Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Making Visits Count

long distance for dummies: making visits count


You're finally together. So how do you most make those visits count? Here are a few tips from both of us after a recent visit together:




From Lars -

The highest priority when visiting each other is to not only ensure that there is alone time together, but to spend that alone time without distraction or commitment. Often when couples have a long distance relationship, they make the mistake of filling up their time with hanging with new friends, seeing some local attractions and various other time commitments. Though these things are important, I cannot emphasize how important the time alone together it. This visit, we spent every minute watching movies, talking, or preparing food together (except for one short trip to see my siblings in Boston).

Early in our relationship, we made the mistake of spending one of our trips packed with family events and outings that we almost got no alone time together and we both felt depraved, making it even harder to spend the time apart knowing we could have had more quality time together. Make sure both of your expectations are clear and stick as close to those agreed allotments of time to best avoid disappointment about how the time together was spent.

Leaving your phone on silent, airplane mode, or even off is a lot to ask, but it is a sign of respect toward the one you love that their time is more important to you than a text or e-mail. Make sure you tell people that you will be mostly unavailable while you are taking this time to visit your significant other, which will set the expectation that you will not get back to them right away. If there is an emergency, your loved one will understand and ideally will help you with that situation; other than that, it can wait.


From Susie -

I love that Lars said something about leaving your phone off. I bug him a lot when he spends too much time on it on our limited visits. It's definitely a good way to make sure you have your full attention on that person. That's not to say that you can't check texts or make calls or anything, but don't waste too much time on that when you're with the person you love!

Visiting each other in a long distance relationship is extremely important, however often you can manage to do it. You don't want to waste time fighting or doing boring things. A good way to think about visits is not as a vacation, but kind of like an extended date. That way, you are more motivated to do things that are oriented towards each other rather than the location you are at. That doesn't mean you can't go out and do fun touristy things, but just don't let those things overshadow each other.

For Lars and I, one of the things that is difficult for visits is balancing time with each other and our families. When I go back to Chicago for visits, I have not only Lars to see but my parents, my sister, my cousins, aunts and uncles, and family friends. When Lars comes to Vermont, he always wants to see his brothers and sister-in-law that live in Boston (which is a 3 hour drive away). We have to balance time with each other and with family and friends.

When Lars comes to Vermont, it is almost always for a long weekend. I try to plan the weekend so that we can have a full day to ourselves. The other days can be used to meet each other's friends or visit family or do some kind of outing. But having that one day that is set aside just for us to spend with each other makes all the difference.

When I go home for visits, it is usually for longer, because I have things like spring and winter break. So for these visits, Lars and I always make a point to have at least one date planned for the visit, and try to spend every night together. Another fun thing that we sometimes do is meeting at his house on his lunch breaks, because I'm free during week days when I'm home but he still has to work. Lars works some nights, so I can usually plan to do things with family and friends on nights that he works and see him on nights that he is free.

Remember, prioritize each other on your visits. Fun experiences are great, but so is building a relationship.


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