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DearSugar Needs Your Help: How Can This Long Distance Relationship Stay Fresh?

DearSugar and Keeping the Flame Alive Franny need your help. She recently rekindled her high school romance and couldn't be happier, but since they are carrying on a long distance relationship while he's in medical school, she's having a hard time keeping the sparks alive. If any of you have been in a long distance relationship, she could use any tips you've got up your sleeve so that the flame doesn't burn out!
Dear Sugar,
I just recently ran into my high school sweetheart after six years of being apart, and we totally hit it off. We had broken up senior year because we were just too young for our relationship, and the next step was engagement. When we ran into each other, neither of us were expecting to fall back in love, but that's just what happened! Fast forward three months and everything is still great, except that he is in a different city at medical school. Once again, hooray, he's going to be a doctor and save lives, but his life is so one dimensional — sitting in the library for 10 plus hours a day. Since he's so into school, I feel a lot of pressure to bring the excitement to the relationship, which can be a big burden.

I want to be with him, and I'm not even thinking about ending it, but how do I keep the long distance relationship interesting without having to be "Miss Sunshine" all the time about a situation that bums me out just as much as it does him? Do you have any advice on how I can make this work?


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sassy_chick sassy_chick 9 years
Also, we'll be long-distance until the week before the wedding, so I'm well-versed in this. He's also in Chicago now while I'm in SC, so visits require plane tickets. If we can do it, you can too.
sassy_chick sassy_chick 9 years
I have been in your position, big time! My fiance is finishing medical school (has all the credits, just waiting for graduation day), and we have been long-distance for two years now. Our wedding is next summer, and yes, the distance can be hard. We met on a cruise and started dating officially a few weeks later. We have never lived in the same place, and have been long-distance the entire time we have known each other. There were definitely times when I was afraid that we wouldn't make it, but honestly, you just have to work hard and realize that it isn't forever. We were willing to put the work in to talk to each other every day, and he made time for me in his schedule. Medical school is not nearly as bad as it used to be, as the medical profession has become more understanding of the fact that even doctors need to maintain relationships in their personal lives. We have elected not to get married until he completes his intern year, so he will have a year to adjust to being a resident before starting a marriage as well. Medical school, while difficult and time-consuming, is not as bad as people think it is. I'm a teacher, so I've never been through it, but I know that my fiance has gone through it all and still made time for me, while maintaining excellent grades and clinical evaluations. You have to be understanding of his schedule, and make time for him as well, whenever he has time for you. I'm sure he's not expecting you to be "Miss Sunshine" all the time either. He likes you, unless he's looking for a trophy wife. You need to write him real letters, send him care packages, get close with his friends so they'll help you pull off little surprises. Spend as much time with him as possible. Make him goofy CDs, send him pictures, find one thing every day that you can't wait to tell him when you talk to him. Ask about his days, especially when he starts third year and starts clinical rotations. Be there for him when he has a hard day. Support him through Boards, which was by far our biggest challenge. Above all, be committed. If you're willing to make it work and you want it to, you will. If you aren't committed, it won't work. Period. Good luck; being a medical school widow can be hard, but worth it in the end.
