It's been a while however I've returned after yet another lengthy hiatus with this blogpost which is a collaboration between my Zeki and I. I don't think i've ever gotten so personal before on a blog post so I am admittedly hesitant. If you follow me on Instagram you may be aware that my now fiancé and I embarked on a long distance relationship as of January last year. There's no way about it, long distance sucks and it's easy to wallow in melancholy at the trials and tribulations of it. However if you can look passed the obvious adversities, there are some things to be learned and gained from the experience. I'd just emphasise that each relationship is of course unique therefore our experiences aren't necessarily ubiquitous but I do nonetheless want to impart what we personally acquired from long distance. Ultimately, this post focuses on the silver linings of long distance, so without further ado...
Having a joint vision
One principle point that has guided our relationship through the distance is our joint vision and our trust in it as well as each other. When you and your partner have a joint vision with an end goal in sight whether that be seeing each other more frequently in the long run, moving in together or even getting married; you work as a team in striving towards making that goal a reality. There will be periods where there will be a paucity of time, where you won't be able to overcome the conflicting schedules and time zones. One thing that helped us cope was knowing that you as a couple, as farfetched as it may be, having paths that will eventually intersect and that your endeavours aren't in vain. This vision aided us in being able to empathise with each other, especially when we haven't been able to connect emotionally or mentally in a while. For us, that vision is marriage and God willing to spend the rest of our lives together.
Realising you've taken each other for granted
As cliche as it may sound, not having the liberty and luxury of seeing one another on a daily basis adds an element of appreciation to how you perceive each other. Especially since your main source of contact is dependent on frail internet connection. When even video-calls are difficult to arrange and meetings become scarce, you find yourself missing their company, their smell or voice, you picture how they would have responded to something you've seen or heard that day. It's those small simple things one longs for the most. You begin to appreciate every moment you spend together on the rare occasions you do actually see each other. I find that we exert more effort into making memories together than we did prior to long distance. Recently, I traveled to Turkey for my friend's wedding as well as to see Zeki's face for a week... you know, two birds with the one stone. During that week we utterly refused to be cooped up indoors and seized every opportunity to complete a pilgrimage of our favourite haunts as well as explore uncharted places.
Closing the distance
Showing affection and making sure the other person knows how much they mean to you can be manifested in a plethora of ways whether that be vocally or as a gesture. To state the obvious, residing thousands of miles away from one another reduces your means of communication as they aren't compatible with the distance. Thus, to reduce the both literal and figurative distance between you, you have to be more expressive and invest more effort. Staying up an extra hour, reminding them how much they mean to you, sending care packages of their favourite treats when they least expect it speaks volumes and can really nurture a relationship, as schmalzy as it sounds. There's nothing more heartwarming than facing the daily grind by waking up to a heartfelt message or an adorable 'vlog' of what your other half has been up to!
'Save your arguments for the big ones'
Something my mother will time and time again reiterate is to 'save your arguments for the big ones'. I admit I didn't fully appreciate this until I returned to Manchester. I am a hyper-sensitive, high strung and occasionally capricious person, with the inclination to become irked by matters and not address them in an effective manner which often results in matters blowing completely out of proportion. Long distance communication can be rife with misapprehensions and hurt if you aren't open about something that is troubling you. Disputes can't always be avoided however can often be resolved when two people sit down together and talk it through. In long distance with the physical component being missing it really depends on you to communicate if something is on your mind, otherwise the other person remains oblivious and over time these things can accumulate leading to you either imploding or exploding. The aftermath of it can be even messier and difficult to salvage when meeting up to discuss matter and smooth things over isn't an option. I've noticed that over the past year I've become increasingly selective and discerning about my arguments and will often immediately tell my other half if something isn't sitting right with me and in turn he has become much more responsive and in tune with my feelings. With time, the more this was practiced the more it was incorporated into our routine.
Successfully overcoming and combatting the hurdles within our relationship due to the distance, in turn has made our relationship as well as us more resilient to strain, failures and life events in general over the past year and a half. I find that I'm less discouraged when things don't go as anticipated and I'm more willing to dust myself off and start over which is something I wouldn't have been able to muster the courage to do beforehand. Long distance has also emboldened my fiancé in becoming even more determined to succeed in applying for his masters in the UK, regardless of the hindrances he faces.
In the absence of your significant other, you unsurprisingly have an abundance of time on your hands and an opportunity to improve qualities and skills you may already posses or you can broaden your repertoire by acquiring more. This doesn't mean that nothing gets done with your partner around, however in order not to brood over things which I have the tendency of doing when left entirely on my own, it's best to put that superfluous time to good use. This could be as simple as improving your photography skills, to taking up a hobby, to recommencing education. With the amount of time I've spent on my own in the past year and a half I've managed to immerse myself into a diverse number of self improvement projects; I've started university again, I've learnt how to sew (there's a blogpost dedicated to that), I've opened up an Etsy shop and I've become an active reader once more.
Dress: Marks and Spencer Constellation dress:
Velvet mary jane shoes: Mango
Chain clutch bag: Accessorize
Chiffon hijab: Ebay
Arm candy: Zeki
Arm candy: Zeki