How to Make Long Distance Relationships Last
No one wants to be in a long distance relationship — they happen because people want to stay together but are forced to move apart. In a way, these are the most romantic relationships, as lack of physical proximity won’t get in the way of these couples’ love for each other.
The problem is how to make them work. With distance between two people, every disagreement becomes a nasty argument, every day apart becomes a cloud looming over your heads.
The good news is that with a little work and some ground rules, your long distance relationship can work much the same as it did when the two of you were together to begin with.
Here are four steps to making a long distance relationship work.
I’m not talking about the basics of communication — call your partner every day, write emails, write letters — but about deep communication, the kind that takes place between people who are in love. Communication means talking AND listening. My grandmother used to say “Listen and Silent are made up of the same letters.” Sometimes you have to stop talking and actually hear what your partner is saying.
Long distance relationships are composed mostly of talking, writing, reading, and other little forms of communication that can’t hold a candle to the kind of communication that your bodies do when you are around one another. Your body’s pheromones can’t move through the phone lines or over a Skype connection, so you may find the two of you pulling apart a bit. The antidote to this natural “pushing away” period is to have real and deep communication. Tell your partner your opinions on things, have political debates, talk about your physical urges and corporeal ways you miss them. In short — talk to your partner all the time.
Wen your partner says something, you need to take a second and look at it from a few angles. Sometimes people are giving us clues to their true mental or physical state in the way they word a phrase. Paying attention to your partner’s communication style will benefit you more than anything else in making your long distance romance work.
2. Make Time for Each Other
Depending how long you will be stuck a long distance from your lover, you need to plan some visits with him or her ahead of time — but you also need to plan your time apart too. Make your partner a part of your life even though that person may be thousands of miles away. How can you do this?
I mentioned letter writing before, and I think starting up a letter campaign between the two of you is about the most romantic way of making time together that there is. A letter causes you to sit down and think about the person you’re writing it to more than an impersonal email. Besides the other obvious benefits of letter-writing, you’ll set aside a certain part of your time each week to writing them letters.
Another way to make time for each other is to have a standard phone call time. If this is too regimented for you, have a once-a-week scheduled phone call or Skype meet-up. This will become like a “date night”, and the two of you will have something to look forward to each week until you see one another.
If making time for your partner is important when you live a few blocks apart, making time for a partner in another country or across the world from you is even more so.
3. Plan Surprises
Want your partner to think you’re fun and spontaneous? Of course you do. Springing little surprises on your lover will ensure that you’re on their mind.
Just like in your dating life, surprising your partner is important in a long distance relationship. Maybe even more important considering you have very little time together and romantic moments are hard to come by.
Surprises come in many different sizes — little surprises like a small gift in the mail all the way up to big surprises like a surprise visit — and you should sprinkle surprises of all types around during the period that the two of you are apart.
4. Behave Yourself
The best way to make sure a long distance relationship lasts is by putting your shoulder to the wheel and working hard for it. If you expect this of your partner, it is only fair for your partner to be able to expect it of you. You should behave according to the code that the two of you have agreed on, and honor and respect your partner with all your actions.
Making your long distance relationship work is a task that both you and your partner must tackle head on. The distance between you means the two of you won’t get to see each other very often (if at all) for a certain amount of time, making trust and loyalty more important than ever. The Golden Rule may be a good one to live by when nurturing a long distance relationship . . . do what you’d want your partner to do for you.
If you take all of these steps and plan your long distance relationship carefully, there’s no reason why it can’t be just as satisfying as a relationship that is more traditional. Communicate with your long distance partner, set aside some time every week for them, surprise them all the time, and behave yourself — that’s all you need to do.