the voice and vision of a new generation
Photo credit: Michaela Hook

5 tips for your LGBTQ long distance relationship

February 14, 2018

My girlfriend and I met in an unconventional way: Tumblr. We were both sixteen-year-old nerds in 2012 who randomly stumbled upon each other’s blogs. One day I decided to send a note of kindness to a stranger, just to brighten their day, and out of my 500 followers, I chose her.

Usually, I would never receive a message back from people, but she responded almost ten minutes later, and from there came a beautiful friendship that traveled across countries. She moved from Mexico to Costa Rica then back to Mexico while I stayed stationary in California. We would Skype and discuss our favorite shows, do homework together, listen to music, and after a few years it was easy to call each other best friends.

Flash-forward to 2014, I was a month into my first year at college and I asked her if she’s ever seen Phantom of the Opera before. We planned to watch it that night together over Skype, and even though I never specified, we both secretly felt like it was a date. A couple days later, we admitted we had feelings for each other. Ever since then, we’ve been together in a long-distance relationship for 4 years, traveling back and forth between our two countries.

We’ve stayed strong, proudly holding hands in the face of the homophobia and racism in our countries, especially during very politically turbulent times. In a couple of months, we’ll both be graduating university, and we plan to attend graduate school together.

I can’t speak for every long distance relationship (LDR), but I can say that I know first-hand how difficult one can be. Like every relationship, it’s not easy and requires a lot of work, but since LDRs are between people who are not physically together, there is a little extra effort that needs to be put in.

So, if you are thinking about being in an LDR or are already in one, I put together a couple of things I wish I had known 4 years ago and what I’ve learned along the way:

1. Dedicate Time Together. Just because you aren’t in the same place doesn’t mean you can slack off on dating, because it is still a relationship. Some fun ideas for LDR dates that have worked for us are binge watching a show or watching a movie. You both pull it up, and ‘ready, set, PLAY”. It’s fun because you can watch the movie while having your partner next to it, so you can watch all their reactions on the screen, which personally, I think is the best part.

2. Dedicate Time For Yourself. In a long distance relationship, it is easy to want to spend all your free time on Facetime or texting, but make sure you put your phone down often to do things for yourself and pay attention to the life you are living and the people around you.

3. Plan Ahead. Plan when you’re going to see each other again. If neither of you knows when/if you’ll see each other again, this creates a lot of anxiety and unnecessary relationship stress.

4. Set Goals Together. Even if they are goals you complete separately, trust me, setting a common goal and achieving it brings you closer together.

5. Communication. Communication, communication, communication. I can’t stress it enough. Technically, it’s all we have in long distance relationships. Without the constant physicality of your partner, all that’s left is communication, and if it isn’t healthy, the relationship will falter. Always work together, because in the end, you are still a team, and communication is your best ally. If you have strong communication and you are finally together in the same space, your relationship will be a million times stronger. I promise.

Michaela Hook is a GLAAD Campus Ambassador and senior at Chapman University studying Creative Writing. She hopes to one day start a creative writing magazine for LGBTQ+ youth.

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