CHAPTER 5 – The Visits

CHAPTER 5 – The Visits

No matter if it lasts for a weekend or a full week, the visit is something that every couple eagerly waits for – sometimes, even for months!

It is a price, one of a kind reward after a long period of being patient. And just the fact that you have your partner in front of you, and not in front of a camera on the other part of the country can bring the faith back into your relationship and remind you why you are putting this much effort into it all.

So, naturally, everyone wants for it to be just amazing.

Perfect, with no mistakes, nothing unplanned to happen – just perfect.

But sadly, rarely anything is perfect.

Is it gloomy weather when you thought that this June just has to be the one from a fairytale? Did a zit appear on your forehead? Is it a bad stomach? Was the commuter’s flight delayed and they came as gloomy as that unexpected weather in June?

There are uncountable things that could go wrong!

And that is exactly why you shouldn’t focus on it too much, but on the fact that you two are finally together again!

This is a time to reconnect, and maybe even to fall in love again.

And what could possibly be better than that!?

The important thing is that there are some things that you can plan and that are under your control, so this is what we will learn here.

Duration and Frequency

Of course, once you are together, you want that time to last for months and years and not only a couple of days.

But, that will happen when the two of you are close for long periods of time again.

Until then, the frequency and the duration of the visit depend only on you and your partner.

The two of you are in this together, and you should come up with a plan that will work for both of you.

And, while it is true that you can maintain a relationship without a face time together, we are talking about making the relationship flourish, and not only maintain it!

So a sound plan that would make both sides happy is pretty much a must!

And, of course, the duration depends on many things too, starting from the type of the couple you are, so how long a visit would last and how often it would depend only on the agreement that you two have.

Some other factors that most of the couples use to determine how long the visit will last and how often it would happen are:

  1. The physical distance between the two
  2. How much time apart they can withstand
  3. How many visits per month/ year are possible based on the financial situation
  4. How many visits can you pay without feeling like they are losing their personality in the process and friends/ hobbies/ pets/ etc?
Honestly, not seeing my husband every day made me cherish the time we are together even more and our marriage stronger. I still feel as if I were on a honeymoon when I visit!”
Hanna, separated for 10 years
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Taking turns

Even though it all depends on the agreement, there shouldn’t be only one person that is doing all the work.

And even though it may sound like it is all the same as long as you two are together – all is not the same.

One may earn much more than the other, one might have a relative or a pet to take care of, one might have a car and the other not, one might have to be at work every day, and the other one might be able to work from home.

As you can see, there are many things that make the “who is visiting whom” not be that “all the same”.

All of these factors are actually very important when deciding who will visit. So, be sure to talk about this too.

Now, I am not saying that the one person should be visiting the other one at all visit times, you should definitely take turns, but this is also part of an agreement, so be sure to negotiate and compromise on something that will suit you both.

Arrivals and Expectations

Waiting for your partner’s arrival is surely a good ground form creating some anxiety. Even when you don’t have an unplanned zit and when the weather is perfect!

The butterflies in your stomach. Don’t they remind you of the first date you two had?

And, well, this new encounter can surely be something like a second first date.

You probably haven’t seen each other for quite some time, so the thoughts like “Did he change?”, “Do they have some new manners I am unaware of?”, “Does she have a different hairdo?”

Even though you two have been talking or Skyping every day, the physical presence of your partner might be a bit confusing at first, and you might take some time to them actually being there, in blood and flesh.

The Initial Awkwardness

Now, when you think about the new encounter, you probably imagine a scene from movies where you run towards each other, falling into a romantic embrace, slow music playing in the distance and the time stops.

But, assuming that there will be no awkwardness is just naïve and can be a mistake.

After all, this is the person that you haven’t seen for weeks, maybe even months and some kind of fear might be present after all.

  1. Did they change somehow?
  2. Is my idealization justified?
  3. Will this person be worth my troubles and efforts?

But your partner probably feels the same!

