Time spent in Long Distance Relationship: 225 Days 12 hours 53 minutes
The hardest thing about being in a long distance relationship (LDR) is somehow keeping a schedule where you have enough time together and enough time for you.
Now in this schedule you have to remember to think about and include: time at work, time traveling to work, time traveling home from work, time putting time into work, working on yourself, time to be alone, time to be together, time to keep YOUR place in order, time for them to keep THEIR place in order, time to see your friends, their friends, our friends, his family, YOUR family, wait whose family?, time to remember what you need the time to do, etc.
That’s a lot of things to include in this schedule and somehow cram into 24 hours!!
Communicating and assessing those needs can be a nightmare in any relationship, never mind adding extra miles to the mix.
TOOLS FOR SUCCESS
Now some of these tools are actual tools and some of these tools are actions and habits that lead to successful long distance relationships.
SHARED CALENDAR LIFE
Shawn and I have been using a shared GOOGLE Calendar for some time and this has been the most life and relationship saving tool!
We include every single thing we can on this calendar from events we have on our own, to events we have together, and even tentative things we want to remember to ask each other.
Now using this google calendar seems like a no-brainer, but here’s some tips since we have worked out some of the kinks.
First off, include your name in front for things that you need to do. (Example Shawn-haircut) It makes it easier for you both to read and helps clarify. On that same note, make sure items that are JUST FOR YOU are one color. Again this would be an appointment or something where the other person is not needed or included in the activity or maybe you know, not in the same state.
Choose a different color that is for events you are attending together. This means all vacations or weekends you will be together will be one color. This just helps in the overall planning of life and you can very clearly see when you won’t be together for a bit, which allows you to move things around if it isn’t enough for you.
Successful LDR life is in the planning!
If you don’t realize you aren’t going to see each other for 3 weeks until you have both booked yourself solid, there is nothing you can do. You can shuffle to move things around, I suppose, but the thought of that gives me anxiety and there isn’t even a real plan here.
Instead of having to re-arrange, plan it right the first time. You are so much less likely to overbook the two of you if you have one schedule to begin with.
Here is one more thing for the color-coding teacher-heart in me! Use a different color for all things tentative. This is something Shawn and I are just working on. The idea is, if the tentative activity is a different eye catching color, you will remember to look and respond.
The point is that life is super busy. It is very easy when you are together every second to casually say where you will be or what’s happening. Lots of things can get lost in translation when you are long distance and trying your hardest to get quality time together, whether it be in person on the weekend, or zoom on a weeknight. The trivial details sometimes get forgotten. It’s nice to be able to check in and look so easily and see what is going on.
HABITS OF CONNECTION (DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE)
Scheduling with success for me means scheduling in my time for my solo dates. If you aren’t on the schedule, well… then YOU AREN’T ON THE SCHEDULE. When a solo date is planned on the schedule, it remains important to me because I see it, I remember it, and I go on that date. I put myself on the schedule too.
The solo date being posted on the actual calendar helps Shawn to know that time is taken just like if I was out at a doctor’s appointment. It helps us both set a boundary for time alone.
Scheduling in time with our friends right on the calendar helps us to make sure we are making that social time for ourselves too. It is so easy to lose track of not only time for our solo selves, but time to see our friends separate from our partner. That time is also important and should be celebrated by both parties.
The friend date being posted on the calendar acts in the same way as the solo date being posted. For example, if I see Shawn is on a friend date on the calendar, it’s easier for him to set a boundary for quality time with friends.
These habits of connection will ensure you both have time to be independent people with independent lives. It is easy to mess up the balance when you are in a long distance relationship. Ensuring that you are planning time for yourselves, ensures you are happier people. Happier people have healthier romantic relationships with their partners. I don’t even have research but you can quote me on that one anyway.
I think this one goes without saying but the main point of scheduling all of this is to ensure you make time for all of the important things including each other. Date dates put the shared in shared calendar. Romantic date nights don’t have to be fancy, but they must exist and to exist– yes, I’m going to say it– they must be planned.
HABITS OF COMMUNICATION
Throughout the time apart, Shawn and I have developed both morning and night routines that keep us connected and have created habits of communication. We have found ways to establish some routines that work whether we are together or not. This means there is some consistency in our everyday.
Our morning routine starts with Shawn waking up Michie Smash. Now, I am not sure why this sweet man signed on to this life, but he did!
Waking me is NOT easy, so we have our habits around it.
When we are apart, he calls me so I have to get my “feet on the floor” as we say on the phone or in person.
Since I keep my cell phone on ‘do not disturb’ at all times, he calls me on my SMASH PHONE! This makes us giggle every time and is a weird special thing we have because no one else has my landline number (except every telemarketer know to man.)
When we are in person, he resorts to different measures involving blanket stealing, but the point is- he wakes me up every day so my morning grumble voice is the first thing that sweet man hears every day and his actual sweet voice is the first thing I hear.
After the wake up, among conversations we ALWAYS say good morning, I love you, and have a good day.
This seems like a simple thing but life is in the little things and a heart like mine loves consistency.
Hearing the basics of “Good morning” and “I love you, babe. Have a good day.” Those simple communicators are what people in long distance relationships often lose more quickly than others.
Keep your good mornings and you keep starting off every day with communication.
Now our nightly routine is a little more specific and I’m about to share the whole script and embarrass the hell out of this man, so let’s hope he keeps me!
This is all adapted from different practices I have acquired throughout my life including years of therapy and working towards mental wellness. I find that sharing these practices with my partner helps us keep communication open more easily.
This is our script per say, whether we are on the phone in our respective beds, or cuddling in bed.
GRATITUDE- What’s something you are grateful for today?
- We start by giving each other a piece of gratitude from our day, something we are grateful for. Now this can be as specific or nonspecific as you want, but should have nothing to do with each other yet. This creates connection by sharing a piece of your day you wouldn’t have otherwise.
SELF LOVE- What’s your favorite thing about yourself today?
- We each ask each other what our favorite thing about ourselves that day was. So for example, Shawn will say, “What is your favorite thing about you today?” And I will say something like “I wrote a blog piece I was super proud of!” This questioning forces the both of us to end the day with something we love about ourselves. Self-love is a continuing lifelong process and we start here nightly, because one can’t love another truly without first loving themselves.
LOVE OF PARTNER- What is your favorite thing about me today?
- Next we will ask each other what our favorite thing about the other is that day. So for example, Shawn will say, “What’s your favorite thing about me today?” And I will say something like, “My favorite thing about you today is that you let me sleep late.” These again can be as serious or hilarious as you want, the point is to key into the love. You are ending the day pointing out the things you love about each other. That habit of positive communication ensures you are appreciating each other! You are literally making a habit of it.
LOVE OF US- What is your favorite thing about us today?
- Next, my favorite part, we will both say what our favorite part about “us” is today. This reminds you of why you are a team and why you are better together than apart.
REGULAR DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS
Now the thing about all these tools is that they are not JUST great for people in long distance relationships. Rather these tips can lead to more successful romantic partnerships for everyone.
The best part of all of these successful tools that we have created is knowing that they have set up a basis for when we are finally in a regular distanced relationship.
THE END IN SIGHT
A lot of people will say that they could only be in a long distance relationship if there is an end in sight. I’m not sure that’s true for all, but I know for us, it is.
That’s why I’m off to move in with this sweet man of mine. Long distance was fun, but long distance we are done.
Cheers to coming home to my favorite person every day very soon.
Time to be spent in Long Distance relationship: 42 days Remaining