Zammaneh Zammaneh 9 years
Try doing a LDR when wach oth you is on two different continents :( His mornings are my nights, and my mornings are his nights. Phone calls and texting cost an arm and a leg but all of this really tests how much you two love each other. Sometimes we web, sometimes we call and text, and then there's MSN and AIM. It can be easy to make things become a routine in this case so I try to mix it up a lot. I designate when we should have a "normal" day-to-day relationship during our phone convos, or when we're going to have a flirtatious, sexual relationship. I try to mock what it would be like if we were actually living close to each other by doing this. Being sexually "on" in a LDR can be exhausting for you, and you both may get bored of it. So give him a taste of what it would be like if you two were together by giving him all the different sides of you. Since you two have known each other I'm assuming you're pretty comfortable talking about anything. So spice it up one day with nostalgic memories from highschool (making him remember you as you were then), then another day talk about how it felt to meet him again (reminding him and you of what drew you two both back together again), and then when you two feel like it spice it up with some flirting (but do it in a different way ie. bedroom voice). Make travel plans to see each other. Keep that date in mind when you two talk and this way when you actually see each other it won't feel like you guys have been apart. It's really hard but later down the road you'll look back at this time and it'll be something you guys will remember and appreciate :)
luckyme luckyme 9 years
My husband and I did long distance for a few years also. It's complete torture, but it will lead you guys to be closer as a couple in the long run, at least it did for us. Anyway, we had a journal that we would send back and forth to one another. We would write all sorts of things in it ranging from long love letters to short funny thoughts we had. My husband would sketch in it and I would take pictures to put in it. Emails and phone calls are good, but I love having the journal to look back on. It's a more tangible representation of that part of our lives. Good luck!
Muirnea Muirnea 9 years
My ex and I actually had sleepovers sometimes, we would talk at night and then just fall asleep on the phone, lol. It made us feel closer, like we were actually together, just being able to hear the other person when you wake up and stuff like that. Of course sometimes I would turn the phone off on accident by laying on it or something, lol. But it helped us a little. :D Ooo, and like JaimeLeah526 said, actually messages in the mail and care packages are a really good idea. Its just somehow so much better to get a real letter in the mail rather than an email. And my bf and I would spray the letter with our perfume/cologne too! :-P :D
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
SKYPE! Probably knowing you aren't alone is helpful too! I just started what could be a three-year (while I'm in school) LDR with my boyfriend of five years, and it's so frustrating since I thought we were getting married! Anyway, Skype, sending photos of yourself doing silly things like vacuuming, eating, playing with a pet is great. I send photos from work since I use my personal computer at work also! I like playing scrabulous and chess with my boyfriend on facebook too, he can move whenever he has time or is taking a break. It does stink that he is at the library 10 hours a day, but think of it this way; if you were there he would STILL have to spend that time in the library, and that might be even more frustrating because you would want him to leave to come hang out with you!
frostfromfire frostfromfire 9 years
During the first year of my LDR, I started a scrapbook-esque book to help me deal with it. It kept me thinking about ways to celebrate the memories of the few times we DID have together. I found that celebrating favorite moments was the best thing for us. When we did get a chance to see each other, I'd give him the book, and then I would bring it back with me when I left. When I filled it, I gave it to him as a gift. Don't be corny, be creative.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Sending letter is the mail is a really good one, care package type things are even better. I've been there and making sure to have quality phone time is great. We'd talk before bed and he'd call when he left for work which was about the time I'd get up for school. Make sure he can call when he's alone and set a time to call instead of getting random calls that you can't or don't want to take in front of other people. On a totally different note phone sex and naughty pictures are always fun.
porkypocky porkypocky 9 years
My parents dated for nine years, but my dad said he would have married her sooner if it wasn't for medical school! From my dad's point of view, he's eternally grateful that my mom was supported him all the way(visiting him, sending him pocket money, etc.) and was willing to wait for him to finish school to get married. She was like his personal cheerleader :) I think it's really cute. I'm sure your boyfriend feels the same way, when he's all alone in the library in the middle of the night thinking of you motivates him. Webcams, pictures, notes, little things showing what you did during the day helps. It's always the little things.
graylen graylen 9 years
My boyfriend and I dated for a year before we lived anywhere close to one another. We used to write long emails about our days. We would always include the mundane, everyday things. Sounds silly, but knowing that he had a good day at the theatre and ate yummy pasta for dinner, made it seem like we were a little closer. We would also send cards and small gifts to each other. That, and I couldn't live without text messages. I'd take a picture on my phone at least once a week to send to him. He loved seeing me and kept several of the pictures just for when times got a little tough. Anyways, it's hard, but if you really love each other and are dedicated to it, you can make it work. We saw each other one weekend a month for a whole year and 2.5 years later, we couldn't be happier.
