1. Keep in touch every day
As with every other type of relationship, communication is key. Ask your loved one plenty of questions, from the mindless ‘have you watched the new episode of Game of Thrones?’, to ‘what was your day like?’ and moving on to ‘do you need anything?’, to express an interest in each other. Your lives may be separate – for the time being – but your thoughts and hearts need not be.
2. Surprise each other
Spending time apart puts stress on the strongest of binds, so how can you keep the magic alive when you’re not even in the same country? Send gifts via snail mail; surprise him or her with an unexpected visit (though make sure you know what your partner’s schedule is like beforehand); and leave love notes when you depart. In other words, plan the unexpected so you’re both kept on your toes, keenly anticipating the next moment.
3. Plan weekend trips to a different country
You live in Malta, he lives in the UK, Brussels or Luxembourg. Visits may be in order, but the last thing you may want is to spend most of your time in a city which is overcast and constantly raining, despite the potential for lots of together-time. Instead, why not plan a trip together somewhere you both want to go? From the cute waterways of Amsterdam or the dramatic, warm scenery of Andalucía, Europe is your oyster. And, if you have a little bit more time and money, you can even cast your net further afield (Japan, anyone?).
4. Don’t become too obsessive
Trust. A relationship without this is heading to a wall, so make sure you build solid foundations through transparency, the keeping of promises and by considering the feelings of your partner – wherever he or she may be. And, a lot of the nitty-gritty work may actually have to be made on yourself: don’t fret too much if they don’t message as regularly as you would like (we all have different expectations and they do have a job, you know) and invest in yourself, rather than in looking at your phone.
5. Fill your life
Living apart is immensely hard and that is partly due to the gaping hole the move may have left in your life. What do couples do when they’re no longer in the same country? Who do they go to dinner with, take walks with or, simply, flop on the sofa beside? There’s no doubt these are some of the hardest questions to answer, but, to stop you feeling morose, fill your life with activities: take up a sport; go for treks in the Maltese countryside (there are organisations which organise these activities); or learn a new language. You’ll be surprised as to just how quickly the days pass.
6. Take this time to keep up with family and friends
When you’re in love, it’s easy to make your world revolve around your beau, which might make family and friends feel excluded. But your nearest and dearest are also part of who you are and should not be discarded when you’ve decided you’ve found something better to do (which, unfortunately, happens in many situations!). Make it a point to spend some time with your mum and dad, your siblings and that friend you’ve had since you were 11. They are the backbone of your history and will be there through thick and thin, whatever happens.
7. Keep in touch with his family
Most likely, you are not the only one to feel loss. When someone moves away, their family may feel abandoned and alone, whether they have the right to feel that way or not. After all, we all have to move on, right? But, in Malta’s tight-knit community, the departure of even one family member can leave a gaping hole which is hard to fill. While you’re not going to replace your partner, to his family, you are a reminder of them, so make an effort to visit and spend some time with those your partner is closest to.