Transitioning to a long distance relationship

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Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by eselle28 on Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:38 pm

I've mentioned it elsewhere, but for background, my boyfriend of 7 months was demoted at work and as a result relocated to Texas. I'm 6 hours and $500 away from Texas if I fly. We've decided to stay together, both for mushy (we love each other!) reasons and more hard-headed ones (we apparently both estimate our chances of finding someone else as compatible to be fairly low, and also both estimate the other person's chances as higher). The long term plan would be for me to get a job where he lives. I don't particularly care for the place I live in now and would be happy to move. That being said, relocating in one's 30s as a professional isn't always simple. We could probably afford for me to move there without a job, on a very basic level, but both of us would find that unacceptable for slightly different reasons. So, we're going to stay together for at least 6 months or so, see where the employment situation and the emotional one is then, and reevaluate if it isn't meeting our needs.

Wow, okay, that's a lot of background. I am actually wondering if people who've been in long distance relationships have some suggestions for keeping things working. So far, Boyfriend and I have agreed:

- We're both going to be a little busier. I will start a new and fairly ambitious crafting project, will ramp up my activity in the gaming group I'd quietly dropped out of a bit before meeting him, and will read three books a month instead of my usual complacent one. He's going to run a half-marathon (not as trite as it sounds in his case; running is something that was very important to him and that he was very successful at when younger), will help his dad with a home improvement project, and will cook dinner for his family two nights a week.

- We'll at least try to see each other for a three day weekend every month. We both have lots of frequent flier miles - we were going to use them to go to Italy, but life changes! - and he has generous holiday and vacation time while I have no paid days off but an unusually flexible schedule.

- Our current method of communication when we're not together is sending a handful of mushy, non-substantive texts throughout the day. "Good morning, sweetie, did you sleep well? *nauseating emojis*" would be typical. I've suggested that we probably want to make a point of talking more on the phone or that we set up a Skype call. This seems like an area where we both might need to adjust a bit? I've suggested that we keep up watching a handful of shows that one or the other of us wouldn't watch independently but that we watch as a couple, and also that we sometimes agree to both go watch the same movie alone or with others.

Anyway, I welcome suggestions as to the areas I've mentioned, and also as to anything that I haven't thought to mention. It's been a long time since I've tried dating long distance, so I'm a bit rusty on that.
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by reboot on Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:44 pm

Maybe do some research and, if you need to take it, study for the TX bar? That should soak up some mental space and feel like working towards being together. Jcorozza (I think) mentioned watching the same media over Skype, which I thought was a fun way to do activities together. For my LDR friends we have biweekly long call dates where we put each other on speaker phone, sometimes pour a little drink, and shoot the shit while puttering around the house for a few hours. It kind of feels like having a a visit.
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by eselle28 on Sun Jul 19, 2015 7:54 pm

I am probably most qualified for in house and government positions, which wouldn't require bar admission beyond the ones I already have, but if I want to work at a firm I also qualify to be waived in as an experienced attorney under Texas's admission rules. Though you're right that bar study takes up a nice chunk of mental space! That being said, it's an expensive enough endeavor that it wouldn't be something I'd do just to take up time. (Uh, yeah, so obviously there's some research already done here. I didn't mention it in my initial post, but Boyfriend grew up in Texas, will be living with his parents at least temporarily, and has two siblings who live in the same metro area. Our general agreement as a couple has kind of always been that we would move there someday. It's just sooner than planned!)

I like the ideas for same media Skype calls and also long call dates. I have long distance friends, but we tend to mostly interact by having intense conversations or by playing games. I think Boyfriend and I might be able to have a good time if we could have a camera on while we both puttered around and screwed around on our Ipads. One of the things I like best about our relationship is that we can sort of hang out without necessarily doing the same thing, and that might be a way of tapping into that. Thank you for suggesting that. Smile


Last edited by eselle28 on Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by reboot on Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:00 pm

My friends and I cook dinner together (just do not drop any devices in your pots) and talk while cleaning or organizing or while they are getting their kids ready for bed/herding children. It is a lot like if we stopped by each others houses simultaneously.

One of my friends does a book club with her husband when they are separated (usually 6-9 month chunks for 3 years at a time) and they try to paint the same scenes together. If both of you have hobbies you could each do your own project while on Skype
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by eselle28 on Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:14 pm

Oh, we could totally cook together! I didn't even think about that. And we both are new school cooks who have many of our recipes on our phones and text while things are simmering, so Skyping doesn't add any additional risk.

He...oh, this is something that won't go over well here...but he doesn't read. I mean, he loves fiction and creativity and has brilliant comments about movies, but reading is something he got turned off from when very young and it probably isn't going to reemerge as an interest. Though...he does like comics, though he doesn't follow any current ones. Maybe we can settle on one of those together. Or do a movie club? He's totally a film geek, and Netflix and Conversation could be a fun date.

Doing hobbies together sounds like something that's very achievable, though. We both have some fairly quiet, inside ones that I think could be combined with occasional conversation over Skype. We could maybe also listen to music together? Music isn't so very important to me, but it is important to him, and there are some things I think we might enjoy both having on even if we weren't actively talking.

