No one’s ever said that long distance relationships are easy, but the distance doesn’t have to ruin your relationship either. With the right commitment and communication, long distance relationships can actually be more stable than geographically close relationships. Simple adjustments to your attitude and lifestyle can help you keep your loved one in your life.
Preserving Normality When You Can
Stay in contact. Since you won’t be seeing each other in person, it’s important to establish and maintain an emotional connection as often as you can. These don’t always have to be long, in-depth conversations. Frequent communication, no matter how minor, will show that you care enough to put in the time and effort into the relationship and it’s easier to keep up to date with each other’s lives. If you allow large (days at a time) gaps to pass by, your everyday experiences fade into the background, and you will have to start from scratch every time you speak.
Learn your partner’s preferred method for communication. Be sure to try a variety of technologies to see what works best for you both. You may try texting, emailing, or video-calling to keep up to date with little daily details of your lives.
Work around your schedules. If you know you’re going to be too busy to communicate, let your partner know in advance and try to stay in contact as best you can. If you’re not as busy as your partner, remain flexible and focus on something of interest to you.
Talk about the mundane, little things. Don’t feel as though every conversation needs to be a thoughtful discussion about your relationship, hopes, or dreams. Instead, focus on the little things that couples who live together would, such as grocery shopping, doing chores around the house, or redecorating. This gives the feeling of creating a home together, something you both can look forward to.
Talking about the boring or mundane parts of your day can also foster connection and interdependence, the foundation of relationships.
Visit often. Try to make the time to visit each other as often as possible or as often as your budget permits. You need to see each other in person at every opportunity. Make a regular visiting schedule or at least make plans for the next visit as soon as each one ends. Face-to-face communication is just as important as having relationship satisfaction, commitment, and trust.
Create your own rituals around your visits, like eating at a favorite restaurant, enjoying a quiet night together at home, or sharing a favorite activity.
Smooth out travel logistics so they don’t get in the way of your time together. Know where to meet at the airport or train station. Learn to travel with one bag or leave basics at your partner’s home to save time at the airport.
Meet away from home sometimes, too. Visit a place together that is new to both of you or choose a place that is halfway between both of you.
Get to know each other. Just like any relationship, you should spend some time really getting to know and understand your partner. When talking, take note of things your partner enjoys the most (like hobbies or day-to-day activities) and do a little research on it so you have something more to discuss.
Knowing each other’s preferences will also help when you want to exchange gifts. Gift exchange is just another way to communicate your feelings for each other over the long distance.
Remember that your partner is human. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, but can also make you idealize your partner. While this can make your relationship stable, extreme idealization (thinking your partner is perfect) will make it more difficult to reunite with the actual person
Maintaining day-to-day communication about your everyday lives will help humanize your partner and become aware of changes your partner might be going through.
Support each other, even over the distance. Be there for your partner if your partner is ever in trouble, hurt, or for whatever reason. You need to make yourself available to help so your partner knows you care. If your partner ends up dealing with important issues alone, your partner will eventually not need you.Interdependence refers to the willingness to act against your own self-interest for the benefit of you partner or for your relationship. Instead, supporting each other creates an interdependence that is crucial for a long distance relationship.
Interdependence can be seen in everyday activities like compromising about decisions and long-term behaviors like quitting smoking.
Create trust. Trust in a relationship is vital, regardless of distance. Try your best to be faithful and avoid temptation. If you do make a mistake, it’s especially important to be honest and tell your partner the truth in cases where lying would benefit you. For example, if you put yourself in a position of temptation (like going to a bar), lying about your whereabouts would benefit you personally, but would benefit your relationship if you were honest.
Frequent use of email and online resources can help cultivate trust in romantic relationships.
Be committed to each other. Be open and honest by volunteering private information. You should both be morally committed to each other, continuing the relationship because of personal values, not because of social pressures. Personal values include beliefs like “staying faithful is part of my identity.” Social pressures involve the perception of society’s approval or disapproval. For example, “My mom would be devastated if I cheated on my girlfriend and she broke up with me.”
Watch out for behaviors where your partner tries to manipulate you into doing something that only benefits your partner, like lying about an emergency to get you to answer your phone during an important business meeting. If dishonesty and manipulation become a part of your communication, then you must revisit why your relationship lacks trust.
Don’t do anything irrational just because you’re angry or upset about something they’ve said or done. Communication is key, if you have a problem then talk it out, it will build better trust and a stronger bond. You can’t maintain a relationship if you are terrified that they will do something to you because you did something out of anger.
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