You met someone, you fell in love and everything was great until – circumstances changed and you have to move apart. How do you keep the fire burning and manage a long term relationship?
First both of you have to decide if that is the right path. It is not easy to maintain a relationship across the miles. Many people will tell you it is not worth it. However, it can and has been done successfully.
While many people on the surface may think that a long distance relationship is the ideal relationship. And although there are some advantages, there are some truly unique challenges to this arrangement.
Long Distance Relationships: Pros
# More Me Time
Some of the advantages include flexibility, freedom, spending more time with friends and family, pursuing your own independent interests, and having time for yourself.
There may also be a factor of the old cliché ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and there may be some truth to that provided you are prepared for the hard work, trust and even loneliness that come with the territory – or territory between you in this case.
# I Trust You
The key to any relationship is trust; but it is even more critical in the long distance relationship. If either of you or your boyfriend or girlfriend are the type of person who has trust concerns, you must really examine this aspect and determine if you can put your faith in the other person.
Once you have established that you can or are willing to trust each other then you have a good start to a solid foundation upon which to build the rest of your relationship – local or remote.
# Can We Stay Connected?
If you have determined that you can wholeheartedly trust each other and that you can get your love ‘bucket’ filled by other means than physical touch, then it is important to determine how you will move forward and stay connected over the distance between you.
Probably the single greatest breakthrough for many long distance lovers is the advent of video chat. Communication is another critical component to any relationship, but even more so in those that span great expanses.
In a local relationship the natural rhythms of day to day activities tend to facilitate a pattern of interactions between couples. When you are apart these natural points of interaction must be coordinated, especially when the chasm between the lovers crosses time zones.
It will be extremely important to work out schedules and frequency of contacts. Sticking to these schedules may seem rigid or trite, but without them you may find yourselves frustrated by missing each other, or worse mistrust may set in.
Couples can keep things more light-hearted by sending random messages via text, Facebook or even Twitter. A quick, “I was thinking of you” or “Wish you were here” can remind your mate that they are top of mind for you at any time.
Some couples find that sending a handwritten note or a special card is a great way to make their partner feel special. There are lots of ways to share your feelings over the divide and it can be a fun to see how many different ways you can dream up while you are dreaming of your sweetheart. The more fun and creative you are, the more memorable and significant the effect will be on your other half.
Long Distance Love: Cons
# What Does Love Mean To Me
Next on your list is an examination of the way that you each need to be loved. For example, if you thrive on physical touch as the best way to feel loved, a long distance relationship will be very difficult for you.
Because the physical aspects of a long distance relationship are the most lacking, this element takes on a much more important role than if the relationship is local. Ask yourself if you can get enough physical attention from friends or family who may be nearby – and be honest!
A hug from your friends can go a long way, but it is not the same as the touch of the person you love. Do a little research of your own and see what others say about missing the physical touch.
Many people who have been through long distance relationships report that even just the lack of being able to touch your significant other is one of the most bothersome losses. If you struggle with this or think you will a long-term, long distance relationship may be out of the question.
# Non Verbal Communication
One caution that must be dealt with when it comes to long distance communication is that you both may be missing out on non-verbal nuances and cues from each other. Be sure to develop ways to let each other know when either may have had a bad day or something is bothering your mate before you bowl them over with bubbling babble about how terrific your day has been.
Something as simple as a weather report of each other’s feelings at the beginning of a call can help you find a lighthearted way to open up whether the outlook is sunny or stormy. How you share the current mood with each other is not important, but having the empathy to find out first is.
Be sure to give each other an out too. If one or the other is simply not feeling up to talking, it is important to be prepared for that. Without having a clear understanding that one or the other of you are just simply not up to a marathon chat session, it can be highly disappointing after looking forward to finally being able to connect only to find that it may not work out.
Being prepared means you know that you were both looking forward to the connection even though one or the other is just isn’t up for it when it is scheduled. That is where the flexibility, love, and trust really shine through and you both agree to look forward to the next exchange.
With patience, trust and lots of understanding – as with any relationship – long distance relationships can be just as rewarding and loving as a local love for both men and women. Setting goals and milestones together and having an open and communicative relationship will keep your passion going, no matter what the distance.