Ask anyone who has been in a long distance relationship (LDR) and they’ll tell you it isn’t a walk in the park. Different time zones and physical distance are among the many challenges couples go through.
There are, however, many who’ve “survived” LDR. We spoke to 12 people who went through it, to find out actual useful tips on how to survive one. Whether you’re just starting out fresh, or are currently feeling the pinch of being in one, read on to find out how to make it work for the long run:
There’s nothing like a physical gift to cheer anyone up. Kellie shared that her partner was elated to receive her care package during a time when he needed emotional support. She said, “Use tangible methods to show that you care – mail a care package over as a surprise when you know your partner is up late studying or going through a rough time”.
Don’t just send anything ritualistically – be thoughtful and meticulous about it. If your partner is tiding through examinations or a stressful work period, consider sending some lavender essential oil rollers over for stress-relief, or novel things like stress balls and fidget spinners.
If they’re sorely missing home, send them some local snacks like Yan Yan or laksa instant noodles which they can’t find where they are. If they can’t afford a visit back anytime soon, send over a tee shirt with your fragrance, and photos of yourself, friends and family.
Since you can’t be together physically, you can be in the same room virtually. Leave your video call active throughout the night while the both of you go about your routine. “It feels like you’re in the same space, falling asleep and waking together,” says Kay.
Doing this will be your life line to bridge the physical distance between you.
The options for free video calls are endless – Skype and Facetime aside, there’s Viber, Whatsapp, Line, and Facebook Messenger to name a few. Some of these even come with cute video emojis so if your conversation ever runs dry, you’ll at least have something to laugh about.
To make sure your video call doesn’t get cut off, you’ll find it worth your while to invest in good wifi at home. Consider options like Singtel’s WiFi Mesh, to help extend your WiFi range so you can enjoy seamless connectivity as you walk around your house. You won’t need to worry about it getting interrupted, even if you need to talk in private in the furthest room of your home.
Apart from the usual daily video chats, spice up your virtual date nights with online games. Whether you’re competing against each other or playing co-op, it’s a fun activity you can do to unwind together.
Hazeerah, who was in a 2-year LDR, felt it was a great injection of fun into her relationship: “Other than putting in effort to talk everyday, we played online multiplayer games to bond”.
For those on a budget, consider free gaming platforms you can use on your laptop like Steam and Origin. Steam, for example, has free-to-play options like Paladins, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, to name a few. Casual gamers can also opt for mobile gaming, where popular titles like PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang are free for download.
Movie dates remain the classic way for couples to spend time together, even when you’re continents apart. So schedule a time when both of you are free to stream the same shows at the same time. Besides, there are numerous platforms available to access international content.
You’ll have an outlet to share your common interests, plus, it gives you more things to talk about at the end of each day.
It may sound like you’re being overly-attached, but everyone we interviewed agreed that keeping each other updated was key to any LDR’s survival. Make an effort to do it on your own accord, but give each other freedom to do what you want to do. That way, you get to be supportive and trusting of each other.
You don’t have to give step-by-step updates, unless that’s your thing. But it’s a simple way to stay present in each other’s daily lives regardless of distance. This includes wishing each other good morning, letting each other know what your plans are for the day, and sending each other pics of your meals.
Make it a point to keep to your scheduled texts and calls as well. It helps to keep the relationship going. You also have to be patient and muster up the energy to tell each other about your day even when you don’t feel like it. This is so that you don’t end up becoming distant.
To make sure you don’t miss that important scheduled call, you’ll need a strong and consistent network no matter where you go. Whether you’re on the MRT or in an underground carpark, service providers like Singtel’s LTE900 Network allows you to find a connection so you won’t get cut off at crucial times.
Let’s face it – fights happen. In bouts of anger, it’s totally understandable to want to shut off and squash all communication. After all, you’re continents apart and it’s an easy way out.
But the key to a healthy LDR is communication, so fight temptation to press that mute button when you’re upset. “Hanging up the phone, ignoring phone calls and texts – I think these are sure ways to kill the relationship,” says Cindy, who’s in an 8-month LDR. Taking a moment to cool down is fine, but avoiding in totality is a big no-no.
She adds, “You have to be mature enough to realise that you want to make the relationship work”.
It goes without saying that meeting up physically is the top thing LDR couples look forward to. So make plans ahead of time so that you always have something to look forward to.
Whether it’s jetting to a country that’s convenient for both parties, or taking turns to fly over to each other – you’d want to make sure you have a concrete plan laid out before shortening that geographical distance to 0CM.
For those studying abroad – gauge when your holiday period will be in advance, so you can plan your next visit or take a trip together. Meet in between to shorten the time and save some cost – for instance, if your partner is in America and you’re in Singapore, meet in Japan so you both only need to travel 7 hours, instead of over 15 hours to see each other.
If budget is an issue, make plans for when your partner will be back in Singapore next – suss out events like festivals, new cafes, and exhibitions that’ll be happening during that period.
The wait is worth it
Lots of work goes into any relationship, and if you’re doing long distance, these tips will help you through the long wait till your next reunion. Whether it’s creative “date night” ideas like new games and TV shows, or leaving your video chat on to feel like you’re in the same room, there are many ways to keep the relationship going.
Communication is key, of course. So gear up with a reliable network from Singtel so you can stay connected with your loved ones regardless of physical distance.
Once you’re reunited, spend some alone time with bae by continuing to do your favourite things together, like watching your favourite shows on Singtel TV. With its RESTART feature, you’ll be able to head back to the beginning of shows that have already started, so you don’t have to rush through that lunch date to get home in time for your favourite programmes.
Singtel also has an added perk for those who need immediate troubleshooting. So if you’ve lost your phone but need to call your partner a.s.a.p., just head down to UNBOXED by Singtel, a 24/7 unmanned pop-up located outside Wisma Atria. You can do everything from getting your SIM card replaced, to upgrading your plans.
It goes without saying that technology’s key to long distance relationships’ survival. So check out Singtel’s latest innovations to stay ahead of the game and make it work.
#YOdulting with Singtel
This article is part of our #YOdulting series with Singtel, that helps young Singaporeans navigate their way through adulthood by bringing them ease, value, and convenience while living life to the fullest.
Other articles in this series:
Photography by Clement Sim.
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