Struggles & Tips from a Female Traveler in a Long-Distance Relationship

long-distance relationships

(photo from Unsplash: Tim Stief)

Dear coffee,

long-distance relationships are hard. And I’m not saying that because people have been saying that to me, but because of first hand experience. It is also even harder because of my love for travel and his ambitions for his own plans. I’m not trying to put blame, but I’m merely stating that we are two people with different ambitions and different dreams. We struggle in many parts of our relationship, and things keep popping up:

  • I was in Taiwan, then I moved to the United States. He was in the United States, then he moved to China. By the way, this happened at the same time.
  • Communication is key, but we’ve been living in opposite time zones.
  • We want to talk every day, but Internet decides to lag…many times.
  • Our schedules don’t really match.
  • If we’re moving here and there all the time, what’s the point!?!

I look at these few points, which come from many, and thought to myself, “how have I been doing this for 2 years?”. The answer is a lot of work. Any relationship is work, but a long-distance relationship is a whole new battlefield. And after two years of making it work, I think there are tips to make it easier.

1. Take a deep breath
LDR
The city where I met my S.O.

This is something that I really need to actually work on. Whenever we have a problem, I seem to always overreact and make the situation worse. Sometimes, after bad days, I argue with him and I don’t know why, I just want to. Stepping back, I see that the only reason why I want to argue is because I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because I miss him and he is not here. I didn’t realize how much long distance relationships can actually affect how you treat your S.O., but now I know. This is a work in progress and easier said than done, but the first step is realizing that this is a thing.

2. Remember to save the date
long-distance-relationships
Meeting every now and then is important

Long-distance relationships are still relationships, so you have to set a time to meet. It may be months away and might be only once a year, but making a plan to meet up is important. For me, making plans to meet up helps me to get through things. I am reminded that even though we’re far apart, there is that point of time when we get to hold hands like other couples out there.

3. Use postal services
long_distance_relationship
Postcards to send in the mail.

I am a romantic and I have always loved writing letters and sending postcards. Especially since I travel frequently, I like to send postcards to my S.O. It kind of replaces the idea of bringing the small gifts and it lets my S.O. know that I was thinking about him when I traveled to these places. I love traveling the world, but I’m also in love with a person so I try to share the world with him.

4. Sacrifice, compromise and appreciate.
female_traveler_long_distance_relationship
Birthday wish to my S.O. when I was in Chile

Sacrifice and compromise. I hate to admit it but these things are important. Being in long-distance relationships mean that there are going to be sacrifices, some harder to make than others. However, remember that sacrifice should come from both sides so at the end it becomes a compromise. This comes in handy when living in different sides of the world and your schedules don’t match. So, skip the party once in a while, sleep late or wake up earlier, etc. And when this compromise occurs, appreciate what the other has done. It’s important to show appreciation and to let the other half know that they are not taken for granted.

5. Try to communicate
long-distance-relationships
Communicate and talk about even the silliest of things.

WiFi is my best friend since I decided to commit to my S.O., but it certainly sucks when I’m traveling to place without WiFi at all. That is why I always try to communicate whenever I can, usually through Skype, Whatsapp, and Line. However, when I’m in a country that doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, I usually ask around if there is an Internet Café and I send emails or messages there. Communication is key in every relationship, but don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to long-distance relationships.

6. There should be a time limit
A long-distance relationship is a journey that requires trust and patience.
At some point, we’ll have to walk side by side one day.

Being in a long-distance relationship should be a short term thing and a time limit is necessary. Be it a year or even five years, there should be an agreement (compromise) between both sides to be together for the long term. Not making a time limit will cause each side to question and doubt the relationship itself. Why are we doing this if we aren’t going to be together in the end? Are we expecting to be long-distance forever? For me, I don’t think so.

So, are long-distance relationships worth it?

For me, it is. I know long-distance relationships are not for everyone, and I’m not saying they are. However, for me, I want to make it work. Is it tough? Yeah, super tough, but there are some upsides about the relationship as well. We might not get to see each other every day and yes, I do like to move around a lot. But that doesn’t make things less real, does it? Besides, we have been in this adventure for 2 years now. I have been on a journey with this man for 24 months, and I like our adventures. It’s not perfect and it’s not easy, but they wouldn’t call it a relationship if it were.

