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It’s a Fri-yay night. You’ve knocked back a few bevs with work people, and, just as you reach ultimate buzz levels, everyone splits. You’re en route home and naturally feelin’ a little bit randy.
Then you remember your partner lives halfway across the fkn country / world. You’re going to be left to your own devices tonight, and every other night that follows in this long-distance dating BS. You proceed to use the tears as lube.
Before drunk dialling the next hot contender ’cause you’re bloody over it, put your next drink down and read the below. It’ll remind you that you’re, y’know, in L-O-V-E, and that this long-distance business can actually work.
BRIDGE THE GAP
We’re pretty #blessed to have technology at our fingertips, and programs like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, FaceTime and, well, social media in general make it a shit-ton easier to feel like you and bae aren’t separated by oceans and time zones.
Kerri Schmidt did a three months on / three months off relationship for two years with her now-fiancé while he lived in the UK and she was in Aus. They’ve now been together eight years and are getting married this October.
“Making Skype dates really helped, even if we weren’t chatting the whole time and just had our Skype on while we were doing other things, that helped to make us feel closer,” she explained.
Things like watching the same TV show can make that distance feel much smaller, and sexy webcam time don’t hurt either.
SUCK IT UP & BE UPFRONT
Kerri’s fiancé, Sam Buczynskyj (legit surname), reckons it’s impossible to make a long-distance commitment to someone unless you put it all on the table from the beginning, saying, “You have to be totally open and honest with your partner about what you want from the relationship.”
You don’t wanna spend thousands of dollars on flights and waste years of your physical prime, only to find out that your partner wasn’t looking for anything serious.
Long-distance relationships, in the grand scheme of things, are mature ones. You’re not making the investment to see no return at the end of it, which tends to be in the shape of a ring / life-long commitment. Sure, just like close-proximity relationships, things can go awry, but if you’re not in it for the long-haul, do yourself (and your partner) a favour and save everyone’s time / money / effort.
WORK ON NEW WAYS TO COMMUNICATE
If your relationship is the hot and heavy kind, it’s going to take serious adjustment to go long distance, where the closest you’ll get to hanky panky is a lil’ soft porn-esque phone or cyber sex. It’s worth working on your other modes of communication ahead of the time apart.
Nah let’s talk instead ey
Felicity Heath was in a relationship with her partner for three years, before moving to another country and trying long distance for a year. The distance royally fucked shit up. “All of a sudden your body is reacting to a loss in certain chemicals, especially if you’ve lived together beforehand,” she explained. “We both got jealous and weird and didn’t know how to communicate because we’d never been away from each other before.“
Research by Andrew K. Gulledge, Michelle H. Gulledge and Robert F. Stahmannn explored the importance of romantic physical affection on relationship satisfaction through questionnaires given to college students (100 men, 195 women). It found that touch is a crucial element in creating / strengthening romantic relationships, and overall relationship satisfaction is highly correlated with physical touch. Them rogue fights are also smoothed over a lot easier with physical affection like snuggling, smooching etc etc.
Because physical touch is not achievable when you’re apart, you need to push what Ph.D Aaron Ben-Zeév‘s calls the “mental touch“. In his book Love Online, one woman claimed of her online partner (with whom she had never met): “He had reached deep inside my heart and touched where no other man has ever before.”
While that’s sweet and all, it’s not highly applicable for relationships that go from close proximity to other sides of the world. You’re used to communicating by bumping uglies, slamming doors and fanging some sexually-charged stank eyes – not exchanging poetic emotions and slippin’ a nip on webcam. Find a middle ground of communicating that’ll make the transition easier.
BRING THAT SHIT BACK DOWN TO EARTH
Rhiahne Ralph, Events Manager at Project Futures, did an interstate relationship with her partner for two years. He has since moved to Sydney from Brisbane (and they’ve now been together four years) but admits it was all a bit la-di-da in the early stages, which was a tad unrealistic.
“When you do see each other, do mundane shit as well,” she stresses. “When you’re doing long distance, you make the most of the time you have together and your life pretty much become an episode of The Bachelor with all the extravagant dates.”
Dare2Date dating coach Debbie Rivers also agrees with this sentiment, explaining that “You can fall for an illusion of what someone is like rather than in reality.“
MAKE SURE THERE’S AN END POINT
Once there is an end point to this long-distant stuff, you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel and everything will be that little bit easier. If there’s no finish line then GTFO.
Aussie native Dani* had been with her partner for five years when she decided to pursue a career opportunity in London and give long-distance a shot as a result. Three months later it was all over red rover.
“I think it became obvious straight away that long distance with no end point [to how long I’d be overseas for] was incredibly tricky when it came to us,” she explained. “Long distance straight up sucks – unless there’s a game plan.”
If you can’t get a concrete date as to when you’ll be back together 5eva, you at least need a time when you’ll see each other next in the calendar. Have that planned before your current visit is over, so that saying goodbye isn’t so brutal.
Clearly long distance isn’t easy, but, hey, nothing good in life ever is. Cheesy, yes, but we are talking about love so what do you fkn expect.
Goodluck loverz. <3
*Names changed for privacy reasons.
Photo: American Pie 2.