George is the reason why I have been in the US so much lately, because since February 2016 we have been in a long distance relationship. George was born and raised in Maryland, but he travelled to Denver to study his Master. Since our relationship started, I’ve been in Colorado three times and he has visited me in Denmark twice. On May 23rd 2017, it will be the fourth time in just over a year that I travel to Denver.
The advantage of long distance relationships is traveling!
The first time I was in Denver, I stayed for three weeks. We spent the time getting to know each other, after not seeing each other for 10 years. You can read more about the reunion and my first trip to the United States here. In May 2016 I went back, and this time I stayed for three months over the summer. I was fortunate to work with online marketing for a small business, where the bosses let me travel for a long time if I just kept working for them overseas from my laptop. It was a highly valued freedom that allowed me and George to see each other as much as we did.
When I was in the United States in the summer, George and I had many amazing experiences – for example, I was on my first road trip through four different states: from Colorado to Utah to California to Nevada and back again. In addition to the road trip, we also took a flight to the east coast as his family still lived in the state of Maryland. I saw Washington DC and New York on the same trip, because they were not many hours of driving apart.
A proposal in Paris
Three awesome months later, I landed in Denmark in mid-August 2016, but it was only for a short stay. After only being home for two months, I was off again. From mid-October and six weeks on I was back in the United States, and on my return home George went with me to Denmark for the first time.
He saw the country when it is the coziest – that being in December. He celebrated Christmas with me and my family, and for New Year 2016/2017 we went with my sister and her fiance on our second road trip together. We drove through Germany, Holland and Belgium and stopped in Paris. Here we stayed two nights before we drove back to Belgium to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Brussels. It was in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background that George proposed to me. I thought, “it doesn’t get more romantic than this”, and of course I said yes.
The long distance relationship comes to an end
Now we are here, where I’m going to the US for the fourth time. This time, however, will be very different, because he will come home with me to Denmark – to settle down! Because George’s parents are both Greeks, he has been able to obtain his Greek citizenship in addition to his American. As an EU citizen he can live and work in Denmark, and the plan is therefore to sell all his stuff in Denver, so he can move in with me. It will be a big leap – especially for George who has to say goodbye to the United States and start a new life in a foreign country.
For us, the long distance relationship is finally coming to an end and a “normal” relationship can begin. We are both looking forward to travelling together on vacation, not away from each other. Letting go of the worries about the future and missing each other when we are not together. It has been good as long as it lasted, and I would never exchange it for anything else. We have been through a lot of traveling and experiences by being in a long distance relationship, and we have bonded and become strong as a couple. Therefore, I want to share some of our advice about how to make a long distance relationship work. Maybe it can help others in the same situation.
How to make your long distance relationship work
1. Keep in touch
The key to a good long distance relationship is to keep in touch. Since George and I started writing each other, we kept in touch and talked to each other every single day. We talked over Skype and Viber, and we used Snapchat a lot to send video clips and pictures. For us it was important to talk every day, and if you have the need and the time for it, try to do the same. With today’s technology and countless of communication apps, there are no excuses.
If you live in each your country and there might be a time difference, find a way to make it fit. There is an eight hour time difference between Colorado and Denmark, so at 8 o’clock in the morning in Denver it is 16 (4 pm) back in Denmark. That way, I could write and send small videos over Snapchat to show what I experienced during my day. When George woke up, messages, videos and pictures awaited him which gave him an update that was nice to wake up to.
On the other hand, when I went to bed around 23 o’clock (11 pm) in the evening, it was only 15 o’clock (3 pm) in the afternoon in Colorado. Then George could send me messages during his afternoon and evening, and sometimes we managed to talk on the phone before he went to sleep. That way, the eight hours worked really well for us. Try to establish a good routine for yourselves so it becomes easy to stay in touch.
2. Be honest
When you can’t see each other and spend time together, it is important to tell the other party how you’re feeling. If one of you walk around and miss your partner all day, and you can’t talk before later in the evening or the next day, emotions can pounce up. Be honest with each other, let the other person in and share the thoughts and worries you may have.
If you avoid talking about things or let the days go by without confronting each other, it will only make things worse. It’s hard to keep up with each other’s lives and everyday life and you can quickly get a feeling of being left outside or not knowing what’s going on at the other end. Therefore, communicate openly and honestly.
George and I were pretty good at telling if one of us had a bad day or was worried about the future. That way we dealt with things as they appeared and talked about it, so things did not culminate.
3. Visit each other
You may not have jobs or studies that allow you to take time off and travel as it suits you. Your economy may not be the best either, so it can be a costly concern to travel several times. However, you need to prioritize correctly and save up both time and money so that you can see each other. It means a lot to see each other in real life, touch each other and have an everyday life together. Skype calls and messages can’t stand alone.
4. Two countries, two homes
A long distance relationship “forces” you to move in together faster, as it otherwise will be expensive as well as stupid if the person visiting has to stay at a hotel or Airbnb. Many couples in “normal” relationships choose to take it easy at a pace that fits both parties, but long distance relationships are a little different. For example, George and I moved in together after only two weeks. First, I was renting an apartment for two weeks, and I had intentionally not extended even though my stay was three weeks. It was expensive to live that way and, of course, I was hoping that we got along.
After spending three weeks together in February 2016, we moved into an apartment in Denver in May. George had first lived with a roommate, but all three of us knew that it would not work. I took part in setting up the new apartment together with George, we went to IKEA together and built our shared home little by little. That way, I also had a home and base in Denver when I was visiting.
It is good to help the other person feel at home in the counterpart’s country. When your boyfriend/girlfriend is visiting, give your partner a sense of openness and naturalness. That way, you will feel like you have two homes – one in each country. You will get to know each other quickly, and hopefully you will find a common solution one day so that two homes can become one.
5. Meeting family and friends
In a long distance relationship, you often create your own little cloud-cuckoo land where you only focus on each other in the relationship. It’s hard to be apart, so when you finally get reunited after a long time it’s all about spending as much time as possible before one party returns home.
However, a relationship is not only about you two – although it sometimes feels like that. Your family and friends also want to meet your significan other, so it’s important to involve them. When two people become united, two families become one and therefore they play a big role. Support from friends and family can help you both when things get tough, and it works best if the closest people in your life have met your partner. You also get to know your partner best by meeting his / her friends and family.
Good luck! 🙂