Oh, Long-Distance Relationships

Oh, Long-Distance Relationships

I’ve been dating my boyfriend Andrew for five years — but, for the past 10 months, we’ve lived 1,200 miles apart. I moved to New York while he stayed in Missouri running his business, both of us pursuing the career opportunities we had spent years talking about. Even though long-distance can be a beast, we’re starting to find our groove with half a country between us. Here’s what we have figured out so far, and please tell me your tips, too…

We often don’t have a chance to chat until the end of the day, and by then it’s easy to forget the zillion little things I would blurt out if he were beside me. I started compiling occurrences like these in a draft email on my phone to share with him later. My list included everything from overheard subway conversations to restaurants we should try when we are together. The first time he visited, I read my notes to him over dinner and he recalled similar moments he had experienced. We laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes. Our solitary experiences had a second life together. Since then, we’ve made a point to talk about random occurrences as much as anything else.

On days where absolutely nothing exciting happens, not even a notable lunch, a call, even with no dialogue, can feel comforting. It plays out like this scene from David Sedaris:
“‘Are you still there?’
‘I’m here.’
‘Good. Don’t hang up.’
‘I won’t.'”

There are afternoons when I’d give anything to fall asleep on Andrew’s warm shoulder while he reads off “Today I Learned” headlines. And there are nights when I wake up in a cold sweat after my recurring dream of running from my Brooklyn apartment to his house in Missouri.

FaceTime isn’t a fix-all to those daunting feelings, but seeing Andrew’s face through a slighty-fisheyed lens helps ease the pain. It’s charming to see his sweet, tired eyes in the morning, fresh buzzcuts and get a tour of his refrigerator stocked with new groceries. If only we could teleport through iPhones.

Andrew and I have brainstormed ways we can still create “date” experiences. So far, we’ve tried a two-person book club, FaceTime pizza dates and live-texting during political debates. We have also found success with reading each other to sleep. (“Is she awake?” I’ll hear Andrew add to a dialogue sequence as I drift off. “Andrew! My eyes are wide open!”)

When we first discussed dating long-distance, we decided visiting each other often was a non-negotiable. Initially, we agreed we would take turns traveling every month, but with meetings, deadlines and ridiculous travel expenses, it proved impossible. Our new eight-week schedule feels long (read: for-ev-er), but overall it’s manageable. Before Andrew’s last trip to visit me, I felt more jittery than I did on our first date. The entire week before, I had shaky hands and a stomach doing backflips. It’s funny to get butterflies after half a decade of dating.

Being away has also helped me develop my own identity within a long-term relationship. I can focus more energy into my work, find space to discover what makes me inspired and eat at any restaurant without compromise (Chipotle two nights in a row, thank you.)

Then, when Andrew visits, it’s like a week-long dream date. The stresses of our everyday lives seem insignificant, as we pack all the highs we would have experienced in two months, into a handful of days. Even little things that once annoyed me, like the toilet seat left up, now seem lovable. Did you ever read this New York Times article about a Vermont couple who lived in two different houses, joined by a bridge? I can see why it works so well.

The hardest part of long-distance dating actually comes right after Andrew visits. My tiny bedroom looks empty. Everyday routines seem extra quiet and running errands feels somber. I find myself relishing the sad love songs wailing from the drugstore speakers. “What was I thinking?” I wonder as I mouth the words to a Muzak version of “Unchained Melody.” But days pass and I rally. I buy myself a slice of NYC dollar pizza and take in the skyline in front of me, remembering why I’m here.

Oh, Long-Distance Relationships

Andrew and me living it up Vegas a month before my move.

I’m curious: Have you dated long-distance? How did it go? Please tell me everything!

P.S. How do you know if your partner is the one, and would you date older?

  1. Scout says...

    I know this is an old post, but can y’all talk about this more? I really like someone far away so I’ve been thinking a lot about this. How do you even begin the conversation?!

    • Hey Scout,

      I was dating someone across the country when this post came out and two years later my partner and I are still doing long distance. It wasn’t always great – but we’re still here. I’ve moved cities since, I’m now only 200 miles and a bus ride away instead of 2,000 and a plane ticket. I would say consider how far apart you will be and how expensive it would be to visit each other. Having trips planned to see each other makes a huge difference. Since I’m so much closer we see each other several times a month and it has really changed the dynamic in our relationship. We still have our independence but we feel like we live in two different cities, together. Like many others have said, having an end date in mind will help you get over the really hard days when you miss them so much. Knowing that it’s temporary will make it easier.

      From your comment it seems like you haven’t even started long distance yet and I’d recommend bringing it up by expressing your feelings and explain that you’d like to try to make long distance work, would they be open to that, what do they think about it, etc. But keep in mind, both people have to be onboard. If one person doesn’t want it, the divide between the two people is felt deeply by the person who wants it more. It’s hard to find a good balance at first, but if they’re worth it and you feel that they add more to your life then absolutely go for it. Good luck!

  2. Emma says...

    My boyfriend and I did long-distance for 3 years before he moved to NC to be with me in 2010. We have now been married 3 years and have a baby! Becoming a family was the goal that we kept working toward when the long-distance got really tough. One thing that we did was played online scrabble or checkers while Skyping at the same time. It worked really well because we could be together and talk without having to “try” to make conversation.

  3. I don’t know how you do it. Would love to hear an update of what has worked and what hasn’t worked for you guy. I hope you’re still going strong… and maybe Andrew will be moving to NYC soon?!

  4. Janelle says...

    Stay strong and take refuge in each other and in God. My boyfriend (now fiancé!), Will, and I endured over a year of long-distance courting. I am American, and he is British. We met in London whilst I was studying abroad and knew very quickly that we wanted to spend the rest of lives together. But six months later, it was time for me to return to America for my last year of university. June 12 was the day I left London, leaving Will behind. I have never cried so much in my life. That summer was rough. Yearning for his touch, learning how to sleep alone again, longing for just another minute on Skype, waiting for his letters to arrive, and most of all, anticipating our next visit. It was incredibly hard to be apart from my best friend, but we did it. It got easier over time, and we got better at it. Having a set endpoint (me moving to London after my graduation) helped immensely. We had two countdown timers. Mine was until our next visit; his was until the day I moved back to London to be with him. During one of our precious visits, Will proposed to me on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and I exclaimed the most joyful “YES!” of my life. The months apart after our engagement were simultaneously easier and harder. Wedding planning gave us something positive to focus on, but we also tremendously eager to finally be together again, get married, and begin the rest of our lives. The day I moved to London and ran into his arms for good was the happiest day of our lives :) Long-distance is hard, but it taught us excellent communication and strengthened our emotional connection. My best advice is to express your love for each other fervently, clearly define your intentions for the relationship, and set an endpoint. Good luck! Much love xxxx

  5. Virginia says...

    Thank you for this!

