If you ever took Social Psychology in college, you learned about the 4 things that can influence relationships.
There’s attraction, obviously. People are more likely to be with people they personally find physically attractive, go figure. Interestingly, we also tend to pick partners who are about equal in level of attractiveness to ourselves.
Then there’s similarity. Meaning we tend to [but not always] choose partners who have similar characteristics to us. Things like age, race, religion, social class, personality, attitude, education, etc. Things what we find important in ourselves, we may find important in others. Ever gone out of your way to agree with someone you like, or even pretended to enjoy something to benefit someone else? Yes, because people are attracted to those who enjoy what they enjoy, and we know this. Same goes for friendships as well.
Next is reciprocity. We tend to like those who reciprocate our liking. *Borat voice* “I like you, do you like me?”
And finally, we have proximity. Yup, people are more likely to become involved in relationships, and stay in relationships, that are geographically close. The Mere Exposure Effect also refers to people’s tendency to like something, or someone more if they encounter it, or them repeatedly. My sweet, sweet, long distance friends, psychology is against us on this one.
But how do we combat science? How will we prove them, and everyone else telling us that “it’ll never work” or “it’s too far” wrong?
In simplest terms, we believe in love with all our big ol’ hearts. We believe that it will work, and that no matter what happens, we will make it out of this together. But the long version is much more complicated; or is it?
How to Survive Long Distance:
———-My #1 piece of advice not only for long distance relationships, but for all relationships in general, is COMMUNICATION! PBR’s have the physical jump on us, and no, I don’t mean Pabst Blue Ribbon. I am referring to what I call, “Proximity Blessed Relationships,” or those of you who get to live near or with your significant other. And for the sake of all of us LDR’s (Long Distance Relationships), I would consider anything over 59 minutes long distance. This is not an exact science, so don’t quote me on that, but people drive 45 minutes to work or the mall all the time, so if they can do that, anything less than an hour is not long distance in my opinion.
Anyways, like I was saying, PBR’s have the physical jump on us, so communication is basically all we have! Because of this, I truly think that LDR’s have the upper hand in this department because it forces you to be better at communicating whether you like it or not. As sad as it is to say this, if your partner lacks communication skills, the future is not looking too bright my friend.
Like any relationship, you don’t need to be in constant communication at all times, but a good amount everyday just makes sense [Hi, my name’s Caraline & I like attention].
“Good Morning/Good Night.”
“How’s your day been?”
“What’s on the agenda for the day?”
“Can I call you?”
“Hi, I miss you.”
“Hi, I love you.”
“Hey babe, I have a busy day today. I’ll text you when I can. I hope you have an amazing day! I love you!”
All of these things are important little words that can help any relationship. Letting that person know that you were the first and last thing on their mind for the day, asking how their day is going, asking about plans, letting them know how you’re feeling and when you’re busy are all normal things you should be doing that go a long way.
And for the love of God, text back! Don’t be that person who says “I’m just a bad texter,” because if you read my last blog, you know what that means. It’s not hard to respond when you care about someone. It’s not hard to start a conversation when you care about someone. It’s not hard to be present when you care about someone. I get that we get busy, we have work/school/practice/events/showers/nap times/me time/hammer time, but if Noah can talk to God while he’s stuck in the belly of a whale, I think you can text back.
Moving on, but still in the realm of communication: If something is bothering you, speak up. LDR’s don’t have the privilege to just pop over your house and make you feel better, let alone see your face to know if something’s wrong or not. Because you spend so much time apart, the only time your partner is going to know if something’s up is if they pick up on your one word answers, or your – wait for it – lack of communication. And for all you “p words” out there who struggle with expressing your feelings to someone’s face, here’s your chance! You have the technological avenue to speak your mind from behind your phone screen. And yes, it’s not the best way to do things, but y ‘all PBR’s can just shut up because we can’t all have nice things, ok.
