Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Long Distance Love

Are Long Distance Relationships (LDRs) good for you? I know they are not for everybody but they always work for me. In fact, two of my longest relationships started off as LDRs and both relationships were quite fulfilling. So I thought I would write an article about the joys of dating someone from a distance. But then again, I thought that the best advice always comes from the people who have been successful at creating love and maintaining relationships from a far. Lucky for me, Create Love is full of experts who have experience with defying distance.   Though their comments are different, there are some general themes that will help you decide if a LDR is right for you.

According to the Create Love experts, there are 3 important factors to consider before forging an out-of-town bond.

Here is what a few wise women had to say:

Stacey Rice --- My 1st tip would be for couples to be open and honest about their expectations of the relationship and each other. Talk about what each of your needs are going in to the relationship and where you want the relationship to go and how fast you want to get there. Not only talk but LISTEN and be EXACT .Do not try to fool yourself in to believing you can make it work if you know in your heart that you or the other person are NOT GOOD with long distance. It's probably not going to work.

COMMUNICATION - I cannot stress that enough! Don't start out doing something in the beginning that you cannot or are not willing to keep doing. It's easy once the honeymoon stage is over to let yourself get caught up in your everyday life because your partner is not there with you. You let them get put on the back burner so to speak; trust and believe they will not stay warm back there for long. You must make the time in your day to spend some quality time with your partner. Be it over the phone, video chat, or whatever method of communication works for the both of you; not just what works for you. You are in this relationship together and compromise is a must! If one person says they need phone time, figure out a way to make it happen; even if it's just 5 or 10 minutes out of your day. Go someplace quiet where there will be no interruptions and make the call. If that means you have to go sit in your car in the garage then go do it! It may not seem like much to you but it might mean the world to them. If texting is their thing but not yours, do it anyway, it will not kill you to send a quick text to her throughout the day. The key is to communicate with each other in a way that shows the other person that they matter, and you are willing to go that extra step. Women do not want to be mind readers; don't think just because you are thinking about them, they automatically know this so there is no need for you to tell her. Even if she knows you are, there is no harm in verbalizing it.

DISTANCE- Let's face it travel is costly no matter how you do it. Flying is quicker but can be expensive. Driving is probably cheaper but unless you have a lot of time to spare it's probably not practical especially if someone is traveling 12 hours or more. If you or she is the type of person that needs to physically be with that person a lot, and the distance between the 2 of you is so great that you cannot possibly afford to keep making those trips the relationship is probably not going to work out. Like I mentioned before you have to be honest about everything in the beginning, and that includes how much face-to-face time you require to keep you happy. Attraction is not enough!

Donna Shands: One thing that we do is have dates. We actually dress up and meet via skype-no interruptions just us. We also both have very busy lives so we send little texts throughout the day that vary from random to extra spicy. Above all else we talk about every feeling honestly. There is a high level of trust. The hardest part is we are both touchy/feely so not being able to physically connect is difficult. Skype helps a lot, plus our emotional connection is so strong it feels physical.

We nurture the emotional connection by LISTENING. I know what she wants and needs out of a relationship and I give her that. For example, she needs closeness and "home". I make sure that I focus on her when we talk or skype and do things that feel as if we are in the same space. We sleep together, eat, read, do homework, etc. I always make sure she knows I appreciate the effort she puts into staying connected. She knows I love attention so she surprises me with texts about her feelings in that moment or she will tap out of a meeting to give me a quick call-indicating that I am a priority. Those tiny things keep us smiling and connected.

Eternity Philops: We're blessed that although we're far apart we get to see each other fairly often, every couple of weeks. In between we schedule nights specifically for talking and catching up with each other (which can be hard with a 3 hour time difference and full workloads on both ends). We also text throughout the day every day, and make the most of Skype, which we use not just for conversing but also to be in each other’s presence even if we're both doing other things. Eternity was one of our Happy Highlight Singles and is now in a happy LDR.

Darlene Kelly: I am very interested in a woman I've been talking to for a few months. We have a very "FINALLY-found-the-one-I've-been-dreaming-of-my-entire-life" connection & we are going to meet for Thanksgiving; a perfect way to begin a relationship. I think I've already tried to push her away intending on removing her as a possibility due to the distance but that didn't work. We are actually in mutual agreement that this distance & time is good for us. It's a time for us to take care of loose ends, a time to prepare for our upcoming relationship status. I'm really looking forward to the rocking chairs & grandchildren with her. She gives me flocks of butterflies :))

Rosemary Porter: Do something you both like to do. My ex played the guitar when I met her. I lived in TX at the time and she was in GA. I was in awe when she would play to me while on Oovoo.  I told her I wanted to learn how to play. Another tip I’ll suggest is surprise her with little gifts or texts. That will keep the spice in a LDR.  My ex surprised me with a guitar the next time I went to go visit her. I named her Blue Ivy and I still have her to this day.  When I went back home we had lessons on Oovoo  when we talked at night. Our love of music was one interest we shared. That shared interest helped us to create a stronger foundation as the years went by. We were able to communicate through music and verbally when an issue arose.
Pam Culbreth: How do I stay connected, despite the distance? I wake up with a prayer and go to bed with a prayer. We try and begin & end our mornings talking to each other as well throughout our day when we can. We like to take turns planning date nights, having simple quality time. It helps that my career allows me (us) to travel frequently at little or no cost so we can see each other as often as our schedules permits. We also try to plan 2 or 3 trips to places we’ve never been each year.

