But then the laughter stopped and things suddenly got very serious. -œWhat are we doing?- they wondered simultaneously (because by then, they had developed some sort of inexplicable psychic connection) -œWhere is this going?- The reality of their situation, which until now they had both subconsciously refused to acknowledge, suddenly dawned upon them. -œThis can't go on, we live in different countries!"
But, like so many other Pink Sofa love stories, this couple did go on. When common sense dictates that it doesn't make any sense to pursue a relationship with a woman on the other side of the world, a little thing gets in the way. The heart.
So once you've decided that the heart is going to rule the head, how do you build a relationship that will survive the tyranny of distance? While researching this question I came across an almost endless supply of publications and on line self-help manuals but they all seemed to be written from an observer's point of view, rather than from someone who has experienced it. So much of the following advice is what I have gleaned from the very wise women on Pink Sofa. Thanks grrls!
Do we have a future?
Talk to each other honestly about what your hopes are for the future. Are either of you prepared to move to be with the other party? If there are children involved is it even possible? Talking about your deepest fears and your highest hopes on a regular basis will keep at bay any misunderstandings about where this relationship is headed. And while reality might be hard to face, perhaps your situation is such that you won't be together for a very long time. Can you handle it? If you want to know more about this, check out Lesbian dating.
Have a plan
Have short, medium and long term plans in place. In the short term, decide by what means, and how often, you will communicate. Discuss your schedules on a weekly basis and set aside the time to concentrate on each other without distractions. If you were living in the same city and dating you would make plans to see each other, this is equally - if not more - important in a long distance relationship, to maintain the connection.
The medium term plan might relate to when you will spend time together physically over the next 6-12 months. Can you lock in holidays to spend time together? What are your plans for Christmas and other special celebrations?
Long term, where do you want to be? Do you imagine being in each other's lives in 5, 10 or 20 years? What needs to happen to make that a reality? Not knowing what the future holds can be unsettling and make it very difficult to invest in the relationship.
Maintain the spontaneity
The down side of having a plan is that spontaneity tends to go out the window: Monday mornings I ring her on the way to work. Tuesday nights she rings me after the gym. Wednesday night off. And so on. Break the pattern from time to time - make a surprise phone call in the middle of the day. Send a handwritten letter instead of an email. Surprise her with a small gift. Arrange a friend to take her out for lunch. There are lots of small ways you can make her feel valued and keep the monotony at bay. Be creative!
Develop a budget
Put some regular savings aside to devote to the relationship, whether it be to help with your phone spend (see below for help with that) or air fares, be realistic about the financial cost of a long distance relationship and meet those costs up front.
Instant messenger is a great way to keep in touch, especially if you have a webcam - Pink Sofa has an instant messenger service with a video feature. For more info, visit this link.