If you are reading this article then it means that you have recently or will shortly be asking yourself one of the toughest questions in your life: do we end this relationship now or try a long distance relationship? Knowing that distance is going to be an issue is tough, but letting go of a relationship can be even harder. Whichever options you choose, there will be obstacles that you as a couple will need to overcome. As someone who has managed three long distance relationships, I have first hand experience of the many problems that you will face. However, I also have a few important solutions, which I will go into as well as some pretty great resources that you should check out. First, the problems.
Relationships are intense. You spend a huge amount of your time with your partner, for one simple reason: they are your best friend and your lover. You share everything together, from your daily problems to a quick hug over lunch. When you are seperated there will suddenly be a huge hole in your social life and your heart. Suddenly you’ve got a lot more time to fill than you ever had when you were in the same postcode as your partner. As you start to fill up that time, your habits start to change and with it your daily activities and social life. It’s natural, but it will create problems, which I will go into later.
Physical seperation is the hardest thing about maintaining a long distance relationship. From one day to the next sex is off the table. However, it is the smaller things, the chance to hold your loved one in your arms, grab a kiss or simply hold their hands that you will notice. It’s a huge issue,that will completely alter the dynamics of your relationship, because from the moment you are seperated, communication is based on skype chats and snatched phone calls.
There’s an old English saying, “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” It should be, “distance makes the eyes start to wander,” because the first thing that seems to go wrong when you’re living apart is that you become attracted to other people and you notice that othet people are attacted to you. This is only natural, given that you’ve lost your physical connection and you suddenly have a lot of time to fill, which means you are meeting a lot more people than you used to. This is of course the number one stumbling block in most long distance relationships.
Keeping in Contact
Keeping in contact with your partner when you are in a long distance relationship is a lot harder than you think. Firstly there is the timing: receiving a phone call from your partner when you’re out with your friends or there are 15 people in the room is simply not going to work. Hang up the phone though or decide not to answer and you could face a bout of jealousy. Then there is the converation: while saying nothing to each other is fine when you are in the same room, it’s just plain awkward when you are on the phone with each other. A video call is often little better. Get bored of a conversation and you could find yourself watching youtube and catching up with your overflowing inbox. It’s rude, but it’s a trap that is all too easy to fall into.
If you are going to be trying a long distance relationship with your partner who will be living in a different time zone, communication becomes a huge problem. Even a few hours time difference can make communicating complicated. Not only are your daily work schedules going to be a problem, but so are energy levls.Imagine receiving a phone call at six in the morning from your partner who is currently having lunch? Let’s just say you may not appreciate the phone call.
Coming together again after bei seperated for long time should be the happiest moment of your relationship, but it is incredibly difficult. Moreover, it is here that many couples who thought they had managed to successfully work through their long term relationship suddenly find themselves seperating. The reason is as obvious as it is easy to miss: you have to make huge changes in your life. You will find that even if you think you haven’t changed your partner has and the reverse is also true.
How to Make Your Long Distance Relationship Work
Let me be straight with you; there is no magic formula to making a long distance relationship work. What I can say is that there are certain things that you need to avoid if you have any hope of making your long distance relationship work. The first and most important thing to recognise is that your long distance relationship is based entirely on trust. If you don’t trust each other, jealousy or deception will sink your relationship. After this, everything becomes quite confusing and very much based on the personal dynamics of your relationship.
Jealousy is a big problem with long distance relationships as one or both of you deal with the fact that you are spending a lot of time with other people. This is further complicated if one of the people in the relationship is having a great time by themselves, while the other person is feeling depressed. These issues that are so easily resolved when you are close to each other are much larger problems when you are in a long distance relationship.
As I said earlier, coming together again after being seperated for a long time is hard. In fact, I found this the hardest part of the long distance relationships I have been in. You will build up a fairytale image in your mind of what it will be like to come together again. Unfortunately, they are normally just that, fairytales. Be prepared for changes in your partner and be willing to adapt to those changes. I promise you, if you can manage the first two months of coming back together again after being in a long distance relationship it will have all been worth it.
There are few really great resources on long distance relationships out there on the Internet. A lot of the ones I found were based on dubious statistics and studies or where the type of article that suggests “5 best ways to make you long distance relationship work.” That said, there were a few that I would recommend.
A frank and open blog post about long term relationships from Kristine deGuzman who has spent more than two years away from her partner.
An interesting article about coming together again following a long distance relationship.
A tongue in cheek article about why friendships work and long distance relationships fail.