    I’ll be going long distance in a week. A six hours drive apart. We have been dating for almost three years. It has me sad, but we are going to separate schools for college.

  6. Aww this was so awesome to read, I was in a long distance relationship myself (just recently got married) so I totally understood it all from reading this.

  7. Trust. If you don’t have it, it’s not going to work out. I’m almost to a year of mostly being apart from my SO, it’s tough but if you put even the slightest bit of effort into the relationship and talk everyday, it’s not so bad. Visits and gifts are nice too, try to do nice things despite the distance.

  8. Nora says...


    I am so happy to be reading a story like this! (Thanks Jo! Bring us more!) I am a very career-oriented girl and my goal has always been New York or a new location for my career and this has been a very serious conversation with my relationships. It’s so great to read a story like yours that you guys made your decision to go forth with long-distance because you both have career goals that you have been dreaming of and I think we can have both, I really think we can. I want there to be more stories about people moving because of careers and how it’s impacted their relationship. Thanks Stella!

    • anna says...

      Hi Nora I’d love to be able to talk more about this with you, if you ever read this message could you please drop me a line? I’m in this situation and I relate to what you’re saying… :) Thank you! anna

  9. Lala says...

    What a timely topic! I started seeing someone two months ago. We are in Ireland and he lives Monday-Friday in my hometown for work, whilst I’m in Dublin for work. But on the weekends he goes back to his hometown. Last week he broke it off, saying he couldn’t see it working. Then saying long distance or not he couldn’t see it working. I’m devastated. I was in a longterm relationship until last summer and didn’t think I’d ever find anyone else I would click with but thought this was it. He was/is fantastic! Any advice ladies? Feeling very lonely! x

  10. Janelle says...

    My boyfriend and I broke up right before I moved to Spain to fulfill a dream of living abroad. We spent an entire summer thinking this was it, this was the end and in some ways was the best summer ever. But towards the last few weeks, got really tough and I moved back in with my parents to start the actual separation. We lasted about a month before a shout out on Facebook turned into deciding to try the long distance after all. Crazy, since before I moved we decided we were headed in different directions, but after the move, we wanted to make it work, and move in the same direction together, and we did. I remained in Spain for about 6 months, texts, Skype calls, he ended up booking a ticket and visiting me over the NY. We made it work. And as we begin to get into another separation (not quite so long) me traveling and him working at a new job, we are preparing so much different then we were 2 summers ago. I’ll be gone for 4 months instead of 7, plan on seeing him after 2 months and we make sure to keep our goals and dreams that involve each other out motivation to love and make our next long distance relationship work like the first.

  11. I think long distance love is too romantic

  12. My boyfriend & I have been in a long distance relationship from the very start (6 YEARS NOW!!)!!! We are high school sweethearts who started off as best friends and developed into much more. We started dating our senior year of high school. By this time, we had already picked our colleges and come August he went off to the University of Virginia and I went to Rutgers University (VA NJ). It was probable the hardest 4 years of our time together because it would go months before either of us would be able to get to see each other again. But… we made it through and shortly after our graduation, we were so incredibly happy for that distance to be over with but then he immediately got a job in NY, and I stayed and worked in NJ. Although it seems much closer, we still only really see other every other week or so. All I have to say is that you are beating the odds and I can relate to everything you said in this article! I always told myself, nothing worthwhile comes easy… I’m sure you can relate! Thanks for sharing :)

  13. sharon t says...

    hi stella! i’m doing long distance with my bf right now too. he’s in DC and i’m in LA. we graduated from undergrad last year and moved to DC to intern for the summer. before we knew it, his internship became a job and i was flying home to LA. we didn’t really have a honeymoon phase since we started dating towards the end of our internships. but, we quickly learned to always talk through every argument/disagreement/fight. alot of the stuff that gets solved and forgotten with a kiss and hug gets amplified when youre apart. no matter how uncomfortable or hard, we always made sure to talk about it via skype rather than text or phone call. we learned that its important to not let little things fester into bigger things. that’s probably the most important thing we learned. we also do small cheesy things like send each other our tshirts, doing skype movie/tv show and/or food dates, and texting each other good morning everyday. trust me, receiving his tshirt in the mail is the best. it smelled just like him and i wore it every night until i had to wash it and got another in the mail hehe. when it gets hard, we just tell each other and acknowledge how much it sucks. we’re not pros cause we’ve only done this for 8.5 months. of those 8.5 months only 1 had us living in the same city but we’re really glad we’re doing it.

    on another note, i was thinking a long distance column on cup of jo would be really awesome! from the looks of it, long distance is really common but not talked about very often. thanks for sharing stella!

  14. Gillian says...


    YOU CAN DO IT! It’s not easy or fun…but if you’re already willing to try it chances are it is worth it. I dated my husband long distance for 5 years before I moved in and we got married. Between the two of us we had 11 mailing addresses and had lived in California (but not at the same time) Florida (twice!) Texas (3 times, though again, only one of us was in the state while the other was) and Tennessee!

    The best advice I can give you is BUY THE PLANE TICKET. If you are having a really bad week, just do it. It is worth every cent I spent the few times I just couldn’t handle it. Don’t make a habit of it, but sometimes a Friday to Sunday was exactly and the only thing that you need. Stay in on those weekends, cook, go to the park, go to Costco, wear sweatpants…just be normal.

    It’s not easy, but it was worth it.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Gillian, this is just the sweetest note, ever. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging support. It means the world to me.

      Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      Stella xx

  15. My boyfriend and I have been long distance for our entire 18 month relationship, except for four glorious months last summer. This resonates with me so much. He’s here visiting now, and I’m dreading him leaving and my room feeling sad and running errands feeling OH SO lonely. But I know I’ll bounce back and next weekend (or more probably a few weekends from now) I’ll be happy to be able to watch six episodes of Grey’s Anatomy without feeling guilty! ;)

  16. Tarah says...

    I just left my ldb yesterday after an amazing weekend of new experiences and adventure. Tonight, I found comfort in a DQ ice cream cone and your post. Thank you.

  17. Another great thing I found when I was long distance – little “just saw these and thought of you” gifts. They don’t have to be expensive things (these are great for guys ‘cuz they work for the gym or work) but it’s nice to have a package waiting when he gets home from work for no reason. The same as it would have been if you came home from the drug store to dinner and popped it onto the table in front of him. :)

  18. renee says...

