The Vixen Thinks is an almost weekly feature on this blog. Posts vary in topic, I'll talk about anything I have an opinion on! From blogging to relationships and anything beyond. If there's anything you'd like me to write about, feel free to get in touch: theglittervixen(at)gmail(dot)com! Thank you! 

If you read this blog, if you follow me on Twitter, if you've seen any of my social networks, you'll realise I am currently in a long distance relationship and that this long distance relationship is a huge part of my life. My friends and family are constantly telling me it must be so hard or asking me how I cope, and quite honestly, the answer is quite often "yes it is hard, and no, I'm not coping very well at all". I miss my boyfriend tremendous amounts and there's a strain on our relationship that was never there when we lived 200 yards away from each other as opposed to 200 miles. Despite this, we are still together and we have been doing the long distance thing since June 2012 now, that's seven months! We have been together at total of 21 months as I write this. Obviously, we're doing something right, and today, I thought I'd share with my readers how we manage and I hope I can help some other people out there who are struggling in the same boat as we are.

I believe the first and foremost reason my boyfriend and I have managed to keep it going this long is because we built our long distance relationship on top of a very solid short distance relationship foundation. I apologise, because I know this paragraph will not be relevant to everyone so if it isn't, feel free to skip it! As I mentioned, at the time of writing this, my boyfriend and I have been together for nearly 2 years, of which just over half a year has been long distance. We met at university in a very small town so when we met, seeing each other often was absolutely not a problem. In fact, from the day we met, we saw each other on a nearly daily basis. This meant we got to know each other very, very quickly and I grew comfortable in his company much quicker than I ordinarily would have done. I fell fast and hard for James, and knew from quite an early stage I wanted this relationship to go the distance. We also shared similar past experiences with relationships, and I feel this helped us to bond much more than we would have done with someone who didn't share our experiences. Now, from day one, we knew that our relationship would probably have to become a long distance one at some point. Although in term time, we called Aberystwyth home, when university finished, he lived down South while I lived up North. There was also the problem that I was in the year above James, and finished university a year sooner than he is going to. Because we knew this from the very beginning, we were able to prepare for the inevitability of long distance. If you'e in a similar situation to this one, I highly, highly recommend sitting down with your partner and having a good heart to heart about how you feel about all this. I doubt James and I could have stayed together after I finished university if we hadn't already had a very strong relationship to begin with.

The next part of this blog post is going to be laid out as a step by step guide. Admittedly, this is not stuff I did immediately in my own relationship, it is something I realised needed to be done later on! I hope that by writing all this down, you can minimise the chance of you making the same mistakes I did.

  1. Set boundaries and expectations for how your relationship is going to function while it's long distance. I think this is probably the most important thing you can do to make your long distance relationship work. Initially my boyfriend and I didn't do this and after arguing for the 37598276th time and wondering why the hell we'd gone from being a couple who never argues to a couple who had forgotten how to be nice to each other, we finally realised it was because neither of us knew what our expectations for the relationship were anymore. When I talk about boundaries and expectations I am talking about things such as: how often do you expect to see each other? (We aim for every other weekend) Who travels to see who? (We try to take it in turns) How much contact do you expect every day? Do you text? Do you have a phone call? Do you Skype? If you can answer all these questions, I promise you, you will know where you stand with each other and no one's feelings will get hurt because they expected more from someone. Of course, it is also important to note that you should see these as GUIDELINES, not definitive rules. Life often gets in the way of carefully laid plans, so it is important not to get annoyed at each other if you have to miss a weekend or there's a day where there simply isn't time for you to have an hour long Skype conversation.
  2. You Need to Have an End Goal in Sight. I hate to say it, but if you're always, always, always going to be long distance and there are no plans for you to move in together or even for you to at least move closer to each other, I don't think your long distance relationship is going to last very long. For me, I do not see long distance as a permanent thing and never should be. If you have nothing to work towards, if you don't have a time to look forward to where you will be permanently reunited again, it's very likely your relationship isn't going to last forever. 
  3. Try to Make Long Distance as Similar to No Distance as Possible. One of the things which helps me cope with being away from my boyfriend the most is to behave like we're still together properly. This means specifically setting time aside to spend with each other each day. Of course we can't go round to each others house, but we can both get on Skype together and watch our TV shows and films together simultaneously, just as we would as if we were physically in each other's company. The more effort you make to "spend time" with each other, the less impact the distance will have on you because you're still behaving as you would if the distance wasn't there. 
  4. Put in That Little Extra Bit of Effort. When my boyfriend lived round the corner from me, I think we began to take each other for granted. We rarely did anything special anymore such as going for dates and we never really did anything special or thoughtful for each other, there was just no need to. Long distance relationships however, just don't work like that. My boyfriend does things for me now like send me flowers or little unexpected presents in the post. We go out of our way to send each other silly little links on Facebook or cute little messages just to make each other aware we're always in each other's thoughts. The little things like this really help keep our relationship alive.
  5. Make Sure the Time you DO Spend Together is as Special as Possible. This one goes without saying. If you see each other twice a month and you don't do anything special to mark the occasion, the relationship will turn stale and it will turn stale fast. As I mentioned in point number 4, when we practically lived together, we fell into a comfortable routine. You can't do this if you only rarely see each other! My boyfriend and I love to go to the cinema, and I am obsessed with going out for dinner. Since we became long distance, we've done all sorts of lovely things we had never done before like visit museums and places like Tropical World. This means we both really look forward to spending time with each other and gives us precious memories to hold onto while we're apart.
So, there you have it, my short and sweet guide to how I keep my long distance relationship going. I hope that for those of you who this is relevant to found it useful and I hope it wasn't too boring for my lovely single readers or those lucky readers who don't live miles away from their partner!

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What do you think of my tips for making them work?