Dating is hard. In fact, simply finding someone that you want to date, that you want to spend time with, can be hard. So it’s even more difficult when it turns out that person won’t be living in the same country as you!
Sadly, for international relationships, that is often the case. We know there are a lot of you out there either already in a long-distance relationship, or are about to be in one, so we wanted to see if anyone had advice for us. Fortunately, we found a British woman (Annie) who went through a period of long distance with her boyfriend (Takeshi) of two years. They now live together, so we’re pretty sure she’s a good source for advice about sticking together!
(The following reflects the opinion of the interviewee.)
- Table of Contents
1. When You Can’t Meet Face to Face... Make Messaging a Priority
Long-distance in any form is tiring, but especially when your loved one lives on the other side of the world, it’s hard to meet up! In this case, the woman we interviewed is British, and was living in Japan while her Japanese boyfriend was living in the UK. With a 9 hour time difference and an 11 hour flight in between them, it’s not exactly conducive to meeting up over the weekend!
“We messaged a lot. I think we messaged more than other couples might, but to be honest it was that ease of contact that stopped me from worrying or feeling too lonely when I couldn’t meet up with him in person.”
Annie told us that saying the bare minimum of “good morning” and “good night” is an absolute must in a long-distance relationship. It’s good to just know they’re thinking about you. If you can chat more than that, great, but there are some lines that need to stay in place. This doesn’t necessarily mean setting out rules right from the start – it might turn out that those rules don’t make sense, or they’re not really what you care about. Instead, it’s important to tell your partner when something comes up. If you’re upset that they’re not talking to you, tell them you want to at least say good night to each other each day, or set up a weekly Skype session at a time that suits you both.
“One of my friends was in a long-distance relationship, but she wanted to talk a lot, and he didn’t, so she ended up feeling quite uneasy.”
“In general, guys seem to be less likely to want to message a lot. It’s important to know that before you’re separated geographically, so that you can have realistic expectations about contact.”
Relationships are about compromise. You need to understand that your partner might not want to, or be able to talk 24/7. But of course, they need to try to understand your stance too. In the end, if you’re not trying to help each other feel more at ease, a long-distance relationship may not be right for you.
2. Be Considerate: Don’t Forget the Time Difference!
If you’re in separate countries, it’s quite likely that time difference will prove a bit of a hurdle. You might be wide awake and ready to chat, but your partner might just be about to doze off...
“We were at opposite ends of the day, because the UK’s morning is Japan’s evening. I would always chat to him as soon as I woke up, and he’d be excited to speak to me. He was at university, so his schedule was a bit more free than mine, which helped.”
We’ve talked a little bit about compromise, but this is where it comes in again. If you enjoy your lie-ins, you may have to sacrifice one every now and then, and get up early to make time to chat. If weekdays are difficult for you both, then arrange a time on the weekends. Chatting via some kind of messenger is generally a lot easier than a video call, so even just noticing the patterns of when your partner is most active, and carve out a little time to watch TV whilst chatting to them makes it not seem like a chore.
“With a little effort from both sides, you’ll feel much more at ease.”
She also mentioned that it’s important to say “I love you” and other little things now and then to let your partner know you appreciate them. You might start to think “Of course they know I love them”, but that’s exactly when you need to mention it again. Just being reminded of it can really brighten a day, especially when you don’t get to feel their loving embrace.
3. If Something is Worrying You, Let Them Know
Even something small can grow into a bigger and bigger problem when you’re left to dwell on it alone. So, how do you deal with something that makes you feel on edge?
“We talk quite a lot, so it’s fairly easy to just mention something lightly. We’ve both discussed that it’s much better to talk about problems than to let them build up.”
Annie said that it’s important to be open and create an atmosphere where it’s easy to ask questions. They don’t need to be deep, intense questions that spark debate, but making sure not to shut down and get defensive when a simple question is asked is a definite positive.
“If you’re worry about something by yourself every day, it just builds up until you explode and take it out on your partner! That’s no good for anyone.”
If one of you thinks and starts to get obsessive over one point, it’s quite likely they’ll either get angry, or start to act differently – to a point that the other gets angry instead! Once it gets to that point, it’s a lot harder to pick up the pieces when you can’t just kiss and make up. It doesn’t always have to be talked over together, either. Sometimes just talking to a friend and sharing your thoughts can make you realize you’re the one being unreasonable, or that what they’re doing is nothing to be worried about. Either way, keeping it to yourself is not the way to go.
4. Plan When You’ll Next See Each Other – Short Term and Long Term
When you’re living on opposite sides of the globe, it’s likely you won’t see each other for months, or even a year at a time, depending on the distance. But if you don’t have a set date, or at least a set time-frame for when you’ll next meet, you might start to feel anxious about whether you’ll see each other at all.
“When it comes to long distance, there needs to be an end in sight. If you’re both going to be in different countries indefinitely, do you really see a future of living together? In my case, we already knew he would move to Japan in September, so we had a goal to work towards.”
