In July 2012 I was accepted to work as a flight attendant for Emirates airline, and would be relocating for the position three months later. I still remember thinking that there was absolutely no way I wanted to get involved in a relationship. But I guess destiny had other plans for me.
In August one of my best friends from Germany, Debbie, was coming to America to visit with her two other friends Christoph and Annika. I had lived in Germany from 2010-2011 which is when I met Debbie. I was super excited to spend time with her, but I had no idea that meeting Christoph would change the course of my life, too. Without getting into the nitty gritty details of what happened I’ll give you the rundown of how things progressed over the course of their visit.
When I first met Christoph, I really thought he was aloof and not really keen on getting to know him. But, something within me was so intrigued by him. Have you ever felt that before? Like you just have to get to know someone better? Well, that’s exactly how it was.
As I spent more time with Christoph, I started to see that he was a really wonderful and genuine person. I felt this sort of magnetic energy to him in a way that I just hadn’t experienced before in my life. I felt this deep feeling from my soul that I had to say something about how I felt before he left for Germany.
To be honest, I couldn’t believe this was happening–I was off to Dubai in just three months, and was going to be traveling all the time. I staved off all my negative thoughts about what could happen, and just decided to find a way to tell him how I felt.
So, on one of their last nights in America I worked up some (mostly liquid) courage, and told him, “I think you’re cute” when we were out in a bar in Brooklyn. It felt sort of juvenile, but at the same time, it just felt so right. He seemed a bit taken aback for a moment, but basically replied that he thought the same about me.
I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into. It was as if all my logic went out the window—but sometimes with love, that is completely necessary.
We said goodbye to each other in the very beginning of September at Grand Central in New York City. I remember waving to him as my train chugged off the tracks headed back to Connecticut. I felt like Celine from Before Sunrise as I sat in the train, reminiscing on the past days, and wondering what would happen between us.
Several days later, when Christoph was back in Germany, we had our first Skype “date” and we decided not to meet other people until we could see each other again. That day came about four months later, when I had a flight to Munich, Germany on my first roster of flying for Emirates. I was totally nervous about seeing him in person after so many months, but we had spent that time getting to know each other via Skype and really having to figure each other. Our first time seeing each other after all that time passing was a beautiful success. We decided on that day, no matter how difficult, we would find a way to make this long distance work between us.
We managed our international long distance relationship for nearly two years before I moved to Germany to be with him. Sometimes we didn’t talk for about a month besides sending Whatsapp messages when we could find time. There were times I didn’t see him for months. Was it easy? Definitely not. Was it worth it? 100%.
Tips for International Long Distance Relationships
1. Get to know your partner before rushing into things
I really can’t express how crucial it is to really spend time getting to know your partner before rushing into things with them. In our culture these days, it seems, that it’s normal to just rush into relationships. But I never truly understood why. Shouldn’t the opposite be true? That we found out about the person’s hopes, dreams, and expectations from life before we start committing ourselves to them? By spending time getting to know Christoph over a four month period, I could really judge if I knew we’d be successful long term. When you slowly build up your relationship by really getting to know a person, and finding out who they are beforehand, you can create an extremely stable and sound foundation for a lasting relationship.
2. You can make long distance work with the right person
Long distance relationships are not easy, but when you meet the right person, you can make things work. I can’t tell you how many people told me during my time I was with Christoph, “I could never do what you are doing.” I think a lot of people approach long distance thinking it should be similar to one where you are physically present with your loved one, which totally isn’t true. Long distance relationships are unique ones, and they include a lot of other challenges that you don’t necessarily have when you are in the same place as your significant other. However, if both of you are willing to face those challenges, it is extremely rewarding. That being said, you really do have to find the right person to do long distance with. In order to find the right person, you really have to be open in your communication with each other, which is my next point.
3. Establish open communication
During our nearly two years of long distance, Christoph and I were obviously going out without each other most of the time. As I mentioned before, sometimes we didn’t talk on Skype or the phone for a month. Oh, and the worst was that there were times we didn’t see each other for a few months. I used to manage to get a flight to Germany usually once a month to see him (which was literally for like 24 hours), but for a time period he was working in NYC there was a time we didn’t see each other for a couple of months. It was awful! The key to our survival then was honest and open communication. You have to tell your partner exactly what is going on in your life and all the thoughts and feelings that are going through your head during that period of long distance. Even if that means sometimes you doubt your long distance relationship, or that you are feeling insecure about it. If you keep all those feelings pent up, bad things usually happen, and can really shake the stability of your relationship. It’s better just to get them all out, and be able to create a trusting bond between the two of you, rather than creating false expectations for yourselves.
4. Why not take a risk and see what happens?
The last thing I wanted to mention was that you should always take a risk when you feel something for someone. You’ve got to tell them what your heart feels! I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I never told Christoph how I felt about him. I’m just so glad that I did, and I don’t have to sit around thinking what if?
Sure, you might start a long distance relationship with someone and it might be a total disaster. That’s happened to me before in the past as well. Not every time can be a success story. But, what I am positive about, is that I would be so upset with myself if I didn’t try in the first place. It’s better to try than to live with regrets. So when you get that chance, take the risk, I promise you won’t regret it!