>How was the whole experience for you?
It can be tough, but it also has its advantages:
- you can feel lonely despite being in a relationship, so make sure you develop an healthy social life (but an healthy social life is also required even without a LDR). It's hard not to have someone to pat your back when you are feeling sad, so make sure you have friends that can do that for you, and don't rely exclusively on your partner for that.
- it's tough if you hate phones: I do but had no other choice than get over it for the sake of the relationship. It was normal for me to spend an hour on the phone every night or second night. This is a real commitment that affects your daily routine, which you must realize and accept.
- it's more expensive: you have to live separately, so no savings on that front, plus traveling weights on your budget.
- you must be very proactive during crisis periods, because you simply do not have much time together to sort things out. We became very good at spending our Friday evening in heaven, Saturday arguing, and Sunday patching up. You must accept that the short time you fought so hard to spend together will not always be pleasant, and not become bitter about it. These crisis are essential to allow the relationship to mature, and if you avoid them you will poison the relationship. This is already hard in a normal relationship, and in a LDR it's a bit harder.
- It solves the routine problem: because of time constraints, your relationship never becomes a routine, and all moments spent together are special. Even after ten years of it, I was always excited to meet her. This is much harder to achieve in a normal relationship. You definitely learn to appreciate the present when you are in a LDR, and this carries on even after the time you spent apart.
- It enriches your relationship: since your life is shared between two places, the settings of your relationship are much more diverse: more friends, more places are shared, and you create much more special memories (this is a variant of the anti-routine effect).
- It favors personal development: often you get into a LDR because of education or career choices. Being able to further your interests helps you find a place in life closer to your wishes, which helps you become a sane and happy person (it's no guarantee, of course). Furthermore the constraints of an LDR force you to quickly mature your relational skills. It also helps each partner to become an autonomous and self-reliant individual, which will be very useful even when you stop living apart.
- LDRs self select against morons: you can't have a LDR without committing trust and confidence in the other person. After all, the other person can't control what you are doing on your own, and yourself can't check the other person. So if you are in a LDR you automatically avoid people with pathological bouts of jealousy and many other kinds of psychological abuse. On the other hand you must be ready to be open with your problems with the other person, and not expect that she will figure them out by herself. In the same manner you must pay attention to what your partner is saying to detect problems as soon as possible. More than in normal relationships, LDRs require excellent communication. Fortunately I think the long time you spend on the phone helps you hone your skills in that area.
- better sex life for a longer time. I'm not so certain about this one, but it is my belief that because of distance we were always enthusiastic for sex, and quite often ended having more of it than many couples engaged in normal relationships for a comparable amount of time as us. This is part of the anti-routine effect, and I must say that living together did not increase the frequency or intensity of our sex life, but then the fact that we had a baby also weights in. It's just a feeling, but I have the impression that being in a LDR increased our enthusiasm for sex ^_^
- it increases your confidence in the relationship: see below,...