A common feeling among people, not only teenagers, is the feeling or desire to be loved. One of the ways that this is somehow being rectified by our generation is, as always, the internet. Obviously, not all relationships nowadays are online relationships, but there is definitely a spike in this kind of dating among our generation. Meeting people online, and somehow falling for them is something that a lot of us have experienced; it isn’t even an unexplainable phenomenon. In fact, there are a few explanations to this that I have come across in the recent years I have been in and out of relationships- online and in person. This article is to explain some of the things that I have come across about long distance relationships, as well as chat on how to make yours the best one you can!
My inspiration for writing this article happened today when I was having a conversation with the woman I live with about weird things I do that I don’t often understand, and I brought up falling in love with people who are so far away. She said, “Maybe it is because they are so far away that you fall for them?” I won’t lie, she got me thinking. This isn’t the first time that I have heard this or even thought this. For some people who are in long distance relationships, there is a security in the fact that they aren’t next to you every day. It sounds strange I know, why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who you can only see in grainy video calls on laptops and mobiles, instead of someone who goes to your school? The security of the distance, as weird as that may seem. For many different reasons such as; if something goes wrong, you don’t have to see them again. There is also the fact that there is no expectation for sex or physical contact when you are not ready for it, as for people like me it can take a while to warm up to that, and it is safe because the person is not there to be physical with.
Another reason for falling in love with people on the other side of the state, country or world can also be openness. One thing our generation is good at is keeping feelings, thoughts and opinions to themselves, often sheltering themselves and hiding themselves from the people around them. Especially immediate family and people at school, which isn’t a surprise and possibly not something that is a development of our generation, but affected those before us. However something that is a new development is the internet. I know that many people in our generation find solace and familiarity with people they talk to online, where they find likeminded people and people who have helped them out when they felt like they couldn’t talk to anyone else. In saying this, it is these people that we become closest to, and often in turn get feelings for. They listen, they relate, they help, they comfort and often; they love seemingly unconditionally, especially when they often see you at your worst and still want to be your friend. It’s moments like that, when someone proves loyalty and love seemingly so completely that you find yourself falling in love with them.
My favourite reason for long distance relationships being so common and genuine among our generation is luck. People are just lucky to find each other, because once upon a time they never would have. My girlfriend and I are on opposite sides of the world, and if it wasn’t for the internet I would never have even known she existed, and there’s an old fashioned sentiment that people come into your life when you need them. If the internet didn’t exist then a lot of people wouldn’t be as happy as they are, they wouldn’t have found the people that make them so happy.
Now, let’s be honest here and admit that distance is not an easy avenue for a relationship. They are probably one of the hardest relationships to maintain, and they take a lot more work than some other relationships, but they can also be the most rewarding especially in the long run. I know that in my current long distance relationship, as well as in past ones, the overwhelming feelings that can happen just because they looked up at the camera to smile at you when they are in the middle of something has often outweighed the feelings I have had when someone has yelled ‘babe’ at me across the school field. The never ending daydreams about meeting them, cuddling them, kissing them, the constant desire to love and be loved by them. A relationship with someone that your whole world revolves around even though there is a whole world between you can be, and often is, one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced.
When someone commits to you wholeheartedly because they just want you and no one else, those who are willing to wait and those who are willing to try, are the kind of people that are in it for the long haul. In saying this of course not all relationships work out, but long distance relationships are all about hope (and trust) and the hope that it will work out and that you will be forever, that you will meet and that this little happy cybernetic bubble won’t pop.
It is okay to catch feelings with someone who lives so far away, whether they feel the same or are willing to commit to a long distance relationship is a different story so before you even enter into a long distance relationship it is time to understand the first rule of long distance relationships: communicate. A lot. About everything.
Long distance relationships revolve nearly entirely on communication and honesty. Tell the truth about everything always. Even just not telling your partner that you are stressed out or why, whether because it’s something from school or home and doesn’t directly impact them, can affect your relationship in a negative way. You must talk openly and honestly about everything as often as you can, and cherish that you are in a relationship where you can be like that. Maybe it is something that you originally liked about the person in the first place.
Being open and honest with your partner, even about things that may seem trivial, is one of the best ways to establish trust, as trust goes hand in hand with hope on what is the core and foundation of a long distance relationship.
There are some tools that can be used in a long distance relationship that makes it easier and a lot more fun to be in, from Skype or other video calling apps to an app called Couple.