    The best advice I can give after being long-distance for 2 years is be patient (understanding too). Sometimes you will have shitty reception, your partner will call much later planned or you’ll misinterpret a text. That happens, so just roll with it. You’ll (likely) have better reception on another call. It might be late, but you got to hear their voice (even if it was only for a minute) and think of all the other sweet messages you’ve gotten from them.

    Also, when you do see each other, don’t put so much pressure on yourselves to have the best weekend ever. There might be a disagreement, but that doesn’t spoil the weekend. Your partner may have to take some work calls, but that doesn’t spoil the weekend. What spoils the weekend is having a bad attitude (see first piece of advice) so just let the little things go.

  19. Irene says...

    Hi, Stella! Your story is just so heartbreaking for me! Maybe because it sounds painly familliar. I had been in a long-distance relationship for a year and, Lord knows, it was tough. I completely understand your emotions on every stage of that crazy schedule of yours. How exciting and overwhelming you feel, when you meet your guy after a long period of being apart, how passionately you kiss and hug him, how greatly you enjoy every single moment with him… and yet how broken you feel, when you end up alone again. However, I should notice that you’ve been very creative with these “date experiences”. When I was in a long-distance relationships, we only texted each other everyday and talked via Skype two or three times a week. Everything seemed not enough, you know, because you always want a little bit more time, just one more kiss, one more hug… After a year of such a torture I’ve decided to move to his city and try to build my life there, and for now it seems like the best decision I’ve ever made. I want to say to you that you’re very brave! I hope that everything will work out well for you, because I really believe in one thing: when two people truly love each other, nothing can tear them apart or break them. Stay strong and don’t give up, if you feel like he’s worth waiting for. XO

  20. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost 6 years. Of that time, 3.5 years have been long distance. I decided to move from Montreal to a bigger city to pursue my film career more seriously, but he wasn’t ready to leave yet, and was thinking about starting a masters degree. It was a difficult decision, but I know we both knew that our bond was super strong, and being in separate provinces wasn’t going to change anything. Over the next 3 and a bit years, we worked extra hard to keep our relationship strong and healthy. We split train tickets. We split airplane tickets. We shared the cost of gas and rental cars. We lived our lives independently of each other in our own cities, but when it came time for a weekend visit, we were so intensely focused on one another that it didn’t matter that we apart the majority of the time. I think that, at the 2 year mark, couples hit that “comfortable” stride…this is exactly when we decided to do long distance. For some reason, it worked. It kind of elevated us to a different level—we were always missing each other and thinking of fun things to do when we were together, so it kept the relationship fresh and spontaneous (weekend drive to cape cod, anyone?).
    Anyways, my boyfriend and I JUST moved in together last month, and we are using the 3 years of not being side by side like ammunition for a cozy home. We are nesting HARD. Hah. I think that, if you have found the person you know you are supposed to be with, what difference do miles make between you if you know the eventual outcome? Those three years were super hard and I always felt like I was missing a limb when I came back from seeing him, or after he went home, but at the same time, I have had so much time to build myself as a person and zero in on what I want, career wise. I really think it has made us a stronger couple.
    Good luck! xo

  21. Long distance is both terrible and endearing. My boyfriend and I did long distance for 10 months – and it was overseas with a 16 hour difference. Between work and social gatherings, we could only talk on the phone weekends – and that was only if we sacrificed the weekend getaways or camping trips. But, it really makes you value the other person and your time with them, something that is easy to take for granted when you see them everyday. Now that we are no longer apart I relish every little thing like making dinner together or folding laundry together.

  22. My entire relationship with my husband has been long distance or what we call here in Australia FIFO {FIFO stands for Fly in Fly Out}.. When we met he was in the Australian Defence Force, then after a long service left for a job in mining and now works offshore. We have been together for 16 years and in that time have had three children. We have had some really horrible rosters four weeks at work one week at home, three weeks at work nine days at home but now have a really good roster of five weeks at work and five weeks at home. We like our life as it is. Apart from always together. We make it work. Work is work and home is home. When he is home we are 100% committed to out family as is when he is at work. We co-parent from afar but still parent together but we have learnt by many lows that communication no matter what will see us successful. Anyway that’s my tid bit. I write about it on my blog should you ever want a read it’s not as eloquent as yours but its true and honest. Thank you xxx

  23. I’ve been long distance with my love for over 6 months now, we live in different cities in England, about 170 miles apart. We met online a year ago and decided to give the long distance thing a go and so far it’s been going as well as it could be. We take it in turns to see each other, around every 3 weeks so we are lucky we don’t have to wait too long in between and we’re close enough that if we had to we could make a journey to the other anytime, but it still feels like forever. We text throughout the day, call each other one night in the week and have a weekend Skype call in the evening and have got into the habit of leaving it on all night waking up with each other. That really does make a difference to see his face and even though he’s not physically with me, his presence is in the room. Making the time for each other is important and being as open with how we’re feeling has helped us. And what keeps us going is we know this time apart is not forever. We can work on ourselves when we’re apart and each time we reunite, we become stronger. Good luck with your LDR!

  24. Isabella says...

    Whoa! I’m in the same boat! Seattle to Dallas long distance! At first it was the hardest thing ever, but after about 2 months it got so much easier! I really have developed my own sense of self. All the time that I spent cuddling and watching TV together I spend practicing guitar or drawing. It’s really helped though to have room mates. I don’t think I would have handled it nearly as well without them. It’s still hard sometimes, but I haven’t always enjoyed my alone time as much as I do now. Now I’m so happy we did it. It’s going to make us much more rounded people who aren’t too attached at the hip.

  25. My husband and I dated long distance for our entire courtship. We were friends beforehand, and then started dating when he went to graduate school in IL, and I was still living in NYC. The time apart was difficult, but coming together was always amazing and full of excitement because we knew our time was precious. We have been married nearly 12 years and have two little ones, and we know more than ever our time is precious.

  26. Courtney says...

    I dated my now husband long distance for over two years. There were definitely times it was tough, but I definitely appreciate the time I had to get to know myself better. We got married a little over a year ago and moved to the same city just before the wedding (he moved to where I was). Long distance relationships are tough, but they are also rewarding. At least for me, it has made me feel like our relationship can withstand almost anything, especially distance. I do agree with what others have said: having a goal or end game is important and eventually you both will likely need to be in the same city.

    Best of luck!!!

  27. Lisa says...

    I dated long distance – Australia to Michigan, 4 flights and a terrible Timezone. We only saw each other twice In 18 months. It was much harder on me, I was going crazy. I was able to get a visa to work in Canada which was much easier in the same hemisphere. After many years of dating we ended up getting married with 2 kids. I look back now and wondered why I worried so much. Being older now I would definitely have known how to get through it better. As they say; absence makes the heart grow fonder.

