Can long-distance relationships really last? You may get this question a lot if you have a long-distance lover. The answer isn’t a simple one.
Long-distance relationships (LDRs) aren’t for the faint of heart. Couples who have this sort of arrangement usually feel lonely and grow frustrated with the limitations that distance puts on their relationship. This is why it’s so important for both partners to continue growing and connecting on an emotional level and look for ways to tighten their bond.
It used to be that if you were in a LDR, you were in for a hard road ahead. These days, technology has made maintaining a strong connection with a partner or spouse who lives far away much easier. Here are seven tips on how to maintain a long-distance relationship with your partner:
1. Communicate regularly
It’s important to communicate regularly with your partner. Even more so now with technology on your side. You can text, e-mail, voice chat, video chat, and connect on social media at any point throughout the day.
Communication is a great way to talk about problems, insecurities, and larger issues going on in your lives. It’s also a great way to talk about the smaller things going on. What happened at work today? What did you talk with your friends about? What hilarious trouble did your cat/dog/monkey get into recently?
The best thing you can do for a LDR is build a strong bond of emotional intimacy together, and you do this by talking.
2. Set boundaries
When you’re in the same city as your partner, you get to see them often. You’ve probably gotten to know their close friends, perhaps some work associates, and would definitely have met their family. You’re also aware of their habits and social behaviour.
Being in a LDR makes getting to know that side of your partner a little more difficult. This is why it’s important to set boundaries you’re both comfortable with.
For example, are you cool if your partner hangs out with their ex? How about an attractive friend of the opposite sex (or preferred gender)? Are you comfortable if they go clubbing or go to an event where they’ll likely be imbibing?
Discussing what you and your spouse or boyfriend are comfortable with socially will do wonders for your relationship. It also helps managing expectations.
3. Be transparent
Don’t be vague with your actions or words. This forces your partner to make assumptions about what you’re up to, which can lead to insecurities in the relationship. Similar to the above suggestions, it’s best for couples to be transparent with one another as much as possible. This will help you both avoid any misunderstandings.
Also, keep a positive attitude. Instead of assuming that a missed phone call or unanswered text signals the worst (that they’re cheating on you or don’t think you’re important), give them the benefit of the doubt.
A relationship cannot survive if there’s no trust. The only way to build trust is to be honest with one another and follow through with what you say you’re going to do. If you say you will call at a certain time, be sure to call. This builds trust which in turn builds love.
4. Don’t let issues fester
No matter what kind of relationship you’re in, you’re bound to have disagreements. If you’re having an issue with your lover, don’t ignore it. Look for an appropriate time to bring up the issue, one where the both of you are relaxed and able to devote time to the subject at hand.
Remember, you can’t rely on make-up sex to patch things up! Avoid name-calling or unfair fighting. Instead, look for ways to resolve the problem through cooperation and understanding. There’s also no need to bring up the past.
5. Take advantage of video chat
Texting is a great way to stay in tough with your partner throughout the day, but it’s important not to let this become your main avenue of talking to one another. Speaking with each other through WhatsApp or iMessage doesn’t build intimacy. It can also leave room for miscommunication when typed-out messages aren’t read in the right tone.
Instead, focus on talking on the phone or utilising video chats as a way to spend time with each other. This builds physical attraction, sexual chemistry, and emotional intimacy.
Video chat is also useful for inviting your partner into your everyday life. Why not open up a video chat when you’re in your favourite spot in town, such as the beach or hiking trail? Or while cooking a meal?
You can even invite your boyfriend or spouse to be a part of a social event by bringing them along via video. This helps you get to know each other and your friends better, and allows you to share your lives more openly.
6. Make time for each other
Research suggests that those in LDRs experience greater feelings of intimacy. Part of taking care of your relationship means purposely making time for one another in the same way you would if you lived in the same city. This means talking to each other even when you’re tired and showing support for one another. It also means making plans to regularly see each other in person.
Credit: Artem Bali/Unsplash
7. Do everyday things together
Planning special date nights via a video call is a great way to stay connected, but don’t overlook the more mundane aspects of being in a relationship either.
In a LDR, you don’t have the same benefit of being together in person to soak up all that physical intimacy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to duplicate the experience. For instance, why not watch TV together?
Sync up your favourite shows on Netflix and pop your headphones in while you’re on a video call together. You may not be on your spouse’s couch, but that’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the more relaxing ‘everyday’ aspects of being in a relationship.
All in all, LDRs aren’t always easy, but you can make it work. The important thing is to stay connected with each other and be as inclusive as possible. Distance can be difficult, but with a little extra preparation, you and your partner can have a happy, healthy relationship no matter how far apart you may live.