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Long Distance Relationship: How to Cope with Loneliness

Updated on January 7, 2021

One of long-distance relationship's (LDR) greatest struggles, a primary reason why many do not survive the set-up, is loneliness. It is defined as “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone”. The pain of being alone.


The American Journalist Norman Cousins once said, “The eternal quest of the individual human being is to shatter his loneliness.” Human beings are primarily motivated to look for a partner. Finding that special someone to have a special relationship with causes our bodies to generate hormones and chemicals that could stimulate pleasure and make us feel wonderful. According to Dr. Gary Brown, an Individual, Marriage and Family Counselor, human touch is a fundamental human need and is literally embedded in our DNA. Intimacy and human touch is an essential part of a romantic relationship. Being geographically away from your partner especially in long term could massively affect your disposition and overall emotional state. It could make you feel extremely lonely and depressed.

Your hand touching mine. This is how galaxies collide.

— Sanober Khan

Constant communication in today’s technology is not difficult but can calls and online messages actually compensate and fill the longings of being able to feel the warmth of physical touch?

The LDR journey is not going to be stress-free and if you are looking for some ideas to help you cope as an individual, to bear the loneliness of being in a long distance relationship, here are some things you can do:


1. Take your first bite

You may not want to eat or even get off your bed. All of a sudden, everything seems dull and lifeless, including food. Even so, take your first bite... and slowly, eat your way out of loneliness. LDR is a bumpy ride and you need all the calories you can get to survive. And remember, the food you eat could make you or break you. According to Dr. Eva Selhub in her article Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food, “what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood.” Hence eat the ones that could ultimately lead you to a great day.


2. Cry your heart out

One minute, you are strutting your usual upbeat self, the next you have this weird urge to scream and cry. The LDR set-up makes you feel horribly alone that frustration is making you feel utterly helpless of the situation. Let go and cry your heart out. If you believe the relationship is worth fighting for, cry all those negative emotions away. Believe me, you are going to feel a little bit better after.

Let your tears come. Let them water your soul.

— Eileen Mayhew

3. Do your favorite things

When in a relationship, sometimes you tend to forget who you are as a person and try to adapt to fit in to the relationship. Remember, you are your own person. Being temporarily away from your loved one, you may use the time to get to know yourself better. What do you like doing? What are you good at? Do you wish to learn something new? Use your free time and take comfort in doing your favorite things. As a bonus, this can give you and your loved one something to talk about.

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4. Exercise and stay active

Whenever your feel lonely, try to shake the negative feelings away through exercise. According to an article “What Happens To Our Brains When We Exercise And How It Makes Us Happier” by Leo Widrich, working out causes your brain to produce happy hormones that could actually make you feel happy and euphoric. So yes, you can dance all your worries away.

5. Adopt a pet

. If you are the ‘physical’ type who likes to touch and be touched to express love, long distance relationship is going to be incredibly difficult for you. One way to help you cope is to adopt (please, don’t shop) a pet that enjoys touch and cuddles. Of course, taking in a pet is not all hugs and cuddles but also a huge responsibility so make sure you are ready for it. There are tons of reasons why pet owners are also called pet/fur parents.


When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul.

— A.D. Williams

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6. Expand your horizon

When in a relationship, it is normal to want to explore new places with your partner but that person is miles away. Are you expected to sulk it up, stay still like a tree and be miserable? Nope, you are not. When considering solo travel, hesitation is typical especially for females but when you muster up all your courage and go out into the world solo - of course with proper precaution - I tell you, it is going to be a whole new different learning experience.


7. Cope in your own weird way

Yes, I understand. You are going through a tough time and sometimes, a long phone call cannot even compensate. After your quality time, you still feel lonely and depressed. In dreary times like this, being weird (yet being safe!) especially in the four corners of your room or around a supportive family is a no- biggie. Cry and laugh your heart out while watching a horror film, dance until you drop, talk to your dog and share all your heartaches away, smell your loved ones used shirt until you fall asleep and so on. Again, no one is judging.

8. Get plenty of sleep

When you are sad and lonely, you tend of overthink and worry about things that are actually non-issues. Instead of worrying, allow yourself a good restorative sleep of at least 8 hours every night. You need a good reason to sleep? According to Dr. Phil Gehrman of Penn Sleep Center and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, “When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth and elastic.” Thus always allow yourself a good sleep. It will make you beautiful.


9. Establish a new routine

Now that your partner is hundreds of miles away, you will be compelled to change the order of how your day goes. Welcome this opportunity with open arms. This new routine should include quality time with your loved one over the phone or online but keep in mind to develop and establish a new routine that will keep your mind busy and focused on your daily goals. Give yourself some breathers but make sure the pauses will not be long enough to start making you feel lonely.


10. Pray, pray and pray

Some believe in a Higher Being, some do not. If you are one of those who believe your prayers are being heard (and being answered), then pray. Open up your heart and share whatever is in there; maybe fear, loneliness, hesitation and doubts. Pray for yourself, pray for your loved one, pray for the relationship and the challenges you are facing everyday being in LDR. Pour your heart out and keep on praying until you either find your peace and go your own way or finally reach the end of the tunnel to a happy reunion.

© 2018 Sheila Pornan


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