I like to think that I “nurture” our relationship by making sure I tell and show her that I love her often, despite the distance. We acknowledge and appreciate each other privately & publicly, so that in between our visits she still knows and feels my love for her and my commitment to our relationship.

There can be many “pitfalls” in any relationship, because nobody’s perfect. I say to my partner all the time for me it’s about “D & R”…dignity and respect first. Treat me the way the way you want to be treated, and just remember that if it applies to me then it applies to you also. Never take your partner for granted, by assuming you know how she feels in a situation. Non-communication can be a major pitfall, especially when you’ve been hurt, and your partner may not have realized it. Trust issues has been hard for us at times in our 6 year relationship and we’ve had to learn to accept and acknowledge our mistakes, forgive each other, don’t repeat them and cover them up with more lies. Lastly, we try and surround ourselves with other couples that will hold us both responsible, encourage our relationship, pray with and for us, and tell us when we’re wrong. Recognize negative energy, because not everyone wants to see your relationship grow.

Bunnie Satchell:  Well, not only am I in a completely satisfying LDR, but I'm in a completely satisfying International Relationship (IR). Yes, my queen is Canadian, a Torontonian. She's amazing, wonderful and beautiful both inside & out. She chose me, and I accepted without out hesitation. And now we choose each other. Our paths crossed while on vacation. The most remarkable energy, compatibility and comfortableness that I've ever come across. The level of comfort on all aspects, mental, spiritual, conversation, openness, life experiences, similar interests, even matching physical qualities were like nothing that I've ever experienced before. No lines were crossed while on vaca. We were not available, and it simply was NOT our time. We acknowledged & respected that, and maintained our discipline. I stayed prayed up. I became still. I called on the Universe and asked that our paths may soon pass again. And so it was... When my Queen Audrey called me, and chose me - I said Yes, and gave all thanks and praises to the Most High !! How do we maintain our IR-LDR?  We talk on the phone almost daily. We text, email, call all throughout the day. We agreed and have been visiting one another monthly - for 4 days at the minimum. We have preplanned vacas, holidays, birthdays, and just-because-days. We communicate honestly and openly. We Listen. We share. We allow one another to be vulnerable without passing judgment, without being negative. We meditate and share the lessons learned. We co-wrote and entered a "Relationship Commitment" contract and got her closest friend and one of my dear and closet friends to witness the contract. Of course eventually one day Audrey & I will live together in the same city/country. That is our ultimate goal, but when the time is right. So for now we don't pressure one another for that decision. We are discipline to the Universe, the Most High will be our guide when it's time for that decision about cohabitation. You may ponder or ask, "How long have you two been together?” And Audrey & I will respond in complete synchronicity - "We've been together forever, in this life and the next". #Ase. Bunnie was one of our Happy Highlight Singles and is now in a happy LDR.  

Audrey Sanchez:  I said I would never be in a long distance relationship - anything more than 45 minutes away from me by car was too far!!  It just seemed like too much trouble ... until I met someone who made it all worth it.  And it turns out being in an LDR is not that much trouble at all even though we live in different countries!  We communicate in many different ways almost daily - with today's technology it's so easy.  And thankfully we're in a position where hopping on a plane monthly is also not too much of a strain on either of us.  I think the point is you make adjustments to get the things you really want. In this relationship, I have everything I could ever ask for - someone who loves and adores me, who makes time for me whether we are physically together or not; who goes the extra mile to show me how much she cares, and who lets me do the same for her.  Plus I get to have my time and space as much as I need on my own terms.  It's more perfect than I could have imagined.   And even though I look forward to the day when we live in the same city - and under the same roof -  for now, this long distance relationship is all that AND a bag of chips!

