Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I know I’m not the only one who’s been separated from their significant other. Long-distance relationships are maintained for different reasons, a common one being military, but loved ones are often divided by factors they can’t control. For Louis and I, it was citizenship. I never realized how difficult it would be for us to be together, and distance was a harsh reality for us for several months. I can’t tell you how many times are hearts were crushed when we hit walls with immigration over and over again, but we never stopped trying.

Now, we are thankfully together, but I still look upon those months apart with fondness. We loved each other, so we made long-distance work, and it was how we built our marriage. With technology the way it is now, long-distance is definitely not as hard as it used to be. This is what we did to keep the love alive, even from miles away.

Text Often

No, we weren’t checking up on the other. We simply were reassuring the other that we were thinking of them. Especially with the time distance, we weren’t always available at the same time. Louis would text me “good morning” when he was on his way into work, and by the time I would text “good morning” back, he would be at lunch. We texted when we got the moment, and it was so nice to look at my phone and have a sweet text from my husband waiting for me.

Remember Important Dates

Even though we couldn’t celebrate holidays or birthdays together every time, we made sure to recognize them. A post on social media, a card in the mail, or a video message still made the other person feel special and acknowledged. Most often, we would also set aside time in each of our days for a scheduled skype session or phone call, to spend time together in the only way we could.

Stay Involved

This is part of remembering important dates. Just because you are miles apart doesn’t mean you have to be in the dark about each other’s days. Let the other know when you’ve got an important meeting or an exciting night out coming up. Share stories on the phone as if you were sitting at a dinner table. A short text of “good luck” or “have fun” helps the other person feel like they are with you.

Staying involved was especially important for my husband and I when I was pregnant. Louis heard Hallie’s heartbeat for the first tmie the same moment I did, because he was on speaker-phone at my appointment. We also shared the weekly emails together from the app I was using, learning the development of our unborn child together. He couldn’t attend my appointments with me, but I knew he was still there for me.

Be Emotionally Supportive

No physical contact means you rely solely on your ability to communicate and stay emotionally connected. Without nonverbal cues available regularly, you have to actually say if something is upsetting you. At this point, I can tell through text when something is off in my husband’s day, but that took months of learning each other’s behavioral patterns. We had quite a few frustrations at first because we were too worried about upsetting the other, that we wouldn’t admit when something was wrong. Long-distance forces direct and honest conversations, because it’s all you have. When you’re not there to hold their hand, they want to know that you’re at least holding them in your thoughts.

Skype was definitely our crutch in getting through those tough times. I’m sure we logged at least a few thousand hours by the time it was all said and done, and both of us have fallen asleep while on screen. It wasn’t easy, but every moment apart was worth what we have now. Our communication is excellent, and we appreciate our time together even more. Long-distance can be successful, but only if you want it to be. And although these tips are geared towards long-distance, they are a reflection of any healthy relationship. Never settle for less than what you deserve, and sometimes that will mean extra effort, like crossing an ocean.