“Everything would have been fine if we lived in the same town/state/country,” is the common reason many men and women give for a long distance relationship not working out.
Admitted, distance can put an enormous strain on a relationship, but claiming that “distance” is the only reason a relationship didn’t work out or can not work is putting your hands over your ears and shouting, “la-la-la-la-la-la- land” because the truth is too much to handle.
I’ve met many men and women who won’t even try long distance relationships because according to them “Long distance relationships just don’t work”.
That simply isn’t true! Long distance relationships CAN and DO work if the two individuals involved want it to. In my opinion, the question is not “Do long distance relationships work?” but rather “Do both of you want to make it work?” If you both want to make it work, distance is just another obstacle that two people who truly love each other can easily overcome — if they really want to.
These simple to follow tips will help your long distance relationship not only survive distance, they’ll also help you lay a strong foundation for a relationship that is fun, fulfilling and successful!
1. Talk at least once a week
Technology has made it easier than ever to keep in touch long distance. A few quick emails, text messages and phone calls at least once a day (or even once a week) create a sense of being fully engaged in each other’s lives. Your relationship success depends on you being connected, so set aside uninterrupted talk-time to “catch up” on each other’s lives.
If the other person can’t make time for even a 10 minutes’ conversation, but has time to go out with friends, go to a party, go the gym, cook or even sleep, get a clue, that person isn’t into you as you want to think. If the other person is truly interested in you, he or she’ll show all signs of not only wanting to continue the relationship but to move closer. And if s/he truly loves you that much, s/he’ll not only create the time for you, s/he’ll put talking to you top most priority on his/her list of things to do. You on the other hand have to be realistic and not try to suck up all his/her time because you’re dripping with neediness.
2. Cultivate independent but inter-dependent lives
The time between calls and in-person reunions can be pure torture if you’re spending all your time apart obsessing about the other person. You may find that you’ve put everything on hold to the point that no one else and nothing else is important or meaningful in life except being with him or her. You’re consumed with constantly trying to test his or her love for you; doing things to try to make his or her need you, telling him or her about your “other admirers” etc. If s/he doesn’t call or email you when you expect him/her to, you feel restlessness, rejected and unwanted. Some people become so needy that the other person just shuts down emotionally.
Instead of wasting so much time and emotions acting all clingy, needy and controlling, use the “distance” to develop and grow as an individual with your own independent life and who enjoys your own company. You’ll feel more positively about “distance” when you feel positive about yourself, the other person, the relationship and life in general. A positive outlook is very important to the success of a LDR.
3. Let go of fear of abandonment/loss
Distance has a way of playing up anxiety and fear of the unknown. You miss him/her so much that you start imagining him/her cheating on you even when deep down you know that s/he is not the cheating type. Even when s/he has given you no reason to think that s/he might cheat, you tell yourself, “You just never know” or “Don’t be a fool!”
If you are not fully prepared to trust your man or woman you have no business being in a long distance relationship because in LDRs, trust is everything. Without trust, there is little point in having the relationship. Without trust sustaining a long distance relationship is impossible.
Discuss your anxiety and fears with him or her and once you get the reassurance you need, LET IT GO. Truth is, if s/he wants to cheat, s/he will and there is nothing you can do about it. Give your mind some rest and concentrate on building a strong foundation for your relationship. It also helps for you to make extra efforts to be reliable, to do what you say you are going to do and to show that you’re trustworthy. Trust cuts both ways!
4. Keep that sense of fun and romance alive
One of the most difficult things about long distance relationships is that you can’t just turn to your man or woman and say “let’s go for a walk in the park”, or just drop in and ask him or her out for a drink. In the absence of these seemingly insignificant shared moments that most people in proximity relationships take for granted, it’s easy for two people to become so stuck in the waiting, and the future, that they completely forget about now. The relationship slowly loses it’s spark and eventually fades out.
To avoid this, try as much as possible to go out on “virtual dates”. For example, decide to go watch the latest movie on the same day and then later call the other to share experiences, thoughts and opinions. Better yet, if time zones allow and if it’s cost effective, rent a movie and watch it “together” with the other person on the phone. You can also play cards or games over the internet etc. And don’t forget to flirt, seduce and tell him or her just how much s/he means to you and how much you love him or her. The important thing is to take the necessary steps to keep the sense of fun, shared interests, romance and passion alive.
5. Create a supportive environment
There’ll be times when it seems like the other person is not bothered by distance, is happy that you’re apart, or is having more fun. This makes you feel like you are the only one who “cares”. So instead of trying to understand what’s causing him or her to act that way, be supportive of whatever they’re going through and encouraging of his or her efforts given what the two of you have to deal with, you start instructing, coaching, and scolding the other person for not “caring” about you or the relationship. Eventually all conversations become about how the relationship is neither right nor going anywhere. And true enough, you find yourselves living down to your own expectations.
It’s had enough to have a long distance relationship without the constant nagging, instructing, coaching, and scolding of someone who consistently treats the relationship as a one person’s property or business. Use that excess energy to create a supportive environment that fosters understanding, reassurance and cooperation. Sometimes all you need to do is listen. Don’t judge and don’t try to fix. Just listen. You can also bounce ideas off him or her, etc. Work as allies with the same goal.
6. Always have a plan for the next in-person reunion
Just knowing when you’ll see each other again makes it easier to handle long distance relationships. Make the planning and preparing for the reunion a joint project. Share your thoughts and dreams of your re-union on a regular basis. This can make your coming together much more exciting, meaningful and special.
Be careful, though. Don’t let expectations of how fantastic your reunion is going to be build too high as the reality often doesn’t match up to the fantasy. Expect there to be awkward silences, many down times and even arguments. It’s a relationship not a fantasy!
7. Make plans for one of you to move
Someone must move at some point in order to keep the relationship together. If you’re both eager to stay together, then set a date for getting together – either moving in or, at least, living in the same town and “dating”. However, if it’s a new relationship or a relationship on shaky grounds hold off the “future together” talk until you both feel that the relationship has matured, is more stable or until the other person is ready. If the other person is not ready, it doesn’t matter how much you want it, it’s never going to happen. The “I am not going to wait forever” may just become “It’s over”
8. Ignore people who say long distance relationships don’t work
It’s not easy and there are no guarantees — same as in all relationships. But don’t run away from your long-distance relationship because everyone says “Long distance relationships don’t and won’t work”. Long distance relationships have worked and can work for you if you are willing to do the hard work. If you’re both emotionally mature enough, and are devoted enough, distance can teach both of you to exercise deeper connections, and provide for objective and honest assessment of your feelings for the each other. Distance can also encourage a stronger foundation for the development of your relationship.
At a time when careers increasingly demand greater mobility, LDRs are not only a very attractive option, they may well be the future.
Not even distance can stop true love!