Hi everyone! I have been trying to think of what to write about lately, and this is something I have gotten questions about since day one of dating Hunter. Long distance is honestly one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is worth it for us. I can give my thoughts and advice on what to do and how to make it work, but ultimately it is up to you and your significant other, as each relationship is different.
To give you a little background, I met Hunter my sophomore year of high school- his senior year. We were in a class together and quickly became friends. However, it wouldn’t be until several months later when we actually started dating. After high school, Hunter left for West Point, and he went to BEAST. BEAST is basic training that all West Pointers have to do before entering into their freshman year. Hunter and I started talking later, near Thanksgiving, and the rest is history!
Anyways, let’s move into what kinds of things work for us. Keep in mind that everyone’s relationship is different and each couple has their own ways of making it work!
Communication-This is so important; I can’t stress it enough. I see Hunter maybe once a month, at best. Normally it is 3 months between visits and that can be difficult. I have learned that communicating how I am feeling, and what is going on, is essential. Being with the person and just receiving a text are obviously two very different things. Learning to be more expressive was definitely harder for me and once Hunter and I figured that out, we were able to stay close, even though he is on the opposite side of the country. Hunter and I also love to FaceTime, which can be great because it is more personal than just a text.
Quality time-Making time for each other and placing each other as a priority, whether it is in person or over FaceTime, is very important. I intentionally let Hunter know he is my priority and it helps to know he feels the same way. Set time aside in your day to know how the other is doing, undivided attention can be very important especially when days get busy or overwhelming. Limited time together always makes that time all the more special. In the past few years, I have flown to New York around 4 times each year to spend a little extra time with him, which always helps to make the distance a little more bearable.
Make traditions-Create small traditions that you can do every visit. It can be something as small as getting ice cream at the same little shop. Hunter and I normally like to pickup ice cream, rootbeers, and some other snacks, and then watch a new movie together. It is so small, but it has become something we both look forward to and it makes us happy. Personally, it helps me to bridge the gap between the last time we saw each other and helps me know things are still the same between us, even if a long amount of time has passed.
Take pictures- I don’t know about you, but pictures have helped me a lot. I love having pictures to look back on and remind me of all of our fun memories. It is simple, but it helps. I always ask to take a Polaroid whenever I get to see Hunter, I’ve started a collection, and its been a special reminder to flip through all the memories that were captured by these small little photos.
Stay busy- Occupying yourself can be one of the most difficult things. I have had times where “staying busy” has been the biggest joke I have ever heard. There have been times when all I wanted to do was talk to Hunter, but he was in the field for three weeks with no cell phone, so I had to wait three weeks to talk to him- your girl was not thrilled. For me, “staying busy” was something I had to learn and the saying annoyed me more than helped me, but now I am finally starting to understand. Find a hobby, join a club, join a workout group- do things you enjoy to get your mind off of the distance, even if it is just for a little bit. Now that I have been dating Hunter for almost three years, I am pretty used to the distance; “staying busy” has become more of “do what I love”.
Don’t compare relationships- I have had so many girls ask me if “certain situations or reactions” are normal at this stage and I can’t tell you how important it is to not compare. Everyone has their own timeline and a unique plan. Every relationship is different and that is perfectly fine! I know girls with children and they are married at my age, and I also know girls with no children, and they are single. What another girl is doing does not indicate what you should be doing. Do what is best for you and your significant other and it will all work out. It can be hard at times, believe me I know, but remember that what others are doing does not affect or imply what you should be doing.
Connect- Find people to talk to and keep you sane because you will need it eventually. My boyfriend is in the Army, so I joined a group specifically for the spouses, and it has been so helpful. I have met some of my strongest friends in this group and it helps to know others are in a similar situation. Feeling alone can be very difficult, so having people to talk to that understand, and know that you aren’t alone is a good reminder. Shoutout to all my West Point girls for always making me smile!
These are just a few pieces of advice, but I hope they help. If any of you girls (or guys) need any advice or have a question, let me know! I would love to chat and get to know you more.