How to survive a long distance relationship

October 09, 2015
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Once upon a time there was a boy from Australia and a girl from England. One fateful Wednesday night, at a little bowling club on the outskirts of Sydney, this boy and this girl met and fell instantly in love during a game of pub trivia.

This slightly unorthodox love story is mine. My girlfriend - let’s call her NJ so she doesn’t get embarrassed - is from England, and as a result, we’ve lived life in one of those dreaded long distance relationships.

It’s been hard on many occasions. The time distance is so out of whack it makes my head spin, the weather is upside down (depending on whose side of the equator you’re on) and the loneliness that makes long distance so hard often gets to you. Yet we’ve managed to keep it all together for the last 12 months.

The problem with the whole long distance relationship thing is that no one has any idea what they’re getting into when they jump into one. There isn’t a class about how to be romantic and there isn’t a support group for when things get scary. Though there are some things that you can do to keep the flame burning from 17,000 kilometres away.


Whoever made Skype must have been in a long distance relationship. Skype every day, but everything is different depending on your relationship and your situation. NJ and I would often Skype for a few hours a day, with our record being seven hours in one day.

However, Skype can sometimes be painstakingly infuriating. Sometimes all you want to do is crawl into bed, open it up and have a nice chat with your significant other before falling asleep in front of the computer. But Skype is the devil! Instead of getting a decent picture, you get a distorted version of your S.O. that looks so bad you’d question if that person you’re looking at is even your partner.    

Embrace the lost art of letter writing

In the age of 140-character tweets and texted essays filled with LOL, IFLY and ROFLMAO, a handwritten letter is a shining beacon of hope. It doesn’t just offer a personal touch, but it can also tell you a lot about a person. If their writing is heavy, it means they’re good at commitment, and if they use big words poorly, it might suggest that they’re trying to impress. Either way, there’s nothing like opening the mailbox to see a letter from your loved one waiting for you.

Interact any way possible

Warning: Super cringe ahead.

Don’t be afraid to show your affection to one and other across the internet. Get online and poke, like, share, and show one another gross social media displays of affection. At one point in time, NJ and I would send each other songs to listen to when we woke up, and across one whole week, I sent NJ a Beyonce love song each morning.

Use traditional ways to talk

We’ve all heard the stories from our parents about the times before mobile phones when they used landlines to talk to their mates. Well, for once, take their advice. Why not use payphones to surprise one another with a call? The call will be quick, and you’ll get a sense of adventure as the timer slowly counts down until you run out of money and the call abruptly cuts out. To add a further sense of suspense to the call, watch the timer run and make sure your last words are cut off... 

Keegan Thomson

Keegan is studying journalism at the University of Western Sydney. He’s an avid storyteller and global traveller whose likes include fresh bed sheets and Jeff Goldblum movies.

Image: Kathryn Connell, Flickr Creative Commons license