5 Ways to Make Your Long-Distance Relationship Last
If you’ve ever been faced with living long distance from your spouse or significant other, you know it’s a make or break decision.
It’s one of the most high stakes choices you’ll ever make. It’s one of those put everything on the line type of decisions that you just don’t make likely.
If you’re willing to take the risk, it’s got to be for a really good reason. It’s a decision I had to make for my career and you can bet I didn’t make it likely.
I’ve been asked many times, how did you make your marriage work living long distance. In this blog post, I’ll lay it out.
Five years ago, I was offered, at the time, my dream job. A full-time reporter position at an ABC affiliate. It was the news (no pun intended) that I had been waiting for, for over a year. A shot to cover the news and tell stories full time! I cried tears of joy when I got THEE call.
Only issue was, the job was in Abilene, Texas and I lived in Stamford, Connecticut. Even bigger, I’m married–and my husband’s job was a non-transfer. If I decided to take the job, I’d be going alone and he’d stay in Connecticut.
We both decided, me going to Texas was happening. I had been freelancing, perfecting my reel, getting mentoring, doing everything I needed to do to land a gig, and here it was. Here was the opportunity I had been waiting for. It just happened to be 1700 miles away.
Once I got the offer details, my husband asked that I have the weekend to make the decision. He spent it crunching the numbers. Figuring out the budget for an apartment, car, and other living expenses. Once he had those items down, he was okay with me accepting the job. From there we started planning for me to move to Texas and him to move into a one-bedroom apartment. The cost of both places equaled our two bedroom. He found every way to save or keep our expenses virtually the same. That was the technical part.
The emotional part involved living separately for the next year. Separate cities, states, residences–all while married for only a year and a half. To be completely transparent, while living long distance for your career may be the best thing to do–it can also be tough. Really tough. You’ve uprooted your life, living away from your loved one and trying to navigate new waters without possibly your biggest supporter nearby. Your relationship is forced to adjust, and transition is not always easy. I had some great days while I was reporting in Texas. Some big wins. I also had some really tough days and it would have been great to come home to my husband. Instead, we face timed. Not terrible, but not the same. So how did we survive it? These five keys kept the journey in perspective.
Here are my top 5 ways:
Understand the big picture and the goal:
We knew that me taking the reporter job in Texas was about getting in the game. The move was bigger than living apart. Once I got in the game, I was no longer on the sidelines. I could build my skills, home my craft, build a repertoire of work and bring it home to a local station. (Which is what I did) In order to do that, we had to make the sacrifice. Keeping your goal in front of you is like following your guiding light. Never take your eyes off it. Know that it is one job in the big scheme of a much larger career.
Always have the next visit planned when the current one is ending
Richard and I took turns visiting one another. He would fly to Texas and I would fly to Connecticut. We even took a couple trips to other places: Austin, TX, Bahamas, and Miami, FL during our long-distance stint. The key was to always book the next trip as the current trip was ending. That way we always looked forward to seeing each other. We knew when we said goodbye, it was only a matter of weeks until we would see each other in person again. It made the days apart a bit easier to bear. Decide where you’ll meet next before you part, and lock in your travel plans!
It’s not cliché and it’s not to be taken lightly. When you’re living long distance, you don’t always get to see one another’s body language (unless in person or FaceTime) or understand every intention behind what is being said. Some things are best said in person. When you’re living long distance, you don’t always have that luxury. You do best with what you have. Set times to talk. Especially if you have differing work schedules or live in different time zones as we did. I worked weekends late into the evening when Richard was off at home. We had to be more creative about the times we set aside to talk. Making sure we checked in with a text during the day was helpful to keep us connected as well too. I was having new experiences, and basically living a new life without my husband. If we didn’t stay in close contact it could be easy for to live complete separate lives that didn’t intersect. Find YOUR ways to communicate and do it regularly.
Set an expiration date
Living long-distance from your spouse or significant other should have an expiration date. It’s not meant to be forever. My expiration date that we both agreed upon was one year. That was important, because we could count down the days until our reunion. We could also plan our finances and timelines around that date. Know when the two of you will be back together in the same state, city or same roof.
Remember it’s only temporary
Again, it’s not for forever! Hold that reminder close to the chest. It will help you navigate the tough days. Living long distance a temporary sacrifice that you’re both making for a greater outcome. It’s not permanent.
So was it worth it?
Today, I have two awards under my belt, an award-winning special report, and I’ve worked in three successful markets, getting ready for my fourth! Was it easy? No. But making the initial sacrifice with these guiding keys set the foundation for success.
Keep your eye on the prize!