Thursday, 13 July 2017

Long Distance Relationships | My Experience

This is a topic I've wanted to talk about for a while, it's something that people have asked me about time and time again but for some reason I've just never gotten around to writing it. Never did I imagine that I would find myself in a long distance relationship, I could barely imagine me having a partner at the time when Daryl came into my life but everything at the time just seemed to fit into place. Long distance relationships are just as difficult as everyone says though so today I thought I'd talk about our experience of the 3 hour train journeys and the expensive hotels. A long distance relationship isn't for everyone but once you are through the other side it's totally worth it. Me and my partner have now been living together for about 8 months so I feel like I'm in a much better place to talk about my experiences now our long distance days are behind us.

Daryl and I met through a FB support group for a condition we both share, Marfan Syndrome. He sent over a friend request and I did something that I rarely do, I accepted one from a stranger. I assumed he had Marfan too (he looked tall in his profile picture!) so I sent over a message and we got chatting, we found out that we had a lot in common, discussing our experiences with Marfan, and our first conversation was actually about how problematic society is as a whole, setting the foundations for many similar conversations we would have after that. He's older than me by about 7/8 years, not the biggest age gap but enough to make we wonder whether he'd be interested and whether my parents would be happy with me talking to him. I've always been told how I'm 'wiser than my years' though so we matched pretty well despite the difference in age! We talked more and more and I found out that he lived in Hull, not too far from when my grandparents lived so it seemed like fate, like we should definitely meet. My parents turned out to be pretty cool with the age gap and hardly anyone has even raised an eyebrow since. So, I threw caution to the wind and we arranged to meet for a first date! We went to The Deep, an aquarium in Hull and the conversations and connection we had online never fizzled out in person and I suppose you could say the rest is history.

There was one road block though, the distance. He was in Hull and I was just outside of London, a visit to see one another could take up to 5 hours, not easy when both of us are disabled and not exactly the richest of people. We were determined though and made sure that when we did see each other our time together was special. He took me to my first concert, to see McBusted in Leeds, and to London to see my first musical, Les Mis. We often didn't see each other for months at a time but when we did we made sure we had a good time, saving up money for trips to Leeds, London and Bridlington. We treasured every minute we spent together.

During our first year together I had 2 major operations which threw up more problems for us, it was really difficult being away from him for months after each one as I recovered and after my hip replacement surgery I remember asking for him again and again once I'd woken up from the surgery. Like anyone else I just wanted the person I loved by my side.

We always knew that we wanted to move in together, that I would eventually move up to Hull when my health allowed and having that to focus on got us through the hard times. We went through a lot together in those 2 years, I was in and out of hospital and beginning to use a wheelchair more and more and he had his own personal struggles to deal with and a lot of grief as well, it was tough not being able to physically be there for him when he was hurting. That's the times when being long distance is more difficult then you could ever imagine, as the months go by without seeing the person you love. You often can't be there to physically comfort someone in times of need, in times like that facetime and messages never seem enough.

You make it work somehow though. I think one of the most important things is you have to make time for one another in your lives, because you aren't as involved in each other's lives compared to a couple who near each other it can be easy to feel like you're being left out so my biggest tip would be to set time aside for one another. Make time for Skype calls and don't play silly games like 'I'm not texting first'. Plan trips out, alternate between who visits who. It can be easy for long distance relationships to fizzle out I think but if you're willing to put in the effort, and believe me you really do have to put in effort, then it can work.

When it came to moving in together I think we were more prepared than most, because of the distance between where we lived when I went up North I would often stay for a week, sometimes two to make the journey worth it so by the time I moved in we were well used to having one another around and in each others spaces. It's a big commitment moving hours away from everything you know though so I always tell anyone in a long distance relationship to take things at their own pace, don't think that you have to do certain things at 2 years or 3 years just because everyone else is. You have to do things in your own way to keep the relationship going, you have to work hard. As soon as I moved in though I forgot all about the long late nights of 'I miss you' messages after not seeing each other for 4 months and the heartache when you can't be there for one another.

But, it was all worth it in the end.


  1. Aww this is lovely Shona, I have been in a long distance relationship myself. He lived just over an hour away from me. We managed to make it work for over a year before we split up but the split was nothing to do with the distance. I feel like distance can make you stronger. My mum and dad lived 5 hours apart when they started seeing each other then my mum moved up to where we live now. If both people are committed it really can work as it has for you xx

    1. Aww how lovely for your parents! I think distance definitely makes a relationship stronger, you appreciate every minute together more x

  2. This was a lovely post to read :) It was so interesting to hear what a long distance relationship is really like, and it was super helpful since because of my anxiety I find it difficult to meet people in person. I use dating apps to try to find potential partners so there's always the possibility that I could meet someone whos perfect for me but they live miles and miles away! I'm so happy for you that you guys live together now :) x

    Sarah | Raiin Monkey

    1. Thank you, glad you liked it! I really hope you find that special person soon! x

  3. Loved reading your story - you must have such a strong relationship to stick together, just shows how much you really love each other! So happy for you both xx


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