A few weeks ago, I did not even know “LDR” was shorthand for Long Distance Relationship. A little follow of the hashtag and I realised there is a huge online community of people sharing their experiences of their LDR through social media. Coming across this community made me realise that we are not alone, there are couples all over the world spending time apart for various reasons, it’s part and parcel of modern living.
Anyway, it’s not forever, it’s just for now. That’s something I have to tell myself a lot as we do not actually know when (or where) we will be living together again.
I know I’ve blogged about our change in circumstances quite a bit lately here and here, but it’s a huge thing for us and I want to share our experiences with you, especially with those either preparing for or experiencing a long distance relationship as well as other expats.
We’ve been really lucky lately and seen each other every weekend – ideal for our first month living apart (a bit of a fluke actually) however, that will change a little now. We will still see each other as much as possible – just not every weekend – it’s rather expensive. There is one thing, ok three things that make this much easier.
(1) Planning; (2) Technology; and (3) the Promise.
Planning and being organised makes all the difference. Currently, James and I have booked our “weekends together” for the next two months. Just knowing when you’re going to see each other next makes all the difference – that and communication have always been my top tips to a successful LDR. And when we are together, it is our time. Of course, we share it with others but we try and maximise being together. I do not always know if all my friends appreciate this: the fact that many of my weekends are booked up for the next few months and that I’ll occasionally prioritise James over spending time with them.
This weekend for example, James was home and preparing to run a half marathon on Sunday morning. As such, we spent Saturday night at home together, eating lots of carbs and getting an early night.
When we were both living in the UK, or even in Brussels, James having to get up early wouldn’t have stopped me going out with my friends, but now it does. It was important for me to spend time with him and support him. That’s why I woke up early on Sunday and trotted to Woking, Surrey to stand in the pouring rain, waiting for my man. I wonder if I am making myself clear or rambling a little – I guess my point is, planning your long distance relationship makes it easier and makes us happier, sometimes, you’ve got to prioritise that.
In June 2016, when we were happily living together in Brussels, I blissfully wrote about our first two-year LDR experience when James lived in Vienna, and I raved about how technology helps keep those apart together. As an expat, I never felt “apart” from my family and friends. I could call them using O2’s Tugo (literally, amazing), instant message with WhatApp, see their faces with FaceTime & Skype and keep totally up-to-date on their lives thanks to Facebook and Instagram. While there are many social media haters, I couldn’t be more grateful.
Lastly, the Promise. When James moved to Vienna, he said if there was ever a time I needed him, he would come home and he did. One day, admittedly mid-exam stress, I called James in floods of tears. I was so worried about my exams and feeling just generally upset. James popped on a flight back home the next day to support me. Just knowing that he will come home if I need him, is enough. Just to be clear, I’d be on the Eurostar straight away if he needed me.
Oh and one last thing that makes LDR much easier, my poodles. Snugging with my poodles each evening is wonderful, especially when I am feeling a little lonely.