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long distance relationships

Emigration is a huge part of our culture these days – be it a round-the-world trip, an opportunity to study abroad, or the standard “year in Australia/Canada/America.”

For many of those leaving Ireland, it’s not just parents and friends that are left behind, but a significant other too. Skype, WhatsApp and other technologies mean that you can now speak to anyone at the drop of a hat, no matter how far away you are, but can a relationship really survive on IMs and video chats alone?

Having given long-distance a go myself, I do believe that yes, it can be done, but only if both parties are committed to making the relationship work. It’s not enough to plan a Skype call, you both need to actually make a conscious effort to be online at the agreed time – even if your “real life” plans might get in the way. For me, that meant getting up at 6am to accommodate a 16 hour time difference, or looking on the funny side when I got a drunk phone call during my lunch break.

As for seeing each other, even if you know you won’t be together again for months, just having a plane/train/bus ticket booked – no matter how far in advance – at least gives you both something to work towards. I don’t know how many times I tried to make myself believe that ten weeks would “fly by – sure it’s only 70 days really!” But at least it was something real and tangible – we knew when we would be together again, we were able to plan for it, and that made being apart just a little bit easier.

Another benefit of going long-distance is that you are forced, even if it’s against your will, to be independent. It can be easy to lose sight of who the “real you” is in a long-term relationship, as you spend so much time in the company of your other half. Even though you’re still totally committed to your boyfriend/girlfriend when living far apart, you'll both have your own social lives and friends, which can only be a good thing.

Being constantly apart from the person you love can be difficult, and can even result in trust issues and other stresses. But I definitely agree that if a couple really are made for each other, then distance can only make their bond stronger. If you can survive months or even years apart and still have a solid relationship at the end, then you can take it as a sure sign that you two are built to last.

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Long distance relationships are never easy, especially because you don’t get to see each other as often as you would like. Here are some great ways to help make the distance between you a little easier:

Discuss goal
Whether your partner plans on going away for a few weeks, months or even longer, it’s best the two of your discuss what you would both like out of the relationship. Mark a timeline of how long the two of you are going to be apart and draw an end goal for the long distance relationship.

Technology
Thankfully, technology has made life a lot easier for partners to communicate with each other. It could be through regular updates on social media or thanks to the miracle of Skype, you will be able to keep in touch constantly with your partner.

Expectations
Like discussing your relationship goals, you also need to discuss what both of you expect from your long distance relationship.

Opportunity
While you probably won’t see it at the beginning, some time apart can be a great way to strengthen your relationship. If you are both able to manage time away from each other and still come out of a long distance relationship stronger, you two are sure to last the long haul.

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