Video calling is a major aspect of long distance relationships; it’s as close as you can be to each other. Whether you are just chilling online with the call on and having casual conversation, long and deep and meaningful conversations with undivided attention, or watching a movie together, they are all important.
Ways to watching a movie together. Skype and I believe Google Hangouts have share screen features where you can watch and hear what the other person has on their laptop. This can have poor sound quality and be momentarily hard at times to hear anything at all. It is a possible element to use for movie watching, but the best way I have found to watching movies together is by finding the same movie on Netflix or a streaming website and pressing play at the same time. It is a lot easier to watch a movie together that way, and if someone is ahead just a bit, it is really easy to sync the videos up so that you are watching with no echo or playback. There is also the app Rabbit where you can watch movies, YouTube and such together, and as far as I know it is also a website. I have used this once with a friend when she had a bad dream and wanted to watch Tangled and it worked pretty well. It also felt more real or authentic than just pressing play at the same time, with no intention to discredit that method as that too is convenient and works.
The app specifically for couples, it is quite well called Couple and is one of the cheesiest and cutest apps I have ever found. My girlfriend and I use it, although not all day every day, but often enough that the novelty hasn’t worn off and it is still really cute. You can leave sketches and drawings for each other, draw and sketch on the live sketch feature where you can play games like noughts and crosses, and used with a video call it can be really fun and chill entertainment with the one you love. There is also the button you can press that sends them a notification saying that you are just thinking of them. The app can use FaceTime, and it is a direct messaging focused app, as well as holds key dates such as anniversaries and birthdays. You can customise it with pictures of your partner and of yourself, and it is just between you two, it isn’t community based like Tumblr and Facebook. My favourite part by far is the “Thumbkiss” feature. You go into the feature that is depicted with a pair of lips and then you are faced with a white screen. If you press your thumb against the screen then your partner gets a notification that you want a thumbkiss. They then go into the feature and they will see your thumbprint on their screen and they place their own thumb over the top. When they are aligned, your phones will vibrate. It’s really cute and still gives me butterflies when my phone vibrates, it’s like a modern day hands-on-either-side-of-the-glass moment that happens in movies.
Other things that you and your partner can do are online games such as Webopoly, a monopoly based game revolving around online things that can be played with two or more people; Cards Against Humanity also has an online feature. Messenger games are really simple, but they can create healthy competition and banter between you and your partner. Doing these games on video call can also make them more fun and make you feel closer to your partner, hearing them laugh and seeing them smile (or pout if they are losing!)
My girlfriend, who was a member of TWE, and I have been in this relationship for what feels like ages even though it hasn’t been that long at all. Some days we can’t video call because I fall asleep while she is at school, or I am working when she wakes up, and her mock GCSE exams are coming up and she needs to study, meanwhile I am working two jobs, or maybe we are both just keeping our social lives together and family relationships intact and the time difference just make it that little bit harder to call. Those days are some of the hardest on us emotionally, because even though we are happy with the things we are doing, you do feel incomplete without seeing their face or hearing their voice. Those are days that reassurance is important. Reassuring the other person that you still love them and want to be with them, and just giving a brief description as to why you will be unable to talk a lot or video call that day can really help maintain the comfort and ease of a relationship and make you both feel better.
Last of all, there is nothing wrong with the moments where you feel like there is nothing to say. You are so far away and even couples who live together sit in silence at times, it is healthy and it is okay. Leave the call on if you were on call, and one of you can play music or play your video games or read, write, nap, draw, colour. It’s often comforting to feel like you aren’t alone, and you can talk to them when you feel like there is something to say.
My girlfriend and I often spend hours and hours on call and we aren’t always talking. Relatively often I fall asleep and she leaves the call on, only for when I wake up she too is asleep and I leave the call on until she has to go to school. It’s really nice waking up and seeing her face, knowing she is still on call makes me feel safer and it is comforting. Oh and turns out we both talk in our sleep sometimes. Leaving calls on lets you learn things about each other that people wouldn’t necessarily know unless they were right there beside you. Plus, sleeping, as well as eating, on camera are real signs of trust in your relationship.
Long distance relationships are beautiful, comforting, securing and amazing if done correctly and honestly. If you are finding yourself heading in that direction then it’s okay don’t worry, you are fine and, for lack of a better word, normal. Take your time, this could be one of the best relationships you ever have, and it could end up being your forever relationship.
By Raegan Lei
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.