193 - Making Long Distance Relationships Work

Long distance relationships are pretty common in non-monogamous communities, and they are becoming even easier to maintain with modern technology. This week, we share the latest statistics on on the success of long distance relationships as well as fundamental practices to keep your LDR running smooth. 

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Multiamory was created by Dedeker Winston, Jase Lindgren, and Emily Matlack.

Our theme music is Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand.

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This document may contain small transcription errors. If you find one please let us know at info@multiamory.com and we will fix it ASAP.

Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast, we're talking about spooky action at a distance aka quantum entanglement.

Emily: What?

Jase: Sorry. Wait.

Emily: Just kidding. We returned into a science podcast when you weren't looking.

Jase: Yes. On this episode there's stuff you should know.

Emily: I hope not.

Jase: No. We're talking about spooky partners at a distance, also known as long distance relationships.

Dedeker: Do they have to spooky?

Emily: No, because it's October. That's why I thought you said spooky in the first place and why you wrote it and I was like, "Uuh, October," but no, you're talking about quantum relationships.

Jase: Yes. I meant quantum relationships. Actually, just long distance relationships. Long distance relationships seem to be pretty common among people practicing non-monogamy. They're actually pretty common just in general but we have found that when you have multiple partners or at least are opening up the ideas of what a relationship can look like, long distance relationships become a more viable option or they become something that I feel like we're seeing slightly more often when you're allowed to look outside the bounds of a very "normal" looking relationship.

Dedeker: Right. I think definitely as we're seeing more people choosing being together but living separately, for instance, sometimes while they're married or sometimes while they have kids, and of course, sometimes it takes a certain amount of privilege to be able to do that but other times it is just about, "I like the apartment that I live in and you're not the cleanest person but I love you a lot." Things like that.

Jase: It can come down to, I would actually argue a lack of the privilege to just move up and live wherever you want to, right?

Dedeker: That's true.

Jase: If you meet someone and you have that connection or a job takes you to another place. This actually is a pretty common thing and the three of us have all had experienced managing long distance relationships of our own. Not only our romantic relationships but also our friendships especially with each other but also with other people back in our hometowns and all of that. We've had many different iterations of these. Even for you, relationship anarchists our there, there's stuff in this for you.

Dedeker: Okay. How do you all feel about long distance relationships in general?

Jase: That's cool with me.

Emily: Yes. I think sometimes they get a bad rep. They get a little shit on sometimes by people like, "That's never really going to last," or if you tell someone, " Hey, I'm in a long distance relationship right now." They're first reaction might be, "uh, ah, hmm, I don't know about that."

Dedeker: "I'm so sorry. That must be so rough."

Emily: Yes. Like, "That must be so difficult. Wow, you're really brave to go through that," but I know a couple people who are married and are living in separate countries from one another and only see each other maybe, I don't know, six times a year or something, and that's still really meaningful. They use a lot of the tactics that we're about to talk about here but they don't have to be together 24/7 for it to be a really meaningful, good relationship.

Jase: This is one that, for me, my views on have changed completely.

Emily: Over the years. Yes.

Jase: For years, I was just like, "I'll never do it." Nope that's a-

Emily: You did do it when you were in college, kind of.

Jase: Kind of. That's part of what encouraged me to say I'm never going to do that again. It was like just how much drama that created in that relationship. These are all things we'll probably get into more but, yes, just how painful it can be when you just feel like you're sitting around all the time pining for this person and not getting to see them and then you'll get in fights on the phone. It's just all of the shitty parts of relationships and none of the good parts which is kissing and cuddling. My views now are completely different. I actually, maybe I'd regret saying but I feel like I would love for all of my relationships to be long distance at least part of the year.

Dedeker: I'm on board with that.

Emily: Aren't they? For you too?

Jase: That is what my life is right now.

Dedeker: It's what my life is right now where it's like all my relationships at least part of the year are long distance. I don't know.

Jase: I find that it keeps you from falling into that rut that you can end up in.

Dedeker: Yes. I would say so. Definitely, I certainly have times of being like, "Oh, gosh, it would just be so much easier if all my partners just lived in the same town and also if I just lived in the same town for the whole year." I guess that's a little bit on me but, of course, I'd get wistful and be like, "This would just be so much easier to manage if it was just ever we're just in the neighborhood," but at the same time, I think back to the days when that was the case when all the people that I'm seeing were in the same town-

Emily: That was also challenging.

Dedeker: That was also very challenging, I think, because I was much more likely to end up sacrificing my own time to just spend time with everyone else.

Emily: Exactly.

Dedeker: Not that spending time with partners is bad or I felt coerced or forced or anything. It's just that it was so easy to just default to, "I'm not going to have any alone time because there's always someone to hang out with," versus now, even when I'm spending time with one partner, I still feel like I'm better at being able to have boundaries around my own space and time, I suppose.

Emily: You feel so much obligation when you're constantly around people and around multiple partners, I feel like, because I know that I get caught up in this. I have my multiamory days and I have my days when I see my friends and I have my days when I see my boyfriend but it's very rarely are those times also for myself. When I carve out specific days or even hours for myself, it happens so infrequently. Maybe I'm just not as good at setting those boundaries as the two of you are.

Dedeker: I don't know. Honestly, I always think that I'm really good at it and then I come back to LA and then I'm like, "How did my entire calendar get booked in two seconds?" I guess I'm not as good at this as I thought that I was.

Emily: That's true.

Jase: I find sometimes it's not even so much about everyone coming after my time, especially, if I'm living with a partner or even with a friend, how it's just easier to do something with them instead of to take time for myself. Anyways, I'm sorry. This episode isn't about alone time. We should actually do an episode on that. I think that would actually be really cool.

Dedeker: We should. Maybe a short episode and we'd just be like, "Do it. Have it. Have some."

Emily: It's important.

Jase: I think it could be valuable because I think it relates to what you do with all partners around dates. It's also just general your own personal health. I think there's stuff there. We'll look into it. We'll see if there's an episode in it.

Emily: Do you think that it is easier to stay connected digitally? Obviously, it is, far more.

Jase: Easier than it used to be?

Emily: It's far easier to stay connected digitally but does that in and of itself make long distance relationships also easier because you're not, for example, just having to call on the telephone every night or every week or sending snail mail letters that'll take weeks to get there. We're looking at you, Dedeker, right now even though we're not in the same place.

