Surviving a long distance relationship has been a difficult challenge for both Chief and I. You may think after 13 plus years it gets easier, it doesn’t! Over time and with each separation, you grow in all aspects (I am thankful for growth). You learn ways to make difficult times work with each separation. Many military families can attest to that. The picture represents our first deployment as a married couple. And boy was it an experience!
It’s no secret to many that Chief and I are living and surviving a long distance relationship for almost a year, YIKES! I discussed some of that in my blogs Resilience in Military Spouses, Resilience in Military Spouses..Part 2 and Separation and Reunification: Military Life. Being said, I will share what has worked for us (Chief and I). Different families may or may not have similarities regarding their experience with long distance relationships, as each journey will always be different. However, hearing different stories and experiences could possibly help in piecing together a strategy for your foreseeable experience or issues to come. Here are a few strategies that Chief and I use to survive our long distance relationship.
Trust goes both ways. It takes work to earn, build and keep trust. Trust should be established well before the separation. I’m not referring to trust as in just infidelity issues, but also being reliable and dependable. Simply, can you depend on your partner to be there for you, whether big or small issues come up? Do you have to “check in” with your partner or “check up” on your partner? There’s a difference between the two. What may seem an inconvenience or redundancy to you, may mean the world in reference to the trust of your partner. There needs to be a middle ground when “working” towards trust in a long distance relationship.
Fostering quality communication helps build a solid foundation to a lifelong relationship. Thankfully, there is FaceTime and other social media platforms that aid in communication. Also, don’t put a number on ” how many times” you’re supposed to talk with your partner. There are days, where Chief and I don’t talk or FaceTime. But we text the hell out of each other, lol. Some phone conversations last for minutes, while others last for hours. It depends on what we have going on. I do not call Chief for everything. He trusts and supports whatever day to day decisions I make. Communication is one “key” that if not endorsed, and I mean endorsed HEAVILY, so much turmoil can be internally introduced.
3. Make sure both you and your partner goals are all aligned
Are both of you aiming to eventually reunify? If one partner is completely content with being separated and have no end goal of reunifying while the other is thinking it’s temporary, that’s a huge issue! In our situation, the separation was ideal, not wanted. Discuss the expectations and outcomes of the separation. Weigh the pros and cons, ensure this is a mutual decision, not favorable by default. This will eliminate unexpected surprises.
4. Schedule visits
Being a military spouse, sometimes there is no opportunity to schedule visits. Military spouses also know that deployment is temporary. But if your spouse is living in another town, scheduled visits are important. Plan and put the dates on the calendar. Because it’s cheaper for Chief to fly to us, he comes home often. I’ve also visited him without the girls, just adult time and used that time to focus on us without interruptions. But one of my recent blogs Living A Simplified Life is a snippet of our family trip to California. Bottom line, physical presence is important in a relationship!
5. Don’t put your life on hold
Yep, I said it. You shouldn’t spend every minute waiting on your partner. You should be working on yourself and your goals. And hopefully, your partner is doing the same. I discussed Chief and I both have a purpose in From Prison to Purpose. Find a hobby, go to school, meet new people, etc. Engage in your life, make the best of your situation, and seek out your purpose. You should live each day with a purpose, whether with or without your partner.
As I have always stated, you are strong and capable of doing far more than you imagine if the circumstances are important to you. At the end of the day, you have to figure out what’s worth waiting and working for.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What worked or didn’t work for you, please share.