How to make Long Distance Relationships work in this day and age

? Near, faaar, whereeever you are, the heart does go ooon. ? – Celine Dion

The long-distance relationship (LDR) was always a “no” for me. It can’t possibly work. We’re primal creatures after all and touch, sight and feel are the glue that keeps us close. Relationships need the fire to be constantly kindled to burn bright and you cannot do this from afar. 

So I thought.

Celine dion - long distance relationship

I now live 9,345km from my family and closest friends and I’ve changed my mind. I’m from Ecuador and live in Barcelona. My LDR is not romantic but these are the most important people in life.

We should clear up the idea that LDRs can only be only romantic. A relationship is a way in which two or more people are connected and share a bond. So, there are many types of LDR; between friends, family, as well as couples. Whatever your LDR, there are common grounds in which they all meet, you’ll see why.

Now that we have that established, we should ask ourselves: what is considered “long-distance”? How far away from your loved ones do you need to be to label it as a “long-distance” relationship?

Long distance relationship

Officially 201 km! However, in reality, if you are unable to see someone for whatever reason, even a few meters can feel too much.

And this is exactly what happened…

The Coronavirus Pandemic forced us all into LDRs. When lockdown hit, family reunions, social gatherings, birthdays, and weddings were cancelled; and even 2 blocks felt like long-distance because we were not able to be with that person.

Throughout the weeks which then turned into months, we learned to adapt. Zoom calls, group chats, and even Netflix Party have helped people to feel closer during quarantine. We felt that we needed to keep them truly updated on everything that we were doing in order to keep them close. The number of photos and videos circulating the globe quadrupled as people shared their lives like never before.

new technologies - long distance relationships

But what about the Renaissance Long Distance Lovers?

In today’s world of instant messaging, Facetime and overnight mail service, the idea of a letter taking months to arrive seems comical. However, in the mid-1700s, a letter might take as long as fourteen days to make the 175 km trip between two cities. A letter from London to New York would have taken several  months! Imagine the idea of having a transatlantic love? Hmm…almost certainly, unthinkable today; but still, people managed to do it. Sometimes, writers would make as many as five copies of a letter and send each by a different ship, hoping that at least one of the letters would arrive safely.

letters 1700 - long distance relationships

Yet, this is 2020 and times have changed and so has our opinion about having a LDR. For almost a year now, since I moved from Ecuador to Spain, I’ve had a long-distance – 7 hours time difference – relationship with my whole family and lifelong besties. Certainly, it was hard at first, getting used to our different schedules and ways of communicating. With my parents, we’ve established a set time for video calls to have weekly updates. With my friends, instant messaging has saved our lives because texts come and go 24/7. 

However, it gets easier and you get the hang of it. Technology becomes your best friend so you can always stay connected. 

What is the worst part of a long-distance relationship?

I feel that so far I haven’t mentioned the hardest part about having a LDR, right? What hurts the most is not only missing out on all the daily kisses, hugs, and Friday night drinks but on certain dates FOMO strikes. This is definitely the worst part. We’ve all felt it, the fear of missing out sucks. It is amplified when you feel like you are missing out on the large chunks of their life. And yes, you do feel melancholic and even a little guilty for not being there on their special day.

But I have made my peace with it and aside from practicing mindfulness, I try to be present in their celebration in some unique and heartfelt way. How? Make them feel like you are there – well, maybe don’t be as literal as I did when I sent my best friend a personalised pillow with my face printed on it for her birthday!

But seriously, there are lots of original ways to celebrate from afar. So put your creative hat on and make their day extra special. And just in case you need a little help, here are 4 ideas that make amazing LDR presents.

Long-distance unique gift ideas:

Personalised gifts - long distance relationship

5 Tips to help you have a successful LDR :

Psychology-backed tips to get the most out of an LDR

  1. Communication: you can’t rely on touch or the ability to experience things together as a way to bond, so you need to communicate more.
  2. Time: dedicate unrushed time to conversation. Choose a schedule that works for everybody.
  3. Trust: you’ll need to work extra hard to ensure you’re building trust when you’re physically separated.
  4. Visualize plans together: do up a timeline, marking down the estimated times apart and times together, and draw an end goal.
  5. Netflix Party: it’ll be like you’re right there with them as they binge-watch a show on Netflix kilometers away. (Ok, maybe I came up with this one, but it is a great way to enjoy fun movie nights together)

Well, even though I thought LDRs were not for everybody, we’ve all been forced to give it a try. Take advantage of the new technologies out there to bring us closer to friends and family members. What keeps you going is knowing that the next time you’ll see each other you’ll hug harder and kiss longer – The longest kiss according to the Guinness record is 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds. That’s quite a smooch!  

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, maybe the whole LDR isn’t a bad thing after all. Whatever the distance, with a little organisation and help from the technology available, the heart will go on and on. Celine Dion was right.

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