Abrazos,

Bethanny

P.S: What are your thoughts on long-distance relationships? Comment down below!

 

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57 Comments

  1. This must be tough. From reading this post it is clear that you have put a lot of thought and effort in how best a long distance can work and should work, but it cannot be easy. This is great advice for those who are in one or considering one.

  2. Aww… hang in there. I haven’t done it myself but I know many people who have who ended up with their happy endings. Things will work out in the end if it’s meant to be. 🙂

  3. 6. There has to be a time limit.

    So true. If you both know when you’re counting down to it takes away a lot of the struggle.

    Great advice, good luck to you! ❤️

  4. Congratulations on making your relationship work despite the struggles. I can only imagine how hard it is, but when you are on countdown together, it makes things easier. Keep on keeping on 🙂

  5. I think it’s great that you two are finding ways to make a long distance relationship work. I am a firm believer in “if it’s meant to happen, it will.” The tip about saving the date is a good one because you know you will see each other again soon, not just a hope. Also, the letters that you write back & forth with be awesome mementos if you do end up married or together in the long run. I wish you guys all the best 🙂

  6. I think they very rarely work but when they do they have pretty much tested every scenario possible. I think the relationship distance also depends on time together. IS it new? Is it a serious relationship etc

  7. I know long distance relationships are extremely difficult and a couple can easily get frustrated. However, only a few couples are able to maintain these relationships and they are the true lovers. So congratulations to both of you for maintaining this precious relationship. Never loose hope 🙂

  8. I totally understand how you feel. It was really tough but there were sweet moments too. Almost two decades ago it was even tougher with limited tech as iPhone or skype etc. If both parties are committed then it will make things easier. All the best to you both!

  9. It’s not easy at all. Even if my husband has to go away for work a few days it’s hard. Thank God the internet is connecting pretty much every where he goes. Now i’m abroad and he’s at home. I wish you all the best and always hope for the best.

  10. I like your #3 about using the postal service. Relationships need input and sensations, and sometimes electronic everything doesn’t cut it. The tactile sensation of holding someone from him in your hand can’t be duplicated online.

  11. Thank you for being so open and honest. It must be really hard sometimes but it’s great that you both recognise and work through the challenges. I hope that it won’t be long distance for too much longer!

  12. I believe that long-distance relationship can work out only when before the couple was dating at least for 6 months or longer. Because otherwise – it’s too difficult: at the same time you need to learn about person more when he is not around, when he still don’t understand you fully 🙂

  13. I as in a long distance relationship with my then boyfriend, now husband. But everything worked out fine for us. You have shared some amazing tips

  14. That’s so great that you and your BF can make it work. I know for some, it’s very difficult. I broke up with my boyfriend before moving to Korea (for several reasons) and I like that I am independent over here. I may be open to long-distance depending on the person and the situation.

  15. Im glad I’ve never had to work through a long distance relationship, but it seems like it would be incredibly difficult. It seems like both of you are working hard to make it work, and that seems like the most important thing. Best of luck!

  16. They truely are no fun. My husband and I were long distance for four years while we were dating. Clearly, everything worked out fine, but I think the biggest thing is that you both have to fill your time. If you’re just sitting around missing eachother, there’s no point in be away!

  17. For me, long distance relationships are a big no no. I just couldn’t be apart for long periods and would be wondering where’s the other person, jealousy would drive me mad haha. I do admire you! If that’s not love then what is? =)

    1. Oh I know how you feel. I’m actually the jealous one between the both of us. My S.O. is a few years older than me and he acts way cooler about this. But I learn a lot after a while.

  18. When my husband and I were just dating, we did the long-distance thing. He was in the Navy. I was living in PA, and he was in Alaska, Diego Garcia and then Japan. We actually got married in Japan!

  19. This would be really hard to handle a long distance relationship. Sounds like you are doing great, hopefully some day you guys can be together traveling together.

  20. I got married and then my husband went away for work for 4 years. I saw him once every 40 days, so I understand what you are saying here. It works for different people, and it works in different ways. Takes some time to work out the “rules” though.

