How to survive long distance love

Last updated 10:00 01/07/2014

GOING THE DISTANCE: Four years on opposite sides of the world wasn't easy, but we made it work.

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Four years ago, a family member told me that long distance never works in the same country, let alone half way across the world from each other. 

They did not see how a relationship could be maintained through Skype, letters and the occasional annual visits. To be honest, neither did I.

A relationship should be spent together, not apart. But when opportunities arise that cannot be turned down, breaking up or doing torturous long distance seems like the best option.

We were 15 years old when we met and it was puppy love. I think at that age you never expect anything to last more than a month or two.

I was wrong about that. Three years later, we were still together - a miracle in itself. Not because we did not love each other but because when you are that young you don't tend to think about the possibility that you could end up spending your life with this person.

Tough decisions are a part of growing up and the biggest one of our relationship came after my boyfriend got offered a football scholarship in America - an offer he would have been stupid to turn down.

Off he went to North Carolina - over 8700 miles away and about 24 hours of travelling to even get there. It was torturous from day one and we still had four years left of it.

The first few months were the hardest and eventually we broke up, for about five months. We actually got back together on Skype - very strange, almost like some sort of internet dating relationship.

After eight trips back and forth, thousands of dollars spent, loads of tears and hours on end of Skype conversations, we made it. Four years doing long distance is finally over and we just got engaged. 

Although I have talked about how hard those four years were and how much I hated it, I think it was good for us. We learnt to be independent of each other and do what we wanted without the other person interfering.

I moved countries by myself and ran a marathon. He lived out his dreams and played football in the USA.

Long distance can work but it does take a lot to keep it going. The person has to be really worth it and it does put your relationship to the ultimate test numerous times.

Whenever I read blogs on long distance and about how to keep it going, they always say Skype dates, daily conversations, and so on. I think the real secret is keeping a positive mindset. So many people give up when things get hard but those times are what make you the person you are today.

Some quick tips:

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Skype dates will not always work out. The other person will forget at times and so will you. You have to be realistic.

Talking all day, every day is unrealistic. With busy schedules it is impossible to continuously plan a time (with time differences) that both of you are free.

Patience is key.

Having a date to look forward to helps a lot.

Take time to realise that your partner would not be in a long distance relationship with you if they did not love you. This is especially important when you feel like it is never going to end.

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