Congrats! You’ve decided to try and become one of the 7% that make a holiday romance work! If you haven’t already, now is a good time to check out 4 Reasons to Turn a Holiday Romance Into the Real Thing. Saying you want to keep it going is a lot different than actually keeping it going. Here are 5 tips that worked for me and my now German husband (J.P) – we did 2 years of long distance from Canada to Germany.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Communication is the life blood of any relationship, but it is especially important to keep a holiday romance going. I found that in order to keep our relationship going, J.P. and I discussed our relationship more often than I did with boyfriends living in the same city. I know that some guys are cringing as they read this, but it’s important to define your expectations for the relationship. And perhaps most importantly, when/ if it gets serious, who is going to move? If neither of you is willing to move, the relationship is doomed from the start. Be open and honest about your expectations. Also to be honest when you’re having a difficult time with the long distance. I virtually guarantee you that at some point one or both of you will probably feel and question whether it is worth it or not. Since you don’t have the gift of spending time together as normal couples do, verbal communication becomes incredibly important to ensuring that the relationship is working for both of you.
Have a Plan
By now, I’m sure some guys are wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into or have stopped reading by now. First talking about your relationship, now planning? It’s important to know when you’re going to see each other next. That’s what gets you through the tough times. Every time after J.P. and I saw each other, we knew within a week or so, when we would see each other next. This made it much easier to keep going, knowing the date was approaching, rather than having no idea. We also established a “move date” within the first 6 months of dating, a date when I would move to Germany (we had decided I would be the one to move). This also helped us push through the months when we wouldn’t see each knowing the distance was just temporary. Normally, I don’t like to plan everything out, but I don’t think our relationship would have survived without a plan.
Make Regular Contact
The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” really does apply to long distance relationships. It’s important that you have regular contact – emails, Skype, phone, messaging or a combination. It doesn’t have to be daily contact in the beginning, since that is a lot for any new relationship, but it does have to be regularly. I think Skype is ideal since you get to see each other and it’s free. If you have a time difference this gets tricky so you may have to rely more on email during the week. We had an 8 hour time difference and some days due to our schedules it just wasn’t possible to talk, but we would email on those days, sometimes more than once.
Expect Off Days
There will be off days in any relationship, but the difference is that in a long distance relationship the off days can seem bigger and it’s easy to lose perspective. Some days I would call J.P. and he would be really cranky. I would automatically assume that something was wrong or that perhaps he was doubting our relationship. In reality it would be 6:00 am his time (an hour early than his normal wake up time) and he would just be really tired and still half asleep. I’ll never forget when early in our relationship, I wanted to learn more about Germany so started reading up on German history, which inevitably involved Hitler. I would call J.P. (at 6:00 am his time) and share what I had learned, thinking he would be thrilled to know that I was interested in learning more about Germany. After about a week of this he finally said, “Can we not talk about Hitler everyday? It’s a lot, especially at 6:00 am in the morning.” In retrospect it makes me laugh that I was really that clueless (and thankful that it wasn’t a deal breaker for him.)