By Bett Smith
I finally met someone after months of Online Dating & clubs. You know the story. Three months into our relationship, my boyfriend broke my heart: he took a job interstate.
We agreed to see each other every two or three weeks at weekends. We reassured ourselves we were strong enough to survive the separation. I’d always thought of myself as a mature, reasonable person. Of course he has to take the job, I told myself. I won’t come between him and his dreams. A week after he left, I started crying and couldn’t stop. He felt awful too.
But the 12 months apart forced us to create our own relationship survival kit. And for all you long-distance lovers, here are our five golden rules:
1. Don’t endure long goodbyes at airports. Drop one another off and leave. An airport is no place for a meaningful goodbye.
2. Maintain daily contact, either by phone, email, IM or letter. Share the small things about your day.
3. No mode of long-distance communication can replace being with someone. Recognise this and don’t blame one another for the longing.
4. Share an imaginative space together. Read the same books, listen to the same music. Go to see the same movie at the same time. Sit in a cinema and know that your lover is going through the same experience, the same images and sounds.
5. On weekends together, be relaxed. Try not to put pressure on yourselves and on the short time you have with one another. Have courage! As Charles Dickens wrote, “The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again”.
The time apart could be the best thing for you. My boyfriend and I used the enforced separation to think about what we wanted from the relationship and from our lives. Six years later we’re just as much in love as ever – and we’re about to get married!