Everyone has heard that long distance relationships basically doom love. It doesn't matter who you are or how hard you try -- if you do long distance, you're never going to make it.
Everybody says if one of you moves away, you're destined to get a Dear John letter someday, or one will cheat on the other or you'll just get ghosted until you come back home for Christmas and find out he got married to your high school enemy.
But actually, I realized it's totally possible to make a long distance relationship work. My boyfriend and I met in college. We were together for six months before he transferred schools and moved an hour away.
We were long distance for two years in college and then I moved even farther away for work. For the last year, we've lived more than five hours apart from each other.
I'm not saying it's been easy, but it's certainly doable and worth it for the both of us -- you know, because *love.*
I should preface this by saying I've been in brief long distance relationships before that didn't work out (Ever been dumped via Skype? So fun). And really, my current boyfriend, let's call him Burt, and I are not the perfect example of an LDR.
Still, we've made it work despite the distance, and I've learned plenty of important lessons about having a healthy long distance relationship.
Open communication is an absolute must.
I feel like this a "duh" type of thing to say, but it's just so true. If Burt and I didn't talk every day and share details about our lives, we would just fade from each other's minds.
Being open with one another is especially important when you have opposing schedules. Burt worked nights and weekends. During the day he had school. I only had work and school during weekdays. It was a rough year for us because it was so difficult to schedule visits or even talk on a regular basis.
We text a lot and if he's free to talk on the phone, then we jump on it. Skype and Google Hangouts have been a lifesaver for our relationship as well because it allows us to actually see each other's faces.
We don't just talk about our days, either. We argue about the news and politics -- never in a heated way, but in a respectful-of-the-other-person way that lead to interesting discussions, but never to a breakup.
Trust each other.
This is another "duh," but I can't tell you how many relationships I've read about, heard of and watched on TV that ended because there wasn't trust between the couple. Trust is obviously earned and painstakingly maintained, and if you can't have open communication, then you'll never have trust.
Your long distance relationship will fall apart immediately if you can't trust your girlfriend to go out with her friends without cheating on you or you can't trust your boyfriend to not start dating his new coworker.
Trust is a two-way street that takes a lot of work to maintain, but it's so worth it.
Sext each other.
Hear me out on this one. You're long distance for God knows how long. You haven't gotten laid in forever because the person you're committed to banging exclusively is miles away. You don't even know when you're going to be able to visit next.
Make sure your SO isn't sitting next to his grandma at dinner, and then send a text saying you're thinking about him. Chances are the conversation will flow naturally and you can talk about what you'd want to be doing if he were with you. It's a fun, sexy time.
Plus, you can plan what you want to try/do when he really is there and it gives you a little somethin' somethin' to look forward to.
You don't have to send nudes -- though I'm not saying you shouldn't. Snapchat exists for a reason.
When you're together, don't just go out on dates.
Yay! He's visiting! Let's go out and do something fun!
Go out and have fun, but don't let that be the only thing you do. Going out on dates isn't real life. If you want to be with this person for a long time, spend boring time together. Make breakfast together, binge watch Stranger Things, do the caramel taste test Trader Joe's puts out around Christmas and rinse your palate with red wine.
Just do stupid, boring stuff together. Spending this quality time together, face to face, only makes your relationship and your connection stronger. Just be yourselves in sweatpants together.
Decide if the struggle is worth it.
I said earlier I've been in brief long distance relationships that didn't work out. One dumped me over Skype and I'm still not sure of the reason, but I broke up with the other one.
I realized I didn't want to put in the effort to see him all of the time. I didn't feel enough for him so I didn't feel pursuing a long distance relationship was going to be worth it.
It was different with Burt. We'd only been dating for six months, but I fell for him hard and fast. He became one of my best friends. No one has ever made me laugh as much as he does.
We didn't really discuss it in depth when he told me he was transferring. He asked if I was okay with being long distance for a while and I said yes because I didn't want to lose this special person. We didn't think it would be three and a half years!
We both just wanted to have each other in our lives still even if that meant not seeing each other as often. And we somehow made it work.
The good news is I'm moving to where he is this week, so hopefully our relationship works despite the distance rather than because of it. We'll just have to see.
If you're in the middle of a long distance relationship or you're just starting out one one, have a little bit of faith -- not all LDRs fail. Talk openly, plan trips, sext each other and above all, love your person.