Thursday, August 11, 2016

Surviving Long Distance

Just two days ago, Daniel and I got the news that once again a military obligation will be calling him away from me for a few months, four to be exact.

In all fairness, we've been waiting for this since November when he started his time in the National Guard. And in the grand scheme of things, four months is a relatively short time compared to other times we've had to spend apart. Especially because he's leaving for a school, and won't be in any immediate danger which is a huge relief.

But he's leaving in just one short week. Not exactly enough time to fit in all of the things we would like to, but we'll make due.

Since he's been home, this is actually the longest time we've consecutively had together without him having to go away for some reason or another. That's 10 months out of almost four years of marriage without some kind of separation. To many people that seems crazy, but for us it's like a small victory.

Long distance relationships can be difficult in any situation, but long distance marriage is something tough, and something that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

When you get used to having your best friend wake up next to you every morning, or get excited with you about little things like Bachelor in Paradise being on Hulu, it's hard to have that taken away even for a short time. Even when you know that soon you'll have it back, because that person is your life and without them it just doesn't feel right.

If you're currently in a long distance relationship, or it's looking like it might turn out that way soon then I've got some advice for you. These are just little things that worked for us as a couple over the last few years, and maybe it might work for you too.

Make the most of the days leading up to your significant other leaving. Whatever that means for you, just don't take for granted the time you have in the last week, or month or day that you have together. You have so much time to be sad after they leave, that you'll feel better if you can look back on the last few days and remember a lot of smiling and laughing and just overall embracing the love you have between each other. For Daniel and I, that means planning a trip to Disneyland this weekend and pretending to have no responsibilities for awhile.

Write little notes and sneak them away into their packed bags. I used to always put a little letter into Daniels backpack that he would bring with him on the airplane, just to remind him that I'd still be thinking of him and waiting for him when he got back. Even for just a minute if it put a smile on his face then that was good for me.

Don't stop communicating. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day of what you're doing back home while you're trying to make time speed up before they get back. But it's so important to spend all day texting your person if they have the ability, or to spend all night talking to them on the phone. If there is something concerning you then this is even more important, just talk it out like you would if that person was right next to you.

Visit them if you have the means. Daniel is going to be in Texas, a place I've never been and kind of want to visit. Some of our most fun trips happened when Daniel and I met in places we'd never been before for short vacations. New Orleans is one of our favorite memories because we met there and explored a totally new place for both of us. If you are able to, don't miss out on visiting the place that they're in, you might just fall in love with somewhere new.

Remember that the time spent apart won't get easier, but you will get stronger. You're going to have bad days. You're going to want to cry, and pout and be upset that you can't see the person you want to see all day everyday. But just because the time apart doesn't seem to be getting easier, doesn't mean that you won't be getting stronger as a person, and as a couple. Daniel and I grew so much while we were apart that it took two incredibly strong people to come together and see how our time separated could be meshed into one loving couple, and we're stronger then ever for it today.

Take something from the time apart. Use the time to learn a new skill, or find a new hobby. Or maybe just take the time as reflection upon yourself. Are there certain parts of your relationship that you take for granted? Chances are that time apart will show you, which you can then use to better yourself and your relationship once they're back home.

Don't be afraid to look for support in unlikely places. There are so many people who have gone through the same thing as you, and were made better for it. The blogging community is an amazing resources for finding people in similar situations. Look for support if you need it, even if that just means finding someone to ask questions to once in awhile. There are absolutely people willing to make this easier on you.

Keep in mind that this isn't forever. The time apart will come to an end. You will have that amazing and wonderful moment where you are reunited and everything will be as it should. Mark the day on your calendar for when they're supposed to be home as a reminder that soon you'll get to see them. You're strong enough to make it last, and don't let anyone tell you any differently.

Do you have any tips for long distance relationships? How did you make it work? 

2 comments:

  1. I loved putting notes in kyles bags, he was always pleasantly surprised. :)

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  2. I'm sorry you have to deal with this, and while I can't totally relate, it sounds like you two have this down to a science! I think your tips are great and hopefully they can help someone deal with this tough situation.

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