How to Survive a Long Distance Relationship
By: Natalia Walcott
Let’s be frank, long distance relationships suck. No one wants to be away from their spouse or significant other. Being away from them for prolonged periods of time is even harder. You will very seldom find someone who says “Yeah, me and my partner are in a long distance relationship, and it is the best thing that has ever happened to us. I love being hundreds of miles away from them and Facetiming on the phone.” We naturally want to be around those that we care about. Personally coping with that separation can be difficult. In addition to that, you have to help your significant other cope with the distance as well. Many say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but you can’t just rely on that. Actively taking a role in maintaining your relationship is necessary to its survival. Try some of these suggestions to help preserve your long distance relationship.
1. Stay Positive
Take control of your attitude about the distance. You cannot change the circumstances. However, bringing positivity into an already difficult situation can help you and your partner cope with the situation. Tell your partner how much you love and appreciate them. Surrounding your relationship with this positive energy will help your relationship satisfaction increase.
Think of why you two got together in the first place and decided to continue the relationship, despite the distance. Before you and your partner began the long distance relationship, a conversation must have occurred. It probably consisted of where both of you saw the relationship going and what the future held. This already shows the seriousness of your relationship and the fact that both of you saw something worth holding on to. Research shows that long distance couples are more committed to their partners than geographically close partners. Take this as a positive sign that the odds are in your favor.
Find comfort in the little things. Remember that this distance will not last forever. You have someone who loves you and wants to be with you despite the obstacles. On top of that, you have the ability to focus on yourself and become a better version of you that your partner has not experienced yet.
2. Practice Necessary Communication
Talk to your partner about the amount and type of communication you expect. Having those conversations can help prevent problems in the future. Communicating everyday does not mean your relationship is any better than one where you communicate three days out of the week. Every relationship is different and presents unique needs and expectations.
Do not believe that you have to compensate for the lack of physical interaction by constantly texting your partner. This can get mentally draining and might annoy your significant other. Communication should arise organically; you should not feel like you are obligated to communicate with your partner.
Be sure to congratulate your partner when they relay positive news to you. Acknowledge and capitalize on their achievements, since you aren’t able to physically be there to celebrate with them. The acknowledgement of those positive events can allow your partner to see that you are just as happy and invested into seeing them succeed as they are. It also gives both of you a positive event in the relationship to celebrate.
3. Facetime Each Other
We are very lucky to have the ability to see each other while not being anywhere near each other. Video chats have given us a different way of communication. Since you are unable to physically see your partner, the next best thing is Facetiming (or Zooming, etc.) them. Research shows that seeing your partner can deepen the sense of connectedness in that moment and throughout the relationship. Looking into each other’s eyes and seeing your partner’s face as they smile and talk can make you feel closer to them. Recognize that this type of communication will be less frequent than texting and most likely require some planning ahead of time. Alternating between texting, calling, and video chatting can be beneficial to your relationship. Remember that you are not obligated to constantly communicate with your partner.
4. Don’t Idealize or Villainize Your Partner
When we’re happy in our relationships, we tend to think of our partners as better than they actually are. Despite the separation between you two, the idealization of your partner can be beneficial to keeping the relationship together. However, it also makes reuniting with your partner more difficult and possibly disappointing. Remember that people change, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. Both of you have been apart from each other for some time, and are bound to change. Whether it be in regards to appearance or personality, do not expect the perfect image of your partner to walk through your door.
Likewise, don’t be too hard on your partner. Since you two are living apart and do not know each other’s daily lives, it can be easy to make assumptions about what they are doing and who they are hanging out with. Confronting your partner about these assumptions could come off as jealous or possessive and potentially pose a threat to the relationship. You both are a part of each other’s lives, but at the same time, you have lives outside of the relationship. Your partner cannot devote all of their time to you. They might be busy and can’t return a call or text. Don’t assume that they have lost interest in the relationship; communicate what you are feeling and go into it with a positive attitude.
5. Make Time Out of Your Schedules to Visit Each Other
Shared activities are important in maintaining a relationship. It allows for self-expansion and the introduction of novelty into the relationship. Being in a long distance relationship makes it harder for those shared activities to occur.
It is important to have something to look forward to in the relationship. The long distance between you and your partner should not be or feel permanent. Take time out of your schedules to visit each other. This reunion should be fun and introduce you to a part of your partner’s world that you have been missing out on.
Don’t spend all of your time hanging out at their place. Make the most out your trip. Go out and become integrated into their social networks. Getting to know your partner’s friends and enjoying their favorite activities with them will get you more acquainted with their life. It also allows you to participate in future conversations with your partner when you are apart This is because you have created new memories together and have familiarity with important people in their life.
Long distance relationships might be hard, but with the right person, they can also be rewarding. Making the decision to commit to a long distance relationship already shows that you both believe that the love between you two could conquer the distance. Be sure to put time into the relationship and exercise effective communication. Remember, it takes two to maintain a relationship.
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