  28. Tatjana says...

    My boyfriend and I have a long distance relationships for alomoust 4 years, since I finished college and have to move to another town. We can’t find job in the same city no matter how much we tried (we are from Croatia, Europe and here is really terrible economic situation). This is killing us. We are apart just a few hours with bus, we see each other every mont for couple a days but it’s extraordinary hard…. Everybody around me is getting married and I’m just watchin how at 27 years old life is just passing by me…

  29. We listen to a book on tape together, over Skype. Usually when he’s about to go to sleep or prepping dinner (five hour difference). It helps. It really helps. It also gives us something to talk about when we forget our words.

  30. Gabi says...

    It sounds tough but it’s also romantic.
    I live with my husband but sometimes we barely talk to each other. Both tired after work, passed out on the couch. It almost feels like we are just roommates.
    I believe we appreciate things and people when we are missing them.

  31. Being on the same continent is not so bad!

    I started dating someone my junior year of college who was graduating 3 months later and taking off for a 7-month road trip from London to Cape Town. We fell in love despite our better judgment & decided to date long distance despite my mom’s advice to let it go. It was miserable! Smart phones & facetime would probably make it easier, but back then the best we got was Skype and very limited internet connection in Africa. One time I didn’t hear from him for an entire month! We went 7 months without so much as holding hands or seeing each other in the flesh.

    His tripmates were a couple of beautiful girls, and I was wracked with jealousy and sadness the whole time, while also dealing with a very stressful semester. We survived, he moved back for my last year of college, and we realized that the transition back to “normal” dating was no walk in the park, either. I never wanted to let him out of my sight again. It was really hard, but we worked through it & I stopped being crazy. We went on to date for 6 years, and almost got married when I suddenly realized we would be better off with other people afterall. When asked about long distance I often say that I was naive, that we should have broken up before he left, and that I would never do long distance again; but deep down I know our love was truly special, that the years we had together were wonderful and that I’m thankful for every one of them. We learned a lot of life lessons and grew as people. But I still don’t think I’d ever do long distance again!

  32. NANCY says...

    It seems I’ve book ended my life with long distance romances. The first was out of high school and into my early twenties. Ours was between Toronto and Ohio for 4 years, never living in the same city. I said I would never do it again but here I am 54 years of age and in yet another long distance relationship. We met 12 years ago as part of an adoption group traveling to China for our daughters. Sadly, Brian’s wife passed away a few years ago and I was divorced 8 years ago. We reconnected a few years ago and decided to get together for the girls. A year later we met up again and after a few years of healing for him….the timing was right and it was magic. We live 5 hours apart but we manage to see each other once a month. We are both busy with our 13 year daughters and their commitments keep us from getting together more often but we feel lucky to have come together the way we did and love every minute of our time together. And it’s true, when we do get together the anticipation is off the charts! Who knows, maybe once the girls are off to university we can be together.

  33. Lauren Grace says...

    Oh my GOSH. Girl. This post was everything I needed to read today and more. I have been dating long-distance (he’s in Missouri too, of all places!) for a mere four months now and it has been the most trying thing I have ever been through. Sometimes that hardest thing I’ve ever done, but all the time he is the BEST thing that’s ever happened to me and that’s what carries me through. I think it’s just as important to have those phone calls where you sit there and just listen to the sound of each other breathing on the other end as much as it is to have the conversations where you’re replaying the 1000 interesting things that happened that day. And PRAISE whoever it is you pray to for FACETIME. AmIright?! Lifesaver.

    Probably the biggest thing we’ve learned thus far is to share the lows too, not just the highs. Share the bad, sad, ugly-cry-inducing moments and thoughts so that he can know every little thing that you’re going through. I shielded my guy from these things for the first two months thinking it would only make it harder on him to cry over FaceTime when he can’t wipe away my tears, just sit there helpless. But all that ended up happening was me holding it all in and spilling it ALL out when we saw each other after our first 8 or 9 weeks apart. And oh my goodness I realized how unhealthy it was to only show him the neat and pretty. Show it all girl.

    Wishing y’all all the best!

    XO Lauren (Missouri born, Atlanta based.)

    • Mallory T. says...

      Lauren Grace – are you still dating this guy?! Can we be friends!? I’ve been dating someone long distance (I’m in Nashville, he’s in San Francisco) for about six months and I feel like you and I are soul sisters.

  34. SW says...

    I love the shoes you’re wearing in the picture! Where did you get them?

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Aw, thank you so much! They were from Anthropologie last spring. They are actually incredibly comfy!

      Stella xx

  35. N says...

    My boyfriend of 3 years and I lived apart last year. I was in Paris and he was in Ohio. Our favorite “date” was a movie night. We would both download the same movie, buy the same snacks, and then FaceTime each other. We would press play at the same time and it was as close as possible to being in the same room.

  36. Lucy says...

    My husband and I dated long-distance for two years. We had only been together 18 months! I think it was hugely helpful for our communication and the reunions were super exciting. Our rule was to see each other every 5 weeks, 6 weeks absolutely maximum. Any longer felt way too long. We were both in graduate school so we had not that much money but a lot of time which helped. Other than video chat, the thing I loved most about being long-distance was that my then-boyfriend now-husband loved buying me sweet cards from a little shop near his apartment. He’d write little notes and send them to me so I’d have something in the real mail. I still love getting cards from him even though they are less frequent now!

  37. Sarah P says...

    My husband and I were long distance (Western France to the East Coast USA) from the beginning of our relationship (we were acquaintances for 10 years and I was visiting him for a few days while traveling through Europe) for two years before we got married. Honestly, I think it was an amazing experience for us and I wouldn’t change a thing. With long distance, I’ve found you’re much less likely to take your partner for granted and your communication is forced to improve. Additionally, you have to be really committed to making it work… I’ve seen many of my friends end up in “comfortable” relationships that weren’t really right. Neither partner was really passionate it about it anymore, but it was easier just to stay. With long distance, both halves need to be committed 110%

    The keys for our success were having a date on the calendar that we could look forward to seeing each other for real (we averaged once every 3 months), writing letters (you begin to really look forward to touching something your partner touched, and now we have this amazing record of our courtship despite the digital age), and having an end-date in sight (for us, our goal was to spend no more than three years apart, and marriage was on the table from the get-go). We used our time apart to build a solid, open relationship that is still goal oriented. Every big decision in those years was made to advance our common goal – I took a government job with generous holidays/vacation time, I took on extra work and opted to be paid with “comp time” so I could travel more, he worked hard and stuck with his company so he could be considered for an international transfer… this co-dedication really made it bearable. Our relationship never felt one-sided (for the record, I long distance dated a guy in CA while in NJ for almost two years and it was the opposite of dedicated and healthy). Even after we were married, my husband had to stay in France for four months before his work visa came through – but seeing the end goal is what got us through.

