Ah, the Long Distance Mambo, perhaps the trickiest dance known to any relationship (barring maybe the My-Parents-Are-Staying-With-Us-Indefinitely-As-They-Redecorate Rhumba).
My boyfriend and I met in Edinburgh, and have been together for the past three-going-on-four years. When I got myself a job back on the Mothership, aka Dublin, I upped and fecked off, leaving him back in the ‘Burgh working away and saving up for an anticipated job-hunt when he moves over here himself.
It’s only a couple of months, we said.
Be grand, we said.
After just five weeks of ‘Hello?’-‘Hi, hello, can you hear me?’-‘Hello??’-‘Hi! I can hear you, can you hear me?’ and missed call notifications eliciting tears of frustration; not to mention far too much data, and not nearly enough contact (communication, and, er, otherwise) I am definitely ready to declare to everyone and their mother:
YOU WERE RIGHT! YOU TOLD ME SO! THIS IS BLOODY HARD!
See, I thought I was prepared. I thought I’d been mentally preparing as I worked my notice, packed my things, and got sad at the thought of leaving, and had all the bad Feels while crying into bubble wrap.
But lo! Out came the Feels 2.0 as soon as a week apart had passed. And the Feels 2.0 said to me, ‘Strap yourself in, it’s going to get bumpy and you had better stock up on phone credit and ice cream.'
At least I’m not alone in it. In the current crazy employment climate (grumble, grumble, economy) staying or going or moving or commuting for jobs is very much a reality to be faced. So here I am with some bits and pieces of advice for anyone planning to embark on a similar 'Them There, You Here' kinda thing.
- Be completely up front about expectations
For me, this was largely about the minimum level of communication I would ask of him. Be it two texts minimum a day (good morning and goodnight), be it at least one raunchy snap chat a week, be it a lengthy email every lunch-break – decide the minimum level of contact and be clear about your expectations before you’re apart.
- Don’t get irked by the little things
Yes, he answers in monosyllables because he’s actually watching the programme you interrupted with your Viber call, and yes that’s extremely annoying. But before you get snippy (as I have a tendency to do) think about the fact that you can’t hug and make up. You can’t hug at all, so don’t get into something you can’t easily shake off or shake yourself out of.
- Don’t answer in monosyllables because your significant other has called you in the middle of Suits
- For God’s sake, get a phone that has the internet…
Viber, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facetime, Facebook Messenger – it was all impossible with the brick Nokia I was sporting (from circa 2007 – I had it carbon dated) when I moved back home. My shiny new smartphone allows for much more convenient chats!
If all else fails you could get one of these Hug Shirts (I don't think the creepy man is included though). This, eh, fashion delight is fitted with sensors that allow you to feel a hugging sensation from loved ones far away. You can transmit different levels of cuddles via your mobile phone network. I think Durex might do another version that's more craic though.
But even having learned the lessons (the bloody hard way) I believe it is still all going to be very tricky. Oh, Long Distance Mambo – will I ever master your mysterious ways?
Have you done (and mastered) this dance of long distance love? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments!