Sure, SM and I are together now, (well, in the same city at least…living together only comes post-marriage in big Fat Pakistani fashion) but once upon a time this was not always so.
For three long years we dated via long distance ( London, England to Toronto, Canada) and I think it made us the solid pair that we are today.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all roses and rainbows; long distance is hard work and we sure as hell worked hard at it. And having made long distance work (the proof is in the…ring?!) here are some tips I can offer for the rest of you far apart love birds:
-Technology. Technology will be your best friend. Starting with…
–Facebook. Use Facebook to create “private albums” that only the two of you can share and comment on (but please, double, triple check the privacy settings -no one wants to stumble upon an album full of comments of you lamenting on your love!); Send each other random messages (a little red mail flag notification can be awfully exciting); Share inside jokes on each other’s walls….as minor as they may seem, it’s really these little things that bring a smile to you and your partner’s face in the absence of you being able to do so in real life.
–Skype. The long distance lovers haven. Free voice and video chat. How else do you have online dates where you watch the same movie together?
–Apple. Ah, yes, I-phone will help U-love (get it? The “I” and then the “u” …hehe sigh) FaceTime is fun, I message is free and the app viber just makes long distance calling so easy!
Online shopping/shipping. Ok you may not be able to be there for his birthday, but you can google a cupcake company that will deliver personalized cupcakes to him on the day of. Yes, he may not be there for your graduation, but he can send you a bouquet of chocolate covered fruits which recognize the “fruits of your labour” (yes, these particular examples may not be so fictitious 🙂
Now as key of a role that technology plays, there’s something to be said for good ol’ fashioned snail mail. Who sends hand written letters these days? No one. So if fate has it that you must be miles apart from your lover, then make the most of the situation by infusing in it some old-school romance. The excitement of actually receiving a letter, card, parcel or care package sent by your special sometime who is so far away, brings with it a joy unparalleled to receiving an email or text. It’s the next best thing to a hug when all you really want is a real one.
So we’ve covered correspondence, but then there are the actual trips in between that if you can make happen are what keeps you going. It’s what you constantly look forward to and what you constantly reminisce over afterwards. So, make airlines and airline websites staples in your daily web-browsing habits. My favorite site was TripAdvisor – I always found that they had the lowest rates. Always via AirTransat – so much cheaper than Air Canada!
And make sure you get a good credit card to accumulate travel points – how they will come in handy!
The final tip that I would give is: be creative. For example, one time SM created a valentines day date where he sent me the link to a playlist of love songs he had assembled on YouTube, a link to an art gallery we were going to peruse (google art project where you could see museums around the world), a link to a Bollywood movie he had streamed, and then mid way through our Skype chat asked me if I was hungry (yes, naturally). He instructed me to go downstairs and open my front door…I do and there I find a Pizza Hut pizza and a heart shape box containing Ladoos. I return to the laptop happily with food in hand, and a look of wonder, and SM simply says: it’s not valentines day without dinner”. Yeah, SM is good. (Shout out to SM’s best friend).
I recognize that long distance is not ideal, and for some impossible, but it has its real perks. My favorite part about long distance:
-the build up before you get to see your significant other; the anticipation, the excitement, the consistently renewed butterflies works to create a time warp effect on the so called “honeymoon stage” (read: it’s constant honeymoon stage)
-you really cherish each moment you spend with each other because you know they will be fleeting
-travel is exciting (at least when you get to go to a cosmopolitan city)
-the backdrop to your dating gets to be in cosmopolitan city
-it’s ok if your wax appointments become a little less regular
-you have your space but you also have each other, it can be a nice balance
-you really learn how to communicate
I say all this with the recognition that SM and I started off doing long distance, fully committed to the reality of our decision and situation. It would be a lot harder to go from dating in the same city or living together to having up do a LDR!
That said, if both parties are committed you can totally make it work and its definitely worth it in the end!