8 Tips For Surviving A Long-Distance Relationship

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How do two people stay close while they’re thousands of miles apart? With a few tips and tricks, long-distance loving won’t be something to fear.

Maybe it was a holiday fling that grew into something much more, or a childhood sweetheart flung halfway across the globe for university or work. Either way, everything’s perfect except for the distance. Do long-distance relationships even work, you may ask. Can you keep loving someone if  you can’t even see or touch them? It’s hard enough to make a regular relationship work, without the difficulties of having oceans between you!

But long-distance relationships can and do succeed. It all comes down to how you both manage it. Try these 10 tips:

1. Communicate

Communication is essential to any sort of relationship. Sharing your emotions is key, and so is making time to talk to each other daily.

In every relationship, near or far, it’ll falter if communication is taken for granted. Let each other know what you’ve been doing and thinking, and you’ll find yourselves feeling emotionally closer, even if not physically.

Make it a point to be in touch some way, every day, more than once if possible– whether it’s a quick Whatsapp message or a chat on the phone. Since you won’t be seeing each other at the end of the day, it’s important to maintain an emotional connection. While you may not always have long, in-depth conversations, think of it as time to share the little details of your day. Keeping your partner informed about your life, no matter how mundane it may seem to you, is important for maintaining a relationship.

2. Trust

Not everyone can avoid the temptation to be controlling, knowing their loved one is so far away. Without the reassurance of physical closeness, it can be easy to be swept  away by irrational fears and insecurities. The fact is that people have free will, and you should never try to control another person. You have to trust each other completely for a long-distance relationship to work, or it may spell the end of your relationship.

With mutual trust, you never have to question each others’ motives and the relationship is solid. Learn to be true to the relationship and don’t give in to feelings of insecurity, suspicion, and impulses that can  bring the relationship down. If the two of you know you’re true to each other for the long haul, then you’ll be alright. While this may be tougher to come by when you can’t see your partner, working on your communication can help build trust.

3. Be Creative

Rinna* says her boyfriend, a student in Glasgow at the time, mailed her scented clothes. And not just scented with perfume, mind! “He sent me his after-workout clothes that reeked of his sweat, mixed with his perfume, and I absolutely  loved it! I survived on things like that till he got back a year later.”

Spontaneous ‘gifts’ can spice up a relationship, so try sending things like a creative countdown calendar, a drawing, or anything that reminds you of him.

4. Take Advantage

If you’re a glass half-empty kind of person, you may see the distance in your long-distance relationship as a killer. And that’s what it can be, if you let it. But being so far away from your loved one isn’t all bad. In fact, there are benefits like having more time and space for yourself, friends and family– which in turn can help you realise just how much he means to you.

Distance can also help with other issues, like curbing your impulses to snap his head off or say something regrettable in an argument. More importantly, being far apart also gives you a chance to maintain your individuality– the very thing he fell in love with you for in the first place. So count your blessings and think positive!

5. Be Sure

In a your relationship, especially a long-distance one, the only feelings that matter are yours and your partner’s. Don’t let comments from friends or family bother you and create uncertainty, no matter how well-meaning they may be. Because friends or family may not understand your relationship in the way that you do, so take their advice with a grain of salt. In the end, as long as you two are clear about your feelings and intentions for the relationship, stay true to it.

Focus on your future and plan your life together. When you know you’ll eventually be together, things will seem easier to get through! On the shorter scale, plan reunions to meet often so you both have something to look forward to, especially during rough times.

6. Fear Not

Yes, ‘what ifs’ are always scary. What if things don’t work out, what if you have to be apart for longer, what if one of you meets someone else, and so on. But don’t sweat it! Discuss your fears together and come up with contingency plans should they arise. This way you can reassure each other and overcome them if need be.

Remember that no matter how petty or illogical your fears may seem, it’s still something worth talking about. If you can put your fears and woes to rest, you can move on to the next level in your relationship. And entertaining each other’s fears and insecurities is a sure-fire way to know just how much you care about each other.

Also don’t forget to re-affirm your love and commitment to one another often!

7. Enjoy Life

Let’s say your boyfriend has to move halfway around the world to fulfill a contract for work or to finish another semester of studies. He asks you to wait and you agree. That’s great, but don’t think that waiting is just all about sitting still and anticipating his return before you can begin living again. What if – touch wood – things don’t work out, and you’ve wasted all that time?

Focus on yourself and other things while waiting. Identify your passions, get in touch with your creative nature, grow intellectually, and keep busy. It’s up to you to decide what you want to get involved in. Just don’t let a relationship stunt your growth as an individual and burden you with insecurities. Oh, and don’t get so busy that you forget special days or your loved one! Your aim is to allow yourself to grow in his absence, because you have your own life to live, with or without your partner.

8. Be Honest

The path to true intimacy, especially in a long-distance relationship, is to be completely honest with each other. By being truthful to each other about thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, issues, and boundaries, you gradually build up a zone of confidence and comfort that’s fundamental to any relationship. And most importantly, you’ll both see each other as individuals to be loved and respected.

While some may opt for the diplomatic route to avoid conflict by censoring themselves, this can backfire if pent-up emotions and frustrations become too much to hold back. In this event, the suppressed truth can come out in withdrawal, resentment, passive-aggression, and fights. Telling the truth can be difficult and even scary, but it’s good for the relationship.

So listen to your partner’s concerns and communicate your own so you can both work on resolving them before they become bigger problems.