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14 Things No One Tells You About Being in a Long-Distance Relationship

14 Things No One Tells You About Being in a Long-Distance Relationship

Boy meets girl. They go crazy over each other, knowing one of them is leaving town in less than a month (or a week, or a day!). The story never gets old.

The dreadful day approaches. They’re at the airport, time is running low. There are tears, sloppy kisses and endless promises that they will get through it no matter what! One leaves. One stays. But know this: “dating” in no way prepares you for a long-distance relationship. It is a different kind of ball game altogether.

Before moving to France to be with my partner, I spent over a year living in a limbo of visa paperwork, lonesome nights lying awake, and carefully crossing out days left until we met again.

Now, I need to put it in bold: long-distance relationships seriously suck!

Below are 14 things no one will tell you about being in a long-distance relationship, except for someone who has already done it.

1. Congrats! You’ve got a free ticket to an emotional roller-coaster ride!

Some days will be fine. You’ll just do all the usual stuff — go to work, catch up with friends for drinks, walk your dog and work out every day to look fit when you finally meet again.

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But there will be terrible days too. Days when you don’t want to get out of bed or do anything meaningful — except for embracing your pain and loneliness. Days when you seriously question your decision: “Is it worth it? Why am I doing this?”

You’ll go from moments of tremendous joy together to hopelessly depressing thoughts on the night before your departure: “Will I survive another separation? I’m not sure how many more times my heart can be torn apart until it finally breaks!”

2. There will be a lot of tough choices to make

So where are we heading? How do we see our future together? Should I leave everything and move to you? Is it worth it? Who will come and visit? When?

Get used to the endless swirl of complicated questions you both need to answer honestly.

3. Your laptop is your real significant other

At least for now.

You will fall asleep with your beloved’s face on the screen. The first thing you’ll grab in the morning is your laptop to check if they’ve already sent you a sweet “Morning, sunshine!” email. You’ll put your laptop next to your plate so you can have dinner together.

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You’ll also get to know all the latest video, chat and photo exchange apps, all designed for couples who are apart.

4. Time will be your main enemy

When you are together, you’ll savor each and every moment. You’ll plan to do all those amazing super-romantic couple things, or simply enjoy the warmth of actual hugs as long as possible. Yet, you will never get enough time.

But once apart again, you’ll simply wish the clock ran faster: “Is it Friday already? So, there’s just 24 days left until I visit. Can I please wake up on day X?”

5. You will get more creative trying to fill up your time

Always wanted to learn French? How about play tennis, enroll in a Japanese cooking class, or master ink drawing? This is a high time to find new hobbies and try new things. Keep your mind engaged and let it focus on learning new skills. Besides, isn’t it an awesome way to impress your partner when you finally catch up again?

6. There will be all sort of memory triggers that will cause you to randomly cry

I thought I was emotionally strong. I was proved wrong. Numerous times.

7. It won’t get easier in time

Even if you think you can get used to being apart and are now stoically waiting for when things get easier, they won’t. No matter how long you are in a long-distance relationship, you always miss your significant other like crazy.

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Revisit points #1 and #6 and accept that.

8. You learn to live in a twisted reality

They’re never there, but they’re all yours. You spend too much time inside your head replaying all those sweet moments spent together, having all those daydreams and conversations.

That’s odd. I know.

9. Your friends won’t be as supportive as you expect

“OMG! So you’re like one year into a long-distance relationship? How do you cope with, you know … desire?”

“Does your boyfriend even exist?”

“Why don’t you find someone else to date?”

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Right.

Why can’t a cat become a dog?

10. Long distance feels heavy

Your partner won’t be around every time you desperately need them, not on one of those “bad days” when you are one step away from a yet another mental breakdown. Not on those days when you fail and need more support that any sweet words on Skype can convey. Eventually, you learn to cope with a lot of things on your own, and you grow stronger and more mature in the process.

11. Finding the time to visit is complicated

You won’t be able to come and visit each and every weekend or month as you originally intended to. You still have different and conflicting commitments holding you back. (Or else you’d be sitting next to each other already, right?) And unless booked months in advance flights cost a pretty penny and get insanely expensive during holidays and vacation seasons. Exactly, those times when you are most likely to be able to visit.

12. When you finally meet again, you just pick up just where you’ve finished

When you are together again, it seems like those ugly weeks apart never existed. Like you finally pressed “Play” and started living your perfect life again. At least until it’s time to go back home.

13. Eventually, you develop this odd feeling of sureness

You will begin to consider that if you are not soul mates, why would both of you bother so much? Your relationship are definitely not about sex. Rather, you are like friends without benefits most of the time. You can talk over anything — hopes, fears, dreams, insecurities. Jealousy is just an empty word as you grow absolutely confident in your partner and yourself.

14. You know if you both see this through to the end, your relationship will survive anything

As a couple you will develop this invisible, bulletproof bond. It will carry you through all sort of arguments and life difficulties. After all, if you survive the long-distance thing, everything else from then on will seem easily manageable!

Featured photo credit: Hearth symbol in sunset via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Elena Prokopets

Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

7 Ways To Learn a New Language Faster (Backed by Science) 22 Amazing Pineapple Health Benefits (With Simple Pineapple Recipes) 15 Cool And Practical Apps For Couples 14 Things No One Tells You About Being in a Long-Distance Relationship 9 Tips to Prepare For Your First Multi Day Hike

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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