus or at least talking to them…I hope someone there can help me. I feel unexplicably horrible every morning I wake up now and then more throughout the day here at school. I know that is not a good thing and I need to fix something in my life but I can’t find what it is. I feel sick, headache, stuffy nose, always dehydrated, low energy. That combined with my depression makes me want to just stay in bed all day. FUCCKKKK. The only thing right now that made me happy was my BF but now he’s gone too.
I feel a little peppier / happier today than I did before…so hopefully this will continue! I met with my parents today for the first time since I was kicked out and showed my mom a picture(s) of my BF. It was kind of … actually very awkward but I guess it’s a step in the right direction, you know? I hope that one day they can look past me being "gay" and just see me as me. I’d still say my Dad is disgruntled with the thought of it but my mother seems much more open to accept me for who I am and says maybe later she’d like to meet my boyfriend. Sigh…………living life one day at a time. That’s all it seems anymore. Get through one day and just continue to live until you get to the next. I think I might visit my BF this weekend before classes get too hectic. Plus I really really miss him after he left his weekend. I just want to hold him in my arms.
I was going to visit this weekend but I can’t wait any longer. I’m driving up there for the day tomorrow after class and will be back in the afternoon/nighttime. Ya…it is a lot of driving but I miss him a lot right now. Is this something I should not be doing? I only say that because it is like me caving in to my feelings so quickly that I won’t be able to adjust to this. I only have to wait until Christmas to be with him permanently but that seems so far away.

i see no reason why you shouldnt if you are able. you have to take every chance you get to spend time together. while driving back and forth like that every week would be exhausting, get expensive and might get in the way of your school, every once in a while you need it and thats fine. you guys should feel lucky that you are close enough that this can be an option.

christmas is so close (though i know it doesnt feel close enough in this situation) so see if you guys can set up a schedule to see each other so you know the next time you will see him. if he leaves and its unknown, i think that makes it even harder.
right now we are thinking every weekend or every other weekend if we are busy. He is about 2 hours away right now so it’s not a HUGE drive but it’s not short either. I just got done with classes so I’m going to head out in a bit. Can’t wait to see the look on his face.
thats about how far away my SO and i were (thanks to so cal traffic….) so we saw each other every weekend, and then had the occational middle of the week meeting, but most of the time, those were really stressful because of hours of driving and very little time to actually spend together before he had to drive home or i had to drive home for work the next day

you guys should be fine with christmas ending the LD part of it all
Bleh. That’s too much driving for just a few hours but it was worth it…I think that is what I needed to last me until the weekend(s)…and yea…it is just until Christmas/December. But that is more than 2 months away. Nothing horrible though I guess, it could be worse. I’m just glad he’s switching schools. He wasn’t expecting me though…so it was funny to see his face when he saw me. Knocked on his door…

"Who is it?"
"house keeping"
"what the hell…"
*opens door*

I already miss him again. I want to laugh because it has been like half a day since I last saw him but then I still do miss him already. This summer we spent like every day together so it was a very abrupt change I guess.
Hung out together, slept over at his house, went swimming, went to the gym, got lunch…did like everything together and now he’s gone.

I guess all I can do is wait until Friday…only 48 hours.
I think I have a problem. I’ll be fine, doing homework or something and then be really really depressed like instantly and I can’t get out of this state. The past few months of my life have been so hard I think I am just mind fucking myself. I don’t want to be a sissy fuck but something in my life is not right and I can’t figure it out. I have a loving boyfriend. I go to college and just changed majors to something I like more. My family did kick me out of my house this summer and I think that is what destroyed me. My dad beat me up and when I woke up he told me to leave and never come back. I’m still not over that I think. I have seen him since this once and he was typical nice. Nothing overly excited to see me but wasn’t an asshole or anything. I just really hate myself sometimes and feel depressed and I don’t know why. I have a family, shelter, food, caring boyfriend, friends from class, gym, high school, dorms… I quit doing all drugs but I don’t think that is it. I’ve done x maybe 6-7 times, coke a lot more than that, probably more like 20 occassions and then smoked(weed)/drank a lot. I quit all of these though. Haven’t done X since high school and haven’t done coke in months and smoked weed in weeks and drank in a week or so. Even typing this now I cant think of why I’m so depressed but I just feel really dead and soulless. The only times I don’t feel this way is when I’m with friends because I don’t want to be the awkward sad kid and then when I’m with my boyfriend I am legitimately happy but that’s about it. I’m not as depressed as I was this summer when I was going to kill myself, I feel fine in that way but still feel pretty horrible.
This was in re: to a PM but I am sadly going to share this with everyone. I don’t want to but I think I need help. I’m in the shitter right now.

How long have I been depressed for? Hah…well, let me start.

