It comes down to 2 steps, really
My love language is touch.
I prefer physical expressions of love over verbal affirmations. Be it hand-holding, hugs, or cuddles, I need to feel my partner physically to know they are close, to understand that they cherish me.
This lockdown has been hard on me. Prior to this, even though my partner and I were in a long-distance relationship, we booked flights and adjusted schedules to meet each other at least once a month.
However, with the situation the world is in right now, the last time I met them was in February 2020.
I know this might not sound like a big deal to couples who live in different continents and are still making it work. But, to me, this felt like everything would end, at least in the earlier months. Both of us were so frustrated, that even when we managed to find time for a video call, we would end up blaming each other or recounting past disagreements.
I loved my partner. I didn’t want to lose them.
But, these daily quarrels and this insurmountable frustration was getting to my head. I felt like I could do it no longer.
It was a stick-together-or-break-up kind of situation. One day, we had a long talk to sort out our priorities without losing our tempers. Something changed that day.
Today, six months down the line, we are still together. Yes, we still have the occasional quarrel, but we have more or less managed to settle into a rhythm. I still crave for touch, but because I understood that having them in my life was more important than seeing them every day, I have convinced my heart that it is okay even though we might not see each other for a long time.
As long as we are together, it’s going to be alright.
Looking back on the past months, I have narrowed down everything to two simple steps my partner and I took. I believe that to make a long-distance relationship work, all you need is these two steps.
Seek Comfort in Patterns
Make your partner a part of your routine. Have a pattern that both you are familiar with and cherish.
I like to wake up to a text from my partner. Since they sleep later than me, they usually leave something sweet before retiring — something they know will bring a smile on my face. I wake up, feel loved by reading their words, and send them a fitting reply so they have something to cheer them up in the mornings too.
Apart from that, we call each other in the evenings. I walk on my terrace, looking at the sunset sky, my phone glued to my ear. They live near the beach, so our phone calls are peppered generously with the sounds of the sea. We discuss how our days went, and just be there for each other, miles apart, but watching the same sun bid farewell to the world for another day.
It was difficult to fall into this rhythm, but we did. The biggest perk of having a pattern is that you can plan the rest of the day around your partner, and be a part of their lives without demanding too much of their attention.
Patterns are comforting. They are easy to fit into your life.
Be Okay with Breaking the Pattern
While setting aside a fixed time of the day is important to let your partner know you love them, it is not possible to call them at the same time every single day. There would be certain emergencies, and try as you might, you might skip the schedule.
Don’t lose your cool in such cases. It is important that you trust your partner and have faith that something unavoidable must have come up.
I struggled with this for a while. I used to get angry when my partner failed to call me in the evening. There was a time when they went out with their family for some shopping, and I got so restless, I started screaming the moment I got their call.
This wasn’t healthy. Yes, my partner was supposed to stick religiously to our routine, but they were allowed days when we attend to other important matters too.
With time, I learned to make peace with it. I’ll be honest — this required trust. Lots of it. But I managed.
If you were to tell me at the beginning of this year that I would be living in a long-distance relationship with my partner for six months, I would have laughed and called you crazy. That is how important intimacy was to me.
But with time, I have understood that if you truly love someone, it is okay if you don’t get to express it as often as you’d have liked. Everything is okay as long as you know they are there and they have got your back.
For me, the two things that worked in my favour were settling into a rhythm of calling each other and being okay with not being available on some days.
At the core of these two simple rules, there are two mindset shifts —
- The willingness to make time for your partner and include them in your daily routine.
- The trust that they will be there for you, no matter what. There might be other tasks that demand their immediate attention, but that does not mean they don’t love you.
If you can incorporate these traits in your long-distance relationship, I feel you would have a better chance of holding it together and avoiding unnecessary mental trauma.