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LDR 101 | Dealing With Different Time Zones

LDR 101: Dealing With Different Time Zones | Keating & Co.

A long distance relationship is never easy.  There are so many factors that play into a long distance relationship, especially when it’s between two different countries.  Add in a 13 hour time difference and it makes everything a million times more challenging.  I knew being on the opposite side of the world as Zack would have its own set of challenges, but I never knew just how difficult it would be at times.  Most days, I’m waking up shortly after he goes to bed at night.  I then don’t hear from him until the early evening (depending on what time he has to wake up that day) and a few hours later, I’m tired and ready for bed.  It’s hard to find the time to talk sometimes but I do have four tips for helping you communicate effectively despite a difference in time zones!

Find the time to talk.

Sounds pretty simple, right?  Wrong!  It’s only been a month, but we’re already having issues with finding the time to talk to one another.  It’s challenging when he’s going to sleep when I’m waking up and vice versa.  Most nights, it’s just a matter of me staying up way past my bedtime (literally until sometime between 3 and 5am) and becoming a little more on the nocturnal side so we can talk.  Otherwise, we’d probably never have the time.  So it’s been a little difficult to line up our schedules, but it is doable!

Going along with finding the time to talk, don’t forget to take care of yourself.  Being nocturnal most nights, leaves me feeling incredibly exhausted throughout the day.  I also have schoolwork and blogging and other commitments that occur during daytime hours so being nocturnal isn’t something I can do every night.  I still have to take care of myself and make sure I’m still getting enough sleep at night.  Unfortunately, this sometimes means I have to go to bed at midnight rather than 4am.

Find a way to communicate.

If you’re in a LDR that extends overseas, there are so many great apps out there that allow you to text for free: iMessage, KiK, Viber, Skype, etc. are all great ones!  I was very concerned about whether or not I’d be able to talk to Zack on a daily basis while he’s in Japan and iMessage has allowed us to communicate with one another for free.  Text messages still send instantly as if he’s sitting across the room for me.  It’s been very reliable for us so far.

Apps like Skype and FaceTime can be a great tool for LDR date nights!  Make some popcorn and put in the same movie so you can watch it “together”.  You can even pick out a tv show to watch together on Netflix.  It’s always great to be able to see each other and hear each other’s voices.

Find a way to remember the time difference.

Calculating the time zones was a bit challenging the first couple weeks.  He’d tell me his schedule for the following day and my mind would instantly go blank as I tried to convert it in my mind to my own time.  To make it easier, I added his time zone to my iPhone and then (because I’m crazy and love being organized), I also created a chart.

Here’s how the chart worked:

On the left hand side, I had the times of day listed for my time zone.  I then highlighted the time frame in which I’m typically awake (roughly 10am to 1am).  I then converted the time to his time zone on the other side of the paper.  Does this make sense?  So where it says 1pm on my side, it said 2am on his side (he’s 13 hour ahead).  I then highlighted the times of day in which he’s typically awake as well.  I know this sounds a bit crazy, but it helped for those first couple weeks.  Doing this, allowed me to see where our “awake times” lined up…they didn’t line up.  Hence point #1 of this post.

Be flexible and understanding.

I admit, this has been super challenging for me.  There are some days where I’m just plain having a bad day and need to talk to my husband.  And it’s always those crappy days where his work day happens to be super hectic and he’s a little too busy to talk.  Tonight is the perfect example of that.  I’ve only heard from him a handful of times tonight because he’s been in classes all day.  It’s always disappointing when this happens, but again, I understand that he has to work so that means I have to be a little flexible.  Most times, I just have to find something to keep my mind occupied whether it’s schoolwork or blogging or even just going to bed early and getting some extra sleep.  I cannot spend my time upset over it because there’s nothing I can do.  Weekends are our best friend.

What are your tips for dealing with different time zones?