My dad has beat me up since I was 9 or so. Back then it was little slaps and what not but as I approached ~15 it turned into punches and I’ve been knocked out more than I can count. This, obviously pretty much made me edgy/angry during those years. Now that I’m bigger and older obviously this hitting stopped but I still feel the pain from it. When I told my Dad I was gay he seemed ok with it and then the next day he beat me up and I only remember him punching me and yelling faggot shit at me. I dont remember much from it so I will just leaveit at that.

I was very depressed/suicidal when I was 13 because I had a severe form of cancer and was told I may die. I haven’t felt that bad since this summer when I wanted to kill myself again. The stress of realizing I was gay and having to tell my friends and eventually family was so great I went insane. After telling my friends I had a lot of anxiety about telling my parents and that is when I was really depressed. I puked just thinking about it and had to tell my family I felt sick after I spent the whole night puking in the bathroom.

Then, there’s more. I finally told them, got kicked out and ended up sleeping on the pavement in an alley and my car for almost a week. I finally found a bed…at my boyfriends place. No homeless shelter took me, no friends parents took me, I felt like no one wanted me and I saw it all as my fault.

Throw all of that on top of typical teenage stress and doing well in college…yeah you could say I’m a little depressed. Very very depressed is more like it. All I’m trying to do now though is just fix my life. Forget all of the haters, forget anyone who doubts me…just get my life on the right track. It is hard though I guess, so I find relief in venting to people…sigh…that was long, I’m sorry.

As for seeing a doctor…I dont think I could do that. I don’t want meds because I dont think those are the right way to fix this situation. I am in that mood though. The fake smile/happiness just so people don’t ask questions. I think part of this leads from me being in the closet at school. I havent told anyone here yet and people will make gay jokes/comments in front of me and I just have to kind of laugh it off and fake smile.

I’m going to call my boyfriend now before I get too sad…I think I just need to hear his voice. Ugh, crying again. I have problems.

By the way, my name is Dietrich. Make it more personal.

I ordered some bomb chinese food earlier and video chat with my boyfriend…made me feel a lot better. Thanks for my PM buddies.
I lived in Northern Alabama and then Atlanta while my now wife lived in Birmingham finishing up her college degree. I drove to Bham almost every weekend for 1.5 years I think it was before she finished school and we got married.

We are coming up on our 2 year anni and everything is going great so far.
Great to hear that halflife!

I know we will make it happen, it is not a long time…December actually but it will just be hard during the weekdays without each other. We’re just going to alternate going back and forth every weekend.
I can’t wait for tomorrow. Get to spend the night at his place for two nights.
ya i definitely dont believe in long distance anymore since that was the cause of my divorce
Back home now. I love him so much. We had such a great weekend.
We got to do what we always do together and it felt good, it felt like summer again.
Lift, eat big, go party, meet some new people, destroy some beer pong (5-0), then somehow walk back to his place and have some fun and go to bed.
He’s too nice.
*edit* Making a new thread…unrelated to my boyfriend.
So we’ve been alternating weekends, he visits me, I visit him, he visits me and so on. We only get two nights a week together though and he always wants to go out and party. I have no problem with this…I like to drink, party and whatever. But not like every day we’re together. We end up drinking at like 8 PM and then pass out at like midnight-3 AM depending on the night and we both wake up at like noon the next day at the earliest, hung over and then pretty much just shower/eat/do something little and start the whole cycle over again. I can’t wait until we live together so we can just RELAX. I want to have some lazy days together. Sit around on the couch and watch some movies, make some good food and sit down to eat, stuff like that. Maybe go mountain biking or snowboarding?

We don’t even get to have sex as much as I want because he always drinks way too much and ends up blacking out. If it was up to me it’d be at least once a day, haha kind of often or a lot I guess but we only hooked up once this weekend. Had sex on Friday but thats it besides some making out.

Probably sounds like I’m complaining or mad, I’m not…but I wish we weren’t so far apart so we could take some time for ourselves. Just like a simple day…wake up, have breakfast, go to class, get some lunch together, go back to class. Come home, watch TV, homework, lift, dinner, fuck, sleep. Rinse and repeat and I’d be a really happy guy.
We were just chatting on Skype…both of us are depressed/angry about something in our life right now so it was not that good of a conversation. We both miss each other and like each other but its hard to act happy when we both know the other person feels like shit. It made it feel like we felt like shit at each other but that’s not the case. BLEH. I can’t wait until this long-distance crap is over. What we need the most right now is to just relax and be with each other. I don’t know what I am to him, but he is practically my life right now…I think I actually love him. Yes, the L-word. We’ve only been together for like 4 months or so but I already know.
OMG sooo much in this thread to read!! I’ll post soon I promise!!

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