So like I said, here’s your chance to speak up when you otherwise might not. This is where LDR’s can really explore and get to know each other on a deeper level. People tend to underestimate the power of words. But in my experience, words can help people open up in a way they never thought, because it takes away the intimidation of looking into someone else’s eyes and expressing your feelings, and speaking your truth the way you want to. BUT! Words typed out, or said through the phone are just gateways to the real face to face interaction we all crave. Stepping stones and baby steps y ‘all. Work with what you got, and work it well.
———-Moving forward. To make sure your long distance relationship lasts, make sure your significant other feels loved, appreciated, and important. This may seem simple enough, but it can seemingly slip your mind sometimes. When this happens, someone like me, who is a chronic overthinker, will do what I do best, and OVERTHINK LIKE A MUTHER FUCKER. When we get left on read, when we get one word answers, when we don’t get a thank you, when we don’t feel appreciated, when we don’t get enough attention, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?! We’ve all been there, and it’s all easily avoidable when we treat our person like they should be treated. And by this, I mean like a King/Queen! Literally, say thank you. Be appreciative of the little things your person may be doing behind the scenes for you. Tell them you love them daily. Maybe they’re working doubles to save up for a plane ticket to come see you. Maybe they’re baking you cookies, and overnighting them to make you feel better when you’re down. Maybe they’re hand making you a present for no reason, or even writing you little notes for you to find later. Showing affection, and showing another person your heart isn’t always easy, but it is APPRECIATED and RECIPROCATED when you’re with the right person. Make your person VERY AWARE that they are in fact your person. Make sure they feel loved no matter what situation comes along, and appreciate the little things they do for you and for your relationship. Because all of these little things become the big things, and nothing comes easy when you have to constantly sacrifice for one another.
———That, my friends, is the name of the game: Sacrifice. Any relationship deals with this; there will always be give and take as long as there are two sides to a party. But long distance relationships are yet again, at the disadvantage here. Our sacrifices not only involve our time, our money, and our hearts, but our geography as well. When geography is thrown into the mix, this places pressure not only on the relationship, but on the involved persons’ family lives as well. If the relationship gets serious enough, will I relocate? Will you? Who will ask the other to make that choice? Whose job is more stable? What are the pros and cons? All these things need to be taken into account when the time comes. And by that, I mean NOW. If you know you would never move to be with that person, and they would never move to be with you….what are y ‘all doing? You’re wasting each other’s time. At some point, one party (or both if you decide on a neutral location) will have to relocate if you want to go from an LDR to a PBR. If you never plan to be a PBR, well that sucks. I’m sorry.
Other sacrifices, although lesser in severity than relocation, but important nonetheless, include: Money, time, sanity, and love.
Gas costs money, plane tickets cost money, phone bills cost money, the pints of ice cream that you eat alone at night wishing you were with your person cost money. And are you both putting in equal effort, or is one person more able to travel than the other. If this is the case, does the other chip in to help compensate for the amount of money it costs to come see them? I know in certain situations *cough cough* professional baseball* cough*, it is way easier for me to travel to see Payton, than it is for him to travel to see me. He is traveling for baseball 6 days a week and only has Mondays off, in which case, some Mondays are still used for travel to further games. I 100% understand this lifestyle and the hand we were dealt. I drive to as many of his starts as I can, and he still drives to see me on his one day off when we can, only to have to leave at 4am the next morning to get back on the field. You make time, even when you feel like you have none.
Let me also say that this season has been slightly better than last, because instead of being 32 hours away in California, I made the decision to stay with my family in Cincinnati for the summer so I could be closer to Payton’s team in Illinois, a mere 5 hours away this time. This was a major sacrifice, but one I wanted to make. Payton and I are both currently still paying rent in California, even though neither of us are there. I can work from where ever, so I knew I would be ok in that aspect, but I just knew I didn’t want to spend another entire Summer without him. So I made it happen.
