How to I make sure I come back to a relationship that isn't broken?
September 8, 2008 1:30 PM   Subscribe

So, I just started dating someone exclusively on Sept. 1st. I leave on the 16th to visit Germany for a month. Aside from emailing back and forth, give me some ideas that will help both before and during my extended time away from my boyfriend that will help the relationship rather than hurt it.

I don't have much money and this guy has already been very generous to me (he bought an extra battery and memory card for my camera as a going-away present of sorts). We have a really great connection, but this relationship is still so new and by the time I come back we will have spent more time apart as a couple than together, which is pretty lame. We are both very open and communicative so I don't really see any major issues, but this is still going to be rough for something that is just starting. What to do?
posted by pontouf to Human Relations (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In my limited experience of these things (having been in this situation exactly twice before), keep the lines of communication open and active. Tell him you miss him, that you're looking forward to coming back home to him, or that you wish he was there to enjoy these things with you, etc. Basically keep reassuring him that you haven't got wandering eyes while you're away.

This is based on both my experiences, where my going away was interpreted as "you don't love me anymore", even when it took place at the beginning of the relationship.
posted by LN at 1:42 PM on September 8, 2008

It's also important not to go overboard on the communications. I would send frequent e-mails (it's always a thrill at the beginning of a relationship), but avoid long-winded essays / outpourings of emotion.

If you try to create some false sense of emotional intimacy while you're separated, your interactions with your boyfriend might be awkward upon your return.

Bottom line: keep the fires burning, but don't fan the flames too much.

Also, postcards are old fashioned, but are good keepsakes, and are in line with the whole "I'm thinking of you" point that you want to convey.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:53 PM on September 8, 2008

I would love to get a lot of funny postcards (2 or 3 a week) even if most of them didn't show up until my GF was back. The more non sequitur the better I suppose. It just shows thoughtfulness and adds some anticipation to your return and the next postcard.
posted by robofunk at 2:08 PM on September 8, 2008

Don't push the relationship too far before you leave.
posted by rhizome at 2:21 PM on September 8, 2008

Oh wow, I started dating a guy on June 22 and left for 6 weeks in Germany on July 4th. Kind of odd to see someone else in the same boat as I was.

Anyways, we survived through Skype. I had my own laptop, which was useful for when I could find an open network, but for all the times I couldn't, I used an internet cafe. Every city in Germany is full of those, by the way, and you can use a computer for around one euro an hour. Long hours, too, and most computers have Skype on them.

Just arrange times to chat online that work with the time difference, and if it doesn't work out, then talk through facebook, myspace, or even email. And if you want a good phone card, if he doesn't have computer access at the right times, I'd recommend a GoBananas card once you get in country. A lot of kiosks will sell them.

Postcards are also sweet. Best of luck! And this is actually good for your relationship, in my opinion; now you can get to know Guy without relying on new-relationship physicalness.
posted by internet!Hannah at 2:58 PM on September 8, 2008

During my stint with a long distance relationship, we tried to talk on the phone for 20-30 minutes every day at around the same time. This seemed to work well since it didn't get in the way of what we were doing but was regular and grounding.

I would advise staying in legitimate touch with each others lives. Rather than sobbing about how you miss each other, try and tell him what you've done each day, who you've been spending your time with, where you're going for lunch tomorrow etc. Having a real sense of what the other person is doing makes them stay "real" in your mind and also lessons any chance of jealousy, or bitterness, etc.

Also, seconding Skype and/or Gobananas depending on the situation.
posted by heh3d at 3:11 PM on September 8, 2008

In my experience (both real and vicarious), be sure to make sure you're both on the same page before you peace out. If he's expecting daily calls and you're expecting to send an occasional postcard, a month is a long time for bitterness to breed/feelings to change. Talk to him and see what he thinks and make sure he's up for being flexible (after all, you don't want to miss out on random, crazy travel adventures just because you have to make sure to make your hour long set-in-stone phone date).
Otherwise, nth-ing skype/online chatting. Best of luck!
posted by karyotypical at 5:10 PM on September 8, 2008

My experience (very similar to what you describe, which resulted in marriage): write letters. Not emails, not postcards. Hand written, long, descriptive letters. Bonus points for them being on airmail stationery.
posted by Dick Paris at 7:02 PM on September 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Skype was a wonderful tool when my girlfriend went to Germany for nine weeks. Ten euro buys an absurd amount of US airtime from anywhere you can get net access.
posted by Xoder at 7:33 PM on September 8, 2008

Response by poster: You guys rock, and it's nice to see that other people had similar experiences that were positive! Thanks for the suggestions!
posted by pontouf at 11:36 PM on September 8, 2008

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