“How do long distance relationships work? If you’re in a relationship, the point is to be together right? If you live apart, what can you talk about since you are leading separate lives?”

Think this topic has been discussed to death. 🙂 But the reason probably is because it is such a relevant topic. Whether you are at university, having to leave your high school sweetheart behind. Or you have just started your career, and have been seconded by your company to a foreign country for 1 year.

Have many friends who told me that they can never do long distance. Because it defeats the purpose of having a relationship in the first place. You cannot meet each other whenever you want, you have different groups of friends, you cannot relate to each others lives anymore.

Yeah, LDR (long distance relationship) is tough. Especially when you walk on the streets, seeing all the couples cuddling up, especially during special days like Valentine’s Day, and you wonder if it’s all worth it… LDR is even tougher when you live in different time zones. As both of you have to study/work, there’s only a small window of opportunity where you are actually both awake.

7 tips for LDR to work (from personal experience!)

1. Have a plan. Plan a holiday together. Maybe meet halfway. Know exactly when is the next time you will be meeting up. Should it be in 1 month’s time. 6 month’s time. Or 1 year’s time. So at least you have something to work towards, and look forward to.

2. Stock up on international phone cards. Or now, there’s Skype. Whatever it is, communication is the key in any relationship be in LDR or non-LDR. This is where you keep track of each others lives and growth. I think I spent a big chunk on my allowances on phone cards when I was studying in UK…!

3. Take plenty of photos. Email those photos to your other half. So at least while both of you are making new friends, experiencing new things, you still can share them with each other.

4. Do an activity together. Ok, this sounds weird right? How are you supposed to do something together if you are like 30,000 miles apart? That’s where the Internet comes in. Now, you can play online Yahoo! Games. Jamie and I used to play Age of Empires (an epic real time strategy game), he in Singapore, me in UK. Or for those of you who are in the same country, but just different cities, you can even arrange to watch a TV program together! 🙂

5. Surprise him/her once in a while with a gift. Jamie used to send me what he called “Goodies Box” – so he will get one of those boxes from the post office and stuff it with goodies e.g. candies that I like, a small teddy.

6. Be honest and upfront. Being apart from each other makes both parties feel vulnerable. You might need more reassurances. There might be times that you wonder if the relationship is working out. Or if your boyfriend/girlfriend is getting too close to that cute colleague. Be honest if you have doubts. Do not keep it all inside. It’s better to ask than assume.

7. Keep busy. It’s not going to be easy. You will be moping sometimes. But life has to go on. And your other half does not want you to just be moping at home waiting for him/her. Make plans to meet up with your friends, especially friends whom you have neglected after being in the relationship. 🙂 Take up a new hobby! Learn new things, and look forward to the day you meet up with your other half again.

The bottom line is… LDR is not easy. For it to work, many ingredients are involved. Both parties have to make an effort to keep communication going. And trust is crucial in a long distance relationship.

But if you ask me… if both of you want it to work, and you are willing to work hard to make it work, then it WILL work. 🙂

Have you been in a long distance relationship? How did you keep it going? Or if it did not work out, why? Do you think people should be involved in long distance relationships in the first place?