7 Long Distance Relationship Insights No One Talks About


7 Long Distance Relationship Insights No One Talks About

For couples who live together, the last 1.5 years have been particularly intense. Nobody has ever spent as much time together as in times of social distancing, working from home and lockdowns. Suddenly you were no longer just your partner, you also ate every meal together, watched every series together, were each other’s home office partner, the only social contact.

After the first lockdown, it quickly became clear whether it was going to end terribly or really great. Did you hate spending time together and envy all single friends for the silence in their apartment or were you trapped in your very own little beautiful bubble, just the two of us? Do we still need the rest of the world at all?

My friend and I were the second category. And then a professional opportunity opened up, which is why we switched from a social distancing couple bubble to a long-distance relationship of almost three months. While we were sitting at different ends of Austria I learned a lot about myself and us:

Writing doesn’t solve conflicts
We usually never fight, or only very rarely. Maybe once a quarter and then it’s more of a conflict talk. Within the first three weeks of a long-distance relationship we had two big arguments and the reason for this was solely chats that were misunderstood. If you only communicate via text at the moment, then the human aspect of this discussion is missing. You don’t look into each other’s eyes and realize that the other person means something different or has more understanding than I think. Instead, you read the message in your head the way you want to interpret it. And that’s not always good.

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I need to communicate more clearly what I need
When we live in the same apartment, we know pretty well what each other’s week holds, when we’re going to have dinner together, etc. We don’t have to plan our time together as precisely and communicate as precisely because the other person is aware of everything. When I’m having a bad day, my friend notices what’s going on, what I need, even from the smallest of changes, and tells me what’s going on. I don’t have to say anything about it or address it separately.

The realization after a few weeks of distance and a lot of frustration: these signs do not travel several hundred kilometers. So I need to communicate very clearly when I need comfort, when I’m having a bad day, or when I’m lonely.

I had a crush on other men
Just because I’m in a relationship doesn’t mean I don’t notice other men. It’s always been like that and I think it’s okay. I also don’t know a taken woman who says: “No, well, when Ryan Gosling takes off his shirt in Crazy Stupid Love , then I look away. I don’t have to. I’m taken anyway.”

But the fact that I really developed a little crush, including romantic daydreams, was new. It was only in a conversation with one of my closest friends that I noticed: It wasn’t about the guy at all. I didn’t think it was that great. I’m just trying to emotionally fill a void of loneliness that I didn’t want to feel. By the way, with this realization the swarm was finished. Good girl talk is sometimes worth its weight in gold!


With distance comes trust
In principle, I am not a particularly jealous partner (yes, there have been isolated cases where this is not true, nobody is perfect). But the distance meant that my trust in our relationship grew even more. On the one hand, that was due to the fact that we were quite open about temptations, crushes (yes, I told him about my crush too) and the like. On the other hand, I realized that there are so many unknown women out there, many of whom are definitely great. If he wanted to, he could easily replace me. There just wasn’t any sign that he wanted to. So why should I go crazy with this?

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It vacillated between elation and despair
Finally so much time for me, I told myself the first week. I danced around the apartment, listened to Backstreet Boys, and ate something my boyfriend didn’t like every day. I celebrated that when I came home the apartment was exactly as I left it. Stretched all over the bed, even slept on his side once. Me-time was my new favorite word. I celebrated my freedom.

Then the weekend came. And then on Saturday afternoon I found myself sobbing on the couch because our work rhythms didn’t match, I couldn’t reach him and wanted to tell him something completely irrelevant about my week. That’s how it went the whole time. It fluctuated between: “Oh, time flies, everything’s fine, I’m doing great” and “Eat ice cream, cry into the ice cream and sing along All by myself”. The latter wasn’t pretty.

Missing doesn’t happen the same
As described, there were weeks when the removal was less difficult for me and weeks when I almost couldn’t stand it. It was the same for my friend. Only this process was not synchronous. So I woke up to an “I miss you so much” message from him every day for a week, during which I didn’t find the distance difficult. Two weeks later I was suffering while he was experiencing a lot and doing quite well. That we were not synchronously coupled in this regard took patience and understanding. We led two lives, had two jobs, two free time plans – of course our feelings couldn’t always be the same.

dependency exists
I liked to boast about how independent I’ve remained despite being together for eight years and living together for four. But if you take one person out of this equation, then I quickly realized: I wasn’t quite as independent as I liked to tell myself.

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In the first few weeks, for example, I was shocked to discover how insecure I became about my appearance if someone stopped telling me how pretty they thought I was several times a week. I learned that the only reason I never felt scared walking home from parties at night was because I knew he was waiting for me at home. And one or two more friends would probably not hurt me either. When some of my closest relatives weren’t in Vienna in the summer, it got pretty lonely.

The nice thing is, these insights also gave me something to do. I’m working on these points that caught my eye. I can now walk alone at night without feeling complete panic (just mindfulness). I just give myself a nod of approval in the mirror, and I felt good. I’m still working on the point with the friends.

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