With Valentine’s Day approaching and an unavoidable amount dinner specials and flower bouquet deals, some couples will be forced to share the romance hundred of miles away.
But for them, the distance is just part of the daily frustration that comes with being in a long-distance relationship.
“Making a long-distance relationship work depends greatly on who the people are. Each relationship has its own demands,” Dr. Bruce Derman, a relationship expert and clinical psychologist in California said.
Motivational speaker David Coleman, also known as “The Dating Doctor,” admits that these relationships have a low probability of succeeding. From what he’s observed, two out of three don’t make it.
“People end up fighting because they have nothing new to talk about and they don’t really know what they’re saying to each other,” Coleman said, noting that it is sometimes difficult for humans to spend that much time apart and still have the same affection for each other.
Yet many are not letting the distance or the time apart deter them from a romantic evening.
“Communication is definitely key, as cliché as that is,” University of California – Los Angeles junior Monica Shei said. “But in a situation where time zones get to be a huge obstacle, a simple call or text makes all the difference.”
Shei has been with her boyfriend, Yan Man, a senior at Oxford University for three years.
Their secret? Planning their schedules the night before and calling each other every morning.
“Different time zones doesn’t really give us a lot of space to be spontaneous so we typically plan our schedules the night before and tell each other when we’re free to talk in order to avoid confusion or disappointment,” Shei said.
Man’s formula for success is much more straightforward: “Try not to make Monica mad at me.”
Each relationship and situation is different, but according to experts, the key to success is effort.
“You have to put out that extra effort, that extra commitment,” Derman said. “You can’t just have a natural flow, it’s not just ‘I’ll just see you when it’s okay for me.’ All get-togethers are a project that’s going to require a lot of planning. You have to be willing to meet that demand.”
For Shei and many others, these demands are worth it.
“It just comes down to realizing that the one you’re with is worth all of this trouble because you know that your life is better with him being thousands of miles away than not at all,” she said.
Sending a card and flowers to your long-distance sweetheart can get a little bit cliché after years of being apart, so here are some unique Valentine’s Day tips from our experts and long-distance relationship veterans:
1. Postpone the romance
“This year we’ve decided not to celebrate it since we’ve never actually been physically together on the holiday. So we decided to skip the hype and make our own Valentine’s Day to be celebrated when he comes back to the States,” Shei said.
2. Give 14 miniature gifts
“This is for those who don’t have a lot of money to spare,” Coleman said. “I can go to the dollar store. I can buy 14 individual dollar gifts. Wrap each individual gift and wrap those boxes in a large box. She’s opening 14 gifts. One for every day.”
3. Eat dinner together
“Arrange a date on the phone and have a dinner together,” Derman said. “He’s eating at the same time you are. You’ve transcended the distance.”
4. Spend all night talking
“I think the biggest frustration with us is just the money,” Stephanie Anderson, a junior at Missouri State University said. “You’re so stressed with money during school. You’re trying to take loans and not spend a whole lot. I’d rather talk all night than pay a lot of money.”
Anderson has been dating her boyfriend, Keven Chambers, who attends Malone University in Canton, Ohio since she was a sophomore in high school. They’ve been apart for three years.
“We really only see each other during Christmas break and the summers,” she said. “It kind of sucks because you see all these advertisements for the day and restaurant specials.”
5. Make a virtual scrapbook
“Both people take pictures of what they do throughout the day and put them into a virtual scrapbook to share with each other,” Jessie Chen, a junior at the University of California – Berkeley said. “It’ll be like they spent the whole day together.”
Chen has been in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend, Matt Lam from Northwestern University for over three years.
6. Watch a movie together
“Skype is an amazing invention for the long-distance relationship,” said Misha Scott, a junior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Scott’s boyfriend of five years, Jake Tresham, is currently working at a mining company out of Nevada. They’ve been apart for three years.
“I am always amazed at how he finds ways to melt my heart from a thousand miles away. When I studied abroad in Germany this year, I came home one day to find a bouquet of flowers on my desk along with a note that said ‘I love you forever and always – you are my everything.’ He actually sent me flowers from another continent!” she said.
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