    As for the little everyday things… we would share meals together by eating breakfast/lunch on Skype, sent a lot of silly texts and emails, and had a “tv club” where we watched Breaking Bad 2 episodes per week and talked about it on Sundays. Creating your own little routine and communication groove is essential and of course needs to be adapted to your needs as a couple.

    Trust and openness are the foundation for all of that, ultimately. I actually think most couples could benefit from time apart! Of course there were times when I was stressed or sad and just wanted a damn hug, but in the end we survived and thrived… we’re celebrating our first wedding anniversary next week!

    • Sarah P says...

      I think I should also add one of the not-so-great bits… since we saw each other so infrequently, there always seemed like there was a lot of pressure to capitalized on the precious time we did spend together in person. It wasn’t uncommon that there was a lot of great positive (but still stressful!) energy surrounding the visit that by day 3 would devolve into an argument with stress as the root cause. We learned to recognize it and prevent it, but the first few visits usually had the same pattern of “coming down off of the high.” I guess we decided it was totally normal and we just adapted… but maybe don’t be surprised if that happens to you! It’s not the end of the world :)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Such a great point, Sarah! Thank you for sharing!

      Stella xx

  38. IDh says...

    4 years in a relationship and more than half of it long distance. We met in Ireland where he is from and I was studding. After 6 months dating I had to go back home to Spain, the good thing was that as student I was able to fly to Ireland often and stay for 2 weeks at least. A year and a half after I moved back to Ireland, but 9 months after he was offered a really good job in UK… A year after he came back to Ireland, where I stayed and we are finally living in the same city for good.

    Dating long distance when we both where at home (Ireland for him, Spain for me) was easy, we had our lives in our home cities and our routine. Seen each other was a dream, always magical. Living together after long distance made our relationship strong and was incredible.

    However, when he moved to UK and I stayed in Ireland was very difficult for both and I think we were closer to break up than we realised… We felt very lonely and needed company, was having the worse part of a relationship and not been able to be with someone else… When he moved back was challenging, like having to get to know each other again, that experience had changed us. But we have worked it out and things are better than ever!

    I think long distance is the best test to a relationship, if you survive to it (both the distance and the end of distance) you are a strong couple!

  39. Daniella says...

    I wish my long distance was only 1000 miles apart. I did a year and two months of him living in Chicago while I’ve been living in Dubai. We saw each other once a month and finally in June he’ll be moving out to Dubai with me. Even though I really dislike living in Dubai with him it will be a dream.

    • Val says...

      Wow, I have also been dating someone in Dubai for 9 months now. I am in NJ though. It is incredibly difficult. How did you decide to both end up in Dubai?

  40. After we’d been dating for a little over a year my boyfriend and I both went on study abroad trips (him to New Zealand, myself to Paris). It was such an amazing experience to have both gone to places we always wanted to and have those individual experiences. Since summer break came right after and we were both working in our home towns (in different states) we were apart for just over 7 months. It was so hard, but we had the definitive light at the end of the tunnel – we would definitely be back at school together in August. People thought we were crazy and didn’t expect the relationship to work. We’ve been together 5 1/2 years now, so I guess it worked! Inspiring to see other couples letting each other go off on their own adventures, especially several years into a relationship. How selfless of both of them to let each other go off and live their dreams. Best of luck to both of you going forward!

  41. Nicole says...

    My fiance and I have been together for nine years. He’s a touring musician and has spent the bulk of our relationship on the road for half of those nine years. (We joke that we’ve really only been dating for half that time since he’s been gone for half of our relationship.) While we do live together, it feels like we are in a perpetual long distance relationship too. The most difficult part of navigating our relationship is that it’s constantly changing. As soon as we get used to being home together and get into our routine, he’s back on the road again and we are adjusting to not seeing each other for weeks or months at a time. Even after all these years I still get the butterflies and excitement before he comes home from a long tour!

    We’ve also developed lots of tricks over the years to make it easier to be apart for so long. My biggest go-to is planning a lot of fun things to do that first week he is gone, which as you pointed out is tough. I make sure to fill my week with a lot of girlfriend time and activities, or even TV shows at night, that I know he wouldn’t be into, that way I have fun things to look forward to when he leaves that distract me a little bit from missing him. Having our dog also helps. She loves to cuddle and protects me at night with he big bark!

    Technology has also helped. When he first started touring and he’d go over seas we had spotty webcams, skype and long emails. It felt as if he was so far away, and he was! Now as long as he has internet, and he does in almost every hotel or venue, we can text all day long and face time, once we figure out the time differences.

    We’ve also found that it’s easer for him to leave if we know when we’ll see each other next. If he’s leaving for a twelve week tour we’ll plan a trip for me to go visit him out on the road right in the middle of that tour.

    I”ll guess I’m not alone in saying this, but so often I’m criticized for being in this relationship. People don’t take the time to understand how you can chose to be with someone that is far away. I appreciate all of the discussion around this post because instead of criticism it’s great to support each other and share ideas that help! :)

  42. Megan says...

    We’ve been long distance from the start, I’m in Chicago and he’s in Oakland. But, we’ve been doing it for almost a year now and haven’t gone more than two weeks without seeing each other. My mom is a flight attendant and he travels a lot for work (with stops through Chicago!). We hadn’t done it consciously, but we’ve both traveled to the other or to meet in another place an equal number of times.

    The little random day to day things are the hardest for me. We’re both crazy busy and usually just text infrequently during the week and catch up on the weekend. I like the idea of keeping a draft email of random thoughts. Thanks for sharing that!

  43. Oh my I think I couldn`t do long distance… I`m so glad my boyfriend and I went both to Vienna for our studies!
    But I have some friends who have long distance relationships and I think that you can adapt to it :)
    xx Caroline

  44. Nicole says...

    Thank you for posting this!

    My boyfriend and I just began the long-distance relationship. We are both currently living in Spain (he is from here) but has moved to the Canary Islands as I am returning to the US in June.

    Similar to you, we talk at the end of the day – usually a quick conversation, but it’s always good to hear is voice. What struck me most about your post is that being away has helped with your own self identity. I feel the same and am in a way grateful (although it has difficult moments) to be trying long distance. I think it’s important for us to both get out there and live the lives we have always wanted.

    We’re still not sure about what we will do once I am in the states. We want to stay together, then with time figure out the details, such as who will move to the other country, etc. It’s a bit overwhelming, but we’re taking it day by day!

  45. mbg says...

