Being in a long-distance relationship takes a lot of effort to pull off. There's the distance, the time difference, and everything in between that can either bring out the best or worst in you. However, being in a long-distance relationship doesn't mean that you and your partner should be lonely and put your lives on hold in the meantime. You can still have a happy and healthy LDR as long as the both of you are really determined to make things work. Here are some helpful tips you need to know to keep the love alive even when you two are apart:
1. Don't brush off the small things.
Couples tend to break up when one feels like they're not part of the other's life anymore. Avoid this by finding a way to stay in each other's lives actively. Don't be hesitant to share little details about your day just because your partner might not be able to relate. On your end, try to remember the info he shares like his favorite coffee shop or the name of his new supervisor's wife. It doesn't seem like it, but some of the information you gather will come in handy one day, and he'll appreciate you for it. According to relationship advisor and therapist Dr. Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, it’s essential to maintain that special emotional connection. He suggest you have conversations about your daily lives, “telling each other about your little triumphs and tragedies, ask[ing] for advice [and] talk[ing] about your day.”
2. Open all lines of communication.
It's not just the frequency of the talking that matters, but the quality as well. If the distance means that you won't be able to stay close physically, make sure you're open to connecting in all the other ways possible. Keep your relationship alive by working on different ways to express your love. There are gifts, videos, and thanks to technology, you don’t need to wait for days or weeks for a letter to show up on your front step.
3. Learn how to manage your expectations.
Be sure you two have set ground rules before you agree to the LDR set up. Knowing what you two can or can’t do while you’re apart is vital in making the relationship work. Have a serious talk about each other’s boundaries and lay down rules so no one ends up hurt because of careless actions.
4. Visit each other regularly.
It’s important to plan your visits well so that you two can spend (physical) quality time together. Also, it’s going to be something the both of you can look forward to. If it's not easy to do so due to financial or professional obligations, at least know when you'll see each other again. A definite period (no matter how far away) will help you both form a concrete plan.
5. Don’t jump into conclusions
…since that can only lead to pointless arguments. If he wasn’t able to call you like he promised, don’t go on about flooding his phone with angry messages right away. Give him the benefit of the doubt and understand where he’s coming from. Maybe he was busy with work or he had to attend to an urgent matter.
Marriage and family therapist Carin Goldstein says it’s normal to feel easily disconnected from your partner when he’s not available, especially when you’re both stressed. “That said, it is crucial to keep in check any insecurity one may be feeling about the distance, and agree to make regular check-ins with each other in order to not create false assumptions,” she explains.