6 Steps For Surviving Long-Distance Relationships

Saying that long-distance relationships are hard is a total understatement.

Rebekah and Robin
PHOTO Rebekah Black

Saying that long-distance relationships are hard is a total understatement. My boyfriend is from Sweden and I’m a Cali girl. We met in Santa Barbara while studying at the community college and within the first five minutes of meeting him, I was in love. Three years later, his student visa expired and he had to go home. The first month after he left, I was a mess. I spent everyday drowning my sorrows in Pinot Noir and playing “Hello” by Adele. It was tragic for me and anyone who had to be around me. Shoutout to all my friends who put up with my bat shit craziness because Lord knows, I was on a whole new level of emotional instability.

Luckily for me, his departure didn’t have to be the end of our relationship. In order to stay together, I applied for the Sambo Visa in Sweden. If you don’t know what the word Sambo means, don’t worry, I had no idea until I applied. Basically, it means that you apply to live with someone in Sweden, and that someone is either your boyfriend, girlfriend or partner. Completing the application is really easy. The hard part, is waiting. The migration agency claims that Sambo visa applicants will make their decision within 13-14 months of applying but there are no guarantees. After you submit your application, you go in for a short interview at a local consulate and wait for your application to get into the hands of a case officer. That case officer will be the one making the final decision.

Robin and I were forced to endure over a year without each other until I was finally able to move to Sweden. I don’t want to point any fingers but… I’m blaming the migration agency. Get your shit together! Come on, it’s a weird kind of torture to know you’re in love but you can’t be with the person you love. Long-distance relationships are brutal and remaining positive takes work.

I’m not a love guru but I’ve compiled a small list of things you can do to survive while being away from your babe:

1. Stay connected but don’t be annoying.

Send your babe updates in the morning when he/she wake up and at night before he/she goes to bed. If your boyfriend, girlfriend or partner is anything like mine, he/she has a job and responsibilities to attend to. Sending texts after text after text will become overwhelming and puts a lot of pressure on the relationship.

2. Sext.

Just because you can’t physically be with each other, keep that spark alive. Sex is so important in a relationship so send naughty texts, pictures and videos. If you’re shy at first, start slow then once you feel comfortable, take that to next level. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.

3. Pick up a hobby.

The weird thing about being in a long-distance relationship is that you have the best of both words. You’re not responsible for satisfying anyone else but yourself and you have a ton of free time. Do something to keep yourself busy that you actually enjoy. It may take some time, but once you find something, those lonely days will seem a lot shorter.

4. Plan visits.

If you’re in a situation like mine, where your future basically depends on a disorganized bureaucracy, then you may have no idea when you and your babe will officially be together again. In that case, it is so important to plan trips to see each other. The worst feeling is having no idea when you’ll be able to be together. Robin and I made sure to not go more than 4 months without seeing each other and honestly those countdowns were the only things I could really look forward to.

5. Be straight up about everything.

When you’re forced to be away from each other, your main way of communication is via text, phone or FaceTime. If you’re on a totally different time zone (ie: California versus Sweden), you’ll most likely be relying on texts. In this case, be straight up about everything. Your partner can’t always sense how you feel and because you’re in a long-distance relationship, being emotionally distant is a recipe for failure. Whatever you’re feeling, just say it because unfortunately, you don’t have the luxury of body language.

6. Be optimistic.

I honestly feel so hypocritical saying this, but it’s a must. You don’t have to be super positive 24/7, but it is important that at least one of you is being optimistic about the situation. If one of you starts to lose hope, the other one needs to reinforce it. It is okay to feel hopeless at times, but you need to take turns picking each other up.

Sticking to these principals is much harder said than done. If we’re being totally honest, I barely stuck to them. However, at the end of the day, you’ll realize that those lonely nights, and never ending waiting periods are a small price to pay for being with the one you love.

Stay strong my hopeless romantics!


Rebekah Black


Rebekah is a 23-year-old California girl living and working in Sweden in the software industry. Her favorite country is Italy, and loves secluded beaches, colorful sunsets, exotic food & red wine.

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