Before Annie moved to Japan, they both knew that Takeshi would be moving there six months later. They had a fixed plan. If you don’t have that, you need to at least know when you’ll next see each other. Knowing you only have to bear it for a few months makes things a lot easier, and means you’re not just living in the dark, wondering when you’ll see each other again.
“When you meet up, it’s also important to share the travel – either alternate which countries you meet up in, or if only one of you can travel, pay for the ticket together.”
If only one person is doing all the traveling, it can feel very one sided, both in terms of energy and money. The best solution is to alternate who is traveling, but if that isn’t possible, at least share the cost between you. That way no-one feels like “I’m doing all the work here!”
5. A Picture Says a Thousand Words
For Annie and Takeshi, they found that sending pictures really helped share what they were doing. It helped to create a feeling of “real time” events, and makes the other feel like part of their life.
“I would send him little snaps of where I was to share the experience with him a bit. But even without context I would just send a picture of myself making a stupid face, which was fun because you can mess about even when you’re not together.”
When you’re not in the same physical space, it’s hard to imagine what the other person is doing. Even if sending pictures or chatting when you are out and about is not for you, it’s good to just update each other on things you might find boring. Just saying “I made this nice dinner tonight, I’ll make it for you when I next see you!” or even simply telling them about what you did during the day can make them feel more a part of your world.
“I also never felt like I needed to worry about whether he was cheating or not, because he would pretty much tell me what he was doing every day anyway.”
Annie also said that it’s interesting to see what he’s doing, and what he’s interested in. You get to see a part of their life that you might not have taken part in otherwise!
6. Don’t Forget Your Friends
Annie also told us that she feels much more at ease when she can chat to her friends who’ve had experience in long-distance or even just long-term relationships.
“Whenever I was worried about something in the relationship I would turn to my friends for advice. It’s good to know you don’t just have to rely on your partner – and in fact, you shouldn’t.”
Annie told us that it’s good to fall back on friends from time to time. Even if it’s nothing to do with your relationship, it’s good to share your problems instead of offloading everything onto your partner – they’re not your therapist! A problem shared is a problem halved.
Of course, to that end, it’s also good to talk to other people who have had a similar experience. If you know anyone who’s been in a long-distance relationship, just ask them how they dealt with problems. They might have a novel idea you’d never considered.
“I think Takeshi is a little different, because he’s always telling me how much I mean to him, but not everyone is good at expressing those feelings. When there were times I didn’t really understand his reactions, I would ask my friends if they had any similar experiences.”
There you have it. Annie has given us a few interesting insights into her long-distance relationship with a Japanese man, but these pointers could be true of any long-distance relationship. Ultimately, each of you needs to understand what the other considers important, and make expectations clear from the get-go. And don’t forget to send stupid selfies!
Whether you’re thinking about going into a long-distance relationship, or whether you’re in one right now, we hope some of these tips will prove useful.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
Share this article.
Recommended places for you
Hokkai syabusyabu Kitanijoten
Sapporo / Chitose
Sendai And Matsushima
Rokaru Hararu Restaurant Yakiniku-no Mise Zerohachi NambaOCAThonten
Namba, Dotonbori, Shinsaibashi
Sendai And Matsushima
Sendai And Matsushima
Sendai And Matsushima
7 Fun Tips for Celebrating Christmas in Japan
Visiting Tokyo: The Ultimate Asakusa and Odaiba 1-Day Itinerary
Japan Cherry Blossom 2021 Forecast: When & Where To See Sakura in Japan
World-class Blades with Japanese Flair: The Art of the Kitchen Knife with Tsukiji Aritsugu
Hatsumode in Tokyo: 5 Great Places to Experience Japan's Biggest New Year's Event! (2021)
'That's Hard For a Chinese Person!' 5 Things That Shocked Chinese Women After Marrying Japanese Men
Pocky & Pretz: Hunting the Perfect Souvenir at Glicoya Kitchen!
Fresh Fish for Seafood Lovers: 3 of Tokyo's Best Places for Seafood Bowls!
Togatta Onsen Guide: Best 6 Places to Indulge Yourself in Miyagi Prefecture's Magical Hot Springs Resort Village
Kyoto's New Japanese Style Don Quijote in Kawaramachi!
Seafood Bowls and More at the Shiogama Seafood Wholesale Market!
Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma & More! Kiddy Land Harajuku's 10 Most Popular Merch Among Foreign Visitors
- #best sushi japan
- #what to do in odaiba
- #what to bring to japan
- #new years in tokyo
- #best ramen japan
- #what to buy in ameyoko
- #japanese nail trends
- #things to do japan
- #onsen tattoo friendly tokyo
- #best coffee japan
- #best japanese soft drinks
- #best yakiniku japan
- #japanese fashion culture
- #japanese convenience store snacks