For couples like Giuliana and Bill Rancic, being in a long distance relationship is reality, whether it is easy or not. But while movies have been made (Going the Distance, Like Crazy, Sleepless in Seattle, Casablanca), and songs have been sung (A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton, Hey There Delilah by Plain White T's, Vanilla Twilight by Owl City, All My Lovin' by The Beatles), nurturing and growing a relationship over the phone can be tiresome and difficult.
Unsteady job markets and unemployment have put long distance relationships on the rise. Google found more than twelve million results in less than twenty seconds relating to long distance relationships. What are the "experts" saying? Set parameters, include each other in daily activities, avoid jealousy, be patient.
Define your relationship. Facebook is very specific about relationships, and you should be too, especially when distance is involved. Discuss the terms of your relationship openly. What do you want? Does he know it? Come to a conclusion together that is clear to you both.
Be a part of each other's lives. When your relationship does not include daily or even weekly time spent together, it may feel like you have less in common. This comes from a lack of shared activities. One way to counter this is by coming up with things to do together while talking on the phone, like going for a walk, shopping, or watching TV online. Make these activities a routine, whether they are a daily constant, or if the events change. You'll be spending time together in a like-setting even from far away which will give you something to talk about and pass the time.
Talk about your feelings, a lot. Men think it's feminine to talk about feelings. Women put up walls so they don't get hurt. But in a long distance relationship, not talking about feelings will be worse than a sensitive guy or a closed off gal. At the heart of any relationship snafu is a lack of communication. Men and women who are open with themselves and each other will enjoy a more fruitful relationship, whether they live down the block or across the country, when they are honest with each other about personal desires, life goals, and relationship expectations.
Patience is a virtue, and everyone in a long distance relationship hates that saying. It's right up there with, "it won't last forever," and "if it's meant to be it will work out." So cut through the cliches and realize that due to your current circumstances, whether they are work-related, money-related, or otherwise, you can't be with the person you love. Make an effort to get closer, or to make the best of the situation by strengthening your ability to communicate and being understanding.
Written by: Erika Fifelski was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys cooking, sewing, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses. She has been in a long distance relationship for two years. Photo: Svilen Milev.