Dedeker: I do think definitely like a big difference is just the ease of being able to have video calls for instance because I remember being in a long distance relationships in my early 20's when bandwidth wasn't really great enough to do super smooth video calls. You could do some maybe grainy, choppy, awful ones. For the most of it, it was, at least you had the advantage of being able to instant message back in those times, less so of texting. Even then, even being able to instant message, I was still like, "This sucks. I never want to do this kind of relationship again."

Emily: When you're at a computer. You have a phone in your hand. Wherever.

Jase: That's true, yes.

Dedeker: Even not being able to see the person all that often as well. Not even being able to see pictures or anything. I do feel like things change, at least for me just with this. With being able to have access to video so much easier than we ever did before. Not that it's a good replacement for the real thing, of course, but I do think that for a lot of people, it makes long distance relationships easier.

Jase: It's interesting, actually, in looking in to some other research that's been done about long distance relationships, one of the things that was cited as a potential pitfall is when you're having more phone conversations. You lack the visual, I think, text conversations even more so because you don't even have tone of voice, but you're lacking the visual cues for how someone is saying something when they're saying it. I was curious actually because I haven't seen any research about that like how has the availability of video affected the way long distance relationships go and what the pitfalls are.

I think probably because it is such a relatively new thing and it can take a while for studies to come together but I actually wonder if you might see a significant difference between couples who do more of their talking over video versus ones who just do audio in terms of the numbers of miscommunications.

Dedeker: That is interesting and especially since we learned there is a center for researching long distance relationships that exists in the world.

Jase: Unfortunately it doesn't anymore, I was looking into it.

Dedeker: They broke up?


Jase: It was a particular professor who started this and they didn't give a reason why someone else created a site to like keep their work out there in the world but unfortunately this center for the study of long distance relationships doesn't exist anymore.

Dedeker: Either they broke up or they finally moved to the same town or something.

Emily: They're like, "We're not long distance anymore we can't do this."

Dedeker: We don't need to study it anymore. Well, okay but I guess the important thing is that research has been done upon this. This isn't just a weird aberration in relationships that's not being thinked about, thought about or talked about.

Jase: Not being thinked about, yes.

Emily: It's definitely more prevalent, I think that it has been in the past and people-

Jase: I actually don't know, I don't know if it is. That's an interesting question.

Emily: Going in, for example like match.com or something. You can go on there and like start up a long distance relationship over the Internet for the first time probably. Well maybe I match.com has been around for a long time but I think.

Dedeker: I think, Emily has a good point, it's like the fact that it's easier to get into a long distance relationship in the first place since you can connect with people from around the world if you really want to.

Jase: I suppose you could develop a relationship with someone in your wow guild.

Dedeker: Exactly, oh my goodness, yes people I interviewed for my book like met in their wow guild. That's happened with a lot of people I think also just the fact that you can go on vacation and just like pull up tinder and it's a lot easier to just meet someone who lives in another country and then if you realize you're really into them then it can keep going and also I think the fact that, I don't know, there's a number of factors.

I think like it being a little bit, it's like easier for people to do things like work remotely for instance and so like if they want to stay in a particular city where they're very comfortable, like they don't necessarily need to up and move across the country for a job if they don't want to, if it's like where their partner is or whatever, I feel like people have a little bit more freedom of choice of where they're going which I think on the one hand could make it easier for there to be fewer long distance relationships but I think on the other hand it also enables more of them to be maintained as it were.

Emily : Absolutely. Okay, let's talk about some stits and stats regarding all of this. Apparently according to the Journal of Communication, long distance relationships have the same or more satisfaction in their relationships than couples who are geographically close. That's really interesting.

Jase: It is interesting, the thing we unfortunately don't know is specifically how long they've been long distance, this is an average of all of them that were done in this study, it’s interesting though because it reminds me of statistics that we talk about sometimes about polyamory and about non-monogamy. That's the same thing that like levels of trust and relationship, happiness and satisfaction have been shown in several studies to be the same or more as they're monogamous counterparts and it's just in both cases, I think people's assumption without knowing much about it is like, you must be less happy in that.

That must be something you do because you can't find the other. You must do long distance only because you can't be together or you must do polyamory only because you can't find the one.

Dedeker: It's kind of that principle of like if you have, you know, adults who are like consensually and proactively choosing a particular form of relationship and are still dedicated and committed to that relationship then it makes sense that it would be about the same level of satisfaction as they would even if they were in like a geographically proximal relationship as I believe all the studies are calling it.

Emily: Geographically proximal

Jase: GPR.

Dedeker: Yes, one of those.

Jase: Because LDR's and GPR's.

Dedeker: They also found that the long-term chances of success and no, I mean what the heck is a long-term chance of success?

Jase: What success?

Dedeker: Exactly, it gets to all those questions.

Emily: What is long term?

Dedeker: My interpretation is based on this particular data, my interpretation is like the chances of the relationship just continuing and not ending is how I'm interpreting it.

Jase: That does seem to be how most traditional research measure success of relationships it's just continuing.

Dedeker: We'll just look at it based on that so basically they compared relationships that were in the same location to long distance relationships at three months, six months and one year essentially.

Jase: Do you mean GPR's and LDR's?

Dedeker: Yes I do mean GPR's and LDR's, I don't want to confuse people.

Emily: You are in rear form today.

Jase: I know that's really confusing.

Dedeker: Some other people call them like close proximity relationships, so CPR's as well.

Emily: Let’s not call it CPRs, I prefer GPR.

Dedeker: We'll stick with GPR.

Jase: If you're in a long distance relationship and you're tired of it, you could be like we need to do some CPR on this LDR.

Dedeker: Oh my God, you being such a, Jase right now.

Emily: He's going to create more things.

Dedeker: As I was saying, they compared them at three months, six months and one year into the relationship and basically from the sixth month point onward, long distance relationships actually have a higher chance of continuing what they call long term success but I'll just say a higher chance of continuing and not ending than people who are geographically close.

Emily: Why do you think that is?

Dedeker: That's a really good question.

Jase: I have some theories.

Dedeker: What are your theories?

Jase: Well, I guess just that because this is saying you've already lasted more than six months and I feel like if a relationship-- like when you're in close proximity you can sometimes rely on these other crutches to like make a relationship last past that initial meeting, like maybe just having sex a lot, just like being very sexually compatible or maybe really entangling your lives and feeling a little bit in retrospect.

