Making a relationship work long distance is hard. If you’ve read up on long distance relationships or asked friends and family about their experiences, you’ve probably received a pretty bleak picture. The reality is, being together is something that most couples expect, and putting a lot of physical distance between you both can affect romance, intimacy, and your day-to-day lives. In many cases, however, it’s unavoidable. Maybe your lover is far away and you can’t make a move happen just yet, or maybe certain commitments are forcing you to see how your relationship works across different cities, countries, or even continents. Whatever the cause is, you need to figure out a way to make long distance work until you can get back together long-term. Here’s everything you need to know and do for the most manageable and perhaps even enjoyable experience in your long distance relationship.
The most important thing you can do for your long distance relationship is discussing your expectations ahead of time. When you are long distance, you have to put extra effort into your relationship. You need to discuss how you’re going to do that and make sure that you’re both on the same page. How often will you talk? Is reuniting your top priority? When might that happen? If one partner is imagining hour-long Skype chats every morning and night and the other is happy to chat once a week when they’re free, the relationship is destined to end badly. Figure out a happy medium for both of you and commit to making it happen.
No matter how strong your relationship is, and even if you’ll stay together throughout any trials and tribulations, long distance will be difficult at times. Don’t convince yourself that it won’t take more effort to keep your relationship going once you’re far apart. Long distance doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, but if you’re unrealistic about the pressure it exerts on a relationship, you’re going to find it hard to adapt once it begins.
Once you’ve settled into your schedules, set times to talk which you won’t move. Maybe you’d like to talk every day if possible, but you accept that those dates can be broken if an event pops up or one of you is feeling tired. However, you could also set aside an hour every Saturday morning to talk which you won’t miss, barring truly extenuating circumstances. This regular date makes it all possible. If your schedules are highly unpredictable, use an app to show your free time on a weekly basis and find times when you’re both available to talk in the coming days.
Figure out where you both stand with regard to sexual intimacy before you go long distance. The main points you need to cover are where you stand with regard to monogamy. Many couples keep existing rules in place, but some monogamous couples choose to open their relationships physically during long-distance periods. So make certain you discuss how you will navigate the sexual intimacy part of your relationship while you’re partner is away. Knowing your boundaries in advance means you don’t need to have these conversations when the pressure of long distance is weighing on you both.
Your partner needs to be a priority more than ever when you’re in a long distance relationship. However, you still need to have separate lives without trust or abandonment issues cropping up. Accept that your partner might have friends you’ve never met or new hobbies and interests, and vice versa. Being comfortable and committed to your partner while also embracing your life as an individual is important so you don’t end up trapped in your house on Skype every waking minute, even if that seems like a nice option when you’re missing your partner.
Be realistic about whether you can make reunions happen, and if so, how often and when. You need to roughly calculate the finances involved, decide how you’ll divide up the cost, who will travel to who, and whether you have the time to make that happen. Don’t talk endlessly about reunion trips if they’re unrealistic, but commit to them if they are. Knowing that you’ll see your partner in a certain period of time, even if the deadline is far away, makes being apart much easier.
Reunions are important, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all. The most unexpected thing that most couples experience while doing a long distance relationship is the fact that reuniting can feel odd and different once it happens. You have to get used to one another’s mannerisms, bodies, and everything else when you’re reunited. This can be stressful, especially if you’ll be separating again soon. Don’t put pressure on the trip to be absolutely perfect, but instead accept and embrace any strong emotions or quarrels that might crop up.
You need to be honest with your partner. Don’t overload them with “I miss you” messages, but be frank about your feelings and let them talk openly about theirs. If you aren’t honest with one another then you run the risk of getting caught up in passive-aggressive text messages, angry calls, and the trials of trying to understand why your partner isn’t reacting to you in the way you want. Honesty really is the best policy, and talking about your feelings lets you deal with them together as a team instead of as an isolated individual.
No one is saying that long distance is easy. It takes trust, commitment, and shared effort for a couple to thrive, or even survive, in a long distance relationship. But if you really want to stay together, you can do it. Take note of these tips to make your long distance relationship smoother, more manageable, and more likely to last. You can do it.
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