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How To Thrive In Your Long-Distance Relationship During The Holidays

Live and Learn | November 14th, 2018

photograph courtesy of Devin Joubert

by Devin Joubert
devinlillianjoubert@gmail.com

It’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the year from pumpkin cookies and pies to family time and traditions on Thanksgiving and then Christmas. And of course, let’s not forget about the Christmas work parties. If you are anything like me, you love this time of the year too, but it can be a bit harder when the person you want to share it all with is a world away.

I met Johan (yo-hun) my husband (then boyfriend) when I studied abroad on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia. After being friends for a couple months, we started dating a couple months before I had to head back to the FM area to finish my last semester at MSUM. We were in a long-distance relationship for five and a half years. There were some years that we only saw each other a couple times in person. The last year, we only saw each other once.

It was during the distance that I found out how hard the holidays could be. When you arrive at all the family gatherings alone and at the holiday work parties everyone looks at you like you are the lone black sheep, or maybe that’s just how you feel seeing all the couples laughing and talking. It’s hard. I know from experience how it’s difficult to be the only one there without your partner.

You can definitely thrive in a long-distance relationship in and outside of the holidays, but you must go the distance for each other. “Going the distance” is a little term I like to use when it comes to making a relationship work. Couples in the same place also need to “go the distance” for each other. It means reaching out and doing things that show your partner that you love them in their way. So here are a few ways you can “go the distance” for your partner during the holidays:

Share Your Family Traditions
Good communication is one of the biggest areas that’ll help you and your partner thrive against the distance. One way you can bring this into the holidays, is share with each other your family traditions and stories from your childhood. With you both being from different places, you no doubt, have different traditions and ways of celebrating. Talk about it and share them with each other.

Say that your grandma pulls out a scrapbook with a bunch of pictures, take pictures of those and the moments you are experiencing there. Share those with your partner. It’ll give you a peek into their day of celebration.

Surprise Your Partner
I want to encourage you to at least, one time in your long-distance relationship to surprise your partner with a surprise visit. It makes a world of difference. Johan came for a surprise visit once and proposed to me. It wasn’t during the holidays, but it was magical and a time I’ll never forget.

Surprise visits seem like something that just happens in the movies, but when something like this happens in real life it really breaks the distance and shows how much you care, plus it’ll create loving memories for the future.

If at this time you can’t afford to make a surprise visit, do something else to surprise them like having flowers and chocolate delivered. In the New Year of 2014, I moved to Las Vegas to work at a children’s magazine and when I got to my apartment a beautiful bouquet of flowers were awaiting me as well as an awesome mug with chocolate in it. A house warming note was in the bouquet and he mentioned how he wished he could spend time with me there.

So you could do something like having flowers delivered or having pizza delivered with a message on it.

At Family Gatherings And Work Parties
Even though it’s hard to attend events and gatherings without your other half. Be sure to go. When talking with family, friends, and coworkers mention your partner and share stories about what you both have been up to. They’ll be interested in hearing more about your other half and your long-distance journey. And take pictures of these gatherings as well so you can send pictures to your partner.

There are many things you can do during the holidays to be closer amidst the distance and to make it easier. It just takes some creativity and courage. Courage for the holiday parties and the get-togethers where you aren’t together. If you can thrive through the distance, you and your partner will get through anything that comes your way.

Bio:
Devin Joubert is a multi-passionate creative who loves finding the magic in everyday life. She loves writing, photography, traveling with her husband, and cuddling with her cat Loki. She is a frequent user of the word “Uffda” and calls the prairies of North Dakota and the forests of Minnesota home. Follow her adventures at: www.lifewritingwanderlust.com

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