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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Long distance and relationship

   
Author Topic: Long distance and relationship
Szymon
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I am going to China in two weeks for 6 months. Me and my girlfriend have been together for over four years, lived together for three years. Do you have any experience in such separations? I know it's not very long, but it's not short, either.

Many of my friends said that I should beware of skype- somehow it's very easy to start fighting and things can get nasty.

I've been to China couple of times, but it has never been more than a month.

So, you have any tips? Thanks in advance!

PS- any Hatrackers live in southern China? I got plenty of free time. My longest stay will be in Xiamen, but I am already invited to Kunming, Shanghai and Zhejiang, so I'll be all over the place.
And my brother wants me to go to Hong Kong to buy a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt [Wink] , so maybe I will go there too.

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Hobbes
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My experience has been that everyone reacts very, very differently to long-distance relationships. Some people flourish in them and are able to grow closer together and carry on all the non-physical-but-important aspects of a relationship. Many are not. 6 months is short enough that even if you’re both in the latter group you can still be OK, it’ll just be a rough 6 months.

I’ve discovered I’m firmly in camp 2, but maybe a few words of advice from my experience:

1) You’re language as a couple is likely to include many different aspects which cannot be conveyed without being physically close or touching (hugging, small visual clues, etc…). You will be deprived of this language and as a result your communication may suffer as your subconscious doesn’t realize that its subtler messages aren’t getting through (and don’t realize it’s missing anything from your SO). Be wary of frustration and feeling like you don’t connect. There’s a good chance it’s just inability to communicate rather than a sign of something else

2) Most people who do not thrive in a long distance relationship have one of two reactions. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” syndrome hits them big time. They miss the person and the relationship so much that they gloss over any problems and fail to remember anything that could be wrong. They want to make big commitments, be with the other person all the time and can’t hear any real warning signs. Or two: the lack of closeness makes them forget what it is they liked about the other person to begin with and they begin drifting apart, as the memories holding them together begin to lose importance. Both have happened to me, so there’s no predicting who will have what reaction: but both can have pretty bad results.

3) Making rules or plans beforehand about how to handle the separation is not a bad idea, but don’t be surprised when they don’t work and you have to change them. And be understanding if it’s your partner who wants to change: it doesn’t mean they don’t care, it just means you weren’t clairvoyant when you tried to guess at the future.

4) 6 months isn’t that bad, don’t worry too much about it. [Cool]

Hobbes [Smile]

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BlackBlade
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I was away from my wife for about two months, coincidentally I was also in China, while she was in the United States with our two-week old son.

Skype was indispensable. But it also helped that she had good familial support to keep her busy and engaged. She actually grew quite a bit without me around because she realized she was doing pretty darn good without me there, something she didn't know about herself until I was gone for a time.

Just set up a scheduled time to talk, and if contentious things are brought up, just reassure your partner that you miss them terribly, but that your there, and you've got to make it work. Make sure you ask about their day, because there's a risk you might be inundated with stories and feelings about your new circumstance which can make the other person feel less interesting and not listened to.

That's all I got for now, need to get back to work.

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Szymon
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Thank you both so much. Plenty of good advice!

Yeah, I'm not very worried, just wanted some perspective to my own thoughts [Smile]

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Lyrhawn
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Try to abstain from textual relations.

I've had a platonic long distance relationship with a couple people for the last year and a half being away from home, and I've found that it's incredibly easy to misinterpret text, especially when emotions are running high from separation. A quick text can be an easy way to keep a connection going, a simple "I love you" or "Hope you're having a great day," those things are both fine and encouraged. But don't have text conversations. It will lead to fights. You'll find both of you are saying things you normally wouldn't if you were actually talking. Talk as much as possible.

Other than that, the time isn't really that long a period, you'll be fine, especially since you've been together so long, it'll fly by.

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Szymon
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Yeah, I hope. I have similar experience with text. I never text anyone, or write e-mails. I always call, even though everybody makes fun of me.

Thanks a lot, Lyrhawn.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I'd say send a lot of little, inexpensive presents (and at least one stuff animal which is huggable), letters and post cards. A small keep sake that one can physically touch can make a big difference as, phone calls, skype, texts and emails are all nice, but entirely lack the sense of touch.
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