It’s no secret that all relationships take work, understanding, and compromise. But when you throw in a hefty amount of distance and time spent apart from each other, things can get a bit more complicated and require more effort from both sides. We asked couples for their best advice in dealing with less-than-ideal circumstances that keep them apart for quite some time. Here’s what they had to say.
“All I have to say is thank God for FaceTime! It made us feel like we were still connected in real time, being able to see each other.” —Maria, 29
“Before he left, we each took an article of each other’s clothing that we could sleep with at night so it smelled like the other. It sounds cheesy, but it was really comforting when I got lonely at times. He took my scarf because it smelled like my perfume, and I took his T-shirt and had it next to me in my bed.” —Christine, 30
“My husband went away for 11 days on business, and it seems he will have to continue to do this each year. At first, I thought it was going to really just suck, but it sort of let us be out of our comfort zones while realizing also how much we missed each other when we were away. Having independence is really important, but nothing is as good as the reunion when he came home. Find ways to make the homecoming special, and always remember it's OK to have to readjust.” —Nicole, 30
“My boyfriend of a year and a half travels three to four days each week for work, sometimes to Europe and Asia for over a week. I need a lot of attention, so what works for us are phone dates to look forward to. When he comes home, I usually make dinner for him. He eats all of his meals out on the road, so when he gets home, it’s a home-cooked meal. He also usually gets me a trinket from wherever he goes. One piece of advice—don’t get mad at delayed or canceled flights! There is nothing they can do about it.” —Caitlin, 28
“I used to get mad any time my husband would tell me he had to travel for work, because I always just thought it sucked. Then I began to put myself in his shoes and realize that while travel still excites him, it’s not like he wants, or requests, to be leaving me alone a lot of the time. I also started to plan girls' nights and other fun things to look forward to while he was gone, not only to help me pass the time but also because I think I should be doing that more anyway.” —Erica, 31
“Being long distance is definitely rough. We did it for four years while we were in college. One thing that helped was having a phone or Web cam date every night at the same time. If one of us was going to be busy, we made sure to move it up a little, but we always made sure to do it just to catch up and hear each other’s voices. It’s something that we’ve kept going years later. Even if we’re away from each other even for one night, we always make sure to talk before bed and not just send a text.” —Stephanie, 30