Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tips for Surviving Extended Long Distance Relationships

This is no easy task I assure you. I think I had rather scratch my eyeballs out with a single staple than go through this much longer. I know a few of you girls out there probably feel about the same (okay fine, maybe not the eye gouging part). My point is, long distance relationships (LDR) SUCK. No one wants to deal with this drama but we have no choice sometimes.

I have to keep reminding myself and hubby that this kind of thing is common in desi relationships. From NRI's who come from abroad to get married and then go back and file visa paperwork to desi's who go abroad to make money to care for their family or provide them a better life. We are in a similar position. We have to live without our loved one for a short time (even if it doesn't feel short) so that we can have a good future later.

Hubby has a much harder time with this than I do. I'm sure it's because he has less to worry about and keep him busy than I do. Granny is still not doing well and in turn my mother is stressed over this as well. With all that is going on here and the fact I don't feel 100% safe going back to Amritsar amid anti-US protests of the recent past, I have enough on my mind to keep me from doting on this LDR issue all day.

Of course, I come home at night and that's when all the missing hubby sets in. It's quite difficult to sleep on opposite sides of the world from your spouse. I lie in bed awake with no one to talk to or joke with about how we have to go to bed and stop talking. Lol. We talk on the phone every night but it is just not the same. I really miss MasterChef too. Yes, it comes on here in the states but I watched it with my dad and it wasn't nearly as much fun.

Since it's heavy on my mind tonight, I thought I would write about some things I did to help make this distance between us easier. I knew hubby wouldn't take this trip well no matter what and I tried to help him realize that I was still thinking about him.

Whether you've ever lived together or not:
  1. Make time for each other. This isn't always easy considering the time difference, etc. but a good relationship takes work. Don't sacrifice your own quality of life (I mean don't miss sleep every night and then not be able to work the next morning) but make it a point to schedule as much time as possible with your desi.
  2. Take care of yourself. You have to so you can be happy, comfortable, well-rested, etc. when you talk to your desi. Otherwise it brings unwanted stress and negative energy to the conversation. 
  3. Treat each other as if you're in separate rooms rather than separate countries. Make yourself comfortable with the conversation.
  4. Do not compare your relationship to people who live in close proximity. Actually, don't compare it to any other relationship, yours is unique.
  5. Define your terms - will you talk daily? will you use video chat and how often? How will you end conversations (saying 'I'll talk to you later' instead of 'good-bye' for example). Think about what is important to you no matter how small or silly it seems and stick with it. Also plan for how to let each other know if an emergency arises or you cannot complete a designated activity (ie, missing a phone call).
  6. Set up ecard delivery. Many free sites offer scheduling and they will send the card when you choose. This is a cute little incentive that reminds your sweetheart you are thinking of them.
  7. *****SHARE***** the cost of the relationship. LDR's can be expensive by the time you pay for phone calls, visits, letters, etc. This should never be a one sided thing unless both parties agree to it. Maybe you're dating a millionaire who never wants you to pay for anything or lift a finger (Kudos to you!) but if you're not, both parties should share the financial burden as equally as possible. This includes visa fees if you're planning on going through immigration. If they won't share immigration fees this is clear sign of their true intentions/character. 
  8. Email each other about high stress situations that need discussion. By emailing before you talk on the phone, you alleviate some of the pressure and give each other time to think about solutions before you get on the phone and get stressed out because you know you don't have time to talk about it all now. 
  9. Don't expect every minute of your phone call or video chat to be perfect, happy, etc. It's your together time. In a face-to-face relationship there will be tense moments. This is natural in any relationship and it will happen in yours too. 
  10. Set a goal for when the distance will end. If the relationship is serious, there must come a time when one of you moves to be with the other. In desi/pardesi relationships, often one of you will move internationally and you need to be well aware of what you're moving into. 
  11. Keep an active social life. Yes, you are in love but that means you are willing to spend the rest of your life together and a few hours out with friends won't make much of a difference in the long term. It will however, help you keep your sanity and happiness while you go through a difficult relationship.
  12. Learn when to get off the phone/video chat. Fights are inevitable but you can learn the cues to when you and your sweety fight and take measures to avoid them. Maybe after talking for 3 hours you run out of things to say one day. The silence looms and next thing you know, you're arguing. From that you can learn that silence means it's time to end the phone call and go do something else so you don't start arguing as a way to pass the time. 
  13. Recognize you and your partner both have needs. This means he may need to visit family to get some much needed personal attention. Let him do it in peace and plan not to call or interrupt him during that time. He should extend you the same courtesy. Other needs could include going out for a glass of wine on occasion or taking a spa day. 
  14. Don't sweat the small stuff. That means don't freak out if he/she dresses up nice and goes out. They are not looking for a new relationship, they are merely enjoying themselves and looking nice does affect your mood.
  15. Avoid name calling. See tip #14. IF she dresses up in a cute dress and does her hair and make up, she's not acting like a slut. If he puts on that sexy shirt you bought him for Christmas and sprays on cologne, he is not man-whoring. Get over it. This principle also works during fights. As tempting as the words "asshole" or "bitch" may be, it's unhealthy to apply those terms to your sweetheart - EVER. No, there are no exceptions to this rule!



If you live with your desi and are going away for an extended visit:
  1. Leave small, hand written notes in his shirt pockets for him to find randomly while you're gone. They can say anything you want but try to make them personal. 
  2. Plan activities for him so he has something to do besides miss you. This could be getting his friends to come drag him out of the house or finding weddings for him to attend. He needs social interaction to take the place of your late night conversations. You may have to help him find them.
  3. Have him/her go through your stuff every once in a while. Maybe you need a file from your laptop or want them to send you those pants you left behind. This gives them the opportunity to do things for you that make them feel connected.
  4. Send reminders of your love. This could be small gifts, flowers, cards, long letters, etc. It needs to be something to remind you of each other and should be very personalized.
  5. Ask about his/her family. This helps keep the connection to the families alive. You don't have to like them, but ask about them anyway so that your sweetheart senses a deeper connection between the two of you. After all, family is important to them.


If you don't live with your desi:

3 comments:

  1. Then the first 15 things on the list are for you. Let me go check and make sure I wrote that right. I meant to say that in the post.

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