How to Strengthen and Maintain a Long Distance Relationship
So, you've fallen in love with someone who's hours away from you (or maybe even days) or perhaps your lover is moving away? - don't worry, the distance doesn't have to spell the end of your relationship!
While every relationship is different, there are some simple things that anyone in a long distance relationship can try.
Keep in contact!
The key to keeping long distance love alive is to keep in contact with your love as often as possible. Technology means you have many communication options including:
- text messages
- phone calls
- instant messenger
- video calls
Things like Skype and instant messenger are great for long distance relationships as it means you can keep in contact as often as you like without a costly phone bill. It's important to keep in contact and keep up with each-others lives even when you're miles apart so that when you're together again you're not complete strangers.
If possible try to keep in touch every single day, at least once a day. Even If it's a quick text or email when you're extremely busy, everything counts. As you won't be seeing one another it's vital to establish and/or maintain an emotional connection with one another.
Be clear from the beginning about your relationship
Any relationship is going to end up as a disaster when you want different things to your partner. This is only amplified with long distance relationships and it's vital to be clear about your goals and boundaries at the start of the relationship.
Some of the main things you and your partner need to discuss and clarify are:
- Defining your relationship: dating, seeing each other, boyfriend-girlfriend, friends with benefits, engaged, married etc.
- Exclusivity: are you both committed to one another and only each other or are you okay with a non-exclusive relationship (seeing/dating/being with others). This may just be the most important thing to clarify, especially if you think you're in an exclusive relationship but your partner thinks otherwise.
- The future: where you think your relationship is headed and what you are looking to get out of the relationship. You need to think about the possibility of relocating the relationship if it becomes more serious as you don't want to come to a disagreement further down the line.
By discussing and clarifying your relationship you are identifying any potential problems and making sure you and your partner are on the same page. This saves any future heartache when you find your partner has cheated on you because they had assumed it was a non exclusive relationship or you find yourself wanting to move on and your partner is hearing wedding bells.
Show that you care!
Send a letter via snail mail, love letters, pictures, cards, gifts etc for no reason other than to show you care and are thinking about them. As you're not seeing one another in person, little things like this can mean the world to your partner and keep them going while you're away.
If possible, schedule visits as often as possible so that you and your partner have something to look forward to and you get to spend physical time with one another. Consistency of visits can be the key to helping long distance relationships survive, but if your relationship is strong enough it isn't vital.
If you and your partner don't know exactly when you'll see each other, still talk about it! Talk about the things you'd like to do together, make plans and discuss your next visit - even if you don't have a date set!
When your together make sure that you have time alone with one another to reconnect and further build your relationship. Don't invite all your friends round when your partner comes to visit because they want to spend time with you! While it's fine to have your friends over some of the time, your partner won't be happy if they've come all that way only to have to compete for your attention. Spend your time together, together.
Talk about your future together
Give one another something to look forward to, like talking about future visits, it's important to not dwell on your dissatisfaction with your current situation and look forward to your future.
Assuming you'll want to live together one day, discuss how you'll get to that point and what your plans are - that way you're proving to one another that your relationship is going somewhere and you don't feel that you'll be stuck on your own forever and your efforts are in vain.
Pursue common interests together
One idea for long distance couples is to do things together even when you're miles apart. This may mean simultaneously watching a movie or TV show together, reading the same book at the same time, cooking the same meal etc. Call each other during or after and talk about what you've done - find creative ways to bond that suit you and your partner.
Don't be controlling!
It might be tempting, but being controlling isn't going to get your relationship anywhere. People have free will and that includes your partner! As long as you both have similar goals with your relationship and stick with it, the distance won't make a difference.
If your LDR is going to work, you're going to need to trust each other completely and not try to control the other person.
Avoid jealousy in your relationship!
Jealousy is one of the easiest ways to destroy any relationship. When you start a long distance relationship you need to be aware of the difficulties and challenges you face. It is vital to trust your partner and not just assume things or interrogate your partner every time they go out or talk to another person.
You have to realize that, just because you are miles apart, your lives don't pause. Each of you still have lives to go on with and that includes socializing. Your partner will naturally have their own social life and so should you - this doesn't mean they're cheating or forgetting about you! Being overly suspicious is unhealthy for you and your relationship so watch that the green monster of envy doesn't constantly rear it's ugly head.
Remember that even though you're miles apart, you're still in a relationship!
Naturally, your partner is going to want your support when they need you. Whether they're upset, stressed, in trouble, hurt or whatever - you have to be there for them! Make sure you are available to them so that they can reach you when they need to.
Remember the times that you have spent together and talk about them. This gives you something to look forward to when you're together next. Give your partner a personal item of yours that they can keep when you're apart so that they have something to remind them of you and comfort them when they're feeling alone.
Don't dwell on how your current situation isn't the ideal one, view your relationship as a temporary state and focus on the love you share with your partner and further growing and developing your relationship.
If you stick with your long distance relationship and work on it, things will get better with time and that includes your relationship. Have hope and work towards your goals as a couple and it is completely do-able!