I never thought I was the long distance relationship type. I left perfectly lovely men behind when I chased my career out of several states.
It seemed like so much work, and for what? To be lonely the majority of the time, all the while trusting the other person to be faithful even when you aren’t there to see what they’re doing?
So why did I do it?
It’s funny how I still can’t answer that question. I just knew that I was going to try it with Nick.
It’s a crazy story, but here is the abridged version. Nick and I dated for a year while we both lived in Las Vegas. At the time, he was lucky to work for one of the best radio stations in the city. The problem was that none of the air talents were leaving any time soon. He could wait around for something to open up, apply for it and possibly get rejected because he was inexperienced, or he could venture out and get a job in a smaller market and work his way back.
It was time to try it on his own.
A job opened up in East Texas, and he took it. For a year we did the long distance thang. When you take a position in a smaller town, you do it for two reasons. 1) the love of radio and 2) for the experience. You do not expect to make a lot of money. I doubt he made more than minimum wage at that position.
HOW DO YOU MAKE A RELATIONSHIP LAST IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO FLY BACK AND SEE YOUR LOVED ONE?
We decided that every three months one of us would buy a plane ticket. That means we only saw each other four times a year, but each of us only bought two tickets total. We could manage that.
While visiting him, I got a call that a station in Houston wanted me to manage their newsroom. We were finally going to be within four hours of each other. This position was a massive opportunity for me, so I accepted it, and while I was back in Las Vegas packing, Nick accepted a job in Dayton, Ohio.
Now before you go blaming Nick for his horrible timing, know that I knew this was a possibility. I knew he had applied and interviewed for this position. It was a huge step up for him, but it still stung a bit when I finally drove to Texas, and the next day, he drove out.
It would take another year before we got our first morning radio show in Indiana.
We went from seeing each other every three months to moving in and working together.
HOW DID WE HAVE A SUCCESSFUL LONG-DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP?
I’m here to say that you can make it work.
I get asked a lot how we did it, so I thought I would pass along the cute and downright weird things we did to keep the spark alive.
But we had the most important thing when trying to keep a long distance relationship alive.
That’s the desire to do it.
The next thing you have to do is over communicate.
It may have seemed to the people around us that we were overly co-dependent, but we made supporting each other our top priority.
When he went on air, I streamed his show. I could text him when I laughed at something he said, or comment when he sounded tired. When I was booking guests for my news show, he was there with a suggestion or a creative idea. We went out of our way to show each other, that even though we weren’t there, we still cared about the little things going on in our lives.
On the weekends, we went on long-distance movie dates. We would pick a movie and see it at roughly the same time as the other. After the last person finished, we would call and chat about it. To this day, we still don’t remember which movies we saw alone because these movie dates always made us feel like the other person was with us.
We would read books together. No, I don’t mean we would read to each other over the phone. We would pick out a book and make an effort to read the same chapters by a specific time. Reading the same book would give us some new things to talk about and bond over.
By the way “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is 90% drinking coffee, 5% walking through the snow, and 5% actual story. There, I just saved you a bunch of hours. Rent the movie.
We even made holidays special by celebrating Skypes-Giving! We would cook our sad Thanksgiving meals at the same time and meet each other on Skype to eat together. It wasn’t the same as having him there, but during the holidays, it’s especially important to stay connected.
These are just some of the things we did to mix it up and make our relationship fun and exciting even when we couldn’t see each other.
If you’re thinking about or are in a long distance relationship, know they’re not comfortable. There was plenty of times I would have given anything for a comforting hug, but if you love someone, you do what you can.
Long distance relationships can last, but only if both partners are willing to put in the time.
I’m glad that Nick and I did.
I bet Lilly is glad we did it too.
Have you tried to make a long distance relationship work? What are your tips?
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