    I am from Spain and he is from Sweden. We meet during university exchange and it was love at first sight. After a while distance dating he came to Spain and we started living together, then we married, now we have a family. No one believed in us in the beginning, they always told us distance relationships never work. And I used to answer: do all “normal” relationships always work? After all, I kept seeing my friends breaking up despite proximity…. I think that if it is meant to be, it is meant to be.

  46. Dee says...

    I feel for you Stella – hang in there. I was in a long distance relationship with my husband for the first two years we were dating – me in London and him in Chicago. Not only were we so far, the time difference was a killer. But like you said, the facetime video, nightly calls and the trips were what got us through it. As silly as it sounds, it makes you better at communicating with each other and really understand each other. One piece of advice I got for when he would come to visit was to not go all out on those weekends with the plans, but try to do the ordinary things that you would do if you were living together (more real life and easier on the wallet!) We totally read each other to sleep – its the cutest thing to wake up to a screenshot he’d taken when I’d fallen asleep. Also – if you use WhatsApp – voicenotes are amazing, even if he’s busy during the day, you can send him those random things that happen throughout the day before you forget. Good luck

  47. Peggy says...

    My boyfriend and I did 5 years of long distance; from California to Vermont, and from California to SPAIN at one point. It was terrible. But we had an advantage in some way, as we started dating long distance (long story).

    I totally resonate with what you’re saying about getting butterflies before every visit. I would have the whole week planned out with potential date ideas, and then depending on our options, we could go with how we felt that day/afternoon/evening. It was wonderful.

    I think what really helped us get through it was choosing to know there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, we didn’t know. But choosing to believe there was an end to it, and that it wasn’t forever, made it bearable. And in some ways made it enjoyable. Just as you were saying – I was able to focus a bit more on my individual growth which was so crucial, and so was he, and I don’t regret that. I think it eventually made us a stronger couple.

    And, absolutely just sitting on Skype/FaceTime. Sometimes we’d be on there for hours, barely talking. I’d be doing laundry, studying, etc while he did the same. But knowing they were just there, as if we were in the same place hanging out, was really nice.

    Best of luck to you guys!!

  48. An ex-bf and I did a (brief) LDR. In fact, we started the relationship when we were 4,000 miles away. It was so sweet knowing that there was a person who cared so much about you somewhere across the ocean.

    This lovely post and the comments got me thinking – we could totally apply some of the tips to maintain our relationship with our family too when we don’t live together in the same city. Having moved abroad three years ago for work, I only saw my mum once or twice a year, for a couple of weeks each. We FaceTime a few times a week (sometimes we have lots to talk about, sometimes just “Okay, good to know that you are doing fine, goodnight!”), and I text her photos throughout the week to let her see what I am doing. It can be photos of a great dinner, photos of flowers in the garden (“Chinese roses have bloomed!”) or photos of me and friends. She loves getting these photos to get a glimpse of my life here.

    Of course with family there won’t be butterflies in the stomach before each visit or call, and it’s easy to prioritize boyfriend, career, and exciting life in a new city before them, so I always remind myself to share as much with mum as I would with boyfriend and friends.

    All the best to you, Stella! You two are so cute together! :)

  49. Alison says...

    Snail mail and surprise packages of cookies were always welcomed by my boyfriend when we were long distance dating! It was at the beginning of our relationship so we also had a ‘game’ via email where we traded get to know each other and ‘what if’ type questions. I’d loved waiting for his answers and seeing what crazy things he would ask me. All the best!

  50. Haeli Kim Shu says...

    My husband and I dated long distance for 7 years (!!) before we got married. The best thing about long distance is that it really makes you communicate. I find now that we probably communicated better and more often than now while we were dating because we had no other choice. And then we got engaged and he moved to Shanghai! LOL. So now we’re into year 6 of our marriage and 3 kids with 2 cats in Shanghai, and I’m so glad all that investment of time and emotions paid off. Long distance can definitely work as long as both parties are in 100%!

  51. Jenna says...

    My boyfriend and I were long distance for a year while I lived in Paris, France (we met at my going away party!) and then again while he worked in Houston after I moved back to the US. It was without a doubt the hardest thing we encountered. For the most part, living together now feels laughably easy (been doing it for two years in August!) and I think that time away made me cherish our time together even still.

  52. Margaret says...

    My husbamd and I long distanced it when he graduated college and moved west, and I studied abroad in London and then finished up my senior year. It was hard because of time zones and sleep and work schedules, and we could only Skype (11 years ago! Skype was new!) once a week. It was easy because you do get to make your own choices. The hardest moment was when my parents split up and I was in Prague and he was in Nevada. But we knew there was an end to it, and a couple months after we both moved to NYC he proposed and we’re coming up on 9 years and we have three kids. It works for a season if you’re committed, and if there’s a plan for an end (obviously this should be easier to determine if you’ve been together for a while first). Eventually someone has to move. I do know someone with a bicoastal marriage. It is so hard on their kids. I know I couldn’t do it.

  53. Amy says...

    My husband is in the Navy, so we have been long distance for 6 years. Even now we live together, but he is gone 4 weeks at a time with little time in between. When people ask me how we do it, I tell them that the other option is to not be together at all which is unacceptable. I’d rather live this long-distance life with him than live a full time life with some other husband. (If I’m being honest, I sometimes like not having to check in with someone before I make impromptu plans. And the dogs and I love taking up the whole bed when he’s away. It’s not all bad.)

    I remember dropping him off at the airport one time and then losing it on the way home when I saw his half full McDonald’s cup in the car. I kept crying, “He was just here.” That time right after he leaves is hard because there is such a sense of loss. I usually do a Netflix binge with a familiar show to make it hurt less. I especially like shows with characters that have become my “friends”. For a while it was Ziva and Tony and McGee and Gibbs and Abby. Then it was Lorelai and Luke and Rory. Now it’s usually Ted, Barney, Marshall, Lily, and Robin.

    I think it’s great you guys are strong enough to do your own things and that you want that experience for the other. I will be sending you guys lots of good vibes and prayers of peace.

  54. Katherine says...

    So well written Stella! Bravo!

  55. Kristyn says...

    My husband and I did long distance for 6 months early in our relationship- him in the UK, me in Canada. Like you and many others who have commented, we found ways to stay connected during that time apart- FaceTime on weekends, lengthy emails before each of us went to bed, two-person book club, sending each other pictures and messages when out and about to feel part of the other one’s experiences. It was definitely tough and lonely at times but I look back on those months so fondly because it added a different dimension to our relationship and forced us to be creative with how we communicated and remained close. Good luck!

