If you are like most people, you probably believe that long distance relationships never last. While this is often true, there are countless couples that have not only survived the ordeal of being separated but have gone on to enjoy happy, lasting relationships. Maintaining a long distance relationship is hard to do but not impossible. With the right effort, you can make it work for you.
Being away from your partner can be tiring for any relationship, more so on one that is just starting. Indeed, all relationships take hard work to build and maintain but a long distance relationship requires even harder work because of the strain that comes with not being able to see each other as often as you would want to. The following 10 tips will help you survive and even enjoy your long haul relationship.
1. Agree on Rules of Engagement
The first step to overcoming the challenges of a long distance relationship is to understand and accept that it is going to be tough. As such, you need to consider all the pitfalls that have the potential of making it hard for you to stay away from each other and how best you can overcome them. Merely assuring each other that things will be fine is not enough. You should agree on specific things that you need to be doing or avoiding in order to reduce chances of a break up.
The idea is to have clear expectations and rules that will be respected by both of you in order to keep the fires burning and avoid unnecessary conflicts during the time that you are apart. Some of the things you can agree on are listed below.
2. Communicate as Often as Possible
Communication is one of the most important elements that will help keep your relationship alive. Talk to each other as often as you used to before one of you left town. As you go along, the nature of your jobs, time difference and other factors will determine how often you will be communicating but make sure it is as often as opportunity allows.
In today’s world, internet and mobile phone communication can be found in every corner of the world. For this reason, it is possible to stay in touch using basic internet communication tools like email, instant online chatting as well as SMS messaging without having to spend a lot of money on long distant calls.
If you happen to have access to high speed internet, then consider yourself lucky as you can even talk face to face with your loved one using live video chats for free. Popular internet and mobile phone tools for live video calls include Skype, Google Voice and others. Smart phone applications such as Viber and Whatsapp also make it possible for people to make unlimited video calls for free wherever there is mobile phone coverage.
Whatever tools you choose to stay in touch, beware of the trap of staying on the call for too long. Couples who are staying in the same town or those staying together do not talk continuously for hours on end, so why should you be doing that on the phone? Unless you are still smitten, such long calls can easily lead to lack of things to talk about as time goes by. This will result in fewer phone calls and, eventually, you will start losing touch, which may lead to a break up.
The best thing to do is to find something to say every day and, then, make a short phone call and say what you wanted to say and little else. Do not linger. Make another call in the course of the day when you think of something else but always keep it short and sweet.
Also be mindful of the fact that your friend may not always be free to chat, so pick your phone call moments carefully by learning each other’s schedule and ensuring that you call only during free time or after work.
3. Meet in Person Whenever Possible
While communication is essential to keep the relationship going, it is important for you to see each other, physically, as often as is practically possible. Understandably, this may not be possible for those going to far off states, countries or on foreign, military tours. But for those who are lucky enough to be a train ride or a couple of plane connections away, meeting face-to-face must be made a priority.
So agree before hand as to when you will be able to see each other and who will be doing the traveling on weekends, special holidays or off days. Opportunities for one of you to travel may also crop up outside the scheduled visits. Do whatever it takes to use such chances to see each other.
Make sure you do not allow other events to interfere with your scheduled visits. Missing a scheduled visit just because you had to attend a friend’s party will not amuse your partner. Show that your partner is number one in your life by ensuring that nothing interferes with your schedules meetings.
4. Long Distance Fights
Wherever there is a relationship there are disagreements and yours will be no exception. You might disagree and fight over an array of issues but remember that it is normal to do so. The worst thing you can do is to blame your fights on the separation because the truth is that you would also fight even if you were together.
5. Have an End in Sight
A long distance relationship assumes that the arrangement will come to an end at some point. It is, therefore, important for both of you to be clear as to when this arrangement will come to an end.
You may also wish to agree, before hand, that you will take advantage of any opportunity to shorten or end the arrangement should such opportunities present themselves before the agreed time. Otherwise, not having a clear end in sight threatens the very future of the relationship.
6. Give Surprises – But Keep them That Way
Pleasant surprises help put a spring in the step of your relationship. A surprise visit, a surprise gift, they all help breathe fresh life into your relationship. But whatever surprises you may be planning on springing on your partner, always remember to keep it that way: a surprise.
Otherwise, telling your partner that you have a surprise for them not only removes the very element of surprise in the surprise, but it can also raise expectations and create unnecessary pressure on you. For example, you may fail to make good on your announced surprise and you will then find yourself apologising for your failure to surprise – very awkward.
7. Give No Room to Jealousy
Jealousy is the evil twin of love. There is always an element of jealousy in, almost, every relationship, more especially the new ones where trust is yet to be established. But when jealousy is allowed to reign, it has a way of making you see things that are not even there.
When you allow jealousy to control your mind, an unanswered phone call, somehow, always creates an image of your man in bed with someone else. Of course, trust has to be earned but it has to be earned by trusting, first, until given reason not to.
So whatever things you may allow to enter your mind, make sure that jealousy is not one of them, more especially when you are involved in a long distance relationship. Otherwise, your imagination may end up costing you a good thing for no reason at all.
8. Make Time to Pour Your Heart Out
It is one thing to call each other every day but that is never enough to take care of all the feelings in your heart. Staying together has a way of preventing emotional build up, as you are able to express yourself to your partner through physical intimacy and other expressions besides talking. Being away from each other takes away this opportunity and, as a result, you tend to develop an emotional build up as time goes by which can lead to emotional stress. In order to prevent this accumulation of emotions from affecting you, it is important for you to use other means of releasing them.
One of the best ways of doing this is to record your emotions by writing them down or capturing them using video or voice recorders. If possible, try to do this the moment you start feeling overwhelmed by strong feelings of loneliness or love, for example. Record your feelings in the form of a letter addressed to your partner. Should you choose to use a recorder, speak as if you are talking to your man, face to face.
Once you are done, send him the letter or recording using the internet or by post. This package is not a replacement of your usual daily communication. This is just you, pouring your heart out in order to get an emotional release. You will be surprised at how good you will feel after doing this.
9. Make Lemonade
Being away from your lover stinks. It leaves you with a lot of lonely time that can lead to even lonelier times – or mischief.
Instead of spending hours, sulking or daydreaming on your couch, use the free time to do something productive. Learn new things that you can use to improve your relationship: enroll for an exercise plan to get yourself a new body or if he likes to dance, attend dancing lessons so you can surprise him with new dance moves.
If your mate will be away for a long time, then you can even use the time to take on long term projects to improve your skills or career. For instance, you can use the time to finish your degree, take short courses to develop new skills or improve the ones you already have.
10. Be Innovative
Despite the pain of separation, you can use your imagination to put the long distance to good use. For example, instead of one of you flying all the way to the other person’s city, why not meet half way? You can then choose to spend the entire day, holed up in a hotel room, go dancing all night long and then spend sleep in the following day.
You can also choose to meet in any town where an event you both love is taking place. In this regard, you will have both the fun of enjoying a carnival parade as well as sightseeing in a new town.
One other innovation used by most couples in a long distance relationship is doing something they both love at the same time. For instance, you can choose to watch the same movie or your favorite television show at the same time and, afterwards, call each other to talk about what you have just seen.
These tips on how to make a long distance relationship work will help you to not only survive the separation, but also make your time apart enjoyable and memorable. A long distance relationship is possible if you do it right.