Maybe a little stuck in that relationship, but at the time feeling like well it's just, it's commitment. I'm being so serious about this relationship and that in long distance you don't have either of those things, there's probably other ones as well that I think it's like if that lasts then-

Emily: It really made him something.

Jase: Well, you just, you've found a certain level of like communication with each other.

Dedeker: It seems like there's certainly something there other than just like that chemical NRE high of being around each other of like that there's some quality. I guess that's maybe what I would interpret it as, like you found some kind of quality or some way to communicate or some good patterns that are keeping the relationship going beyond just like your chemistry when you're physically together in the same room that makes sense.

Jase: Then another one is that we found that they feel higher levels, people in long distance relationships feel higher levels of dedication to their relationships and less feelings of being trapped.

Emily: That's what I was going to say as to why maybe it works for a longer period of time than some closer proximity relationships because they have the lack of feeling trapped, of feeling like they have to spend every waking second with that partner.

Dedeker: I guess that's true, I mean I know it's so easy when you're an NRE with someone to want to spend every waking second with them but then maybe that sets up some unsustainable habits or unsustainable expectations but if you're at a distance, I guess it's a little bit harder to fall into that particular habit.

Jase: "From a distance," Sorry, I just had the song.

Emily: What song is that?

Jase: It's a Christian.

Emily: I knew it.

Jase: It was like on the mainstream pop charts. It was on the mainstream pop charts. Who was it? Do you remember who that was by?

Dedeker: No, I don’t know.

Jase: You guys are probably too young. This was like when I was in elementary school school.

Emily: We were fetuses then.

Jase: That's not true.

Emily: We were very young.

Jase: I’m not that much older than you.

Dedeker: Your six years older than us.

Jase: Yes, when I was in elementary school, you are not a fetus.

Emily: Almost. Okay, sorry.

Jase: Anyway, I did want to say though, I think this one's interesting because it's related to that idea of like not entangling your lives as much as it might be tempting to do when you're in that NRE. Like we always say don't sign anything in the first year at least.

Emily: You're probably not going to do that.

Jase: Because it's so tempting to do but if you're long distance, I don't think you're going to do that.

Dedeker: Guess that's true.

Emily: Just signing up for like a Skype contract together.

Dedeker: You know that thing .

Emily: It's not a thing, I'm just saying like something like that to help your long distance relationship out.

Dedeker: There's some other stits and stats we could throw at you. I found these ones a little bit more boring, I mean there's stuff like, it's like the average long distance couple, it's the average distance that are part of 125 miles which honestly to me feels like absolutely nothing whatsoever because frequently halfway across the world but I get it. The struggle is real or things like people, the average apparently is people see each other every one and a half months or so is that correct?

Jase: We've heard kind of conflicting things.

Emily: I think that they see each other every one and a half months or they see each other one and a half times a month.

Jase: Which would be three times every two months so somewhere in that range.

Dedeker: Well, anyway when we do our own research study on this then we'll get our own numbers . Anyway, outside of those silly stits and stats, I think these are more serious ones that we were talking about. I think it's very encouraging actually to know that it's actually, you have a pretty good chance of success even if your relationship is long-distance. Provided you're doing all the things that are necessary to have a good healthy, sustainable relationship, but it's not that you're necessarily at a huge disadvantage against someone who is geographically proximal.

Jase: Those are GPPs geographically proximal partners.

Dedeker: Yes.

Emily: I was like, "What's the other P?"

Jase: This will be like a government meeting, where everything's acronyms.

Emily: You know GPP, yes, you know me.

Dedeker: Government meeting or freaking calls?

Jase: Yes, both good things.

Emily: All right. Do we have some tips for hips?

Jase: Some hip tips?

Dedeker: Yes.

Jase: For chips and hip tips for--

Emily: Chips.

Jase: That's what I just said.

Dedeker: Something that, Emily pointed out last time is, we've revisited long-distance relationships a couple times. Our first time we did it, we only had three tips and then next time we had five.

Emily: Seven.

Dedeker: Seven tips, we upgraded up to seven. Okay, so then, this time it's got to be another odd number or  prime number or something. I think we got like nine tips maybe even 10. We got a lot. Good stuff here.

Emily: I just counted and it's nine.

Jase: It's nine.

Dedeker: Okay. Great.

Jase: Some of them are multi-tips.

Dedeker: Okay, great. In three years or so it will be up to like 25 tips.

Emily: Oh my God.

Dedeker: Healthy long-distance relationship

Emily: We better run through those super quickly.

Dedeker: Exactly. All right. What's our first one here?

Jase: Okay, Our first tip is to cultivate your own social life and your own interests. This one, it basically sounds like the same advice that we give for any type of relationship and it's true.

Emily: Be your own person.

Jase: Yes, connect, have friendships or other partners, whatever it is. Don't just sit around pining and waiting for the moment that you get to talk to them again. If you think that's not what a healthy in person or geographically proximal relationship looks like, that's also not how a healthy long-distance relationship looks. It's just be interesting and the other person will be more interested in you, and you'll be more interested in your own life, just by being interesting and doing stuff like figuring out what it is you like, and what you like to do.

Dedeker: Right. I think I was reading somewhere and I didn't include it in our show notes because they didn't exactly back this up with research, but some article mentioned that women tend to do better with long distance relationships or struggle less. Like I said, they didn't back it up with any figures, take that with a grain of salt. However, that does make sense with kind of the statistics about how women tend to just have better support networks. They get through breakups a lot faster than men do, for instance.

Jase: It's interesting because I've also been hearing about a lot of statistics recently about how that trend of men not having support groups outside of their romantic relationships is also starting to change, with Millennial guys having the bromance is what the media loves to call it. That idea that men are having close intimate like emotional platonic, same sex friends.

Emily: That's fantastic.

Jase: That'd be interesting to see if that changes over time too.

Dedeker: Unfortunately, still no major studies that also includes people who don't identify as a man or a woman, but that is the trend. Anyway, Jase yes that same takeaway is like still keep investing in your support network outside of your long-distance partner, and especially

Emily: Just your life in general.

Dedeker: Yes, and if you're not monogamous, that of course includes also continue to invest in your other partners as well.

