5 Tips on Making Long Distance Work
I have got to say I am so glad Kev and I are done with the long-distance relationship thing – for now at least. Those were some of the hardest years for us, especially me being in college and working while he was away. It made it so much harder to balance school, our relationship, a job and even my friendships. I always felt like I needed to be in a million places at once and was missing out on something, one way or another.
I know in the baseball world (along with many other worlds) long distance is nothing new. It’s very rare, especially the younger you are, that you are actually with your significant other all the time in this particular lifestyle. I was 20 years old when we started doing long distance. I had only been in a few other real relationships and I was jumping into a long distance one… talk about not knowing what the heck I was getting myself into! I remember in the beginning having the lost, almost helpless feeling of what the heck can we do to make this easier or will this really even work?! Wishing I had a little guidance for what was to come.
I’ve said it before, Kevin and I are far from perfect. We had to grind through a lot in the five years we have been together, three of which have been long distance. I’m not trying to say follow these steps and it will be easy. I do feel like we have both learned a lot about what was helpful in making long distance work and I really wanted to share in case someone else felt like they needed a little motivation, re-assurance, or advice on doing long-distance.
Communication is key.
Communication is obviously something you need in any relationship, but it’s even more vital in a long distance one. Because you aren’t together most of the time, you have to learn to be super straight forward and talk about things that are bothering you. It’s much easier when you see your significant other more often to bring up things that are bothering you than it is when they are 1,000 miles away. They can’t “sense” when something is wrong over the phone as much as they could when you are together.
I used to hate bringing anything up to Kevin. Something would be bothering me, but I knew we only had 10 minutes to talk and would never want to ruin those precious minutes with my complaining. Or I would go in town for a few days and not want to waste them arguing. Those things you never bring up will eventually come out.. and the longer you bottle it up the worst it will be, trust me! Get it out of the way the second you feel like something is bothering you and you’ll be able to move on much faster.
Schedule FaceTime dates.
Instead of texting, call each other. Just having a relationship through texting isn’t really a relationship. Its super easy to be disconnected and not really feel like you’re even in a relationship when you aren’t even able to hear each other’s voices at least a few times a week.
Sometimes you need to actually put away time to just “hang out” so to speak. A time where you can put everything away, turn the TV off and just chat about the day, the week, life.. literally anything. I know the baseball life for guys is pretty unpredictable. Their schedules are most likely completely opposite of yours, but making an effort to find a time to talk more on the phone every week can really help your relationship grow. A good solid FaceTime chat would always give me what I needed to get through the week and feel like we were a little more on the same page.
Be understanding of the other.
Long distance is hard people, hard. It’s not a simple walk in the park, it’s okay to get frustrated and upset sometimes. Your significant other will probably feel the same way. Try to remember to be understanding of the others feelings when this happens. Maybe long distance really isn’t for you, but maybe you just have to work through it a little bit. In the beginning, I would be A-Okay for the first two weeks apart, but by week three I was on the verge of a melt-down. Let’s just say it’s not the most attractive characteristic…. which leads me to my next point.
Don’t pick petty fights.
It’s not your partners fault they are a million miles away. Don’t try to blame them for things that are out of their control – speaking from experience guys. Trust me, you will get tired of being the third wheel everywhere, seeing all of your friends with their significant others and having to spend your birthday alone. But there is seriously nothing they can do about it. Don’t pick pointless fights because of it and don’t make up scenarios in your head -- I promise they wish they could be there. It will only drive you, and them, crazy.
Just figure it out.
Easier said than done, right? At some point, you are going to have to realize if you actually want it to work you have to stop thinking about how sucky it all is and just figure it out. If you’re in it for the long haul you have got to sit down and learn what makes you, and them happy. Figure out makes you feel connected, what makes you feel like you’re a part of their life, what can you both be doing that will make it all click? Once you figure out what each other needs it will be much easier to keep the relationship smooth sailing.
Trust me, this is not something you realize overnight. It took the both of us some self-reflecting and maturing but at the end of the day I’d say we’ve got it down 9 times out of 10.
Long distance is definitely not easy, I don’t know anyone that could say it is. You have to learn to be very independent, be willing to work at your relationship constantly and really be committed. It’s easy to want to give up because having a more “normal” relationship would be much less taxing.
But at the same time, I think long distance, in baseball particularly, has made both our relationship and ourselves so much stronger. We have learned a good balance of depending on each other, yet still being independent. We have learned to really appreciate our time together, while learning to also appreciate our time alone. We have learned to be more flexible, easy going and to just take life day by day – not knowing what tomorrow really looks like in this ever-changing game of baseball.
I'll admit long distance isn’t for everyone, but I don’t know what my life would look like if I didn’t push through the tough times. All I know is that I’m so glad I did, I can’t imagine what I would do without the man I get to wake up next to every morning.
I hope a few of these tips can help you in making long distance a little bit easier or give you a little re-assurance that you’re not crazy in thinking it's super hard. Either way, know that you aren't alone in your feelings and maybe trying a few of these tricks can help your relationship like it did for ours. <3
Please leave me comments on what you thought of these tips and if you have any others to add to the mix – I love hearing y’alls input!