For some strange reason, I seem to have grown a penchant for long-distance relationships recently. I was back in the States this summer when I met a really great guy through mutual friends and a week later I left for a trip to Buenos Aires; when I returned, I was only back for two weeks before returning to Hong Kong. This guy and I liked each other so much that we decided to try out the long-distance thing. We set up Skype, exchanged phone numbers and emails, then for just over a month we gave it all we had, until he gave up and said it was too hard.
You’d think I’d have learned my lesson, but three months later I was enjoying a night out with my girlfriends when in comes a cute Turkish guy wearing a plaid shirt. Wow! I’m wearing a plaid shirt, too! It must be fate! We started talking about our mutual like of plaid and it turned out that he’s really smart and a great conversationalist. First problem is I was leaving to go home for two weeks for Christmas, but we decided to keep talking while I was there and hang out upon my return to HK. Second problem? He left for the States a week later where he lives permanently, but he was just so great and our chemistry was so out of this world that we decided to try out the long-distance thing (sound familiar?).
Here I sit, almost two months after he’s abandoned Hong Kong, still Skyping, Whatsapping, and falling for Can (names have been changed!), the cute Turkish guy. Now, I’d love to be able to explain why long-distance Relationships (LDR) have become my newest trend, but I really can’t, so instead I’ve come up with a list of how to keep them running. With Hong Kong being such a transient place, many of us meet and greet guys from all over the world, so if you’re looking to keep the passion alive from 8,000 miles away, look no further!
1. Find any means possible to communicate
Can started using his Gmail account again just so that we could Gchat while I was at work; he and I joined Google+ so that we had a better video to use (even though it didn’t ever work); I downloaded a Facebook friend caster on my e-reader so that I could chat with him when he was on FB and I was “reading”; and of course, we exchanged Skype contacts. We were desperate at first to get hold of each other, so we found whatever means possible to do so.
2. Whatsapp is a must!
I bought a used iPhone so that I could have easier access to communicating with friends and family… though conveniently I didn’t do that until after I’d met Can! Forget everything but Skype in #1 and get Whatsapp; it will change your LDR forever. Bonus/stalker-ific: you can see every time he’s online!
3. Set up Skype dates
We’re both busy with work and friends and there’s also that pesky time difference, so Can and I have to set up times when we know that we’ll both be online. It’s just like a real date, minus the hand-holding, him paying for dinner, seeing new shows together… okay, fine, it’s nothing like a real date except for the fact that you’ve both set aside time to spend “together” without interruptions.
4. Don’t expect to talk 24/7
The time difference between the US and HK makes it almost impossible to be in constant contact. He’s gallivanting around town while I’m at work and by the time I get home, Can’s sleeping, but we make do with the time we both have. We send good morning and sweet dreams messages when we’re on our way to/from bed even if the other person’s busy, just to show that we’re thinking about one another. [Awwwww…]
5. Send each other things
Whether it’s a random card in the mail sent to his work, an e-card saying I miss you, flowers on Valentine’s Day, or a package with his favorite food from Hong Kong, sending each other something shows that you care.
6. Be honest with your expectations
If you don’t want him to date other people, then say it. If he doesn’t want you to have a drunken make-out, then he should tell you. Which leads to #7…
7. Communication is key
This is true for all relationships as you already know, but it’s imperative in an LDR that you voice your concerns, your feelings, your expectations, everything because guys can’t read your mind across the dinner table, let alone the continents.
8. Set dates to visit or take a holiday together
Not only do you get to see somewhere new, vacations are the best way to bond. Planning a vacation together is super exciting and it also gives you something to look forward to… even if it isn’t until three months time.
9. Don’t forget to live your life
Just because your boyfriend isn’t here, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. I still go out with my girlfriends on Saturday night, but I’ve reworked my life a bit to centre less around alcohol (my liver is also happy!) and more around making the most out of my time in Hong Kong. We go to Zumba on Fridays and plan fun places to visit or go hiking on Sundays. And when I do go out, I dance with my friends – they have better dance moves anyway!
10. Be happy!
If you aren’t happy, then the LDR isn’t for you. You wouldn’t stay in a relationship where you live in the same place if he was mean, didn’t call when he said he would, or didn’t show that he cared. The same goes for when he’s far away. Your life won’t end because your relationship ends. I’ve always said that happiness is the most important achievement in one’s life, so if you aren’t happy, change to something that will make you happy.
Clearly, I’m not expert at this whole LDR thing, but I’d like to think I’ve worked through the kinks and cracks in the past seven months. We aren’t perfect at it yet, but come June when he’s back in Hong Kong, I’m pretty sure we’ll be pros!