Emily: Awesome.

Dedeker: Second tip, tip number two. That is, when you're sharing with your long-distance partner, make sure that you're sharing the details of stuff that's going on in your life, even the boring stuff, even when it's just like, "I had this awkward lunch with a co-worker today." Or, "I had this long conversation with my mom." It's best to avoid generalizations because something that's so great about when you're with a partner who actually is proximal to you, is that you get a little bit more of that insight into the everyday stuff, the day to day stuff.

When you avoid generalizing when talking about your life, it helps that long-distance partner to have a little more of that snapshot of what's going on in your life. Instead of just saying, I had a lunch with my co-worker, go more into detail about what you got. Is it your favorite place? What did you order? What was the things that you talked about? What made it awkward? How did you feel afterwards? Was there anything funny? Don't be afraid to go into more depth.

For me, this is one that I struggled with for a long time and still sometimes do because I sometimes just felt self-conscious of like, "Am I just boring this person with unnecessary detail? Do you really want to know?" Let's say another the side of more just again, to help foster that sense of them getting a taste of what goes on in your day to day life.

Jase: I think that's actually a really nice side effect that comes along is, it will keep you from painting something with too broader brush in terms of how it felt. For example, in both of your examples, it was like I had this talk with my mom and I had this awkward dinner with a co-worker, awkward meeting with a co-worker, I feel it is really easy to go to those like, "I had this not great thing, and I had this not great thing, and this awkward thing, and this stressful thing, and I have these deadlines."

If you're just painting for generally, it's like, "Gosh, everything really sucks right now." It's a downer. If you go into the specifics, it's like, "I had this awkward dinner with my co-worker." In talking about it, you're like, "Men like the Vegan Bolognese that I had was amazing."


Emily: Oh my God, right? There's a place where I get a Vegan Bolognese. It's so good.

Jase: Did you get into those kind of details? When you're just giving that broad story get lost. It helps your partner to also see all the nuance and that everything isn't all bad all the time or all good all the time, that there's all the different experiences and colors.

Dedeker: Along the same lines, also take more pictures, send more pictures than you think that you should

Jase: Pictures of yourself specifically.

Dedeker: Not just pictures of yourself. I think also along the same lines of, yes, take pictures of what's going on in your environment. Take random pictures of that awesome Vegan Bolognese and send it to your partner, take pictures of a cute little bird that you saw. Again, more things that you can do to help bring this person into your world, and also receiving that stuff is really nice too. Again, just this idea of like, "I just thought about you during my day when I saw this beautiful camellia," or something like that.

Emily: Camellia?

Jase: It's a flower.

Dedeker: It's a type of flower.

Emily: Send me one.


Dedeker: l don't have any in my proximity right now but I'll do my best.

Emily: Well, when you do.

Jase: You don't have any geographically proximal camellias?

Dedeker: No, I don't. Only long-distance camellias at this point.

Emily: Quite unfortunate, but when you do.

Dedeker: With my partner, Alex, one time, this wasn't too long ago, I realized, I was like, "Can you send me a picture of your desk at work?" I realized-

Jase: It's like I don't know how it looks like.

Dedeker: I don't know what it looks like, and you're there all the time. I have my vision in my head, but I've never actually seen it, so it was like, "Oh, okay," Little silly stuff like that actually goes a long way.

Emily: I like that very much. The third tippo for hippos is going to be, make time for processing things both in person and when long-distance. This one I really like because-

Jase: I love this one.

Emily: It's fantastic for a variety of reasons, but I was thinking about this in relation to having an issue and speaking about it right in the moments, can again often be fraught with a lot of emotion. The great thing about being in a long distance relationship is that, you have some time and you have some time to cultivate a good response to maybe something that they said or just be like, "Do I need to be reactive right now?" Or "Can I just think about what was said and come up with a good response, or speak about my emotions in non-disrespectful manner or whatever."

Then also obviously, it is very, very important to speak about things in person when you see that person face to face, if you're actually in a proximal moment with them, and also maybe when you're long-distance with them. I would say things like raiders are really, really important.

Jase: That's like the number one.

Emily: Exactly, because again, then you're not just talking about every single time you're on the phone with this person, "Hey, this came up today. I really want to talk about what you said in that text message or something." It doesn't become just like habitual pattern of the only time that you talk is to hash out some shit, but instead, you specifically make that time for, "Okay, we really need to discuss a multitude of things today and let's have a radar or sit down for it."

Dedeker: Right. I get this question from my clients a lot who are in long-distance relationships of like, "I have this thing I want to bring up, but we're going to see each other next week and I and I haven't seen them in a long time. I just want it to be good and positive and us not processing stuff. Yes, of course having something in place like a radar this dedicated container for communication is great, but I also encourage people you need to flex, learn to flex both muscles, both are muscle of talking things out when you are a long distance when it does have to be either over text or email or over a video call or something like that.

Also, flex that muscle and build that muscle of talking about things even when you're in person because if you neglect one or the other, it's really going to stymie you essentially in the long line. If you prevent yourself from having that skill, so it is important to be able to do both things.

Emily: You don't want to set the precedent of when we see each other this is the time that we hash everything out or vice versa. I'm just going to tamp everything down when I see you because I want it to be perfect and okay, that's not a good way to act either. Again, you're absolutely right. It's important to have the flexibility and know that I'm going to be able to constructively speak to my partner regardless of whether or not we're next to each other.

Dedeker: Right. Definitely. moving along to--

Jase: I was just going to say, so if you're listening to this and are in a long distance relationship going, "Huh?" Go listen to our relationship radar episode because that was something that in the year that we spent a year refining that process and tweaking it and figuring out how to make that work the best.

A lot of that was spent with, Dedeker and I in a long distance relationship trying that out as well as the three of us in even in our friend and professional relationship, having different configurations of long distance relationship, so it was very much-

Emily: Jase and yes, all of us perfected the method.

Jase: It was especially transformative, I think for those times of long distance because it helps you both plan for the times together and plan for the times apart and to do that without it having to take over every single conversation you have.

Dedeker: Right, and on that note, moving onto number four, really, really pay attention to love languages. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can go specifically look for our episodes that we did on love languages or you can just google the five love languages most people know about it. It seems if you're listening to this podcast, and have any interest in relationships and communication, you've probably heard about love languages but again, it's the particular language that you and your partner give and receive love. It's everything from acts of service, physical nonsexual touch, words of affirmation, quality time and gifts that's all of them, right?

