In any form, long-distance sucks. And it’s really fucking hard. I’ve been doing it for just over four years now and it’s a struggle, I tell you what.

For context, my boyfriend’s from country Victoria and I’m from the suburbs of Melbourne. We met at uni – your average love story. He commuted, via a 90 minute V/Line journey, to see me most of the time. Sometimes he drove, which took maybe 89 minutes on a good day. And then uni wrapped, and he got a job in Sydney. Because P.TV has an office in Sydney, I fly up to see him every month for a week and we’ve been doing that for almost a year now. Interstate isn’t ideal, but it’s definitely not the worst case scenario. We’re in the same time zone, at least.

For this yarn, I decided to ask my boyfriend how he deals with interstate dating, and like about 90 per cent of our face-to-face contact these days, we discussed via video chat.

Steff: So, I’m just going to ask you how you make interstate dating work? Not going to judge you for your answers. [I am]

Harry: Can you make my answers sound good and not rambling? [He works at SBS, but ok]

Harry: I think it helps when – for me anyway – it’s equal parts not overthinking it and having shorter and longer term goals to look forward to. So I don’t go on Instagram and look at other couples who see each other every weekend and then think what that would be like if we could do that. I’m trying to avoid going to those thought spirals –

Steff: I CAN’T TYPE THAT FAST HOLD ON.

Steff: [*Aggressively typing*]

Harry: Can I speak now?

Steff: You may, but also I am 100% that person you’re talking about. I overthink it when I see couples together on the weekends and it makes me miss you like HELL. It’s toxic thinking, and sometimes I can tell myself not to go down that road but other times, when I’ve had a shit day, it just snowballs. There have been days where I’ve called you crying because I’m stressed or pissed off or whatever and I need a hug but we’re 880 kilometres apart.

Steff: Toxic thinking bad. Don’t do it. Banned.

Harry: When it comes to short term goals, it’s being able to see you in a months’ time continuously. It’s really nice getting to know that maybe one weekend or a few days a month, I’ll get to relax and spend time with you. I can just be comfortable in myself around someone who knows me intimately. It’s nice knowing it’ll be a few days where we can date and have fun and laugh and go to the movies or have dinner. It won’t be picking up a shift on the weekend because I don’t have much else to do or just wasting time or working on my car.

Harry: And the long term goal is being able to spend consecutive days together. I don’t know how specific you want me to be – like in Japan [we just got back from a trip to Japan together] – just being able to spend two weeks consecutively with you for the first time ever in a four-year relationship was something I was really looking forward to for a long time and it didn’t just help me get through the long-distance aspect of our relationship, it was a nice carrot at the end of a very long working stick.

Harry: And it was nice to experience what it would be like to be a regular couple even if it was just for two weeks.

Steff: Yeah, same. It’s weird to think that was the first time we’ve spent that long – and two weeks isn’t even that long to be honest – together. Which sucks, but two weeks together for us is huge.

Steff: Anyway, what do you think is the hardest part of interstate dating?

Harry: Not being able to be there in person to share in important life goals and not being there in person to console in dark moments.

Steff: Sex once a month also fucking sucks… hi Mum and Dad, if you’re reading this. Also, the questions from just about everyone. Like the, “Are you going to move to Sydney?” No, why would I leave Melbourne for Sydney? GOD.

Steff: MOVING ON – what advice would you give other couples in a similar interstate / long-distance boat to us?

Harry: It sucks, it’s not a good place to be in a relationship. So the first bit of advice is to try and not be in a long distance relationship if you can. And if you can’t, then you just have to know in yourself that you two are compatible enough to stick it out.

Steff: And it’s sort of easier for us because we’ve never really lived in the same city before so we don’t actually know if the grass is greener on the other side. Who knows!! Maybe you’ll end up hating me!!

Steff: I’d also like to add that you should definitely speak up if you’re feeling like shit. I’ve definitely not done this a couple of times and then I implode and cry and it sucks. I think that if you want / need to tell your partner something, just do it. For me it was, “this is really hard and I’m struggling”, and it honestly just felt so good getting it out and knowing that you got me. Also, don’t compare yourself to other long-distance couples. I used to think, ‘We’re just Melb-Sydney, it’s not London-Melb’, my feelings aren’t valid, I’m just being stupid’. BAD.

Steff: What keeps you going in our relationship?

Harry: Starting long-distance, and being that way for so long… with the little bit of time we do get to spend with each other – it makes me so excited for the period when that will be normal because it always feels so good when we do see each other.

Steff: Why do you always get to be the romantic one? My answer is literally: I know we’ll stick it out because you could try to dump me but lol, no.

Harry: Wouldn’t it be funny if we broke up and this would be on the internet forever?

Steff: sO fUnNy.

Steff: But anyway, I definitely think it’s a communication thing too. You need to put in the effort. Like we text daily and on most days we call each other after work or whatever just to chat or rant. And it doesn’t feel like a chore either – I think that’s a big thing. For other couples, talking every day might be wayyyyy too much. You do you, boo.

Steff: What’s the most important thing you should pay attention to in an interstate relationship?

Harry: I don’t know. I don’t think I have a real stellar answer for this one beside just making sure the contact, like, keeping that contact flame alive in whatever form you communicate in. Whether it’s a good morning text or a late night Skype session to annoy your boyfriend with your interstate yarn on a Monday night –

Steff: WOW.

Image: Someone Great