    1. Tell me about it. I had a super hard time adjusting as we were switching places. I was upset for weeks. But you learn through time I guess…

  21. I hope it works out for you. Long distance relationships have their own challenges. I agree that you have to set a time limit so that each person knows the date in the future you will be together.

  22. Wonderful article. I have had a few LDRs and I never want to be in one again! But your advice is spot on. Don’t sweat the small stuff, COMMUNICATE (that is the key in any relationship even more so when you are separated by distance) and yes, set a time limit. One LDR ended because there was no end to the distance in sight. As far as I was concerned, neither of us were moving to where the other lived. Ever. I got a great new job in a new city & the ex didn’t want to move from his comfortable home. In the end it made me think – why are we doing this? My biggest struggle in LDRs in my need for quality time. Having someone’s undivided attention & focus. When you’re on the phone it’s hard to know if you really do have that person’s undivided attention. But if you’re love language is, for example, Words of Affirmation, then you can meet that need easier when separated than if it is Quality Time or Physical Touch. My husband doesn’t think there would be anything wrong about working in separate countries in the short term if it meant financially it was a good decision. But I couldn’t. Not now. I know myself enough to know that it’s not what I want. We are fortunate to be in a position to both live in the same place & make joint decisions based on that. Good luck – you seem to have a great perspective on it. It’s hard but it also makes you appreciate the good times & learn to be effective communicators. You can’t play games!

    1. Thank you very much for your comment. Yes, people should take on long-distance on their own pace, it’s really not for everyone I think. But thank you so much for sharing your experience.

  23. I love this post! I’ve learned that long-distance romantic relationships aren’t for me. I’m terrible at communicating with an SO. But I’ve used some of these tips in the past to maintain a long-distance relationship with friends and family. Using postal services is perhaps my favourite tip from your list (I like them all, though). It is such a simple reminder that the people you love are always running through your head no matter where you are in the world.

    1. Thank you for your comment Anne, means a lot to me. And yes, many don’t realize how valuable letters/postcards are. They can change one’s mood in an instant.

  24. I like this. Relationships work when people work.

    I am a solo travel blogger and married. My husband isn’t a super huge fan of traveling – but he does at least once a year go somewhere with me. So I find myself gone a lot. But we make it work. So while our situations aren’t the same, they kind of feel like it some days.

  25. I definitely know what is long distance relation. For years I had long distance dates (more than one lol) and I used to live with my computer, sleeping with it, waking with it. I remember how I was wishing to be with him just side by side. Now we are married for 3 years, and I don’t let him go anywhere. Good luck to you guys!!

  26. Long-distance relationships are worth it! I was in a one for almost two years. It was really difficult but really worth it. I’m happily married to the guy now.

  27. Long distance relationships ARE hard, but but they worked for me as well. I lived in Namibia while my boyfriend was in Seattle and we didn’t see each other for a year. Ultimately, I think it made us closer and made our relationship stronger. Communication is key though, and Skype is a godsend! It is challenging when there are internet connection problems though….

  28. I guess I’m one of the people whom LDR won’t work. I don’t really know it for real given that I haven’t committed to an LDR one yet. I commend those couples who can endure the distance and all tge sacrifices to make the relationship work while your away.

  29. Long distance relationships can be challenging but they can work too. Your points are equally important to keep in mind because communication is what sustains any relationship.
    Key to it all is to make time to be together as … out of sight might become out of mind.

  30. Loved the part about sending postcards, I’m a romantic too and I absolutely love sending little things on the mail.

    I have tried the LDR deal and it hasn’t worked for me at all. He’s Norwegian and I’m Spanish. I am a traveler at heart, and I didn’t want to commit to living in Norway just yet (hello! freaking cold!). Been apart for 5 weeks (!) and we’ve already decided that I will take the step to live and integrate in Norwegian society (at least until he’s done with his studies). It hasn’t been a thing for us, but I agree that when you meet your S.O. you have to make it work even if distance comes between you. Mind about the deadline, as you pointed out.

    Very good article.

    ¡Un abrazo desde Lisboa!

  31. Been there done that! All of your tips are spot on. But the absolute rule is to avoid limbo, you gotta have the same goal, short term AND long term. As long as both are on the same page, all you need is trust and determination.
    Good luck girl!