You’ve finally done it! No more nights spent missing each other; no more half dates spent staring at your computer chatting up someone who is miles away. You can be together, laugh together, smile together and just enjoy the general presence of each other -together.
It’s good to enjoy your new found closeness! You deserve it after going through so much together. But after the initial shock, sometimes the rose colored vision of no longer being LDR can become a little hazy. Why you say?
While closing the distance is good, it also presents some new challenges and obstacles that you didn’t have to face when you and your other half were far away from each other. How you handle these obstacles will be the downfall or the triumph of your relationship.
Talking openly and honestly about these adjustments can help you and your S/O prepare for all of the new experiences that will come after closing the distance. So on that note, here are some things you should discuss together so that you can better adjust to closing the distance when the time comes; or even if you’ve closed the distance already.
Develop a New Routine Together
Getting back together can be very strange. You’ve spent all this time in a long distance relationship and you’ve developed a habit or routine of how you both handle being in a LDR.
Now you have what is essentially a new relationship and you will have to develop a new routine to keep the bonds of your relationship strong. It’s not uncommon for LDR couples to close the distance, enjoy the few weeks of bliss and then get to a point where they ask “what now?” Developing a new routine together should be your first matter of business.
Define your new relationship
On hand with the idea of developing a new routine, you’ll also find that at this point you’ll have to start redefining your relationship. After closing the distance, it is recommended that you sit down and have a serious discussion about how you both intend to handle your new, physically close relationship.
Things change when you’re together. You may no longer be okay with things that were fine for you both when you were hundreds or thousands of miles apart. One or both of you may be unsure about what to expect now that things are different.
Discuss your goals, both short term and long term. Talk about your daily schedules when you were alone and how they might impact one another now that you are together. You may find that one of both of you will have to adjust elements of your daily life for the sake of the other.
And remember, it doesn’t have to be a boring serious or scary conversation. Make it into a date. Go out for a cup of coffee and take it with you to a park. Sit on the benches and have a really good talk together. Make a big dinner at home and sit down together there. Do whatever it takes to make sure that your discussion will be an open and honest one and that you both will feel confident and unhindered when discussing these important matters.
Don’t keep score of who’s traveled more miles or left more behind
There will be times that you’ll feel stressed, upset or hurt about the fact that you’ve left so much behind. Whatever you do, don’t ever bring this up –no matter how true it may be.
Keeping score of who has traveled the most distance, or left more comforts behind is the surest way to build tension and resentment in your relationship. Don’t bring it up when you’re angry; don’t use it as leverage to make your s/o feel guilty or do something you want. Do not do this.
You’ve gone through so much time and space to finally be together. Don’t crumble and beat down your own relationship by sabotaging it with talk like this. Your partner will feel that you regret making the big move to be with them and that you resent them for it.
Now, if you’re feeling sad about what you’ve left behind it’s perfectly fine to talk about this with your partner. It’s important that you be able to express things like this to one another because, though the transition is something you’ve waited a long time for, it’s also a very hard one. But in any situation where you discuss miles, distance and sacrifices; always remember that your tone of voice and the way you express yourself makes a world of difference.
Keep fighting for your relationship
People in LDRs pride themselves on how romantic, creative and thoughtful they are when it comes to maintaining a relationship as difficult as this. And truthfully we should be proud because every day that we stay together, we are beating the odds.
It’s easy to think that after closing the distance you’ve passed the final test, or reached the final level in the relationship. The reality is that it’s not. Though you’ve reached a pretty pivotal goal in your relationship, your closing the distance is just the beginning, not the end.
Remember to keep fighting for your relationship. Don’t stop being as romantic, creative and thoughtful as you were when you were long distance. You’ll starve your relationship if you stop feeding it what has kept it alive through all of that distance.
Discuss cultural differences beforehand
Odds are, even if you live in the same country, you and your s/o come from different families with different traditions and cultures. Considering this, it may be a good idea to talk about different or special customs that your families participate in and if you are permanently together; what customs and traditions you both intend to keep together.
If you are moving to be with the person you love, research the area where you are moving to beforehand. Look into the customs & rules of etiquette of the country you’ll be calling your new home. If possible, it might do you well to have an extended visit before you move, so that you can experience what it’s like to be there beforehand.
Realize your S/O will be your main support system
One of you is probably going to be thousands or hundreds of miles away from everything you know. You’re both going to need to have a lot of patience with each other until the balance of things evens out.
If you’re the person who hasn’t left their comforts behind, remember: You’ll have to share your friends/family with them and be their best friend when they’re missing the comforts of home. You’ll be their sole support system for at least the beginnings of your time together, so prepare yourself for having to be as supportive as possible to someone who may at times need you very heavily.
If you’re the person who has left their comforts, friends and family behind, remember: Though you may miss the things you’ve left behind, remember that up until this moment your partner and you both maintained separate lives. It can be hard to go from being independently together to being physically reliant on each other. It’s okay to need support, but do remember to also be considerate.
Don’t feel pressured to spend all your time together or to see each other every day. Have a special place, room or time individually where both of you can go to have some time alone. It’s important that you give each other space when it is needed so you don’t suffocate each other.
Take time to meet new people and experience new things together. Make new friends together and apart. Don’t confine yourself to just relying on your partner or your partner’s friends. Finding new friends and starting new relationships is healthy for you, your partner and your new relationship together!
Take Time to Enjoy Yourselves and have fun!
At the end of the day, you’ve accomplished something HUGE! Take the time to soak it all in and enjoy it. Don’t sweat the small stuff; focus on the bigger picture in that you closed the distance and are finally together now! Go on dates, hold hands, kiss; be in bliss together. You deserve it!
photo © 2011 Emily Hildebrand, Flickr