So, as long as you accept that nervousness doesn’t necessarily mean something wrong or something bad, and share the feeling with your partner, this initial awkwardness should be overcome quickly enough for you to enjoy the limited time you have.

So be sure to be open with your partner. Talk about what would make you more relaxed. Do you want to chill on a couch and watch a movie while snuggling before you two go out partying? Or would you rather get a beer or two with his or her friends before getting some time alone?

Whatever the case with you two might be, be sure to talk openly about it.

And don’t be shy and wait for the other person to bring it up. They will feel the same and be thankful if you are the first to say it, trust me on this one.

Avoiding unrealistic expectations

No matter if you are in a relationship that started as a long distance one and this is the first time you two will be meeting face to face, or if this is just a regular visit, the chances are that you will try to fit as many activities as possible into the limited time that you two have.

But, as we already said, things are never perfect, and you cannot possibly know if your partner will show up grumpy or if you will have a devastating headache.

But if you have unrealistic plans about the visit, it is pretty certain that some problems will occur.

Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t plan some activities or anything like that! I am just saying that there is no reason to convince yourself that there is something wrong with your relationship if not everything goes according to the plan.

Do not make these leaps into conclusions!

“I haven’t planned this visit like this! We are doomed, we should break up!”

 This sounds funny now, and you probably think “oh, this will never be me!, but when you find yourself nervous and anxious for seeing your loved one after so much time, any discomfort or anything that ruins that plan might lead to these silly scenarios.

Talk to your partner what they would like to do.

Maybe you have planned a lot of partying and seeing various people, but this time, they just feel like staying home with you, watching movies or playing video games with you all weekend long.

That doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you, them, or your relationship.

Try to make a compromise, balance your expectations and come up with something that will suit you both. This will surely make the visit go much more smoothly and will make both of you much happier.

The key is, once again, communication. Not that any of you should be surprised by this!

But if both of you just keep your plans to yourselves, how do you think that things would go smoothly?!

Don’t forget that this visit is about the two of you and not just one of you.

You might even want to surprise your loved one with all the amazing activities and plans you’ve crafted, but still, it should be a mutual plan.

Another thing that you have to accept is that the visit will not be perfect, not even with the plan that you have crafted together.

If it goes without a single disagreement or serious conversations – great! But know that the two of you haven’t seen each other for a long time, and you probably have quite a few to discuss that you couldn’t over the phone or a video call.

So don’t fall in the trap of a fairytale or a romantic movie. This is real life we are talking about.

And, once again, do not let yourself jump to conclusions!

The fact that you had a few things to talk through doesn’t mean that your relationship is going downwards.

On the contrary! These conversations can make it thrive and flourish if you solve them together!

Allow the awkwardness. You two are strong individuals, after all. Talk about it, sure, but don’t make a fuss about it! It is only normal that you feel a bit off when they are finally here.

Cherish the time together

As time spent together is of extreme importance for your relationship, it is necessary to plan not only fun activities that you can do with your friends but activities that will strengthen your relationship.

Let’s face it. When you are in a long distance relationship, it is unavoidable that your personal side takes over the “person” you two are together.

Of course, the time and effort that you put into your relationship while you two are apart will make the time you spend together go more smoothly.

The better the relationship – the better the visits!

But you still have to work on strengthening the relationship. And if you didn’t put the time and effort while you were apart, the visit will be dedicated to fixing the problems.

Now, I am not implying that you should avoid all conflicts at all costs, but don’t try to make the discussions the main part of the visit.

So, what should you do then to make sure that the mutual time is well spent?

You do know that you shouldn’t expect perfection and that you should allow for some awkwardness. So as long as you are open to communication, you already have the starting ground for an amazing visit.

The trick here is to know how to balance things without putting too much effort and stress into balancing.

Sounds tricky, right?

Well, in other words, you want to relax and enjoy.

As simple as that.

The visit will not be flawless, most likely, but that doesn’t mean that you have to put so much stress onto yourself for it and feel anxious. The visit is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable and relaxing activity (whatever “relaxing” might mean for the two of you).

