I’m home. I’m settled. For a short time I get to enjoy quality moments with my loved ones and some down time before I’m back on a plane to Europe for Contenders top 8 (yup, this time next week I’m leaving AGAIN, only for 5 days though, as the season play offs begin). And no, I didn’t land yesterday and immediately start banging at the keyboard. I wrote this post last week while still whiling away time in my Ukraine flat. Right now there is a good chance I’m getting my hair done or enjoying a manicure.
There is actually an entire section on Tech Girl titled “Relationships”. I used to fill this up regularly with posts about the latest online dating craze and the like. And then last year I met my Player 2 and just stopped sharing relationship stuff. It was a part of me I kind of wanted to keep to myself. I also wanted to protect him because I know how rubbish the internet can be. But I digress, this post isn’t about that, though I was a bit inspired by my friend Cindy who decided to share a bit more than usual on her own blog. Her openness about her marriage and “Sexy Time in the Camper van” kind of gave me the strength to get a bit more personal.
This post is actually about how tech can assist with surviving long distance relationships. I was away for 5 weeks and on my own in a foreign country. I’ve done long distance once before and it didn’t go well (the circumstances, living locations and the like were very different) so I was a bit nervous about how this would go down. My parents, granted divorced now, did long distance while dating. My dad went to study overseas for 2 years and they remained together. My mom explained how they relied on written letters and the odd phone call. If they could do it with their only real communication medium the unreliable post office, so could I!
Technology is a great tool to help your relationship along with a large distance between you. Here’s a few of my suggestions that worked for me:
Skype dates FTW
We scheduled at least two skype dates a week. What’s App video calls work as well as does Face Time. The idea is that we can chat face to face on the regular. While it isn’t exactly the same as being physically in the same space I did find that it really helped us to just catch up on our days or have a giggle at something stupid. While text messages are great and allow you to be in touch all the time, I really enjoyed our video chats together. For me it allowed a time where I could completely connect with my human and not respond via text as a passing thought. It also felt as much like a “date” as it could and I think that is important. Simple conversations like catching up on your day or laughing about an incident at work get lost otherwise and I really felt like those little nuances of our lives needed to be maintained to ensure we didn’t feel disconnected on my return.
Video Games – seriously
Video Games kept us both sane during the time apart. It sounds rather absurd but hear me out. The worst thing about being apart is the time. Long distance tends to involve counting down the days till you’re next together and this can be a serious drain. The clock almost starts running backwards. Finding a game you love allows you to while away time without even realising it. Overwatch was that game for me. We also used games as a means to connect. We used Sea of Thieves as a way to hang out and spend time together. I wrote about how that worked here, so you can catch up. But it really was a life saver. It became fun, killed time and allowed us to feel like we were together. Live streaming gameplay also became something I relied on heavily. Player 2 started doing live streams of him playing various games. I tuned in to all of them. I’d jump in the chat with other viewers and just talk rubbish, but the constant hum of his voice in the background while I worked or the time his face was on screen, made me feel more connected to him. As I reread that line it sounds a bit stalker like but if it works, it works, right?
Have your “things”
Whats App allows you to communicate 24/7, or stop communicating altogether if you prefer. We had some ground rules coming in. Weirdly enough we never actually set these out but they just came in to play and I think it is important to have them. The first thing was that we always made a point of saying goodnight to one another. When one of us was going to bed we’d tell the other and we’d then take a few moments to send love and sleep tight messages for the evening. If I knew I was dozing off I’d let him know and vice versa. It gave me a sense of security each day and I think it was important. The problem with being able to switch off means if you have a fight or an argument it is easy to just ignore messages. I consciously made a decision not to do that. If there was going to be an argument, even via text message, I’d see it through and not cop out by simply ignoring him. Luckily, we never argued so that helped.
These were just a few ways I used technology to help with the long distance. I’m sure you might have other suggestions and, if you do, feel free to share them in the comments below. And now I’m getting back to my pamper time 🙂