Being in a long distance relationship has it's challenges. You see your partner every other weekend, once a month, once every six months, or even once a year. You don't get to kiss, hug, or hold hands when you're apart. You can't go to a dinner and a movie or hang out on the couch on a lazy Sunday.
It's not a situation every couple has to deal with. I had a friend who complained that their boyfriend lived an hour away. I told them my girlfriend lives half way around the world. Made them appreciate an hour away is just a quick car drive.
For the last six months my girlfriend and I have been having a long distance relationship. I live in Florida. She lives in Taiwan. She's thirteen hours ahead of me. So when she's ready for bed, I'm doing my morning routine. Since 2009, we've have seen each other for six months, been apart for six, been back together for six, and now are apart again. Hectic huh?
So I feel we truly embody what a long distance relationship is. It can be challenging at times but I have to look at it positively and feel like it will make us closer cause we do more communicating.
Here are our tools for keeping a long distance relationship strong.
We use Skype twice a day everyday. I didn't know about Skype till I went overseas to Taiwan to live and needed to make cheap phone calls back home. It's our #1 tool. It's great because if both users are using Skype to talk to each other, the call is free! Talk for hours. You can install Skype on your PC or Mac and your smartphone. So one person could use Skype on their cellphone while the other is on the computer. If one of us is at a coffee shop or out somewhere with Wi-Fi, we can make phone calls through Skype. If I'm using Skype to call her cellphone, the rates are much cheaper than if I was using AT&T. However, Skype-to-Skype calling is the best because it's free!
Talking on the phone is great but seeing the other person while you're talking is even better. You get to see their smile while you talk. You can show them things. Skype offers video chat as well if both computers have a webcam. Again it's free to use! Talk as long as you want. The iPhone 4 and newest iPod touches offer Facetime. Both users must have either one. You can Facetime to anywhere in the world as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection for free! Doing video chatting on an iPhone is advantageous cause you can walk around with it.
We still text message but not through our cell phone providers. Sending and receiving international text through can cost between .25-.50 cents! Ouch! Instead on our iPhones we have an app called Whatsapp which allows for free text messaging to anyone in the world who has Whatsapp as well! It uses your cell phone internet usage to send the message. I have unlimited internet on my cell phone so sending texts are free. If you don't have an internet plan on your cell phone, you can still use Whatsapp with Wi-Fi. With Whatsapp, you can send pictures, videos and audio messages as well!
It would work on the iPod touch as well. Other smartphones may have an app similar to this. Just ask around or search for it!
Because we Skype everyday and send text messages we e-mail less these days. In the beginning we e-mailed all day long to each other. However now we use it often to e-mail pictures.
Sending letters takes so long now. Not many people take the time to write with a pen and paper. Then it takes time to deliver. However if you are lucky to receive a handwritten letter, you know it must be special. I know for us when I send her a letter in the mail, it surprises her and makes her day. She has surprised me many times as well. It gives the words written on the page much more meaning than reading it on a computer or phone. Take the time to write one and it'll be well worth it.
Take lots of pictures! We like to know what goes on during our days. So I might take pictures of myself before going to work, take pictures of something good I ate that day, take pictures of friends or family to show her. Just take a picture of anything you might think they find interesting or feel like they are a part of your life, no matter how far away they are.
With any cell phone, it's so easy now to take a picture and then e-mail it right away.
Being in a long distance relationship does not have to be so bad if you use all these tools to stay connected. We don't have the luxury of getting hugs before going to work but we stay in touch as much as possible until the day that we can be reunited together again. Hopefully permanently soon.