5 Biggest Adjustments to (finally!) close the gap: long distance relationship
You did it! You made it through one of the most difficult things any couple can face- the dreaded long-distance relationship. You made it through the holidays, birthdays, and celebrations without them by your side, just wishing so badly that they could be there with you.
You made it through what felt like a daily onslaught of seeing other couples walking hand-in-hand and wondering why you couldn’t have the same thing. Counting down the days until you could have your sweetheart in your arms for good.
Well, it’s here. Your days of wishing and hoping are finally over. You and your partner have decided and are able to close that distance and make your (relationship) dreams come true by living together. You are so ready to begin your new journey into perfect couple-hood. Surviving long-distance was rough– moving in together is the prize for making it through that.
It will be easier than being apart, for sure. But will it always be easy? The short answer: No.
While having your significant other to wake up to each morning is great, it is also something that comes with its own brand-new set of adjustments to make (hello morning breath).
How do I know this? I was right where you are now- closing the distance with my then-boyfriend after 1 ½ years of being apart. Not even in different towns apart. Or states. No- we had been in different countries. He had moved to Canada in the summer of 2010 to help his family with their business, while I remained in the United States.
We saw each other in-person one time during our long-distance relationship. Our entire relationship during that time was based entirely on phone calls, text messages, and Skype. Thanks to technology we were able to endure our time physically apart- but it was incredibly difficult at times.
Having had enough of the hours-long phone conversations and Skype calls to base our connection on, we decided enough was enough and my boyfriend decided to move back to the United States. Back to our hometown. Back to me. It.was.glorious.
But it was not perfect. Living together was everything we dreamed it would be, and a few things we hadn’t. It certainly came with its own set of challenges at times. Just as we had to make adjustments to maintain our long-distance relationship, we had to adjust to our new in-person relationship as well.
The following are 5 of the biggest adjustments we experienced after closing the distance once and for all.
1. The Honeymoon Period is Over
When you are in a long-distance relationship, you don’t have time to dwell on any small frustrations or annoyances that you may have with your partner. Your time together (if at all) is often limited and jam-packed as you bask in the glow of having them by your side. In those moments they seem perfect. You seem perfect to them.
When you move in together, those once small things that could be brushed to the side are not so easy to ignore. Because of this, you begin to see each other as the real-life humans you are, flaws and all.
You grow into a new rhythm and comfort with each other- letting your guards down and seeing the whole person as they are. And while it may be the end of the honeymoon period, as they say, it can also be the beginning of a deeper kind of relationship than you could have ever hoped for.
2. You Will Learn New Things About Your Partner
What kind of big adjustment is this, you may wonder? Learning new things about your partner sounds awesome, right?
Most of it is. Some of it is not.
For instance, learning your significant other likes to leave a trail of clothes leading from the front door to the shower after work each day instead of placing those clothes in the hamper? That’s definitely not something you knew about before.
Or, your partner can learn that you are always going to feel more comfortable deciding what to order for dinner than making it. Let’s just say cooking is not your forte. At all.
But they learn to adjust, as do you.
3. The Adjustment of Personal and Physical Space
While your time apart did come with its challenges, there were also some things you inevitably got used to doing alone and maybe even came to enjoy.
When you move in with your partner, that independence that you might have established for yourself can be harder to hold on to. Especially in the beginning. After being away from each other for so long, you will initially want to spend all your time together as you once were unable to.
It will be important to remember that not all activities have to be done together though. You can (and should) hold on to some sense of the independence you had before and still aim to do things on your own occasionally. Plus, it will give you that much more to talk about with your partner when you come back home.
4. The Shift of Communication from Online to Offline
Having an argument over the phone versus in-person can be completely different. Unlike with a phone conversation or even an email, the effect hits much differently when you’re standing face to face. Before living together, you could maybe take a step back to evaluate what you really wanted (or should) say in certain conversations.
That is not the case when you live together. Conversations happen in real-time. As with most things, this will ultimately be for the better, but it can be different from the way you may have been used to communicating before.
As with anything else, you will need to learn new ways to effectively get your point across in a constructive manner and it’s important to remember that communication is something you will be working on now and well into the future, no matter what stage in your relationship you’re currently in.
5. New Surroundings
When my boyfriend and I decided to live together, it was to our hometown (where we originally met each other in high school) so our surroundings were familiar and helped with the initial transition of being together.
For many couples though, one or both partners experience living in a new area to join their significant other. This can require a huge adjustment on their part, often leading to homesickness or a struggle to integrate into an environment they may not be comfortable in right away.
It can be a lot to swallow, in addition to the other big changes that will happen after you close the distance. As with everything else though, leaning on each other for support will be the best way to navigate through any of these uncharted waters.
Ultimately, closing the distance is one of the most exciting things that you can do for your relationship. Just remember that it will not come without its challenges. But in the end, it will be worth any adjustments needed.
As for me and my then-boyfriend- he is now my husband and I am forever grateful for the day we were finally able to close the distance and be together, morning breath and all.