Depending on the time you have, you can plan a lot of fun activities to do together.

Even if you feel that the place is overall boring, once you have your loved one with you, all of that might seem much more interesting.

Additionally, the places you’ll go to see don’t have to be in your town. Check with touristic organizations or websites. There must be something around that would be fun seeing or doing. Especially together!

But! Do not forget to plan some time alone for the two of you!

You probably feel that you need to fit everything into that short period of time that you will be spending together. If you don’t, the visit will be ruined.

But it is the other way around! If you do, the pressure will consume you and mess everything up!

Instead of planning what and how will something happen, allow for the things to happen on their own!

You might have wanted to go and take a walk in nature, but it was raining that day, all of a sudden!

That doesn’t mean that your relationship is ruined!

Do you see how funny this say sound: “It is raining, we can’t go on a hike that I planned. She doesn’t love me anymore because I couldn’t stick to the plan! Our relationship is ruined now.”

The more relaxed you are and the more okay you are with the fact that not everything will go perfectly, the better the visit will be, the more relaxed you will be, and the more the two of you will enjoy!

No matter if the visits are twice a month or twice a year, the main point is to cherish the time you have together and to use it to make your relationship stronger. 

There is a high chance that not a single visit ever go as planned, but you and your partner, with mutual agreement, can make it perfect.

What is perfect for the two of you?

Well, talk about it!

If you ask a million couples, you will get a million answers, so the key is in the two of you. Find what you enjoy the most or what do you feel like doing that weekend, and there is no reason for the visit to be any less than perfect.

Planning Mutual Activity

Some experts say that the time spent together serves as a perfect reality check to if you should be together forever or not.

They advise that you should as much time together as possible during those visits and have as versatile activities as possible so to see each aspect of your partner’s life and to see how well you can work together.

To tell you the truth, it can be quite tricky! You are an individual, living alone, eating what you want, and going to bed when you want. And all of a sudden, there is this other person whom you love dearly but who isn’t a part of your everyday life in a way. And now you have to plan everything together. From where you will eat to when you will wake up!
Simon, separated for 2 years and 3 months
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This time should be used to check if you are comfortable with doing nothing together? Can you do different things? Can you study, work, or read while the two of you are together? What are your energy levels? And other similar questions that affect the quality of a serious relationship.

If the two of you know each other well, and if you lead an open communication, there is no chance that any activity you plan will be enjoyable.

So, go out, take a walk, and get lost in a big new city. Or rent a movie and spend the weekend making a pillow fortress in the middle of your living room.

Just make sure that both of you enjoy it.

Mixing things up a bit

While many visits are planned, and, truthfully speaking, whether you like it or not, they can put a lot of pressure on planning the activities, you can certainly mix things up a little bit when it comes to the type of visits that you pay to each other.

Here are two types of visits that you can try out once in a while and see how they work for the two of you:

1. Meeting halfway

This is even more fun than meeting in a place you know!

Imagine all of the possibilities that a new place has to offer. All those unexplored streets, museums, and restaurants! Amazing!

Book a room in Airbnb, and enjoy the exploration.

No matter if it is a famous touristic spot or somewhere in the middle of nowhere, you two will get to be the explorers and make this “your place”.

Besides, you will have shorter distances to pass until you finally meet, and you will be able to share everything – even the exhaustion from the trip.

2. Surprise visits

This is another saucy thing that you can try out. There is no way that they will not be amazed and out of the roof to see you!

Hell, they might even burst into tears!

Talk to your SO’s friends, get them to take your partner out for a dinner or something and then just show up.

Oh my, the excitement!

Planning SLDR Dates

This is an interesting type of long distance relationships, and so is the activity planning.

The fact is, you don’t really know this person that well. Yes, you spent hours on the phone and exchanged millions of e-mails, but have you ever spent more than 48 hours together?

Now, they are in your home, and you cannot hang up the phone or ignore a question in the e-mail you didn’t like.

So, what are you going to do now?