Jase: I was counting to see if you got all.

Emily: Yes, well done.

Dedeker: Really pay attention to what your partner's love language is because that's really going to make it a lot easier for you to be able to still help them to feel loved and appreciated even when you're at a distance. Yes, that even includes touch even if your partner's love languages is touch and then arguably that's the most difficult one when you're at a distance because obviously, you can't physically touch each other, at least not yet. Not until we figured out some really cool technology that we're able to transmit touch sensations across long distances.

A way of getting around this is, you can still include a lot of touch-based language in your communication. You can still talk a lot about physical attributes of your partner about, I really miss the way that your skin feels or I really love it when you touch my hair or I love it when you play with my beard or things like that.

With all of these things, of course it's not going to be as good as the real thing is, like actually playing with their partners beard or hugging them, kissing them or having sex with them, but you can still include that language when you are talking to your partner and it can still scratch that itch is if your partner is someone where a touch is very, very important to them.

The rest of them, like gifts, it's relatively easy to send gifts now or to send little care packages or things like that. Same with verbal affirmations and quality time again, like blocking out quality time for you to spend together.

Again, really pay attention to your partner's love language and also communicating your own as well because if you're experiencing frustration in a long distance relationship, sometimes it can lead down to you're not being spoken to in the language that makes you feel the most loved and so learning to communicate that with your partner can also help.

Jase: Yes. Before we go onto the next five tippos for hippos, we want to take a quick moment to talk about an amazing way that you can join a supportive community of other people, many of whom are in some long-distance relationship or who have a lot of experience with that or maybe who are just starting out on that journey.

That is through our patrion community so if you go to patrion.com/multiamory, you can choose an amount every month to contribute to support this show and the community and the work that we're doing. As a thank you for that, at different reward tiers, we have different communities that you're able to join. For example, at the $5 level, we have our Facebook community as well as our discourse community, we also have a discord community, all places--

Dedeker: What's the difference between the discourse and the discord?

Jase: Discourse is a discussion forum. It works a little bit like Facebook where you can make a post and people can have comments on that, and it all ends up threaded inside that discussion and we also, but unlike Facebook, you have a lot more control over what gets shown and how that shows up and then also we have different rooms essentially different channels where you can post about different sorts of things and then people can comment on those.

Then discord is more of a live chat. It's more of just one chat room as it were. There's actually several chat rooms but it's more for that real-time thing and it's actually a place where we mostly talk about video games because that's what discord was created for. But, we also have channels specifically for talking about relationships and things like that.

If you want to be part of that, you can just go to patrion.com/multiamory and join that as well as things like getting ad-free episodes a day early and our monthly video discussion groups. Go check all of that out at Patrion.com/multiamory.

Emily: If you haven't already, please go to iTunes or Stitcher and write us a review. Let us know what you like about the show. Let us know how it's helped you in your relationships. If you found any particular episodes really enlightening because it will help us show up higher in search results, which is incredibly important for people who want to find our show or just are looking for good relationship advice shows on polyamory. Anything about that we will show up higher in those search results the more reviews we have. Go to iTunes or Stitcher and rate us a quick review. We would really, really appreciate it.

Dedeker: Okay. Our sponsor for this week's episode is Audible, again.

Emily: Why again?

Dedeker: Well, that's because again, super excited to still be plugging the audiobook version of my book, The Smart Girl's Guide To Polyamory that was just released last week. The audiobook version was and I'm so excited to finally get to share it, especially with all of you out there who clearly are audio files and love having stuff to listen to on your commute, on the way to work or on your way home or whatever.

If you want to get the book for free, the best way to do that is to sign up for a trial of Audible through our link. If you go to audibletrial.com/multiamory, what you're going to get is a 30 day free trial of the audible service. You're going to get a credit for a free audiobook which you can use on whatever book that you like, but I would recommend you using it on the new audiobook version of my book of The Smart Girl's Guide To Polyamory.

Then pro tip, even if you don't continue with the trial, even if you cancel it, you'll still get the book. You still get to hang on to the audiobook and it will be totally for free, no cost to you whatsoever. The best thing is the audible will help support our show as well in exchange for you just trying it for 30 days and getting a free book. It's win-win all around.

Again, go to audibletrial.com/multiamory. Sign up for the trial. Find my book, The Smart Girl's Guide To Polyamory. Tell me all about it, I love you. I don't often end ad breaks with I love you but, why not?

Emily: It's nice, I like it. All right.

Jase: Let's move on to tip number five. This one is to let go of the need to get a response right away and to figure out a way to communicate a little bit more about that with your partner. So, I wanted to discuss this a little bit, yes. The first thing is I guess easier said than done maybe, but it's this letting go of a need to get a response right away.

I find that this happens particularly with, I mean obviously this is with more text messaging or instant messaging of some sort of Facebook messages whatever, where in your life, especially if you're in different time zones, but even if you're not, you don't know what their life is. You don't know what they're doing right now that it can be really tempting to send a message and then sit there and, "Did they read it? They read it but they haven't responded yet." You don't know what's happening and it's so easy to like make up a story about why they're not responding to you or just to get upset about it or feel-

Emily: Get anxious.

Jase: Right. There's a whole host of things. I've been there, I've had all of those things. It's just intellectually reminding yourself. I don't know what's going on right now. They might be right in the middle of a conversation and they pulled up your thing and clicked on it and saw it, even if they didn't have time to respond right then. They might be thinking about it or maybe they did see it at a time they couldn't respond, and then they forgot later not out of some sort of like it's because I never think of you. There's just like a whole host of reasons for it and it's just better for both of you if you don't try to guess what those are.

Emily: Chill out.

Jase: Right? Just fucking chill. That's what I'm trying to say.

Emily: Okay.

Jase: That's my message to myself. It's just fucking chill.

Emily: I see. I got it.

Jase: Then along with that is to make it so it's okay to communicate that. For example, I've been quite a few time zones apart from a partner of mine for the last few months. Actually, we've been like switching time zones, because she's been traveling around and I've been traveling around. Our time zonal relationship or relativistic time zonal relationship to each other, it has been changing. It's been extra important to check in of like, "What time is it for you right now?" Or to say something like, "That's really cool. I'm really excited to see more of it.

