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How to survive a long distance relationship and don't get crazy?

26 czerwca

*English: Long distance relationship. The name itself causes goosebumps and negative thoughts. Women's magazines and internet forums are full of uncomplimentary opinions about it. It is said that they aren't real relationshops and that they're a straight way to being cheated. All in all, they're leading to a break-up so it's better not to try at all. Well yes, because of the fear of failure, it's not worth to take any steps and live a life in so called "comfort zone", waiting for the positive changes which are supposed to happen without even trying. But when nothing changes, and the time flies by, you can also hear stories of the people who admitted that they regret not taking their chances and not risking.
I've never been one of them. 
I remember when I was a kid and I always tried to keep my summer friendship through... letters! Considering the computerization of our generation, it may sound a bit archaic, but there was some kind of magic in all that, the anticipation and satisfaction that the friendships survived - well, at least to the next summer. :-) Similarly, during a summer camp (6 years ago!) I earned valuable frienships from Wrocław, but luckily here an internet connection replaced the letter solutions. And even though a distance plays a significant role here, whenever we're able to meet, the separation doesn't change us. So I've never been able to understand why the distance would disturb the friendship.
But long distance relationship seems to be a different kind of story, in the success of which I've never believed. My point of view was based mostly on the stories I've heard and which ended up in a big cry, movies in which a distance happy end wasn't an option and internet articles, which were unanimously saying: don't get yourself into it!
Well, I did! What's more, after a year I can say it was a perfect decision. So if you're about to make a similar choice, and you're surrounded only by negative opinions, you're thinking if it's worth it, and if that makes any sens - feel free to read my article, where I'm sharing not only my point of view, but also my closest friends, which are in the similar situation. :-) 

What is a long distance relationship?
Let's start with the most important thing. From my point of view it's a relationship which due to diversified reasons forces the couple to keep the temporary or long-term relation on a distance. The distance itself isn't a precise amout of kilometers, but of course we're more up to naming this way a relation for a couple of hundreds than just distance between two endings of the city. :-) Nowadays multiple ways of transportation (cars, busses, trains, planes) and communication (phone calls, internet with whatsapp, fb, Skype...) are turning the distance into less meaningful factor. But it still exists. And even though nothing can replace meetings face to face, many people are successfully handling it without problems and they believe that theirs and lived happily ever after will be an effect of own choices, sacrafice and trust. So I asked a couple of questions to Agnieszka, Martina, and my own other half. What they say about if? Find out below. 

What's the distance between you and your significant other?
Agnieszka: Around 1300km (Poland-England). 
Martina: I am from Rome but I live in Belgium, just outside Brussels, and my boyfriend lives in Jena, in the east of Germany. That is around 600/630 km, or – which is what matters more in LDR – around 8 hours if we take a flight from/to Berlin (plus train/bus to reach the airports and our cities). When I go only by bus, it can take me up to 16 hours, since a direct connection is not always available and I have to stop in Cologne or other cities in west Germany. 
Rene: I live in Graz, so the south of Austria, and my girl lives in the north of Poland. The distance between us is around 900km. It is quite far, but there is a good, but quite expensive connection between our two cities.

What surprised you the most about long distance relationship? 

Martina: I have always had friends all over the world, many “long distance friendships” and I was maybe thinking that a LDR would have been quite the same, just with some more “I love you” and “I miss you”. Of course, instead, this goes on a completely different level, after all; I wouldn’t know how to explain it, it’s just “different”. I guess that what surprised me the most is that we managed to find our own “couple experiences” since the beginning and that it all came quite naturally. Each one of us made a step towards the other’s interests and we found our ways to be together, spend time and share hobbies through a computer. For example, I learnt how to play Minecraft, so that we can open a server and play together. Monday evening, then, it’s our Game of Thrones night, when we watch the episode together and comment it via Skype. At times, we get on Skype the whole afternoon just to make sure that we are both concentrating and being good students. Or we take breakfast together when we have much time available, or we even ask each other to go on official dates every now and then: we would order take away sushi, go home, dress up fine and have dinner together on Skype. It really surprised me that we could actually do so many romantic things even from a long distance!

Agnieszka: The biggest surprise was my own attitude towards certain things. A long distance relationship helped me get to know myself a little bit more and taught to be happy about the tiniest things. It made me realize how important is the closeness of the other person.

Rene: It surprised me that you learn so much stuff through it. The most important part for me was to learn that the small things are the most important ones. If you say goodnight to your other half or good morning - it can cause a big effect. Seeing a movie together via Skype feels like being in the same room. And the most surprising thing was that it actually works. 


What's the best and the worst thing about long distance relationship? 
Agnieszka: Everyone of us knows how the beginnings of the relationships look like. Plenty of butterflies in the stomach and the need to spend every free moment with that person. The advantage of this type of relationship is that those emotions accompany you longer. The disadvantage is that it can be tiring. 
Martina: The best thing (apart from Christian himself, obviously!) is easy: travel! With a LDR (if it’s close and affordable enough, of course) you have a regular getaway bonus and you skip some Friday or Monday classes without even feeling guilty! In one year of relationship I have visited so many German cities, be it during real trips with him or in the solo hours spent waiting for the next bus connection. Another great plus for me is that he is my personal German teacher, I can train my German with him and his family and friends, whenever we visit them.

