Long-distance relationships are nothing new, but they are more commonplace now than ever before. The Internet and easy air travel have made them more possible and convenient.
People like LDRs for many reasons. They might be set in their ways and therefore find the long-distance relationship meets certain needs without encroaching too much on their established lifestyle.
Some people have a demanding career that is better served by a long-distance relationship that requires fewer demands. And some are just biding time until they can be together and live happily ever after. Whatever your circumstances, you can make the best of your LDR.
You and your partner need to be on the same page regarding what your ultimate goal for the relationship is. Are you both content to remain part of a long-distance couple, making trips to see the other every month or so? Or, do you envision the two of you living together at some point? Discuss who moves to whom, whether you both will relocate or if you will stay put and visit each other regularly. If you do plan to be together at some point, discuss when that will happen. Otherwise, one of you could feel strung along and frustrated. Whatever arrangement you make can work, but you both need to share the same goal.
Make a Plan
Set some rules and make sacrifices; otherwise, you will likely drift apart. LDR couples who have no rules end their relationship 70 percent of the time, said Dr. Gregory Guldner in his book, “Long Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide.” While you are away from each other, you can agree to date others or make that forbidden. If you allow dating, discuss how far each of you can go physically with another person. Knowing what your limits are regarding dating others helps both of you understand how serious this LDR relationship is.
You have a variety of options available with you to stay in touch. Make use of all of them. You can email every day, even attaching photos and videos. You can have a sort of cyber-date with Skype where you can watch a movie together. You can text each other and use instant messaging when you are on the computer. You can even write an old-fashioned letter once in a while to change things up. Whichever way you choose to communicate, agree on how often and when the communication will occur. Many people schedule a regular communication time to avoid any misunderstandings or frustrations.
Express Your Feelings
When you communicate, especially by email or regular mail, write down your deepest thoughts and feelings. Writing is the perfect medium to express your hopes, dreams and innermost musings and makes your bond even closer. Couples who see each other every day often take each other for granted and stop discussing what is real. Long-distance relationships lend themselves to putting in this sort of effort because communication is your sole way of connecting.
Meet Every Four to Six Weeks
You need to see each other at least every four to six weeks to remain close and to strengthen your connection. When you can touch, smell and just physically be with your partner, you get feelings that you just don’t get through Skype or texting. You can take turns coming to each other’s town, or you can meet somewhere in the middle. When you have your meetings, make them special by planning an activity or two together.
Trust Each Other
If you don’t trust your honey to abide by the rules you’ve both set, you might as well call it quits. Because you can’t be with your partner, you don’t really know whether she is following the rules. You just have to trust that she is. If you don’t, you are threatening the relationship by coming across as insecure. A good way to establish trust is for both of you to be transparent, telling each other everything. Go into detail about interactions you have with people. The more details you discuss and the more you share your feelings, the less jealous your partner is likely to feel.
To keep yourself from pining away for your sweetheart and even becoming depressed by not being about to see him, find an activity to keep you busy. Volunteer at a local food bank, pet shelter or nursing home. Go back to school or join an exercise class. Find something you enjoy doing to keep yourself occupied while you and your partner are apart. If you become bored, you might become whiny and demanding tu see your partner more than what is reasonably possible considering your circumstances. This only adds frustration to the relationship.
Support Each Other
Your partner can be supportive even from far away. She can listen to your problems and be a sounding board for you, or she can help you figure out a way to solve them. Either way, supporting each other strengthens the relationship because it gets the two of you working as a team. This is something all good relationships have, whether they are long-distance or not. Ask each other how work is going. Take an interest in your partner’s friends and family. Being curious and supportive helps the two of you bond.
Don’t Worry About Being Normal
Don’t let people around you make you feel odd for having an LDR. According to the online dating service, eHarmony, “… nearly 4 million singles (and 3 million married couples) are currently in long-distance romantic relationships worldwide, and that figure is growing.” So, you really are not so different, after all. The Internet has made the world a smaller place, and geographic boundaries no longer need to define whether a relationship is suitable. You can build a strong bond with your partner, even if you do not live near each other.
Send Thoughtful Reminders
Keep the romance alive by sending your honey some gifts from the heart. Send a CD with songs you’ve chosen that you know he likes. When he listens to it, he will be reminded of you. If he tells you where he is going for dinner that night with friends, call the restaurant and order a round of drinks, on you. Make some sweets like homemade cookies for your sweetie and send them to him. Get him a gift certificate to a local spa so he can enjoy a relaxing massage. Post a YouTube video of you describing how much you love him, and send him the link. Send a quick email telling him how attractive you think he is. Do everything you can to keep that fire going.
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