Why Long-Distance Relationships Might Actually be a Good Thing
“How can I miss you if you never go away?”
-Amber Kelleher Andrews CEO Kelleher International
How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work: What You Need To Know
Long-distance relationships are hard. You can listen to all your friends telling you that it’ll be fine or read a thousand blog posts espousing the benefits of Skype calls and love letters, but at the end of the day, you’ve still stuck far away from the person you want to be closest to. Thanks to the internet and cheap travel, it really is easier than ever to make a long-distance relationship work. However, it’s also more likely that you’ll end up in one. Maybe you’ve met someone special online or you’ve got to take off and study abroad for a year, or maybe your partner has found a job in a faraway city and you’re not ready to move just yet. Whatever the case, you need to find real ways to make long-distance work until you can close the gap between you and your lover. Here’s how you can have the best possible experience in your long-distance relationship:
Align Your Expectations
Before embarking on a long-distance relationship, you need to sit down with your partner and discuss how you both envision it working. Many couples assume that they feel the same way about living far apart, but that often isn’t the case. If you’re envisioning daily Skype dates and saving all your disposable income for reunion trips while your partner is imagining weekly phone calls, one or both of you is going to be unhappy. Discuss your exclusivity, how often you’ll talk, your plans to reunite, and your ground rules for long-distance before you begin.
Set Immoveable Times To Talk
You’ll probably plan times to talk that will get pushed around due to family, work, or school commitments – that’s natural. However, you should set some immoveable times to talk too. It’s best to adjust these to suit your weekly schedules. You might ideally plan to have a quick goodnight call every evening, but set a fixed Sunday morning Skype date that you won’t miss unless it’s a total emergency. These fixed chat times give you something to hold on to and show your commitment to making long-distance work.
Control Your Jealousy
When you live in different places, particularly if one of you is moving to start a new life somewhere, it’s natural to get a little jealous. Your partner will probably be socializing with people you don’t know in situations that you only get to hear about from their perspective, so it can be easy to envy the colleague who gets to have lunch with them every day or the friend they hang out with most evenings. However, you need to learn to cope with this jealousy and redirect it to healthier sources if you want long distance to work. Remind yourselves that you can trust one another and make time to discuss things rationally if you’re feeling seriously left out.
Equally, you need to learn to be honest with your partner about your feelings. Bottling things up won’t work when you’re long-distance and there’s nothing more miserable than trying to decipher passive-aggressive texts from a partner who won’t voice their true feelings. Take time to assess how you feel and keep open lines of communication with your partner to make sure that you’re supporting one another throughout the experience of long-distance rather than shutting one another out.
Avoid Excessive Communication
Long-distance relationships are unique in that you have the independent life of a singleton while balancing the commitment of a relationship too. This really can be a joyous thing, but you need to embrace it if you want to do anything other than spend the whole time pining over your faraway lover. Don’t turn down opportunities to socialize to chat with your partner for the fifth time in a week – you need to cut off the excessive communication and spend time cultivating joy in the life that you have away from your partner if you want to be happy.
Lean In To Your Other Relationships
A period of long-distance will really show you how important the other people in your life are, and you should embrace that. Rather than constantly mourning the fact that your best friend is far away, make an effort to hang out with your family, old friends, or new acquaintances while you have the chance. These relationships will enrich your life, stop you feeling lonely, and help you to cope when long-distance does get rough.
Plan Realistic Reunion Deadlines
It can be nice to daydream about an impromptu reunion but try not to do it too much. Sure, your partner could fly to see you if they spent every penny in their bank account right now, but that’s probably not going to happen and you’ll be miserable if you spend every second thinking and talking about it. Plan a realistic time period to meet or reunite based on your finances, resources, and time, and focus on making that meet-up happen rather than mulling over endless missed dates that were never really going to happen.
Understand That Reuniting Might Feel Weird
Whether you’re meeting in person for the first time or reuniting after some time apart, being in the same room as your partner can feel really odd. A lot of couples don’t want to discuss this, but the simple fact is that you might have to get used to being around one another again – the way that you interact physically and the mannerisms that aren’t clear on Skype. After a little time together, you’ll naturally find your rhythm, so don’t worry if it feels a little odd or awkward at first.
Long-distance is difficult but it doesn’t have to end your relationship. If you and your partner are committed to making it work then you can. Use these helpful tips to make your long-distance experience go as smoothly as possible until you and your lover can finally reunite. The bottom line; absence does really make the heart grow fonder.