The worst thing (other than my stupid Internet connection which doesn’t allow clear video calls all the time) is that I had started getting used to a certain periodicity in meeting my boyfriend, therefore when we skip one of those meeting, it gets harder for me. Of course I miss him every day, of course not being able to hug him and go out for walks any time we want... sucks, but when I know I’ll see him in one month, I endure and am able to stand it. When something forces me to skip one month instead (as it’s happening now, since I have exams and couldn’t go visiting him), I feel a bit sadder, because my countdown doesn’t sign “30 days” but rather “60 days”. I know time will fly anyways, but still, never fast enough for me!

Rene: The worst is definitely that you can't hug. If there is a fight it would be so easy to calm the other one down with hugging him. In a LDR you have to manage to that only by talking and not even face to face. It is really hard.

The best thing is that you really learn to know the value of small things and that you use the time until the last seconds because you know it is very precious. Also you travel a lot. You see the country of the other one a lot and learn a new language and get to know so many cool new people.

What kind of advice would you give to someone who's hesitating before starting a long distance relationship? And what would you say to yourself from the past? 
Agnieszka:  You can't have a negative attitude. It's always worth taking a risk. Life on a distance is an important trial for the relationship, from where you can learn a lot. Of course if you think about this person like of a life partner, long term. If you're not sure about it if you want to spend a life together, it's not worth wasting time. But I'd advise myself more of a trust and paying attention to the facts, and less to the things, which eventually can turn out to be our imagination. And to not be afraid to talk and say what's in our heart, without thinking about the consequenses.  

Martina: Actually I can directly tell you what I told my boyfriend, when we were hesitating before getting into our LDR: it is better to know that there is someone somewhere in the world who loves you, thinks of you, misses you and waits for you, as much as you love, think of, miss and wait for them, and know that you will see them soon; rather than knowing that that someone exists but you will not see them, you’ll spend your days trying to forget them, and in the end you will never know what you lost, and you’ll regret it. Why wasting something as good as the love and the memories you and the other person shared or could share in the future?
At the same time, it is good to have a quite solid basis where to start from. My boyfriend and I had been “sort of dating” for three months, before taking those planes and start the LDR, in those three months we had had a taste of what being together meant. I believe it would be harder to start from zero, but still it’s never impossible! After all, the only crucial, fundamental, essential element that each LDR has to have, compulsorily, no exception, is trust. What I would tell myself? Right now, I would just tell past myself: "Hey stop worrying your pretty, little mind, it will turn out easier than you imagine! He is really special, you will never need to wonder about what he's doing or who he's with, because... well, because he loves you!". Other than that, I don't really know what I would tell myself. I have always been the kind of person who really has to hit hard her heat against the wall before learning from her mistakes, so older and wiser me would probably just intervene in extreme situations!

Rene: It is worth. If you manage to survive a long distance relationship, then the relationship is the right one. Nothing is harder than being on a distance. But you learn a lot about yourself and other people with a similar experience, and it can help you find your soulmate. Hard work leads to a big treasure. And this treasure is your girlfriend/boyfriend. I wouldn't say anything to myself from the past. My long distance relationship worked out and so for me it was perfect the way it is. If I would change something it could only get worse [author's note: butterfly effect].

How your opinion about long distance relationship changed over time?
Martina: At first sight I would say that my point of view didn't really change. I have always supported those relationships when my friends had some, I have seen them work it out and sure, it’s harder than a short-distance relationship, but – call me a hopeless romantic – love is love, in all of its features and meanings! What changed is rather my knowledge that actually yes, I also can do that! My LDR even worked way longer and better than my previous short-distance relationships. It’s always just about the person: if you have found the one that can make you smile when you just want to cry, the one that will hold your hand and show you the sunset from the hills around his town (...) then why should you let them go? “Distance separates bodies, not hearts”.

Rene: Yes, I definitely changed my point of view. Before I had a long distance relationship I thought it doesn't work, but now I'm living in the difference. Now I know it works and I'm so happy about that knowledge. My life changed so much since I have this relationship and I will never give it up. I can just give everyone an advice: try it out. If it doesn't work - you won the experience. If it works - you won all you ever needed in life. 

Agnieszka: It's my first long distance relationship and I've never thought anything like this will happen to us. But my point of view was based on the thought that well, a long distance relation: yes, but after a few months of being together, living in one house or town. In this case I started a long distance relationship offhand. I don't regret and if there would be a need of it (hopefully not), I'd make the same decision again.

What is your point of view on long distance relationships? Do you have any experience connected? Do you believe in it, or maybe you're a total opponent? Share your opinion! :-)

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