Sue + Life 4 • (Long Distance) Relationship Theory (LDR)

"Relationships are fundamental in the development of the human psyche. It is difficult to imagine life without any relations with other people. Relationships are in many ways how we embed ourselves in the world. " - (Heding, 2009)  

The concept long distance relationship (LDR)  is quite relative. When is a relationship considered as long distance? 3 or more hours? When you need to travel by car, train or plane? Living in different countries? America vs Europe is also very different in terms of traveling. This is up to you to decide.

I am together with my boyfriend for 2,5 years now and we have an on and off long distance relationship. The first long distance was after we got together for a month, and then I left the country to live and study in South-Korea for 5 months. It was tough. We spoke everyday and we missed each other badly, but we managed it and when I finally got back, we claimed that we would never have a LDR again.

This claim was broken a year ago. My boyfriend moved to Galway, Ireland for a job. And few months later I moved to London, UK for my study. Now we are still living 7 to 8 hours door-to-door apart. Whether it was back then or now, it is still difficult. But our mutual willingness for our future is the significant part that helps to overcome it.

Honestly, LDR is possible, but not suitable for every couple. My friends have asked me how I managed to do this, while they can’t even imagine to be apart from their loved ones. In my opinion, the more independent you are, the easier it gets. I grew up to be very independent and never really needed somebody with me side by side. So, for me being away from my boyfriend for long period of time is something I can get used to. In contrary, my boyfriend had a very hard time adjusting. We definitely have our ups and downs like any other couples, but I think LDR makes it harder. We are definitely on the right track and we keep improving and strengthen our relationship. 

I have read few relationship advice articles online, but I wanted to create my own, since I felt there were some things missing. So, whether you are in a LDR or not, I want to share few LDR advices that hopefully can be of any use to you that I have learned from my LDR. 

Key ingredients for a successful (long distance) relationship

One of the building blocks in any type of relationship is trust. In a LDR I find that you need to have the fullest faith to each other, especially when you don't see or speak with each other that frequently. Don't have any doubts or distrust in each other, because that will bring your relationship down and it will fest on you, which will do not any good. I think even if the partner did something wrong, you have two choices: 1) it's over or 2) forgive and forget. Then you really need to forgive him and forget it. Of course you should win each other's trust, but when you have the full 110% trust, have the full trust. Once someone break each other's trust in the end, then you will know when it's over. 

In a LDR, miscommunication in the devil. This is something that we both experienced: once we were in an argument, because of the long distance, we weren't able to work it out and finish it immediately. In contrast, we stopped talking to each other and I turned into 'still mode' and so the arguments became worse. I had really to learn to communicate in a relationship. I couldn't say certain things, because I was scared that it might hurt his feelings, but in the end I realised that by saying your true feelings, even if they are not pleasant, is the key to communication. It helps clear things in the air and it makes it easier for both to understand each other.

Treating each other as equals is very important, if not the most important. The definition of respect is: 

Every person has their own good ideas and qualities. Don't look down on him on certain things that you want him/her to, or because you are good it at, rather have admiration or respect on his own unique qualities and good characteristics. Let each other in your own value. I may be very good at studying, but my boyfriend however is the most social person I have ever known. 

Don't forget that love is about two individual being together, but it is as important to have your own individual freedom. Just as Harbard said in Vikings: Possession is the opposite of love. Whereas I would then say: Relationship is the freedom to love each other. So don't have the feeling of controlling one or another, because this would only be oppressive and that can leads towards a downwards spiral.

I don't understand why people wouldn't be transparent. I have heard a story that a boyfriend lied about where he was and that he wasn't drunk, while he was. Lies.. how small or big they are, lies are lies and they have a negative impact on the relationship no matter what. Isn't it obvious that there is no harm in being honest and true? I mean, nobody can really fault you for being transparent. Transparency can make or break your relationship. 

It is maybe very obvious, but for some they may need a reminder. Couples need to be positive in their relationship to have a successful one. Successful? When is a relationship successful?  All relationships are a progress build on successes and failures. Therefore, both partners need to be 100% positive and willing to strengthen, improve and work together on the relationship and for your future. Whenever one is 50% slacking, the other can't compensate and work for 150%, and certainly not for a longer period. 

What I personally find very important having discussion. Here, I don't mean arguments or fights but real discussions about very general knowledgable topics. I find that talking about politics, history, culture and news topics for example, help to bond together as soulmates and helps to widen your knowledge. Again, this might be very normal for some couples, but for me it is something that I have discovered since I am together with my boyfriend. It helps to understand each other better, but also yourself: to learn to debate, form your own opinion and learn more about the world. 

Besides all that serious talking, it is very important to throw a bit of sugar in your relationship once in a while. Whenever you are 2 years, 5 years or 12 years together, by putting some sugar in your relationship, it gives your relationship a boost and keeps it fun. I understand that sometimes that the relationship can be boring or dull, but try to keep it lively together. 

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”