5 options nothing to say

5 Options When It Feels Like There’s Nothing To Talk About With Your Long Distance Love

Lisa McKay Activities, Communication & Conflict 12 Comments

When our second child was three weeks old, my husband, Mike, headed back to our home in Laos, while I stayed on in Australia with the kids for another six weeks. On more than one evening during those six weeks we had conversations that went something like this:

Mike: “Hi honey, how are you?”

Me: “Tired. Boy, am I tired.”

Mike: “What’s been going on on your end?”

Me: “Well… um… hmm… I got up to Alex for the first time last night at 12:30 and he didn’t go back to sleep until 2:30. Then I had to feed him again at 3:30 and 6:30.”

Mike: “How was today?”

Me: “Well, I was going to do some work, but Alex needed to be held a lot, and I played with Dominic for a while. Dominic didn’t eat anything but a single piece of sausage and 123 grapes for dinner and took over an hour to go to sleep. He kept crying and pitching everything out of his cot and we had to go into him eight times. Eight times. That’s about it, really.”

When we in a long distance relationship before we had kids, Mike and I regularly used to talk for two to three hours on Skype about all sorts of new and interesting things. Now, I sometimes feel as if I have nothing to contribute to our conversation apart from an update on who is sleeping (or not), who is eating decently (or not), who spends what percentage of the day crying and whining and needing to be held, and how wrecked I feel.

During these foggy days of early parenthood I often feel as if huge portions of my brain, my personality, and my professional life are on hold. When I have too many conversations like the one above, I feel that way about my relationship with Mike, too.

Do you ever get on the line with your long distance partner and feel like you have nothing to say? You might not be exhausted from weeks of broken sleep, but maybe you feel like there’s nothing new and interesting going on for you.

Maybe you’ve been apart from your long distance partner for what seems like forever and you’re struggling to find fresh things to talk about.

Maybe you feel like what’s going on in your life is boring compared to what your partner is dealing with (or, if you’re involved in high-intensity work, you might find it difficult to explain what you’re experiencing).

Everyone in a long distance relationship is going to have days (maybe weeks) when talking to their partner doesn’t come naturally, when it takes effort. That’s normal. However, in a long distance relationship, conversations are pretty much all you’ve got. So if you find yourself feeling like this too often, it’s worth making that extra, intentional, effort to push past that feeling of, “I’ve got nothing to say.”

Not sure how to do that? Here are five ideas.

5 Things To Try When You’ve Run Out Of Things To Talk About

1. Write down things you want to tell your partner (or ask them) on a piece of paper throughout the day.

If you write down things you want to say, you won’t have to struggle to remember them later after you’re exhausted and frazzled from having paraded in and out of your toddlers bedroom eight times during the put-down routine. This practice also disciplines you to notice little things to discuss with your partner. It can help you live your day more mindfully.

2. Tell him or her something that you’re grateful for at the moment.

Gratitude breeds happiness. Practicing identifying things that you’re grateful for helps make you more happy and content. It’s always an interesting exercise to share these things with your partner.

3. Tell them something from your day, even if it seems small or unimportant to you.

It might not be Mike’s dream Skype date to listen to me list exactly what times I got up to feed our child, but he’d probably like to hear me describe how Alex beamed, flapped his arms, and squeaked with delight when my face appeared above him at 2am. Try telling some stories about the small moments in your life at present. They will help your partner feel more connected to your present reality, and it will help you feel like your partner understand a little more about what’s really going on for you.

4. Ask questions

When you’re fresh out of things to say (and preferably long before that) ask your partner questions. During those weeks following Alex’s birth, I felt like all I was doing was doing was looking after  kids (and let’s be honest, that’s pretty much all I was doing). However, during that time Mike was busy working as part of an emergency response crew following bad flooding in Southern Laos, so there was plenty for him to talk about and for me to ask questions about.

If you’re stuck for questions to ask, pick up a book of questions and look through it for inspiration.

5. Take a little break

Sometimes when you feel like you have nothing to say you’re just a little burned out on talking. When you’re in a long distance relationship you can feel that you need to call/email every spare minute or for long periods each day. Over time, that can backfire. If that’s the situation you’re in (or even if it’s not and you’re just feeling tired and overwhelmed) give yourself a little bit of time off to refresh. Try not talking for a couple of days.

Nothing to talk about in a relationship

What you do when you feel like you’re running out of things to talk about?

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Comments 12

  1. Karla Rubio

    My husband and I have been in a long distance relationship for 8 years. Our means of communication is thru skype.It is really true that i ran out of topics to talk with my partner.Likewise he felt the same.I really appreciated your column right now

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  2. Eileen

    Hi been running out of topics to talk about with my fiancee in a long distance relationship Could you kindly give me guidelines.
    Thanks

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      Lisa McKay

      Hi Eileen, Here is a super-cheap way to get hours of good conversation. http://www.modernlovelongdistance.com/shop/ebooks/201-great-discussion-questions-for-couples-in-long-distance-relationships/. I’m currently completely re-writing this book (it’ll soon become 401 questions organized into almost 20 categories) but if you buy this version now I’m emailing everyone who previous bought 201 a free copy of 401. So you’ll get the updated version when it comes out.

  3. Dante

    What if the “taking a break part” happens to be a week? I have a long distance relationship for 3 months and we only chat on messenger few minutes per day, but sometimes I don’t want to be the one who starts the conversation because I have a feeling that I’m annoying (she did not said anything like that) and it takes a week for her to say something. Also most of the times I feel that she have no desire to keep the conversation going

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      Lisa McKay

      Well… I hate to say it. But if it takes her a week to get back to you EVER (without a very, very good reason) then she’s really not that interested in having a relationship with you. Sorry! I hope you get some clarity, and find someone who is a better fit for you.

  4. Ivana

    It has been almost two months since he started being really busy. He is a guy who does not like small talk, so we ended up only texting good morning and good night or sometime, nothing at all. I feel neglected and dont know what to do. Even if i initiate a conversation, eg “what have you been doing?”, he will response “got up at 8, studied, lunch, studied”, which to me, sounds like he cut off the conversation. What should i do?

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      Lisa McKay

      Hi Ivana. It’s so hard to have a conversation with someone who is (intentionally or unintentionally) shutting you down, isn’t it? I would consider telling him that you feel like you’re having a hard time talking and connecting lately. Ask him if he’d be open to using a game or a book of questions (I’ve got one that might help: http://www.modernlovelongdistance.com/401-discussion-questions-couples/) and see if you can talk about a couple of those questions a couple of times a week. You don’t have to do it every call, but it might help to have something new to spark conversation for a while.

  5. Eduard

    Well in my opinion as a student .
    Ask what is he studying or what did he dreamed of today
    What would a fun moment at has happened that day
    Or ask out of the box random question like
    What is your favourite breed of dog
    Or if you were an animal what would you be

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  6. Leo G

    Me and my girl have been together for about 5 months now, and I feel I want to be closer to her, so I acasionaly ask her random questions like: how are u? Or how was ur day? But it ain’t cutting it I think. Could I get some advice?

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