Oh WordPress! You couldn’t have chosen a more apt word for me today.
Today, my decree absolute – my divorce – came through. I am legally no longer married.
It is a very surreal feeling. I thought I would feel something but at the moment I feel very little. I don’t hate my ex, we actually get on well. I’m not sorry our marriage ended (I was about to write the opposite until I realised it wasn’t true). I am sorry that it failed and caused hurt. But I am glad that now, the distance between is is finalised. The end of a chapter.
What it has done, is added validity to my new relationship. In my culture, dating whilst separated means nothing. Not so in his. It’s another step towards being with him.
So, on that note, my post today will be about my experiences of a long distance relationship. (I met him online just under six months ago)
- First of all, no matter what anyone else tells you, you can absolutely fall in love with someone over the Internet and without actually meeting them physically. I certainly did.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of videochat though. For me, this is how I truly got to/am getting to know him. I would be very wary of anyone who refuses to videochat with you. Videochat means that you get to know them – their facial expressions and gestures, their habits and homelives.
- Regular communication and routine is vital and a sign that your relationship is progressing. My boyfriend messages me every morning and we always videochat in the evening. As time has moved on, this has evolved – school holidays and corona-quarantine has led to more videochats throughout the day.
- If there is any reason that your regular routine is going to be interrupted it is essential to let your other half know, ideally beforehand but if not, as soon as you can. Abrupt changes to routine can cause anxiety, jealousy and unnecessary concern.
- On that note, anxiety and jealousy are heightened in an LDR, particularly in the beginning. This is not just from my own angst ridden experiences but common knowledge. You can worry about the tone of a text, a missed call, a change in routine, an unexpected interruption, a mood change… And if you cannot get hold of your loved one, your mind will work overtime until they get in touch.
- Without a doubt, trust and communication are the most important things in a relationship, even more so in an LDR. I also think they are initially harder to achieve in an LDR because all you have are words and frequent calls to base this on. But without trust and good communication, a LDR is not going to work. I’m working hard on this each and every day.
- Part of the trust issue will undoubtedly come from the opinions of some friends and family. You will have to accept that some of the people you love and respect will not be able to accept your relationship. They will not like or understand it. They will be negative. You will also learn, very quickly, about the prejudices and bias of people you have trusted. This will be even more pertinent if, like me, your other half is from another country or culture. Whilst being cautious is important, and most of the people around you will just be looking out for you, you are the only one that truly knows him/her and your relationship.
- That being said, exercise caution at first particularly if you meet online. There are enough fraudsters out there to break anyone’s heart and that’s the least they could do. Do your research, trust your instincts and keep an open mind. Having a trusted someone at home that you can talk things through is vital – they may see things that you may not and this could be a positive thing for your relationship too (my sisters have successfully pointed out my over worrying many times).
- If they are from another culture, do your research. You need to understand it in order to understand them: their ideas, beliefs and therefore their reactions and expectations. Researching his culture was some of the best advice I ever received and it was right here from a fellow blogger. It gave me understanding and something to talk to him about.
- Similarly, don’t underestimate the language barriers. My boyfriend has good and rapidly improving English but some – both hilarious and serious – situations have been caused by language misunderstandings.
- Some people may disagree with me on this one, but I would suggest meeting up as soon as you are comfortable to and able. You are never really going to know if your relationship has a future until you’ve spent time together. For me, I knew within an hour – when my nerves and shyness allowed me to really see him. But over the course of the week, all the little things he did – things he wasn’t even aware of – are what I fell even deeper in love with.
- Don’t underestimate the mundane and every day – little details about your day, photos of what you have done and where you have been make them feel a part of your life. My favourite time with my boyfriend is when he props me up on the dining table and I watch and listen as he and his family have tea and talk. I can’t understand and can’t join in but I am there and part of his everyday life.
Finally, you will have to accept that this relationship will be difficult at times. You have the challenges that every new relationship brings AND those that come from distance. You are going to miss them like crazy, each and every day. You are going to crave the physical contact – even just holding hands – more than you have for anyone else. But it’s when you realise that you’d rather have that feeling than holding hands with anyone else that you know that this relationship has a future.
There are lots of blogs, Web pages, YouTube videos and Facebook groups full of advice out there. Don’t be afraid to use them. You are not alone.