(It also just makes me happy to hear that there are couples who can have a 6 or 9 month separation and be reasonably happy.)
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by jcorozza on Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:52 pm

Oh, yeah, I did the cooking together thing! That was kind of fun. In addition to watching shows together, we would do other online activities, like pictionary (google hangouts as a feature where you can draw on the same screen - that was pretty fun, actually), and I think there were other games we were able to play with google hangouts/other games pages. One thing we started right around the time we broke up (and didn't really get to continue with), was picking a book we would both read and discuss. Oh, and we made our own cards for "subjective Guess Who?", which is a decent two person creative thinking kind of game.
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by reboot on Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:04 pm

I can hit up my friends who do months or years apart with only the occasional R&R in person visit. I know a lot of people who manage it as an either permanent or occasional state
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by eselle28 on Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:15 pm

jcorozza wrote:]we would do other online activities, like pictionary (google hangouts as a feature where you can draw on the same screen - that was pretty fun, actually), and I think there were other games we were able to play with google hangouts/other games page

Oh, oh, oh! That's totally something we can do. We both do things like that on our Ipads all the time anyway. We'd probably have a great time doing that together. We don't have competing against each other problems, either. We both play pinochle and have been in opposing pairs and had a blast (we're both super-competitive but not, like, grudging).

reboot wrote:I can hit up my friends who do months or years apart with only the occasional R&R in person visit. I know a lot of people who manage it as an either permanent or occasional state

If it isn't too much trouble, I'd deeply appreciate it. I'm trying to do some sourcing generally on this. Realistically speaking, he's up for a lot of the emotional work involved in this (he's patient and good with both expressing himself in productive ways and listening to others' not-so-productive drunken sobbing), but I'm probably going to need to be a bit of a coordinator.
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by reboot on Sun Jul 19, 2015 9:48 pm

My friends in humanitarian relief, intelligence and foreign service who are married and coupled have been doing LDR for a while, most with the intention of having at least periodic distance every year for 20+ years. You have the advantage of a 6 month window with adequate data connections, so some of their methods might need to be tweaked for adequate phone and internet. As charming as mailing long missives might be, I might skip that tactic Smile

One couple I know does weekly photo albums for each other. They have a weird set up where they can only communicate through encrypted email once a week, so they photojournal unclassified shit and share pics. You might want to do it for fun events.
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by BiSian on Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:34 pm

reboot wrote:I can hit up my friends who do months or years apart with only the occasional R&R in person visit. I know a lot of people who manage it as an either permanent or occasional state

Reboot can I just say that hearing this makes me super-happy Grin All my friends and family keep telling me that I'm setting myself up for LifeLong Singleness TM because I want to work abroad long-term. Which I'm okay with, but I would "like" to find a partner.

As far as the practicalities of LDRs, I've found that scheduling Skype or phone dates is HUGE--but I also like to have ongoing text-versations or email exchanges. My ex and I would mostly email, but that was because inter-country texts are expensive.
I found that getting my emotional and social needs met with local friends and family also really helps with the distance.
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by KitKat on Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:40 pm

I don't know if this will actually be useful because it's pretty specific to my interests and are more energy-consuming, high-interest stuff but in google hangouts you can create youtube playlists to watch together. Me and my SO are both into Let's Plays and tend to watch some while talking on Hangouts for at least two nights a week as well as playing co-op games over the internet like Magicka, Castle Crashers or Borderlands, games that don't have a steep learning curve or take up a bunch of time in one sitting but are humorous and provide a lot of opportunities for running commentary and laughing together. Screen sharing also provides opportunities for playing more story driven adventures in the sense of talking through alternatives and making decisions together. Also trying to have a small common creative project can be great (provided you and your partner are into those kinds of things) if there is time and/or energy for it. Free project-management tools like Trello are great for managing that kind of thing and ensure slow but steady progress. :-)

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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by Wondering on Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:54 pm

I haven't done a LDR, but my husband and I used to only see each other on weekends when were first dating, and during the week, we'd watch TV shows at the same time and IM each other about them. We'd also play an MMO together with voice chat on, and that was a lot of fun for us. We got to adventure together and collaborate via the game.

So I agree with what other folks have been saying about internet-joint activities.

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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by eselle28 on Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:41 pm

Thanks for all the suggestions, guys! Again, it's nice just to hear that it's workable. It's now been about a week. Neither of us has actually had time to set up a Skype date, but we have one coming on Saturday night that I'm looking forward to. We're both going to make dinner at the same time, and then we're going to watch a couple episodes of House of Cards (one of our shows together).
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by Izmuth on Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:38 pm

As an alternative, if in the future you're looking for something more interactive than watching series and you like playing boardgames, there are lots of sites catering to playing them with friends over the internet.

It surprised me how well designed most GUIs are.
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by reboot on Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:53 pm

I finally got the last few of my LDR friends replies. They mostly suggested what has already been suggested, but here are some more additions:

Text/message more. All those things you normally would tell/talk with them when you see them next time, text them as they occur to you. This includes articles, blog posts, etc.. Anything you normally might chat about after work or on a date

Lots of little gifts and mementoes: pictures you take, little things you see that remind you of them, something small you think they would like etc. It does not have to be big or expensive, just little tangible reminders that you think about them. There is something about a physical object that makes it more real. Get a bunch of the prepaid, any weight envelopes/boxes from the post office to make it easy to ship.

Do not save up relationship problems until you see each other. Address them as they happen because when you are together you will not want to ba a mood killer and will not want to bring it up. Get used to having conversations you would normally have face to face by phone or Skype.

They also said "You can do it!"
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Re: Transitioning to a long distance relationship

Post by BiSian on Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:22 pm

Also, oh wonderful smart people, I too have a distance question:

I have a man-friend who I'd like to talk to more. However, I live in Korea and he's in the US. He does not own a smart phone. I do.
Is there a simple way to keep in touch with him day to day? I've tried FB messaging but he only gets on FB in the evenings from his tablet.
Emails are great, but it's the same problem: he only gets and sends them when he gets home.
Is there a work around that I'm missing?
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