I really want to see pictures from this event that you're going to right now, but I'm falling asleep right now. Or like, but I'm going to read a little bit and then go to bed or I'm about to head to this like family engagement, right?" It's just like that a little bit of communication of like, "I am really interested in you and what you're talking about. Here's my circumstance which is why I'm not going to respond to you for the next few hours or whatever." Then the other part of that is, I guess I'm like going back and forth between the giving and receiving is to let them go.

When the person's like, "I've got to go to work, or I have to go to sleep because it's late or something." It can seem really romantic and cute to be like, "No, I don't want you to go or like I'm going to miss you so much." That can be really cute sometimes, but I've actually found most of the time being on the giving or receiving end of that, it actually really can create a lot of stress and a lot of hurt and a lot of guilt feeling like even if you--

Emily: Oh my god, they're missing so much here.

Jase: Yes, or even if you just meant it to be cute, you might actually make yourself more upset than you actually were. Right? Just it's like, "I'm so sad. Oh, no. Please don't go." They have to be like, "No, I really do need to sleep or it leads to them staying up too late, and then getting tired. Which, as we talked about in the last episode is just bad, bad news all around, get enough sleep, please. Sorry, that's these are kind of all related, right? It's like, let go of the need for a response right away, be able to communicate if you can, when you're not able to give that or what's going on in your life.

Then lastly, is when the other person says they're not available to go like, "Oh, cool. Great, like I'm looking forward to hearing from you later or something like that."

Dedeker: Right. That leads us to number six. Our next tip, which is to have regular rituals for communication for dates and for your in person time. That can mean something like, "Hey, what works for you? Let's plan on every Wednesday night. We'll have a Skype call and we'll have a Skype date and let's just kind of roughly plan on that." Or again, like if you're in a time, and a place where your schedule a little bit better like, "Let's just roughly plan that will see each other at least every two months or so.

Then we'll just roughly plan on that." I know we talked about this in our former episode that we talked about long distance relationships, but we came up with this concept of DCT, of direct communication time. I found that this is actually worked out quite well in my relationships I'm long distance.

Jase: I thought it was dedicated communication time.

Dedeker: Oh, yes, sure. That's what I meant is dedicated communication time.

Jase: [inaudible 00:45:33] notes are more important than the words themselves.

Dedeker: Exactly.

Emily: Dedicated, direct, whatever works at the moment.

Dedeker: Exactly. The DCT, essentially, like what I've worked out with some of my partners is this idea of like, "Okay, so we have our regular Skype time, we have our plans around seeing each other in person and stuff like that. We've decided to also set aside literally just like 15, maybe 30 minutes, but like it can be as little as 15 minutes where we just know it works out with both of our schedules and our time zones that we know for 15 minutes we're available either for a phone call or a video call, or most often just texting with each other, but just knowing that like we're able to have a real-time conversation while texting with each other.

It sounds like a silly, a little bit insignificant thing. I found that it actually makes a major difference even being able to have-- even if you're texting throughout the day, but even having just that 15 minutes of just dedicated time where, I can bring something up if we need to figure out something logistically in the moment, or if we do want to have that beer, of little regular check in about our day or whatever. Again, just finding the time that works for both your schedules and again it can be short and it can be flexible.

Jase: I'd say, ideally, it should be short.

Dedeker: Yes, ideally it should be short but again where you can still have real-time time conversation, it does make quite a bit of difference.

Emily: Yes, that's lovely.

Jase: Also just be okay with rescheduling those things. If you do that weekly, every week on Wednesday nights is when we do our call, it's okay to change that sometimes too. By having it in advance, and if it's on your calendar, if you schedule something that's on a Wednesday, you know, oh, I got to reschedule this. By planning in advance, even if you have to change it, even if you end up rescheduling it every week, it's at least there as a reminder of like, up, I've scheduled something at the same time, we need to have a conversation about rescheduling it.

Then the other one about that was for something, like if you're doing something less often, like a radar or a longer hangout session. Something that Dedeker and I have found to be helpful is scheduling the next one at the beginning of this one. Not waiting till the end, often you're both tired and it's like you want to eke out every last moment of hanging out with each other, and then being like, "Oh crap. We'll schedule it later. " Then a week goes by and you haven't rescheduled it. It's just right at the start, actually. It's like, "Oh, this is awesome. Let's schedule our next one before we even start watching a movie together or whatever."

Emily: I need to remember to do that in my Radars too. That's good for long distance, I know.

Jase: On the radar worksheet, it's at the top of the page. Schedule for next time.

Emily: Yes, so schedule for next time. I know that's very, very smart. Absolutely. Number seven, seven. Avoid checking in with your partner too frequently. This is an interesting one. Again, I think that that can come with insecurity, like, "Are they thinking about me?" Am I thinking about them enough? Am I checking in enough? All of this stuff but really avoid doing it to an obsessive level. Again, it's probably not really going to make you feel better about your time apart from them. There are moments probably where you're going to feel anxious about what's happening in your relationship.

If it's going, well, what your partner's thinking. Again, going too much, checking into frequently that's probably going to maybe make your partner feel a little annoyed with you, maybe a little resentful sometimes. That's something that you don't really want to do. It could also be a sign of just a deeper issue that's going on. Do you have insecurity? Do you have jealousy? Is there a lack of trust there? Just say anything along those lines, like, what's really going on? Hopefully, if you have the understanding, like, "Hey, I feel as though maybe I'm annoying my partner with how often I'm checking in."

That you have the wherewithal to say, "Okay, what is actually going on here?" The ability to ask yourself like, "What do I actually need? What's going on?" Or too, if you see it in your partner be like, "Hey, I see that you're checking in a lot, and every time we have this conversation like I'm good. Are you good? What's really going on here? Is there something that you need for me? Are you feeling anxious about something? Can we have a discussion about this?" From a statistical standpoint, actually long distance relationships, they're less likely to have infidelity than close proximity relationships, according to some studies, which is fascinating.

Jase: It is.

Emily: Again, people are like, "Oh, if you're in a long distance relationship, they're going to cheat on you."

Jase: That is some the conventional wisdom, right?

Emily: Yes.

Dedeker: Well, now, I want to ask, why do you think that is?

Emily: Well, because again, it's like that idea that, "Oh, well, I'm not there to monitor their moves."

