No long distance relationship is easy, whether you are separated by a few hundred or a few thousand miles. However, couples in international relationships can sometimes have a few extra factors that contribute to the struggles of an LDR. The first is that most often, couples are usually a few time zones apart.
Of course, this is not unique to international long distance relationships, as the North America alone spans a three hour time difference. But international couples can have much more significant time differences than this, with the most extreme being up to a whole twelve hours.
Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done about this, so the best advice we can give is to accept the situation. It may not be the best, but try to make the most of what you do have.
You may only be awake for a few hours at the same time, so try to devote as much of this time as possible to your partner. And, if this is difficult, try where you can to shift slightly your daily pattern to give time to your partner. But, most importantly, understand that the time difference is out of your control. It is not your partner’s fault, and it is not yours. Simply try to accept the situation, and make the most of it.
In addition to the time differences, you may also notice some other differences in your relationship – and a lot of these may be cultural.
Particularly prevalent in international relationships, these are differences between you and your partner that are a result of the environment and society that you were bought up in.
Even between America and the UK, both English speaking countries, there are significant cultural differences. At first these may be difficult to comprehend or to understand, but over time you should learn to embrace them.
Try to celebrate and cherish what makes you and your partner different, as this can be one of the most exciting and intriguing aspects of dating internationally. Learn and accept your partner’s differences, and expect the same from them.
A strong relationship is built on (among a number of other qualities) respect and communication. Learning about the cultural differences between you and your partner can be a great way to practise this, and perhaps challenge your view of the world as well.
As well as these general obstacles in international LDRs, there are also a number when it comes to travel. Visiting your partner may not be as simple as hopping in the car and driving for a few hours. In many international relationships it can be a much more daunting and complicated task.
So, when preparing to visit your partner, it is important to remember to plan and book your visit in advance. When doing so, consider the following aspects of the trip: transportation, accommodation, food, and activities for you and your partner. This can save you a significant amount of money; which can be important considering how costly long distance relationships can be.
Once you have booked as much as possible, the next step towards visiting your partner is to prepare the correct documentation for your border crossing.
Documents that you should bring with you on any international trip include: your passport, a visa (if necessary), flight itinerary & boarding pass, train/ coach tickets, receipts for accommodation, and the address of the location you are staying at.
It is important to remember that while not all countries require a visa to visit, it is always worth checking whether you will need one before travelling to avoid disappointment at the border. This information can usually be found on your own government’s website.
The main reason for bringing this documentation is to make the process of passing through customs smoother. You will often be asked to provide the date of your departure from the country, and showing your flight itinerary will help.
You will often also be asked the details of your accommodation, which is why it can be helpful to bring the address of your residence while in the country, and any hotel reservations.
On the flight you will also be asked to fill out a declarations form. You will need to turn this in to customs when you go through. Also, try to remember to bring a pen to fill this out with as not all airlines will provide them.
In addition to this declarations form you will be asked your reason for entering the country at customs. While we would not recommend lying, we would suggest being co-operative, honest and careful as customs officers can deport you if they suspect you are planning to illegally marry.
Follow these simple tips and your international trip should be a breeze. But don’t forget about your partner while you are travelling. They will most likely be worried about you, and how your journey is going. So try to find a way to communicate where you can.
Some flights will offer WiFi at cruising altitude, or if you do not have access to this, make the most of your layovers. Use free airport WiFi to communicate with your partner and update them on your progress. If this is not possible, then consider buying an international booster for your mobile plan, or making use of a good old fashioned payphone.
Those are our tips for navigating an international LDR, and your first international visit in particular. We would love to hear from you too. What are your experiences with travel in an international relationship, and what are your most valuable tips?