Wearing: (on me) Jumpsuit & Necklace | (on him) Jeans, Tee & Boots | Photography by the very talented Brett & Jessica Photography

Long distance relationships are tough & only those that are 100% invested will make it through. Since Ryan & I successfully (more or less) made it through a LDR, I figured I’d share what worked for US. I asked for specific questions on Instagram, but I also included questions that I wondered myself as I committed to someone 2,550 miles away for 18 months. It’s safe to say we are no relationship experts, but we’re hoping we can help at least one (or two!) couples out there that are struggling through the long distance while in love.

Why even bother?

For me, dating in California was HARD. I dove right into the dating pool when I moved there but I didn’t really find any guy that was worth pursuing. When I met Ryan, I knew he was worth the effort a LDR takes. Not only is Ryan a 10 out of 10 in the looks department (#stud), but he is a great guy.. smart, caring, intelligent, funny. Most importantly, he has MORALS. He made it very clear from the beginning that he was an honest & trustworthy guy. Trust is so important to me & regardless of the distance, I knew I could trust him 100%. A long distance relationship won’t work if the trust isn’t there.

Communicate, all day, err day.

We talked (on the phone) every damn day. It was something as simple as a phone call that made me realize how important I was to him, even in the beginning stages. I really think it depends on the two people in the relationship & how they like to communicate, whether it’s video chat, text messages, or something physical like sending each other a care package. We preferred the phone but we did hop on FaceTime every few weeks to say HI or to talk through an issue. It’s really hard to understand someone’s tone via text, so making that eye contact was important. Long distance forces you both to become good at communication, which really sets you up for success in your relationship long term.

It’s all a vacation. 

We tried to see each other once every 2 months. It didn’t always happen but we tried our best. It’s fun to have a trip to look forward to! Sure, I went to North Carolina & he came to California, but some of our best trips were meeting in the middle & making a visit a vacation. Whether it was a long weekend in NY, a week in Mexico, or a trip to Paris, we loved to explore beyond our own cities which kept the relationship fun & exciting.

What was the most difficult part? 

The hardest part was experiencing life without each other, for sure. We both spent a lot of time alone, which was great & boring at the same time. I do appreciate the time I had because I felt like I enjoyed it to the fullest, exploring California & spending quality time with friends. I also learned a lot about myself, rearranging my priorities & dedicating a lot of time to self-care. But, I think California would have been a lot more fun if Ryan was there with me, you know? Spend as much time investing in yourself as you do investing in your relationship during this time apart.

Have an end goal. 

You don’t understand how many times I asked him, & myself, WHEN WOULD THIS END? When would we finally be together, living in the SAME city? To be frank, I spent the majority of our relationship trying to figure out the end goal. I think it was more important to me than it was for him to figure out the next steps in our relationship. I badgered him every week on whether I was moving there or he was moving here & I know it annoyed the heck out of him. Ryan is secure & wasn’t too worried about it, but I couldn’t relax until I saw the light at the end of the tunnel. It wasn’t until we looked into the future & aligned our goals did we realize that me moving to Raleigh was the best decision. Do I miss California? Of course, but I’d rather have Ryan in Raleigh than living that single life in California. Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to what you both want out of this relationship. If you’re not aligned, there’s a good possibility that your time could be better spent elsewhere.

Love is not easy but in the end, isn’t that what life is all about? Taking risks, having faith, & trusting that LOVE is ENOUGH. I hope you enjoyed this [honest] post & a huge thank you to Brett & Jessica Photography for these beautiful photographs! (P.S. Raleigh peeps, they’re local!)

If you’re interested, you can shop both our looks below.

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