Jase: I think that's it?

Emily: Yes, and because I'm not around them, they're just going to go hog wild and like sleep with whomever.

Dedeker: Well, but no. I'm asking why is it that in reality, long-distance relationships are less likely?

Jase: That's what I mean. I think that's the deal is that from the studies that we were looking at, one of them showed that it was slightly less likely that long distance relationships would have infidelity than proximal ones, but that most of the studies seemed to be they're equal. It doesn't make a difference. Which still goes against the conventional wisdom. I think it's actually more about that idea of constantly monitoring your partner's behavior is something that I think in traditional relationships we delude ourselves into thinking that by doing that we're somehow keeping them more faithful to us.

Emily: Instead it's like, "This is not an attractive quality in you, perhaps."

Jase: That too, but also just that it doesn't actually make any difference. You don't have mind control over them. Even if you were in a relationship where you're monitoring was the thing, keeping them from cheating on you, you got a whole host of problems before that. I feel it's more-- and from some of the stuff I was reading, infidelity happens in relationships because of lack of communication and honest communication in that relationship.

Emily: Yes. What do I actually want here? Maybe I want to have multiple relationships?

Jase:  Exactly, it could be that sort of conversation that hasn't been had. That's not something specifically tied to distance or not.

Dedeker: Yes, that makes sense. Actually, that does lead to number eight. Which is to make sure that you are clearly communicating about expectations. This can include having conversations about how realistically, how often can we visit each other? Taking in mind not only the distance but also availability of time. Other partners, money, because it definitely costs a lot to travel to be able to see somebody. Have conversations about, "Do you ever want to live close to each other?"

It's interesting that when we're doing all this research for this episode. Most articles are written with a traditional monogamous audience in mind. Most articles are saying you need to have an end date to this long distance. You need to have a time when you know you're going to live in the same city or in the same house or going to move closer to each other or something.

Emily: Polyamorous relationships may never have that.

Dedeker: Yes, that's true. I think that if you are conducting a more traditional monogamous relationship. That may very well be part of the ongoing conversation to have an idea of, "How long are we willing to tolerate being long distance?" That may not be the case for you. That may not be what you want. You may not be interested in eventually moving to the same city that this particular partner is in or having them move in with you or whatever. Having those conversations on ongoing basis, like checking in about that.

It's a great topic for Radar to again just check in about living situation, how you're feeling. "Do you want to come visit for an extended period of time, like for a couple months, If you can pull that off? Do we want to try living together or living in the same city or, or something like that? Or are we not interested in that at all?" All that's okay, just as long as you're communicating about it. Also talking about what you each expect for your individual futures. I know it's hard sometimes when you don't know exactly what the future's going to bring.

If you have some ideas about your career, or what you want to do as far as building a family or not, or traveling, or having a house, or not or whatever. Having those ongoing conversations. Also really, really important. It means also clearly communicating with your other partners. If you have other partners, especially geographically close partners, about your long distance relationship as well. It can be really easy to fall into this mindset of, "Oh, out of sight, out of mind."

This other partner doesn't really exist, or this other relationship doesn't really exist, or it doesn't have any influence on my relationships that are proximal to me. It's important to make sure that if you have multiple partners, you're talking to all of your partners about your long distance partner, the same way you would as though it was someone who lived close to you. That you're still giving the appropriate way and attention and time and investment that is appropriate and matches however invested in committed the long distance relationship happens to be.

Jase: To let that long-distance partner know that that's something that you talk about too. To be like, "Oh, I was actually just mentioning this thing to my other partner about you, about this thing that we were talking about." Hopefully, it's something that's appropriate to share based on your relationship agreements and what that person's okay with. It does really help to feel like, "I'm not being hidden from everyone else. I'm not the relationship that they do in secret in their bedroom by Skype. That I'm actually a person that people in their life know about."

Emily: That's lovely. Okay, now we get to do the fun stuff which is number nine.

Jase: Number nine. We wrote different number nine songs, that's great.

Emily:  Wait, what's the number nine song that you did?

Jase: I was doing the Beatles one, Number nine.

Dedeker: The revolution number nine I see.

Emily: I was doing Hamilton, obviously. Number nine. Let's talk about some specific ideas for fun stuff to do with your partner? Can I just share real quick? I'm going to be entering into a long distance relationship shortly because I'm going to be gone for a couple of months in China. I will be gone for two months so I will be spending the longest amount of time away from my nesting partner that I have ever.

A really sweet thing that he did was he bought me a picture frame that is a digital picture frame. That you take a picture and then it uploads to the frame. I'll have it sitting by my bedside and then if he takes a picture it will upload straight to the frame.

Jase: You can add stuff that album and it will show up there?

Emily: Exactly. Yes, totally.

Dedeker: That's cute. That's a really good idea.

Emily: Obviously, he can send me stuff, but if we are going to be on totally different time zones. Maybe I can wake up and then I'll see a bunch of pictures, of stuff that he did throughout the day and I can do the same for him on the other end.

Jase: Yes, that's a really cool idea.

Emily: I like that one, but there's a bunch of other ones. Do you guys want to talk about things that you've done?

Dedeker: Sure. I think everyone tosses out. It's so easy to do like a movie date, or a TV show date just with streaming services and Netflix and everything.

Emily: Do you just start it at the same time?

Jase: There's a few ways to go about that. One is starting it at the same time. Which is honestly most often what we do, but there is a service that I started using recently. It's called-- what is it?

Dedeker: It's called rabb.it.

Jase: It's RABB-- I'm just like is it rabbit.io? No, it's R-A-B-B.it but rabbit. It lets you essentially like create a private room or whatever, so you could have a whole group of people. You can share a tab from your web browser essentially.

You could have YouTube or Netflix or whatever it is and can be watching something while the other person's watching through your streaming link. Anyway, I've found some luck with that. It makes it easier, especially if you're watching something you want to start and stop a lot and talk about, that's a lot easier than trying to sync up. Like, "Wait, okay, how many seconds are you at? Wait do we go on go or on one?"

Emily: On go obviously.

Dedeker: I've definitely had that conversation so many times.

Jase: What else do you got Deds?

