The time is finally here for attending school in sweatpants and crop tops, eating the cheapest GM – hold the ‘O’ – food that you can find, hanging-out with your friends 24/7, and crying because you procrastinated another 762-page paper.
College has arrived, and it’s going to be legendary, except for having to do your laundry, being away from your dogs, and making your relationship long-distance.
Yikes on that last one – I think I’d just throw in the towel now.
My advice is to pull out your phone and send them a quick text: “Imma bounce from this whole me and you thing. Sorry, but like, tell your mom her meatloaf will always be my fav!”
I’m not going to sugar-coat it, long-distance sucks. However, the outcome can totally be worth it. Please, don’t listen to my previous comment or all the bitter Barb’s who lost Keith Scott’s after high school, and got married to season 1 Dan Scott’s.
I’ll overshare and admit that mine and Dawson’s long-distance relationship was the unhealthiest it has ever been. Many different things played a part in that, like immaturity, lack of communication, and not understanding love languages.
I am a girl with a WordPress blog. Not a certified counselor. What I say doesn’t always go, or may not be something you agree with. That’s fine! These are just some tips and tricks that I learned when we experienced long-distance.
When Dawson moved to Chicago during his freshman year of college, I was still a senior in high school. We had been together for a year, where we would see each other every day at school, cross country, and on dates. Suddenly, we were only seeing each other one day every three weeks. We had to rely on emojis to understand each other; I know what you’re thinking, “terrible idea! I can see why you’d throw in the towel!”
To say it was an adjustment would be a massive understatement.
Communicating can be hard, especially when you rely on texts filled with slang, misspellings, and emojis. When we would misinterpret each other’s tone or feelings, we would easily snap at each other. That’s when we’d hit one another with the “K,” or no response. Some couples even throw out the
“we’re on a break!”
Dawson and I swore never to say that, unless it was truly how we had been feeling. Otherwise, we would be consumed by a constant fear that the other person may get upset and end the relationship – even if it was “a break” and not “a break-up.” In a romantic relationship, it is crucial to remember that you are both lucky to have each other – you shouldn’t feel less than your partner, and that’s how issuing several breaks can make the other person feel.
As well-recognized as breaks are, primarily thanks to Ross (I’ve never watched Friends, and I even know this reference), subtweets are becoming even more iconic.
Please, do not subtweet your partner! Do not subtweet, sub-like, sub-retweet, or anything along those lines. Fights do not last forever – let your emotions settle. Instantly posting about it online makes you look shady, weakens your partner’s reputation, and causes your relationship to appear unhealthy. People remember what is posted online, and that is how they perceive your life.
Why do you think I use so many exclamation marks on social media? I!!! need!!! people to think I’m peppy!!!!
Seriously, keep it off social media. That goes for all the Barb’s too – no one cares that the Taco Bell gave you light ice instead of regular ice.
Continue the conversation, don’t drastically act on heightened emotions, don’t go to bed upset, and communicate.
Something that Dawson and I both realized when we worked on improving our communication was we both really liked talking, and neither of us really cared to listen.
We’d be preparing what we had to say before the other person even finished talking. It was almost like when you’re in bed ten-hours later thinking about the perfect comeback for the Taco Bell ice guy – only we were doing it immediately. It took a lot of work for both of us to improve that, and it turns out that we were usually saying the same thing when arguing – crazy.
When we were long-distance, we were terrible at making assumptions. We would misinterpret, see a snippet of a picture, or only hear part of a statement, and we’d create a whole narrative up in our heads. Jumping to conclusions is never good, ask them to explain and listen to what they’re saying.
After your partner explains the situation, try to understand, and be rational. If you don’t feel like it’s currently possible to be sensible, let them know that and take a self-care breather.
When relationships turn long-distance, it seems common for all trust to go out the window for absolutely no reason.
They tell you they were eating dinner, but you know that they were doing a Magic Mike dance with 10,000 hotter people. The audacity they had to tell you they were eating dinner…
Yes, they may be lying, but innocent until proven guilty! They have done nothing to break your trust, and distance isn’t a valid reason to let go of that trust.
Explain how you’re feeling, they can’t read your mind, and you don’t want them jumping to conclusions.
Communication doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t willing to hear the other person out. Listen to what the other person has to say – this is not a terrible Taco Bell worker, Barb! This is your love! Don’t worry about comebacks; focus on forgiveness.
Believe what they are saying and try to understand. It may not be what you’d do, but that’s okay. If it isn’t something you want them to do, talk to them about it.
Please, please, keep this to yourself! Otherwise, your dirty laundry will become the town’s talk, the neighborhood gossip, the tea!
When I used to hear people talk about love languages, I worried about them. Was this their mid-life crisis? Were they rapidly aging? What an old, outdated concept to care about.
Now, I value the crap out of love languages. Not only for my romantic relationship, but for my relationship with myself, friends, and family.
If you don’t know what your love language is, you need to find out. There are a billion free surveys that will tell you what your love language is.
Dawson and I took this survey about halfway through our 31-weeks of long-distance. The results helped our relationship grow tremendously.
Dawson’s love language is quality time. To implement this, we started setting Netflix dates where we’d text during the episodes. Counting down to start each show at the same time was so exciting, and communicating during the episodes really made us bond. It felt like we were us again!
My love language is gifts. (I wonder if that is shallow, and I’m not going to say it isn’t…but who cares!) When Dawson would send me something through Amazon, send me $5 for a Wendy’s strawberry lemonade, make an iMovie of pictures of us, write me a card, or send me a song that made him think of me – I felt so loved.
Figuring out what each other’s love languages are was so important. Everyone needs a little bit of all the love languages, but everyone has a different primary language.
Your job is to take care of yourself and your partner. Make sure both of you are feeling loved. That means doing things that fall under their love language, as well as your own.
Mid-life crisis chat over. No need to jump to conclusions worrying about me!
Long-distance is challenging, but it isn’t impossible. In your heart, you know if you want to make this work. So choose if you’re in or out, and commit to that decision.
These things helped Dawson and me while we dealt with long-distance, but every relationship is different. Be self-aware, recognize when you’re being a Barb, avoid spilling your secrets online, communicate and listen, and make each other feel loved. If you aren’t feeling love, why are you in the relationship? Whatever the reason may be isn’t good enough if it isn’t love.
Once you’re done with all this long-distance, you’ll think,
“So, like, now what?”
That transition is also hard. Personally, I’d throw in the towel now.
Dawson and I are stronger and healthier than ever. Every relationship has its ups and downs. That blog is for another time, but know you can make it!