4 tips for a happy long-distance engagement

Guest post by SarahC

My fiance, Ian, proposed my senior year of college. Once I graduated, he still had a year of school left so we rented a room off-campus together. He went to school and I went to work. We floundered as we tried to figure out what we wanted to do and to find a way to make our passions profitable in the midst of the Great Recession.

We managed to struggle along (with LOADS of help from both sets of parents) but earlier this year, we finally realized we couldn't keep it up. We decided that the best decision we could make was to move back in with our respective parents until we moved on to grad school. This responsible behavior came with a heavy price: our parents' houses are over 200 miles away from each other. It takes him over seven hours of drive time up to my parent's house and back and it's an even longer trip by train.

It's been difficult, and any person who's ever been in a long-distance relationship can tell you how much it sucks. But I've also learned some things which might be helpful to any couple forced apart for a while.

1. Talk to each other

Seriously, pick up a phone and listen to the sound of your fiance's voice. While it is always exciting to open up your inbox and see a new email waiting for you (my hubby-to-be and I send each other puns and internet memes) nothing beats a phone conversation after a long day. If you have a webcam, so much the better.

2. Make a schedule

And stick to it! Discuss your schedules and plan appropriate times for a call or a visit. we've found that the time apart is made more bearable when we know when we'll see each other again. We try to make sure that by the time we have to leave, we've already arranged for our next visit.

3. Be spontaneous!

Send a card, leave a ridiculous message on their answering machine, sext them in the middle of the day, whatever floats your boat. Just like surprise flowers on a Tuesday afternoon, a simple gesture of love from hundreds of miles away can have an enormous impact.

And finally

4. Little things are important

Occasionally Ian and I will have really deep and emotionally intense conversations about our future and the things we believe, but usually we just give each other a rundown of the day. What makes a relationship work is all the little things that happen between and to the both of you. It's good to keep up with what the other person is doing, what new shows they've been watching, what friends they've run into, and all the other small things that happen to us every day that can get lost in the distance.

Hold on to your sanity and hold on to the relationship. When you make it through this rough patch, the two of you will be the stronger for it.

Comments on 4 tips for a happy long-distance engagement

  1. I did this for two and a half years and it SUCKED; but it made us stronger. One thing I would add is to make sure you also have a life of your own. Not only is it ok to have a life outside of talking on the phone with your partner, it’s healthy! You don’t have to talk EVERY DAY and when you do talk it’s good to have something to talk about.

  2. I hear you! My fiancé and I have been doing the distance thing for most of our relationship-our families joke that we keep trying to escape each other. We met in Spain and two months later he moved to Italy, and we decided to stick it out and see how it went. I followed him to Italy six months later and was only there for two months before I was offered a job in Colombia. I moved to Colombia, he moved back to Spain. Fast forward nine months and I’m back in the States and he’s in Nicaragua. I’m going to join him in two months and six days, and hopefully that will be the end of long-distance forever.

    Skype has been crucial to keeping us sane. We talk every day, usually for at least an hour, about everything and nothing. Having clear dates set for the next visit is also a huge deal. When I went off to Colombia, I knew I would be seeing him three months later, and I wrote a little Post-it sized note to him for each day that we would be apart and then gave them all to him in a box right before I left. Writing them all kept me from falling to pieces before my departure and kept him from falling to pieces while I was gone.

    I have a theory that if you can keep a long-distance relationship alive, it bodes really well for the future. My parents did intercontinental long-distance for four years before they got married, and they’re celebrating their 33rd anniversary in January. They’re probably the happiest couple I know.

  3. Me and my fiance are in a LDR for 3 and half years. We are like 8000 miles away he in new York and me in India. Sometimes things are very difficult and we have to tolerate distance for more 2 and a half years. But still we love each other the most,spend time with each other but sucks we can’t do things together. Hope everything will turn out good even if we fight like hell. Hope god bless us.

  4. Definitely rings true, my partner and I got together at uni and at first only spent the holidays apart, but we knew that after our degrees were done, it’d be hundreds of miles between our parents’ houses for the foreseeable future. Still haven’t figured out that next step, which means the longed-for engagement is still on hold, but this post is pretty much how we are managing. Plus, getting a head start on wedding brainstorming so we are ready when we are finally able to financially commit! Bonding over that future together is something we only need the Internet for. We get to see each other every few months for a few days and it’s very tough. But here’s to face time calls and eventually putting a ring on it!!

  5. Connie is a pinoy girl and lives in the Philippines. I’m a Hungarian guy in the UK.
    It was my surprise for her birthday.
    Hopefully she’ll get her visa soon and we can get married in Hungary, Szeged!

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