1. Plan a lot of different activities

As in any other relationship, communication is the key.

So, talk to your partner. Know what they would love to do and plan accordingly.

However, you are smart enough, and you know that the things will not go exactly as you planned, so always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong.

2. Meet your friends

Spending a lot of time with someone you don’t really know without a break can be really tiring.

So plan something that will break this down. Go get drinks with different friends.

Besides, not only that you will break down the long hours you have to spend together, they (or you, if you are the one visiting) will get to know the friends of the other partner.

Friends can say a lot about a person, and one part of the plan is definitely to meet a person better.

If you are already in a serious state of a relationship, maybe even meet siblings or parents. Who knows!

Certainly, it can put pressure on both of you, but if you talk about it and feel ready, why not!

If you are going to end up together, this will have to happen, sooner or later.

But, once again, this is a visit where you should learn more about each other. So, be sure not to miss important talks or spending some alone time.

If you don’t, and you spend all the time running around and seeing friends, you might think that it is the right thing and that the person is The One. Until you move together and find out that you should have used your visits more wisely. 

Meeting new friends

And while it is important to have as much together time as possible, it is also important to meet the new life of your partner.

Go to their office, meet their colleagues, go to their favorite places, etc.

You might have heard a lot of these new friends and colleagues, but you have never seen them, and you don’t know who they actually are and what they are like, so meeting them is always a good idea.

It keeps you included in your partner’s new life, and knowing their friends is certainly one part of it.

Now, meeting that much new people at once may be a bit hard and awkward at first, as it always is, but it is not something to be afraid of.

Of course, there are some things that you can do to make your partner feel more comfortable with meeting new people.

For example, explain who is whom, how you met them, what is their relationship with others and similar.

“Jason is the one that looks like a lumberjack. He seems harsh, but he is actually very friendly, so do not let his looks scare you. He will definitely ask you about your thoughts on Spiderman at some point! Oh, yeas, and he has a thing for Debbie, but we all pretend that we don’t see it. ”

These kinds of introductions can relax your partner as they will know what to expect from each person, and they will be much more likely to have good fun, instead of being just totally confused on the whole dynamics of the group.

Saying goodbye

Normally, as the time for departure approaches, one or both people in the relationship would start to feel down and the hype will slowly disappear.

Standing there at the airport or a station, hugging, and repeating “please don’t go” comes too quickly.

And then, there is that horrible moment when one has to start walking, and the other one is left behind to do what? Look at the other person walk, and turn back, wave sadly, walk a little again, turn back, and then disappear.

What a horrible thing!

You feel all alone in the world out of a sudden and so… empty.

Do you get that feeling when you have to say goodbye?

And what about the hope that they will just jump around the corner and say “Fooled you! I am not going anywhere!”

It never happened, right?

But, on the other hand, that pain and emptiness you feel is a certain kind of a reminder how much you care for each other.

Imagine getting home and just continuing with your life without a single grim thought in your head? Wouldn’t it just be terrible and so, so sad?

But then, it is all a part of being in a long distance relationship, and you cannot avoid it.

However, after a few visits, you will be able to see the pattern and come up with your own coping mechanism.

Here are some of the things you may try before the departure to make it feel a bit easier for you:

1. The Evasion Technique

Experienced couples always suggest doing something to distract yourself from the near goodbyes.

And, even though some even suggest not going to the airport or the station with your partner if you know that you will be too emotional, we say that you should go after all.

But what you could do is go out for a dinner with your friends, spend some time occupied with other people.

And most of you would see it as wasting precious time that you have left, it is maybe for the best if you keep your mind and heart occupied with other things.

Another thing that you can do is watch a movie or something a few hours before one leaves.

Nervousness can even bring up unnecessary and irrational fights.

So, if there is a way to avoid them, try to do as much as you can to do so.

I just hate departures! They always make me cry and I am not good at saying goodbye at all. So, it is for the best if you distract yourself somehow. Go dancing or play some game. Just don’t let the emotions overtake. Or cry if it is easier for you. This is your boyfriend we are talking about, so why pretend!
Jean, in a long distance relationship for 9 months
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2. “I’m not going anywhere” Technique

The other technique is to spend as much time as possible together in the last moments of the visit.

