A brief introduction – for those who do not know – James is my boyfriend, we live together in Brussels. Before living in Brussels, James lived in Vienna while I was in London. Prior to living in Vienna, James lived in London (our hometown) and for some of our time together, I was in Exeter. The last six years together have been great but we have spent much of it apart.
James was contracted to work in Vienna for two years and we both believed that he would return to live in London at the end of his contract. A few months before his contract ended we discovered that that would not be the case.
After some discussions over what James should do and where he should go, a decision was made (after he was offered the job, of course) to move to Brussels. It was agreed that James would move in September and I would join in January.
Generally people are quite surprised/impressed to learn that James and I have spent so much time apart (although, I never really felt that we were apart). Often people believe that long-distance relationships just don’t work. I disagree, I think every relationship needs the same ingredient, whether its long-distance or not. That ingredient is commitment. You need to be committed to making your relationship work. Committed to staying in contact (as much as makes you both happy) and visiting each other despite your busy schedules. That is the same for relationships with family & friends.
A relationship is work, and when you are apart, perhaps it needs a little extra TLC, from both parties.
Being able to be in contact so easily by phone, WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime and even Snapchat made it much easier. I never felt lonely.
Being organised was also a great support. Once we had our next visit or trip planned, we had something to look forward to, and an end date.
My relationship is not perfect, the circumstances were no perfect, I am not perfect and neither is James but we managed to make it work.
If you are considering or facing spending time away from your partner or even your family and friends, I would say go for it. There are benefits to being long-distance (I won’t go into them today but happy to discuss if you ask). It will work, if you and your partner, or whoever, want it to work.
In homage to our time apart, here is a collection of my favourite kind of snaps, I know we look pretty horrifying but these moments were the ones that kept us together, strong, connected and best friends – plus, they make me laugh.
Then one day, I did this silly little test online and guess what it said …
So we did, just in Brussels not home.