General comments on long distance relationships
Posted June 14, 2011on:
I spent a good hour working on this blog entry only for it to disappear. I don’t think I’ve ever been this upset over losing an entry so either I’m feeling emotional and just using this as a reason to express this emotion or maybe I just really regret the loss of my hard work.
Anyway, here is my rewritten (as best I can) entry:
To me, there are two kinds of long distance relationships: the ones that start long distance and the ones that don’t.
I dislike long distance relationships but if I must be in one, I’d rather have enjoyed some in-person time before we’re parted than be in a relationship where you haven’t had a chance to stand beside them and see how you fit together, smell them or see if any of their mannerisms would drive you nuts. What if they are PDA-averse while you like holding hands in public? What if they hum while eating their food (a pet peeve of some)? These may not be deal breakers for you but I’d rather know sooner than later. No one wants to pour years into a long-distance-from-the-start relationship, only to meet and have things fizzle.
If you do find yourself in a long distance relationship where you haven’t had a chance to meet the other person face-to-face, I recommend the following:
How often will depend on the couple but for me, I’d only enter into a long distance relationship with someone I was considering as a husband and as such, we should talk regularly, which to me means at least once a week. Since we haven’t met in person we should have plenty of things to talk about, and as things progress (well), I’d imagine that we’d talk more often than that.
I am a fan of voice chat, whether you use a telephone or something like Skype. There’s nothing like communicating by voice and learning more about each other from voice inflections and speech patterns. That guy who writes the most romantic emails might not be so eloquent over the phone. That hopefully won’t be a deal breaker but it’s good to know, isn’t it?
Try to meet as soon as possible
This is a no-brainer, I hope, though some fall in love with the perfection of the long distance relationship and are hesitant to break the magic by taking the relationship to the next level. Flying across the country (or around the world) is costly but so is investing years in a relationship that ends up fading within a day or two of the face-to-face meeting. Both time and money are valuable commodities. Another benefit to meeting as soon as possible is if those people who lie about their appearance online are still out there, meeting sooner rather than later will give you an opportunity to confirm that someone matches their profile picture.
Share the minutiae of your life
Despite all your best efforts, your colleagues or roommate might still know aspects of your daily life that your long distance love cannot know. For example, I am unbelievably grumpy in the mornings and I have this absurd habit of sprinkling my speech with French words and phrases. My grumpiness hasn’t been perceived because I guess I’m cheerful when I get the phone call. Also, I am too busy trying to practice my Yoruba on the phone to think about adding French to the mix. As a result, the guy I’ve been talking to won’t know those two things about me from experience, so I have to share them.
I am a firm believer in sharing those little details that make you a regular human being with your “person”. We sometimes get into the habit of only discussing the big things (work or school or the relationship), that we don’t share those minor other things we do like taking out the garbage, going to doctor’s appointments or doing volunteer work. I’m sure some don’t think this is important in the grand scheme of things but for me it just makes the relationship feel more real.
(PS: I love the word minutiae.)
Share family details
This is similar to the previous point. If you’re planning to have an in-person relationship with someone, you should know about their family, even if all you find out is that (God forbid) they are estranged from their family. I’m not suggesting that you whip out any sordid family history or share drama before meeting but you should know the basics about each other’s families: how many people are in the family and what your friend’s birth order is at least. I would also ask the ages of siblings and what the family members do for a living and I’d try to indirectly find out about the marital status of the parents, but that’s just the way I am. I’d be comfortable answering all the same questions too of course.
I think distance will play a role in more relationships moving forward, due to the increase in online dating, so it’s important to know how to deal with a relationship in a way that will help your relationship. Are there any other things you’ve learned during the course of a current or past long distance relationship that you’d like to share?