  1. Go to a photo boot, take some cute photos together to have them as a memory of your latest visit.
  2. Leave cute notes all around your partner’s apartment for him or her to find afterwards, with a joke or a nice thing that you love about them.
  3. Start planning on the next visit or a trip that you two want to take together.
  4. Leave a voice message while they are on their way home. It will certainly make them smile (and maybe even cry a little bit) when they get home.

Post departure

Seeing your loved one goodbye was never an easy task. And, sometimes, tears just won’t stop running down your face, no matter how strong you want to be.

But, no one ever said that it would be easy, so buckle up!

There are, actually, some things that you can do to try and ease off the pain.

Well, first of all, you can call or message each other, but that can make things even worse for some.

For me, there is just no worse feeling in the world then when my boyfriend has left. So, find something to do and keep yourself occupied when he leaves. Go see a friend or a group of friend. They will help you to stay distracted. You will cry enough when you try to go to sleep.
– Alisa, in a long distance relationship for 16 monthse
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1. Remember that your emotions will be like a roller-coaster the next few days

Hmm, well, not to lie about this, so let me tell you that long distance relationships are a roller-coaster most of the time, right?

But, sometimes, it just gets a lot crazier than it usually is and you start to wonder if you will even get off this ride in one piece.

And one of these wild rides is exactly the departure after a visit.

So, in the first few days, or even weeks, you will have a lot these ups and downs.

Now, the ups can be extremely fun! Telling your friends and relatives about the visit, looking at old photos, getting energy boosts and happy memories from the time spent together, etc. It is all pretty amazing!

But then, there are the down times when you feel like crying all the time, and you are kinda depressed, or you start getting second thoughts of your relationship and about whether you can do it or not.

So, the important thing is to accept the fact that you will be on a roller-coaster and that there will be these down times.

So, don’t give up when you feel sad! All of the other couples in long distance relationships feel the same, so hang in there.

2. Plan an activity that will be good for you

Another thing that you should do is to plan out something that is good for you.

Now, it doesn’t have to be something that you will feel like doing, but still… Try to figure out something that is really good for you and plan to do it in the days after the visit.

And we all know that it just seems so reasonable to stay at home, watch romantic movies and eat the whole package of Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s right out of the container. And, well, cry.

But, that is not something that is good for you no matter how much you feel like it.

So plan a dinner with friends, go see your parents or Grandma, go exercise. Anything!

Well, you know yourself the best, so pick an activity that is good for you, and resist the urge to ditch it all just so that you can crawl up into your cocoon and despair.

3. Do something nice for your partner

After that visit, when you have are still in the hype mood or on the high parts of the roller-coaster, use that energy to do something lovely and charming for your partner.

Make a care box, send them a postcard that you made yourself, maybe with a picture of the two of you, or write them some good ol’ love letters or those “open when” ones.

The chances are that these will reach your significant other just when they start feeling their lows.

Besides, this is a fantastic way to use all of your emotions and post-visit energy and do something nice for the one you love to help them get through the rough times after the departure.

4. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and your life

Now, I am not saying that getting home and hitting the Sunday cleaning mood is fun, but you surely shouldn’t let a pile of dirty dishes form in your sink or stop brushing your hair.

Come on now! You will see them again in a month or two!

So, don’t forget to take care of your life and your normal responsibilities.

Scrub your toilet squeaky clean, pay some bills, go grocery shopping. Do things that you have to do.

It will keep your life clean and organized, and your mind just enough occupied so that you don’t fall into a pit of despair.

5. Start planning the next visit

And finally, a thing that can surely help you get through those sad days is planning on a new visit.

It doesn’t really matter how far away that next visit is, it is important that you keep your spirits up and start looking forward to that amazing time you will have together again.

Try to keep thinking positive and have your mind on the good stuff!

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