Columns / Discourse / May 23, 2019

Pillowtalk: “I don’t have experience in long-distance or ‘virtual’ stuff”

Hey,

Sorry I’m sending this so late, but it’s just starting to worry me now- my significant other is going abroad next term, and we’re not going to see each other much over the summer. I’m not worried about our relationship, but we both have really high libidos and I don’t have experience in long-distance or “virtual” stuff. Do you have any advice?

 

What a relevant question! The end of the year is full of separation, and it can be really hard to deal with. Luckily, you came to the right guy! I’m intimately familiar with separation, and I’ve found that there are 3 routes that work best.

First: Hold your horses. Anticipation can be fun, but it can also be extremely frustrating. If you go the route of holding your horses (not having sex with other people, not really having time or resources to engage with your s/o who might be halfway across the world in an 8-hour time jump), you have to have a lot of self-control. I recommend journaling about it. I know, I know, it’s cheesy. But if you write your thoughts and wants and needs down, it can help you communicate what needs are and aren’t being met, what you miss, and what you’re looking forward to. It’s also a fun Google Doc to share at the end of the term (or collaborate on the whole time).

Second: Sext! Sext! Sext! This one works best in similar time zones. “Virtual” stuff can mean anything from occasional Snaps to long fantasies typed out in Facebook Messenger. Honestly, it’s hard to do wrong in this category when you’re in an established sexual relationship. If they’re into you and they miss you, chances are they’ll appreciate any picture of you, any text –– so why not just voice your thoughts? Reminisce a little, relive memories if fantasy isn’t your forte. Skype and FaceTime can be fun, but they can also be a lot of work and a lot of anxiety. Do whatever feels comfortable. Hopefully you know each other’s sexual boundaries already, but make sure you address timing, whether you want warnings before explicit pictures or messages and what you’re okay with them saving. Talk about it.

Third: Open it up. This one is simultaneously the most and least risky of the three. If you do it right, it drastically reduces the chances of cheating or built-up resentment. If you do it wrong (AKA not communicating), things can get tumultuous. My best advice here is to talk about it in person before you leave. Tone can’t be communicated well over text. Only agree on things you’re both entirely on board for. Don’t push anything, don’t agree reluctantly, don’t just go along with it. Talk and talk and talk until you figure it out. What’s allowed? What do you want to hear about? When should we get tested? What are your hard boundaries? Can I come back with hickeys? When do we close the relationship again? Do we ever close it? What if I catch feelings?

Of course, you can combine these three in any way conceivable, and there’s plenty of other ways to do it. Talk to your significant other. Chances are they’re worried too. Chances are you can figure it out together.

Elleri Scriver

Tags:  advice long-distance relationships safe sex sexuality

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