Summer is coming, which usually signals a schedule change for singers. Whether you’re finishing school, getting ready to start a new program, or going off to a summer gig, change is inevitable. For those in a relationship, these new experiences may mean being separated from your significant other. Despite the popular belief that long-distance relationships never work, I can tell you from experience - it can!
I met my husband during my junior year of undergrad and we both immediately knew that this relationship was special. Fast forward to graduation. We had great plans: I was moving to the Southwest for graduate school and he was staying on the East Coast for an amazing job opportunity. Knowing that grad school would only last two years, we planned for the long-haul of long-distance. We promised to somehow live in the same city again after I completed my studies.
After two years of long-distance, we reevaluated and ended up living together. Now we’re married, and the long-distance relationship was definitely worth it. Though there is a lot of advice out there regarding how to survive long-distance relationships, I'll share from my perspective as a singer.
Find a communication style that works for both of you
People think when you’re in a long-distance relationship you should talk on the phone all the time. As a singer, it’s hard to find the time to talk when you’re busy. That’s not to say my husband and I didn’t call each other, but we also found different ways to stay in touch. We texted each other all the time and sent each other pictures in an OOTD (outfit of the day) style, so it felt like we were seeing each other every day. We also utilized video chatting, snail mail, and care packages. No matter what your preferred method may be, find an effective communication style that you can both enjoy so it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Immerse yourself in your work and your friends
I think this was my biggest mistake during my long-distance relationship. When I began graduate school, I thought I needed to be studious and less social. It wasn’t until my second year I really started to come out of my shell and make life-long friends. I think I would’ve had a much better time if I had been more social right away. Not everybody suffers from introverted personality problems, but a universal lesson can be learned: rather than wallow, have fun and make memories without your significant other. By having fun, you not only keep yourself busy, but will also have new stories to tell your partner. Also, use this time to audition for shows, plan a recital, learn new music, or immerse yourself in a new hobby. In short: remember to create a life for yourself where you are, and live it.
Always have the next visit planned
Throughout those two years, my husband and I saw each other approximately every two to three months. When possible, we took turns travelling to each other and aimed for holidays, breaks, or performances. During our visits we would plan the next trip to see each other. Knowing the next time we were going to see each other gave us something to look forward to, and we had fun counting down the days. During a gig, you may not have opportunities to visit each other, so having that end date in mind will keep you motivated.
Communicate your feelings
This advice can be applied to any relationship: communicate with your partner. This is especially important in a long-distance relationship because you don’t have body language to provide clues to what's going on beneath the surface. Let your partner know how you’re feeling rather than waiting to see each other in person to talk. Don’t forget to lean on them when you need support due to circumstances outside of the relationship. Tell them about your messy roommate, the frustrating singer who doesn't know their lines, or how much you miss your favorite ice cream shop. Communicating, sharing emotions, and supporting each other can bring you two closer while you’re apart and improve your communication skills for when you’re back together.
Trust your S.O.
Trusting each other is probably the most important thing to remember when in a long-distance relationship. Trusting one hundred percent is key to surviving the distance, and this relates to more than just fidelity. Trust they will call when they say they will, trust they will book the plane tickets to visit you, and - of course - trust they will be faithful. Not trusting your significant other can make the distance extremely stressful and painful. If there is any reason you cannot trust your partner, then you may have other issues that need to be addressed before attempting a long-distance relationship.
As a singer, long-distance relationships may be inevitable. However, distance does not have to ruin a relationship. If you and your partner are willing to try long-distance, you may find you communicate better, trust each other more, and have an overall stronger relationship because of the it.