Conner and I knew of each other through mutual friends, but had never met before. He’d gotten my number through a friend of a friend of a friend (😂) and told me if I was ever in New York City he’d love to take me on a date. A few months later I was in New York for September fashion week. We met up that week, and I knew from the moment I met him things were about to get complicated. There was just something about him! (More on the story here).

I had just moved to Chicago the same month he moved to New York, so we were both starting fresh in our new cities. At first we took things really slow, but as time went on and our relationship grew, we knew the distance had to come to an end. It took sacrifice on both ends, faith, and trust, but we’re happier than ever to finally be living in the same city. RIP to the FaceTime days. Just a little long distance success story for any of you struggling with distance right now 🥰

long distance relationship, olivia rink, new york city blogger, chicago blogger

Loving someone from a distance is never easy. It takes patience, respect, a positive mindset, trust, and most importantly – sacrifice. Long distance relationships aren’t for everyone, but if you find yourself getting into one (or you’ve been in one for a while), I wrote down 7 things that helped us make it through 2 years of long distance dating…

1. You HAVE to learn to love your life apart from the other person.

This is true for all relationships – distance or no distance – but especially when the other half of your heart lives elsewhere. You can’t live with the “I’ll be happy when we’re together” mindset. Of course, life will be awesome when you can finally be together, but you have to work on you during this waiting period. Physical distance is the perfect opportunity to fall in love with someone while you’re still falling in love with your own life. You have plenty of time to spend time with your friends, family, hobbies, career, and your relationship with God. The more you learn to love your own life, the more you will love your life together with that person. You working on yourself is in turn setting your future relationship together up for success.

2. Have an end goal in sight.

After a little over a year of long distance dating, we realized we’d both be miserable if we tried going much longer away from each other. If you want to protect your heart and be realistic, you have to determine what the end goal is in your relationship. What does the future look like? Make a timeline that works for both of you and define your expectations. This will either be encouraging with an end in sight or eye opening, but the conversation has to happen.

3. Set boundaries and expectations early on in the relationship.

When hanging out together on the weekend isn’t an option, you’re both left trusting each other to go out with their own friends. Trust is everything in a long distance relationship – so you if you don’t have that, you need to reevaluate things. To avoid fights or miscommunication, set expectations and boundaries early on about what you both feel comfortable with the other person doing. The golden rule is to not put yourself in any kind of situation you wouldn’t want him/her in. Communication is everything when it comes to long distance, so you can’t let your pride get in the way of anything if you want things to work, talk. about. everything. Also, you can’t worry about coming off as ‘too needy’ when expressing your feelings about something. If you feel a certain way You can’t just assume the other person is on the same page as you – you have to talk about your expectations or there will be bigger problems in the future.

4. Good morning texts and FaceTime dates at night.

We didn’t talk throughout the day as much as I would’ve liked, but then again I’m a girl, so we had to meet in the middle on this one. We found that a good morning message and a FaceTime call every night was the healthiest way for us to go about the week away from each other (Con would send me a quote every morning for a while bc he knew how much I loved them). It gave us time to be present in our lives apart from each other but also enough communication to still feel really connected. Be specific about when you’re going to talk because you both have busy schedules. We owe A LOT to FaceTime for keeping our relationship alive 😂 Communication is different for every couple, but just wanted to give an example of what worked for us.

5. Send physical thoughts in the mail.

Send little gifts in the mail to let them know you’re thinking about them. Whether that means ordering the other person insomnia cookies, flowers, a hand written card, a $5 Venmo for coffee, little things like this will make his/her day and switch things up.

6. Don’t let your phone calls feel mundane.

When you can’t just sit in silence and enjoy being next to that person, you have to get creative with how you keep the magic flowing over the phone. Get creative with your conversations – start watching the same show or reading the same book. When we were first dating I’d write stuff down in a note on my phone that happened during that day or something I wanted to remember to tell him so I wouldn’t forget!

7. Always have a plan for the next time you’re going to see eachother.

Just like point #1, you have to have something to look forward to – especially when you know the distance between the next visit is going to my longer than usual. Visit each other’s cities, but also visit each other’s families. This, I’ve found, is the best way to get to truly know someone.

I hope this gives you the clarity you’re looking for or the hope to keep moving forward! Long distance relationships are very challenging, but not impossible. If you can love, trust, respect, and support each other from a distance, you will be stronger than ever once you’re physically together. There’s no love like two patient hearts willing to wait.

(Shop my dress in the image above in this post)

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  • Tabatha

    LOVE. This. So spot on!

  • Brianna

    I know this all to well! My boyfriend and I have been together almost 6 years and he’s been in the military for almost 5 of them so we are constantly long distance (he’s been gone for 3 months now). Let me know if anyone needs help, I’m sure I’ve been through it 🙂
    Brianna |

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