  56. Eleanor says...

    I dated long distance (Atlanta for me and the UK for him) for two years. We met travelling in Indinesia and managed to meet every month somewhere (Washington, Paris, all kinds of places as well as home) we wrote endless lengthy email due to the time difference and Skyped on weekends. 8 years later married with twins and blissfully happy. It was worth the separation to get to our end goal.

  57. andrea says...

    Snapchat, I use it with my younger sister and it is a great way to see the person, share funnies and share those weird things that you see/ happen throughout the day. It’s great because our schedules don’t always line up but you can stay connected throughout the day and react in real time.

  58. Megan says...

    Hey Stella! My husband (Andrew!) and I never lived in the same city until we were married! We dated for 4.5 years that way and it felt like a first date more than it didn’t. First, we lived about an hour apart, which was totally doable and I’m sure feels like a dream to you right now! Then, about 3 years into our relationship, he moved to Missouri (I think we have some things in common :)) and we too lived half a country apart with me in NC. While I relished in my independence, I frequently found myself saying “I miss my Andrew” audibly in my one bedroom apart…for no one to hear but myself. It can be lonely, but reading your post makes me look back on that sweet time that we lived apart for so many years and smile, because it was beautiful. We were stretched and the feeling of missing him became downright annoying after a while, but oh how we loved each other and learned so much about each other during that time apart! I wish we were as intentional as you two are while you’re apart…it would have made the experience that much more enjoyable. And that is what it is…an experience that neither of you will ever forget. So enjoy him when he’s there, enjoy you when he’s not. Best wishes!

  59. I dated someone long distance for 2 years. It was an intense relationship that ultimately ended in flames but not because of distance. I get what you’re saying about your flat. He’d stay with me and then for days after he left I felt isolated. I realised how little physical contact you get day to day compared to when your with someone. It was a humbling experience and I think it will always work for those willing to work at it. Thanks for sharing.

  60. M. Harrison says...

    My husband and I met while he was in Alabama for business. We worked together for a few weeks and then he returned to his home state, Washington. We were long distance for 4 years until we got married and moved in together. Before we were married, we hadn’t spent more than 2 weeks together! It’s been a huge adjustment for both of us, going from living independently to sharing a space, friends, and coworkers (we work for the same company) but I love it. My quality of life has never been higher.

    In my opinion, the most important thing is to always know when you’ll see each other next. Saying goodbye is easier when you already have tickets booked for your next visit.

  61. Samantha says...

    You guys are too cute! It’s so sad you have to go through this. My boyfriend has had to work a couple hours away and we’d see each other on the weekends but sometimes we couldn’t make it and two weeks would pass without seeing each other, which felt like an eternity, specially because we were used to seeing each other everyday. But we’re very busy people, so with time you get used to it and it gets easier. Sometimes it even feels good to have space and time for yourself and your own stuff. Soon he’ll have move in between 5 different cities for work (for 4 months!) and we’ll barely gonna see each other, but it’s for the greater good!

    *Funny thing: It was so uncomfortable for me to watch the movie Her, cause I would kinda relate, imagining it as a long distance relationship where you would just never see each other, and it was almost unbearable to watch (I fell really hard for a guy whom I would only see like every 2 months and then he moved to NY for like 4 months and it has very painful to me). If you haven’t seen it, don’t do it now!

  62. Julie says...

    I am in a long-distance relationship and each night we share 3 “gratitudes” from the day. It’s such a nice way to end the day, thinking of 3 good things that happened that day. It’s also a great way to hear more about each other’s days. Oftentimes it brings up an anecdote or small moment from the day that we forgot to mention in the standard “How was your day?” convo.

    • Val says...

      Thank you!! What a great idea! “Count Your Blessings” has been a motto I have always lived by! I don’t know why I haven’t seen it in my current 8-hour-time-difference-relationship now. Weird, though if you think about it, the intensity of the spectrum of emotions, it could easily get lost. I will remember this. Our situation is a little different as he is serving in the military and never has “set hours” so we don’t have that as a comfort. Sometimes he goes more than 36+ hours and you just have to pray all is well. The very next message is HUGE!! Thankfully God is protecting him, and me in this. Another Blessing! Thank you for this reminder!! Hugs all!!

  63. Melissa says...

    My (now) husband and I did long distance for 8 years before we got married. We tried to alternate months so we kept it to four weeks as much as possible. I remember so clearly how wonderful those weekends were, and how sad I was on the Sunday nights he would leave. It does make some of it a little less real-you avoid discussing or disagreeing about something you probably should because you don’t want to spoil what little time you have together. I agree with those that have talked about having an end game. One of you will have to give at some point and that was not easy for us. Ultimately we decided it was time to make a decision. That was ten years ago so it can be done! We used to write letters-the old fashioned kind-which were so fun to receive. I still have them tucked in a box and I read them when it’s been a tough week together as a reminder of how sweet he can be :) Good luck to you!

  64. Becky says...

    My now husband and I had a year of transatlantic and then in year in near-ish cities. My advice is to have a plan. Know that it’s going to end. It gets you through the hardest bits to know it’s all for something.

    • That’s what I was going to say, too. There was a time when my boyfriend and I had to consider living apart because of work and that was the biggest piece of advice I heard. You need to know there’s an end in sight.

  65. Samantha says...

    I highly recommend sharing voice memos and videos.

    They’re quick and so rich.

    Even 15 seconds of my then bf, now husband smiling and saying my name could get me through even the worst days.

  66. MS says...

    My SO and I have been long distance for the past 2 years out of 6 together. It’s definitely difficult and often times painful, but we’ve survived. Some tips/ideas we’ve picked up along the way:

    1. Always know when your next visit is. We also had planned to visit each other every other month, but life + travel costs often get in the way. We’ve found that what’s more important than visiting frequently is never not knowing when the next time you’ll see each other is. So we always make sure to plan the next visit before the last visit is finished. That way we always have a “T minus xx days!” that we can hold onto.

    2. The saying never go to bed angry is even more true when long-distance. When you don’t have the benefits of a hug or physical touch to soften an argument, it’s easy to let arguments flare. Even worse, being long-distance always gives you the option to hang up. Sometimes we still do hang up when we’re angry to allow ourselves to cool off, but we make it non-negotiable that we ALWAYS call back. Always.

    3. We always say good morning and good night. Sometimes we have crazy jam-packed days where we were up at the crack of dawn and passing out way past midnight. But we always make sure to say good morning and good night – whether by text, phone, or email. It’s a nice reminder that you start and end each day thinking of the other person, even if you didn’t have any opportunity to talk in between.

    4. This is more of a frame of a mind, but we are careful not to refer to our respective places as my apartment, your apartment or my home, your home. It’s our City XX home and our City YY home. One of the small upsides of being long-distance is that you get to have a fairly independent life, and you get to make independent decisions on most things — things like how to decorate your apartment or whether to leave dirty dishes out. But there’s something about pretending that this long-distance relationship means having 2! apartment in 2! different cities that makes it exciting and less like you’re a guest when you visit.

