Hi, currently I’m having long distance relationship (LDR) with my boyfriend for about a month and he still have 23 months more before coming back to SG. Can guide me how to maintain my LDR well? I’m afraid we might not be able to communicate well due to the 15hrs time differences. Thanks” - JQ
I’m glad you asked! Because that only means you’re really committed to making this relationship work, and commitment is crucial for all relationships, especially LDR.
We know that communication is the key to maintaining relationships (more so for LDR), so let’s see how we can keep this line open via these methods:
Phone or Skype
I believe you can find a time suitable for you two to talk? Say if it’s 9am on our side it’ll either be 6pm or midnight at his (depending he’s 15 hours before or behind us). This should be a good time for both of you, or you can adjust accordingly.
Set say, 15 to 30 minutes of time aside and do nothing else except talking to your boyfriend. Both of you can decide how frequent you need to speak to each other. Invest in a good webcam and microphone if you’re using Skype (or MSN). Then you’ll be able to see your boyfriend’s face and hear him clearly too!
Have a mutual agreement that when you two have decided on the time and date for a phone or webcam session, stick to it, even if it means cancelling other appointments. If one party cannot make it, inform the other party in advance so that you don’t have to worry unnecessary. This may sound very trivial, and when you two are in the same country it’s alright. But when one party is somewhere far away, triviality is somehow magnified. So, stick to the preset timetable.
In between these phone sessions where you can’t hear his voice, write.
Do you know that you can set your blog to be private and accessed by passwords only? Maybe both of you can set up such a blog and post your daily updates. This is great because when you are on the phone with him, you can save time (and money!) by skipping the details and talk about the more important stuff.
Plus, you can upload lots and lots of photos! In this way, both of you are still involved in each other’s lives, which is what you want to keep a LDR going. This also helps to keep the passion alive.
If you’re not keen on the idea of setting up a blog, you can also post photos onto Facebook and set the permission level – only allow him to view those photos and vice versa. I just thought a blog is good because it has the time stamp and can track your thoughts and activities in chronological order – excellent for you two to reminisce later when he’s back!
Of course, how can we do without them?
As you can’t see each other’s body language and facial expression, and it’s impossible to hear the tonality in written communication, please always bear in mind to give your partner the benefit of the doubt if you think something’s amiss.
Always make it a point to ask him nicely (not interrogate) if you find something fishy or if you sense that he’s upset about certain things when you two get on the phone. Do not let misunderstandings pile up and cause a drift between you two. You are already physically far enough, and what you need to do is to bridge the gap, not widen it!
Send each other cards on special occasions, or on no occasion and for no special reason except to say hi and tell him you miss him. Being alone and so far away from loved ones, I’m sure your boyfriend would be elated to receive something from home.
You can also send each other little gifts that don’t cost much to courier or mail. These little things will help to remind you of each other.
Besides great and constant communication, here are other tips that’ll help to ease the anxiety you feel about this LDR.
When you can’t see each other, you can only believe what your partner tells you and vice versa. Therefore, please don’t allow your mind to wander off into some danger territory. By that, I mean unnecessary worries that he’s up to no good. Unless he has done something wrong, give him the complete and total trust. This is very helpful for him to focus on what he needs to do there too.
Discuss with your boyfriend and promise each other that you’ll be truthful and honest. And, keep to your promise.
Since he’ll be there for another 2 years, would you be able to pay him a visit? Take it as a holiday.
Maybe both of you can start now by planning a date (one where both of you can take at least a week’s leave off from work). With a date fixed, it helps to do the rest.
You can research for the best deals, or keep a look out for any promotions that happen every now and then.
In the meantime, save, save, save!
And it’s good to have something to look forward to, isn’t it?
Like I say, if you two are really committed to making this relationship work, you will do whatever it takes to overcome any obstacles that may come between. Finding ways to compromise on many issues is crucial when you can’t see each other.
If you have this, then I would say that you have half the victory with you already.
Continue your social life
Have a good support network of close friends and continue to socialise. You need to get accustomed to the fact that your boyfriend may not be able to be there for you physically at times when you needed him to, hence, having a good support network helps extremely well.
You can make use of this 2 years to pick up a new skill or indulge yourself in a new hobby. Was there anything that you have been wanting to do but you lacked the time when he was around? Now is the best time to do it! And when your special one is back, you can show your new talents to him proudly and let him see how you have changed for the better too. Isn’t this nice?
Hope the above helps. All the best to you JQ!