Cherry Knowles (Ms. NY):
Things to Watch Out For Especially at the Beginning

  • Listen to how your partner talks to her children when she doesn’t think you are paying attention.
  • Ask your partner about her relationship with her mother and father. If she has issues with her parents and have not received therapy, she more than likely will have problems in a serious relationship.
  • Ask your partner what she did that day. If she cleaned up the same room she cleaned up yesterday (other than the bathroom or kitchen), she may be OCD.
  • If she is constantly complaining about her bills, she is waiting for you to send her some money.
  • If you agreed to fly her to see you for the first time and split the bill, make sure your partner pays her half in advance (not pay you back later) because if it doesn’t work out, you will never get your money back.
  • If she complains that she doesn’t have that many minutes on her phone and will have to limit the conversation with you, she wants you to pay her cell phone bill.
  • If you send her flowers but she never send you flowers or anything else, beware!
  • If you call her at night but she is always sleep or went to bed early and cannot talk, ask yourself if she’s alone or going out and don’t want to tell you.
  • If you go to visit her and she makes excuses on why she can’t introduce you to her family and close friends in the area, you may be a secret, she may be seeing someone else when you are not around, or she may not be out the closet.
  • Do a quick background check on Spokeo or a similar website. You need to check to see if she is who she says she is, lives where she says she lives, and is in the marital status that she claims.
  • Pull up her address on Google maps to see exactly where she lives.

Things to Do to Keep the Fires Burning
  • Send loving texts for no special reason.
  • Write an email love letter or poem and send on a restless night.
  • Send a plant or flowers when she is not feeling well, had a hard day, or lost a close relative or friend to let her know she is in your prayers.
  • Send flowers to her job if she gets a promotion, completed a difficult project, got a new client that was very challenging, etc. This makes you a part of her life and keeps her sharing with you.
  • Plan a road trip together that will take several days or a week. At each destination, have a planned itinerary with activities you would both enjoy.
  • When visiting, surprise her with planned spa treatments.
  • Order information from the Chamber of Commerce and traveling organizations in her area to become familiar with the area, malls, events, activities, restaurants, resorts, and cultural places to visit. This way you can surprise her with plans of your own when visiting or know where to order her a meal and have it delivered to her when you are not there. Also, it’s a good idea to know the local florists in her area so that you may send her gifts (less money when using a local florist than an 800 service).
  • Try to plan a special event for Valentine’s Day, whether you spend it together or not. Planning should start months in advance. Same for her birthday, and New Year’s Eve.
  • Plan at least 1-2 vacations alone together every year.
  • Plan to attend each other’s family weddings, reunions, and other family special events.
  • Talk about what each of you watch on TV. Decide on something to watch together (on or off the phone) and discuss it later on the phone.
  • Write a list of things you can talk about.
  • Use Skype, Oovoo, Yahoo Messenger, etc., to see each other and talk at least once per week while seeing each other. If others are always around, get a laptop or IPad to use in the privacy of your bedroom at night.
  • Both plan to see a movie at the theater the same weekend then talk about it.Send her pictures of your new hairstyle, when out with friends, or of a great meal you cooked or ate at a restaurant.
  • Keep up with the weather reports in her area to warn her if you see a storm coming. And, if her area is in a big storm, stay in contact with her to make sure she is OK.
  • Order and send to her a gift certificate to get a mani/pedi at her favorite spa.
  • Send her greeting cards expressing how you feel. Lightly spray the card with your favorite fragrance.
  • Purchase a new pair of panties, take a shower or bath using your favorite fragrance then wear the panties for 30 minutes then mail to her.
  • Plan a weekend beach or resort trip or cruise together.
  • End each phone conversation at night with 1 thing you like about the other.

Remember the top themes:

Intimacy – Make sure you stay connected and let technology help you overcome the physical separation.  Share your feelings because your voice and words have to resonate physically, emotionally and spiritually. Effective and consistent communication is the key.

Interaction – Use different forms of media to connect and express your love. Find and consistently plan ways/times to be “together” to share your lives. You both must commit to engaging differently, and you must agree to interact in a way that supports the relationship and strengthens the bond. Expect bouts of loneliness but use those times for self-development.

Ingenuity – Be creative and make sure you allocate resources to cultivate and nurture the relationships. LDRs take money and planning so think outside the box so that your finances don’t limit your love.

Great tips and wisdom from the ladies of Create Love. If you find the love of your life, don’t let distance stop you from making a love connection. Anything worth having is worth working for J.

SharRon Jamison

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  1. Great advice. Two of the people in my circle keep telling me that my next love is not in my city and that I should be disappointed when I meet womyn here and things don't develop into something more. I've decided to be more open when I travel to conferences, etc. to the possibility that I will meet her in another city or state.

    1. Thanks for your comment. You perfect partner is out there for you sis. You are a queen an you deserve the best.

  2. Thank you Imani and SharRon for this topic and giving us the opportunity to share our expereiences. Very good informative article indeed. Congratulations to all the LDR & International Relationship (IR) couples. GOD Speed & Much Success to you all, from Audrey & Constance.

    1. Thanks to both of you for sharing your wisdom. Your insight is going to help so many who feel that LDR is not possible. You are making it happen and we celebrate both of you. Thanks again!!!

  3. Greetings, SharRon and Imani!
    Thank you for such an encouraging and loving feature! I appreciate the sharing format. Everyone's words made my heart smile!

  4. Thanks so much Claudia! We appreciate your support and your affirmation sis. Thanks so much for the feedback too. We are committed to trying new things to support our readers. Blessings!