Payton left in April, and since all of my shows were in the Midwest, I flew into Cincinnati end of May, right before my first show. Come June, I was deep in prep, had 4 shows, and still managed to see Payton twice that month. For a grand total of 1.5 days and 15 minutes, I made time. I hadn’t seen him for 2.5 months, so when I was finally able to, I went to a game he didn’t even pitch in just so I could see him for 15 minutes afterward. Then one week after that, I drove 5 hours to see him for our anniversary for the day (it was on a Monday so we got lucky!). Then I didn’t see him for another 3 weeks after that, and so on. You make time, even when you think you have none.
It hasn’t been easy, and it won’t necessarily get easier the longer you do it. That’s the unfortunate truth. Long distance is a muther fucker. Because the more you love someone, the easier you think it’ll be, but in fact, you just miss them more, and it can get really hard at times. The easy part is when you both know that the other person is your forever, so no amount of time apart will matter in the greater scheme of things. It’s not the ideal situation, but the right person makes it all worth it.
———-Speaking of time; make it count! I’ve found that the best thing to do is to make the most of the small amount of time you do get. Plan a day trip, make reservations, buy tickets to a show, get a hotel somewhere. Plan fun things for you two to do together to keep the relationship exciting! And to be honest, even staying in all day and just enjoying being together is one of my favorite dates. Making breakfast together, watching Netflix, ordering take out, cuddling, all things that PBRs get to do on a regular basis that so many take for granted. No matter the time you have, or how you spend it, make it count.
———-But when you’re not together, how do you spend your time? STAY BUSY! Payton and I both have our own jobs, and our own friends. And while we love when our worlds collide and integrating our lives together, it is always good to have your own thing going on outside of your relationship. You don’t want to be dependent on the other person to live your life. Regardless, I know that being away from your favorite person in the world can get very lonely, and you can get stir crazy sometimes missing them so much. This is why staying busy is such a high priority. Coincidentally, Payton’s baseball season has been during my competition season the last 2 years. This has actually been a blessing. We can both focus on our goals, and our own sports while also being each other’s number one fan. Plus it’s kind of nice that P doesn’t have to see me get moody or irritable towards the end of prep haha. It does make me sad that he has never seen me compete before, but all in good time I’m sure. Maybe I should compete outside of the summer months one time haha. Anyways, between prep, my personal training clients, and my other jobs (whatever that may be at the time), and Payton’s baseball, travel, and teammates, we both tend to keep both our bodies and minds busy. This makes our time apart go a little quicker, and we always have something to update each other about.
So whether it’s a job, a hobby, or penciling in more social events with your friends, staying busy and going after your own personal goals is a great way to not only keep your mind off missing your babe, but also a great way to grow as your own person. I could spend everyday with Payton and be extremely happy, but he’s probably the only person I could do that with. I personally love my alone time. I enjoy doing things by myself, and I honestly prefer it sometimes. I’m not on anyone else’s time, and I can just go about my day in peace. It’s healthy to spend some time by yourself, but don’t forget to spread some love to the people around you too.
———-And last but not least, trust. This is a big one; right up there with communication. It’s easy to let your mind wander when you’re far away from your significant other, but there’s no need to be insecure simply because of a few hours’ distance. If you don’t trust your person, then you shouldn’t be with them, and definitely shouldn’t be in an LDR at that. You should be able to trust, whether they’re 3 or 3000 miles away, that your person loves you, and will respect you and your relationship at all costs. If you, or your person can’t do this, then there’s really no point to be together, especially if there has never been a reason for you to think that they have been disloyal. Insecurity is not cute y ‘all. Trust in your own love. Trust in how amazing your relationship is, and how much stronger the distance will make you in the long run. Everything will work out in the end.
———-To finish, yes, everything will work out in the end. And inevitably, not every relationship you enter will be the one. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give each one a fighting chance. Not to say that you should give everyone a chance, but to say that every relationship you get involved in deserves the chance to last if you want it to. I’ve dated people who have lived down the street from me, 20 minutes away, an hour away. None of them worked out. But none of them were the one. Now, I’m anywhere between 5 and 32 hours away from the best man to walk into my life, and we are thriving. He IS the one; MY one. So regardless if one relationship might seem more difficult, or too far away, I would hate for someone to miss out on their happy ever after just because of a few miles between hearts.