Dedeker: I love doing book club. I haven't done one in a little while in my relationships, but just picking out a book. Either picking out the same book that you're going to read, and talk about or suggesting different books to each other. Maybe one of your favorite books, you suggested your partner and your partner suggests one of their favorite books. Then you both read and then discuss any kind of exchange that is really great. Like I said, it's been a while since I've done it.

Jase: What I like about that option is that it takes off the pressure of having to both read it the same rate. Is it if you're both each-- you're each reading a book that the other person's already read, it’s okay if you're kind of out of sync and how much reading time you have.

Dedeker: That's true. You don't have to worry about an explanation or anything like that.

Jase: Yes, exactly. Maybe you'll read through like three books that I've read in the past, and we can talk about in the time it takes me to read through one of your favorite books.

Dedeker: Now that you're this badass speed reader and these days.

Emily: You were doing that before or whatever?

Jase: Well, I did just finish a book on the plane back here to LA.

Emily: One of my favorite things are video games. You two did video game dates, right?

Dedeker: All the time. I did the video dates with Alex as well all the time.

Emily: yes, so great.

Jase: Video game dates can work on a couple different ways. It could either be a video game that you can play online with each other. Our favorite right now is Stardew Valley for that.

Dedeker: I know. I need to get in on that.

Jase: They added multiplayer to that so Dedeker and I have a nice little farm together, and we--.

Dedeker:  little love farm.

Dedeker: I know, I want a farm.

Jase: We raise chickens and rabbits and cows and plants.

Dedeker: Get me in on this farm [laughs].

Jase: Yes, you got to buy the game then we'll add you to the farm. Or it could be something else that Dedeker and I do a lot, is we'll play like point and click adventure game where one person will be the one playing and will do a screen share, so the other person-

Dedeker: Yes, collaboratively like let's do this.

Jase: -make the decisions and I'll be like, "Did you click on that thing up there? What if like that clue's related to this?"

Emily: That's awesome. I love that.

Dedeker: Yes!

Jase: Probably wouldn't work as well if one of you is playing Super Mario and the other is commenting. That might be less fun, but if it's a story-based game you get to talk about like, "Wait, I remember, they talked about this thing. You should go check that." It's a fun way to interact.

Dedeker: Or if you're a little more hardcore there's always MSOs. I definitely maintained many relationships in the past over WOW.

Jase: Or you could get into Second Life. There's a lot of options out there today.

Emily: Second life, yes.

Jase: [laughs] What else? What other fun things are there that we can do for our partner's long distance?

Emily: Oh yes, I liked this one. Sharing a recipe. I saw that, and something that you could both set up, your Skype going on or whatever. You do a recipe together.

Jase: You both cook the same thing? Oh, that's cool.

Emily: Exactly, and then you try it together and you're like, "Mmm."


Emily: "Look at what I made. Was yours as good as mine? No."

Dedeker: I was going to say actually it turns into a cooking competition a little bit .

Emily: Yes, oh my gosh. Great British Baking showed that shit.

Jase: Or maybe you teach the other person a recipe that you like to make.

Dedeker: That's cute, I like that.

Emily: I only really make one thing really well.

Jase: Well, there you go. This is a one-time use.

Dedeker: Yes, you can teach it.

Emily: It's my bacon pad thai.

Jase: It is really good. I will attest to that.

Emily: Thank you.

Jase: Also I will tell a personal story about something that Dedeker did for me once.

Dedeker: Yes, this was sweet.

Jase: Where she coordinated with one of my friends who works with me about ordering a lunch for me. She was in a different country but she ordered lunch for me through TaskRabbit. They came and delivered and it was a place that we have gone together and that was important to us and significant to us. My friend was like, "Hey, don't go to lunch yet."

Emily: "Don't go." And you are like, "The fuck."

Jase: I just said, "What." He's like, "Just trust me, don't go to lunch yet just wait." I waited and then he got it from the delivery person at the door, then he was like, "This is from Dedeker." It was sweet. I probably cried I don't know.

Dedeker: I think I remember you telling me that you cried.

Emily: Unquestionably.

Jase: I think we ended up video chatting a little bit while I was eating it.

Dedeker: Yes. That sounds about right. Fun stuff like that is nice. I feel like it's pretty easy these days to send people surprise stuff.

Jase: It's easier in the US, it's harder--

Dedeker: Yes, easier in the US.

Jase: I tried to do that for you, and I was looking into services in Singapore that did the same thing and I was just like, "Pffff, I don't know."

Dedeker: Singapore is much more stubborn about these things, but yes, if you are in the US, if you can afford an Amazon Prime account, or not, even if you don't have a prime account, it's just so easy to be able to send something to someone remotely. Whatever you want, whether it's new socks from Amazon or if it's one of those cool like the serial killer sending you a letter every month.

Emily: What?

Dedeker: For something which I don't understand the appeal of those but some people are into it.

Jase: Romantic, yes.

Dedeker: Things like that.

Emily: What?

Jase: It's like a-- We'll tell you about it later.

Dedeker: Yes we'll talk about it afterwards.

Emily: Jeez, okay. So many fun things to do.

Emily: Yes, seriously. A lot of fun things, we'd definitely love to hear from you. Of course, long-distance relationships, the whole topic is very relevant to us so we're always open to hearing from all you listeners of what you found was really great for your long-distance relationship. Or also let us know if you're still in that phase of-- I guess it's not really a phase. If you've still chosen to be like, "No, never going to do that again. Not for me."

Want to hear about too. That's totally okay too. Anyway, the best place to share your thoughts with us and with other listeners is on this episode's discussion thread in our private Facebook or Discourse forums. You can get access to those groups and you can also join our exclusive community by going to Patreon.com/multiamory.

In addition, you can share with us publicly on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. You can email us on info@multiamory.com. You can leave us a voicemail at 678-M-U-L-T-I-05 or you can leave us a voice message on Facebook.

Emily: It's slower than normal, it's good.

Dedeker: Multiamory is created and produced by Jase Lindgren, Emilly Matlack and me Dedeker Winston. Our episodes are edited by Mauricio, our social media wizard is Will McMillan. Our theme song is For once I know I did by Joshua Armond EP. The whole transcipt is available on this episodes page on multiamory.com. [music].

Dylan: Oh, hello. I didn't see you there, I'm Dylan Thomas, co-host of Life on the Swingset, the podcast. We share our experiences in swinging polyamory and beyond. You're listening to a Swingset Network podcast at swingset.fm.