seraphimm seraphimm 9 years
I'm in one right now, and we're doing great :) If the effort and trust in each other is mutual, long distance relationships can be as good as one next door! I think keeping the romance alive is the most important thing. Otherwise, it turns boring and habitual. (Do I HAVE to call him and ask how his same-as-yesterday day went AGAIN?) This is how me and my boyfriend keep things alive: For V-Day I bought 2 matching PJ bottoms so that we can both wear them to sleep so we're thinking about each other right before we sleep :) (we're also on the phone with each other before we sleep) He bought me a ring with my birthstone to remember him throughout the day. We took photobooth pictures, printed a bunch of our pictures so that he could put them up on his wall. When he was sick I sent him a care package with cold medicine, cough drops, and a card sealed with my kiss :) Sometimes, a simple reminder that you're thinking about him is all that he needs. Both of you are going to be focused on your lives more than each other, but it's really important to remind each other that it is only temporary and both of you are thinking of and miss each other. A handwritten love letter, picture-messaging random moments throughout the day, inside jokes :P, SKYPE and video msgs, like the other posters have said :)
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I think you've gotten some good advice on how to keep it fresh. I feel like it should be said that if you're expecting him to come out of medical school and be more available than he was as a student, it seems like there might be disappointment on the horizon. If the only issue is the distance and not the lack of available time, then great. But, if you don't like being with someone who works/studies long hours, a doctor might not be much better than a med student.
reeeeka reeeeka 9 years
I was in one for 6 years...saw eachother once a year as it was an international thing. LDR's arn't for everyone...I wouldn't wish them on my enemy because they are so hard and emotionally trying. I wish you the best!! If you try it can work...just make sure you both have the same end result as your goal because if you're both wanting different you won't work out.
saritalasweeta saritalasweeta 9 years
I know what you're going through! I've been dating a guy in Ireland long distance for over a year and it can be hard to not be frustrated by it. What helps us has been Skype (as often as possible), and focusing on the next time we see each other and the idea that this is only temporary. I hope things work out for you!
heineken67 heineken67 9 years
I sympathize completely! I did long distance before for a year, and now we're about to start another stint while I go to med school. The webcam is a must have. I agree that still pictures and recordings are very helpful as well, especially if you're in different time zones or have vastly differing schedules.
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
It might also help to realize that he won't be sitting in the library forever! It sounds like you're feeling the pressure to keep conversation entertaining since there's not too many exciting stories to come out of the library. Usually 3rd year is when they start working alongside doctors and actually seeing patients, so things will perk up, hopefully. My husband is in medical school too. Some weeks were just super busy and kinda sucky. Even being in the same location - I still felt what you are going though.
kch1223 kch1223 9 years
I'm in a long distance relationship (3 yrs so far, one more to go). I immediately invested in a webcam and a little bit like what Nina said, I would take pictures of my everyday life and me (I love taking pictures). That way he could see what was going on in my life. Make sure to ignore the pessimistic people who say long distance relationships don't work, they do if you are committed! Good luck!
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 9 years
great idea nina! i shoulda done that when we were long distance. just remember long distance is frustrating but if u guys love each other, its worth it in the long run. =) good luck
nina24 nina24 9 years
In order to keep things exciting..I have an idea my friend did with her boyfriend when he was always far away on his business trips. She would email him little video clips of herself. When he wasn't busy he could watch clips of her telling him about her day or something hilarious that happened to her or how much she cared about him. You could email clips of yourself to your boyfriend so that way he can keep up with whats going on with you and he'll get to see what you look like that day too. Also, he can go back and watch these lovely video clips of you whenever he wants and he will constantly be reminded of how much you care about him and the relationship. It would also be a nice break for him from studying all the time, just to watch you brighten up his day. And, it gives you something to focus on and have fun with!
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