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Tips for Long Distance Dating

Lifestyle

Looking back, it seems like forever ago that Dave and I were apart, but sure enough, we were long distance for our whole dating relationship (8 or 10 months, depending on how you define the start of the relationship :)) and five months of our engagement. He was in Syracuse, NY for that whole time, and I went from Austin, TX to Chapel Hill, NC. Even though it was so hard at the time, I’m positive that our time spent far apart has made our marriage (and even our short distance time before that) so much more joyful, because we don’t take anything for granted. We learned in such a tangible way that God’s timing is perfect, and His plans are always for a purpose–a lesson we continue to remind ourselves of all the time! A sweet reader reached out to me a few weeks ago asking if I had any tips for long distance dating, and since I know there may be few more folks in this situation, I wanted to share some things that worked for Dave and me and helped us make it through that season.

adirondacks

– Talk often. This looks different for everyone, but I found that having some kind of reliable schedule for when we talked was really helpful. We texted a little bit in the morning and talked on Facetime every night for at least a few minutes (though our usual was about an hour). Of course, we talked throughout the day too, but if we couldn’t, it was comforting to know that I could look forward to reconnecting at the end of the day.

– Pray together! We always ended our time on Facetime or the phone with a prayer, switching off days of who was saying it. Especially on days when long distance just felt hard and discouraging, praying together was the BEST reminder that the Lord’s timing is perfect and we needed to trust in Him.

– Take care of yourself. I’m an introvert and it was sometimes all too tempting for me to want to hole up and wait for Dave to be free to talk. I had to push myself to be present with my friends and focus on enjoying where I was at the time, but it was always, always worth it…plus, it gave me good stuff to tell Dave about later! :) As a general rule, I tried not to say no to invitations, because Dave was always really flexible about our Facetime dates if I had an opportunity to spend time with a friend. I was probably less flexible with him (ha!), but as long as he gave me some notice, I tried to be encouraging and understanding as well. The best case scenario was when we made plans on the same nights–we still try to coordinate that now that we’re married and live in the same house!

new york city

– Get creative with “dates.” A few of our favorites were watching the same movie at the same time and then talking about it on the phone afterwards, or ordering delivery pizza for each other.

– Embrace the adventurous aspect of being apart. Twice during the time when we were long distance, we met up in New York City for a weekend. It was really last-minute (I signed up for United Airlines weekend sale emails, and we would book my flight a few days in advance for just about $150, and then Dave would drive), but meeting up somewhat spontaneously in a place we loved created some of our best memories from that time, and felt really fun and romantic!

charlottesville

– Try to always know when the next time you see each other will be. While I would encourage people in a long distance relationship to avoid the temptation to “count down” till the next time you see each other (such a distraction from being present!), having a date on the calendar made a huge difference for us. Without one, it was too easy to feel like our time apart would be endless, and that was really hard. For most of our long distance relationship, we saw each other for one weekend about every 4-6 weeks. (And you’d better believe that other spending went waaaay down when spending that much money on airfare!)

– Write letters. Just do it. There’s nothing better than getting a surprise note in the mail when you’re apart, and something about snail mail love letters is just so wonderfully nostalgic–plus, they’re so sweet to re-read down the road and be reminded of how far you’ve come!

If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, what would you add to this list? I’d love to hear!

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  1. Jess

    August 16th, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Knowing when you will see each other again has been HUGE for me. It’s my best piece of advice to long-distance couples! And the letters. Some of my favorite moments in my relationship with Logan is when I receive a letter from him that is following up on even just a small piece of a conversation we had. Extremely grateful for your encouragement! xo

  2. Lisa

    August 18th, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I love that some of these things resonated with you and I hope I’ll get to read YOUR tips soon! :)

  3. Dana

    August 16th, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Proof that long distance works, but I still hope I never have to do it :P

  4. Lisa

    August 18th, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I hope not too, but if you ever do, we’re here for you! :)

  5. Kensington

    August 17th, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Loved reading these tips again :) I also love the added “know when you’ll see each other again.” At first when I brought that up in my own relationship, I felt kind of needy, but it has become the opposite and allows me to enjoy the present even more by knowing there’s a set visit at some point in the future!

  6. Lisa

    August 18th, 2016 at 8:40 am

    Thank you for the post inspiration, friend! :) I couldn’t agree more!

  7. Mary

    August 17th, 2016 at 10:44 am

    For me, it was super helpful knowing the most time we would have to do it (although yes, it was long) was two years! So remembering that this is not a permanent situation with no end in sight. And yes, we always had a date for a visit/vacation to look forward to–either for me coming back to the States or with a visit for him. While we used Gchat and Skype pretty much every day to chat, we also emailed a lot during that time so it’s fun to go back and read those sometimes. Those spontaneous NYC trips sound so fun, by the way!

  8. Lisa

    August 18th, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Y’all had such an adventurous time apart, but gosh, I can’t imagine how tough that distance (and time zone difference!) must have been sometimes. I love that you have your emails to look back on though!

  9. Kate

    August 18th, 2016 at 12:05 am

    My husband and I were long distance for three years, right up until just a month before we got married. I can definitely attest to your last two points! I had a calendar that I crossed off days until our next visit on. And we wrote lots of letters! I have an entire box, and it’s fun to go back and look at them. He even still occasionally writes a letter to add to my collection :).

    On a related note, do you have any tips on adjusting back to being a “short distance” relationship? For us it was of course great to be back together, but it was definitely a huge adjustment to go straight to being married and living together, let alone just being back in the same town!

  10. Lisa

    August 18th, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Aww, I love that! We have only written a handful of letters since we got to the same place, but I think I may have to start writing more–it really is so special!

    That is a GREAT question! I was honestly a little nervous right before Dave moved to NC because we had never been short distance before and I didn’t know what to expect. I think being patient with each other as you adjust to one another’s full daily routines is one of my biggest tips, along with communicating way more than you think you need to to make sure you’re on the same page. Also, keep dating and going on adventures together! Dave and I have often reflected on the fact that being apart forced us to TALK–being in the same room doesn’t necessarily count as quality time, and we hadn’t realized that until we were in the same place. I’d love to hear any tips that helped you and your husband, too!

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