    5. Our favorite date night: looking up a recipe that sounds interesting to both of us. Both buying the ingredients. Then setting up a video chat in our kitchens while jointly cooking the dinner (with liberal wine and beer) and then sitting down for a nice dinner. Something about making and eating the exact same meal makes it feel like we had a date night together rather than just ate dinner together.

  67. Martha says...

    My partner and I met while living in Japan, but only dated for 4 months before his contract ended and he went back to the UK (where he’s from). We did long-distance for two years! It was so tough but we both had goals/jobs we were really committed to and made it difficult to live together at the time. However after those two long years we are finally living together happily in London! It was a big decision to move to the UK rather than go back home to the US, and although I miss my family terribly, I couldn’t be happier.

    I think the most essential thing is to have a plan for WHEN you will finally get to be together permanently again. The two years were manageable because there was a light at the end of the tunnel and we were in agreement that I would stay at my job in Japan for two years and then we’d move together somewhere.

    It’s also so essential to nurtur your life wherever you are as well as your relationship.

    And I completely agree that the planning how often/when to see one another is essential. While we were doing it one of us would do a long flight every 3 months (to Europe or Asia), and we would meet up somewhere. We met in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, the U.K., France and Germany throughout our long distance period. Even though it was often a trying time, we also have so many great memories from those adventures.

    Good luck & don’t give up! You guys can make it.


  68. Lisa says...

    My boyfriend (now husband) and I were separated by 300 miles for a year due to work. It was unexpected and for our intern year (first year out of medical school), thus full of new beginnings and excitement for many reasons. It was also busy. So very busy. More on that later…

    We saw each other once a month and we alternated who flew across the state to see the other. I now recall fondly the utter giddiness I would feel if I were coming home after a 36 hour call, knowing that he would be sleeping in my bed when I arrived. (!) We absolutely made the most of those weekends as they were really the only time we had. We tried to do the talking on the phone at night and often times ended up just falling asleep. “Are you still awake?” So very familiar.

    My only advice would be as far as the busy part. For me, it was incredibly helpful that we were both so busy in and out of work as it helped the time pass more quickly, helped make it fun, and also made it so that we had things to talk about whether by phone or in person.

    I am personally of the opinion that distance is no issue, as in yes, it is incredibly difficult at times, but if it’s going to work, it’s going to work – distance be damned.

    Best of luck to you both. You will be great!

  69. Rachel A says...

    My now fiancé and I dated long distance for three years after just one week of dating. We met in my hometown in Ohio right before it was time for me to go back for my sophomore year of college in NYC. At times, I thought I was crazy for letting him talk me into it and I told him from the very beginning that I would never leave New York and that I am one of the most stubborn people you will ever meet so that he knew exactly what he was getting himself into. It is one of the hardest experiences, but in the end, the most rewarding as it built an extremely strong foundation for our relationship that we couldn’t have done any other way. He’s now lived with me in the city for two years and we’re getting married this December so hopefully that foundation will last us the rest of our lives. Here’s a few things we did that helped the three years pass:
    -We watched movies together over FaceTime. Protip: one of you has to mute your movie so you don’t get weird double sound the whole time. Also, yelling things like, “Ready?! Play!” and “Wait! Pause! Mine’s buffering!” are key parts of the date that you’ll laugh about later.
    -We wrote occasional surprise letters and I made silly collages from magazine clippings of our future apartment, etc.
    -We had the app “Couple” that we kept joint lists on like restaurants to go to, movies to watch, etc. And the thumb kiss thing is surprisingly comforting.
    -My alarm almost everyday was him calling just to say, “Good morning! Time to wake up!” He just had to be sure to tell me when he was going to sleep in so I knew to set a real alarm. lol.
    Anyways, good luck to you and Andrew, Stella! Not going to lie to ya, it ain’t easy! Luckily, you can see from the tons of comments here though that there are lots of success stories! It’s not impossible. And try to relish in the me time this gives you to really get to know yourself.

  70. Ruth says...

    My husband and I did long distance for 18 months (two 9-month chunks), as well as a year when we were first dating.

    We were much less technologically connected then than you are, which was probably our biggest challenge. The small random things are important, as is just “hanging out” via phone, facetime, etc. My sister and her husband used to simultaneously watch tv shows “together” long-distance. I found it was important for us to get out and do normal things that would help integrate each other into our lives so that it didn’t feel like we were living two totally separate lives.

    One thing I’ll mention since you noted the “week-long total high” of the visit… a danger we ran into was that we didn’t want to talk about the hard stuff over the phone, and then we didn’t want to talk about it in our precious in-person time either. So sometimes stuff we really needed to address got put off. Maybe you already have this figured out but since you didn’t really talk about handling conflict over distance I thought I’d mention it because it was one of our biggest lessons from living long distance: don’t skirt the hard conversations.

  71. Chantel says...

    My husband and I were long distance for all of undergrad and grad school—six years total! (We are high school sweethearts. (: ) It is ridiculously hard but also doable. During our time apart, some of what I missed most were the small things that I wished I could tell him in the moment (like your email drafts, which is a great idea). Sometimes I’d shoot a quick text or try to remember to tell him later on the phone, but our schedules didn’t always sync up for long chats. So we started mailing a small notebook back and forth. We’d each keep it for a week or two and write down something funny that happened to us or an interesting tidbit we heard. Anything really. I even taped in articles I wanted to share or things I’d written for the student paper. It was nice to have something tangible—his handwriting, a photo stuck in—to remind me of him. We filled six books in all, and I still have them. (:

    Wishing you and Andrew all the best!

  72. After 7 years of dating we spent 7 months apart while I studied abroad in England my senior year of college. It was the first time I had ever been on my own, and it forced us to communicate differently. We either skyped, instant messaged, or if we couldn’t time the 8 hour difference, emailed before bed every day. (I was surprised by how much I enjoyed instant messaging, and still do. Sometimes we’ll do it when we’re at our computers in separate rooms and it can be fun and flirty.) One thing my mom told me before I left was “love has a way of working itself out, if you’re meant to be together you will be, if you’re not, then it’s a good time to find out.” And a friend told me that the number of days until we would be together again was only getting smaller, and that simple fact was reassuring. Being apart was the hardest thing I have ever done and it solidified things for us, after that there were no doubts that we never wanted to be apart again.

    • And that was six years ago. Time flies!

  73. Jamie says...

    Thanks for sharing Stella. This is a really sweet and beautifully-written post! xo