Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Three Years! (How We Dated Long Distance)

Photo by Limelight Photography

In case you did not know, I met my husband online. As in, create a profile, upload a picture, browse, connect, date. Survive awkward moments. Rinse, Repeat. Find someone who sticks.


I know this is now a very common fact, but I still find it hard to believe about my own life. Three years ago today, Drew sent me a simple and thoughtful message and I became the luckiest girl in the world.

We lived 300 miles apart while we dated, and we were lucky that our distance was drivable in only a handful of hours. Anyway, it was, I think, the second long-distance relationship for each of us. My first ended not so well, but with Drew it was like a dream and the only reason that it ended was that we got married! Drew and I have spent a handful of nights apart in the last eight months and the quiet evenings and dinners cooked for one harken back to when we only saw one another a couple of weekends each month. Despite the limited in-person dating time, we both agree that we probably spent more time “together” getting to know each other because of the distance than we would have if we lived in the same town. We look back on that time physically apart as a true blessing.

“Back in the day” a long-distance relationship would have consisted mainly of letter writing, which is really quite romantic. We were thankful, though, to have access to many of today’s technologies that make dating across the miles so much easier. Long-distance dating isn't for everyone, but for the right person it is absolutely worth it! So how did we make it work? Here is some of my advice for how to have a fun dating relationship over the inter-webs:

Take advantage of all means of communication available to you: email, texts, phone calls, video chat, snail mail - We especially loved having the ability to video chat in the evenings. There was no pressure to talk the whole time, either; sometimes I had work to do, or Drew would take a nap. It was just nice to know that the other person was “there,” and life felt as normal as we could make it.
Evidence: Drew napping while I was probably grading papers.

Learn your love languages – In case you didn’t know, there are five of them. Understanding what makes you feel loved and how you can best show love to someone else can have a very positive impact on your relationship. As it turned out, Drew and I had almost identical tendencies in our love languages. It will be interesting to see if we change over the course of our marriage. Use a love language survey to spark conversation!

Plan movie dates – We would often rent a movie together online, or find one on tv or at Redbox. Then, we’d get on video chat and watch the movie together. Syncing up the audio can be a little tough, but volume adjustments or headphones can alleviate annoyances caused by delays.

Watch favorite tv shows together – This is pretty much the same as the movie dates. We would either watch shows on tv or catch up with them on Hulu. Having those shared daily experiences make a long-distance relationship feel more “normal.”

Make the same dinner- A few times we picked a recipe to make “together.” We each went to our respective grocery stores to get the ingredients and then we’d video chat while cooking and eating.

Play games online – How many competitive hours did we spend playing Words With Friends? SO MANY. Play a game in one evening or over the course of a week. Either way, it is tons of fun.

Ask questions – Drew is excellent at this whereas I am terrible. He was so curious that he sent me an email nearly every day that posed at least three questions about every random and serious topic. We got to learn a lot about each other and his questions came in handy when he used them as part of his marriage proposal.

Plan what you’ll do when you are together – Give yourselves something to look forward to! Just because the relationship is long-distance, it doesn’t mean you have NO time together in real life. Of course, distance plays a great role in the amount of time you'll have, but I was really lucky that Drew was happy and willing to do A LOT of driving. Get excited about it! Make plans!

There are a lot of ways to carry on a successful long-distance relationship, and each couple has unique circumstances and approaches to making their experience special. For us, it was all about spending quality time together (which is one of the five love languages) and truly learning to understand each other and show love across the distance. Living apart for nearly two and a half years has made us so grateful for all of the days we have gotten to spend together in our newlywed life. These three years have flown by and I can't believe all the things that we have accomplished together. I can't wait to see what is ahead in the coming years!


  1. Hi Angie! I really like this post because I can definitely relate to it. Mark and I did distance (Gainesville to Orlando) for 3 and a half years so we too saw each other every weekend but couldn't see each other at all on weekdays. Early on I used to worry that our relationship would not grow as fast but looking back now I see that it may have even grown faster because we had to find ways to be together even when there was physical distance between us. Now we have a lot to look forward to about getting married and living together. And I will definitely NOT miss all that time spent driving! I do look forward to talking with you because we have found out we will be relocating out of state after our wedding just like you and Drew did. I would love to hear your advice on navigating that!

    1. Being together after your get married is so wonderful. You are going to love it!

  2. Angie, such an awesome post! Izak and I did out of state (Texas to Illinois) for two semesters, which was pretty tough. The online games was one of our favorites - esp. Battleship! It's a little tricky to find free versions, but $10 is totally worth it if you do have to buy a few apps. To add on to your dinner idea: we also would order each other dinner, or give GPS coordinates for a restaurant to try. I had roommates, so making dinner was a little less personal - although I love the idea of being able to cook and swap tips "together" online!

    Forwarding this article to a friend of mine... they're out of country!

    1. Oh, I love the idea of ordering dinner for each other and sending one another out to a mystery location. Now we just surprise each other by not telling the other person where they are being taken, which is also fun.