Any relationship is tough, but the long-distance relationship might win out with stress-intensity. Don’t stress. Just a few tricks separate you from success.
Relationships are tough enough as it is. Although long-distance relationships can be exciting and adventurous at times, distance can also cause additional stress on one or both partners.
Many people will tell you that they think ‘communication‘ is the most important part of a relationship and, while this can be true, distance can cause the ability to effectively communicate quite difficult.
You finally met that special someone. Whether you met on vacation or studying abroad, or one of you had to move for a number of reasons, you‘ve decided that this person is worth going the distance. Literally. You live in two different places and want to make your relationship work. Where to start?
The following are some tips on how to make long-distance relationships work:
1. Establish an understanding of expectations.
You may have different reasons for why you live in different places, and that‘s OK. It‘s important, however, to communicate with one another what you expect from the relationship. Do you want an exclusive relationship or an open relationship? Do you want to talk everyday? Do you want to share visits and how often should you visit? Talking through what you want out of your long-distance relationship is super important to making sure you are on the same page and will help you avoid conflict based on misunderstood or miscommunicated expectations.
2. Set a rough schedule for when and how you will talk.
Some of the long-distance couples that I‘ve worked with have faced issues when apart because of communication timing: one person is trying to get a hold of the other and gets frustrated when he or she isn‘t readily available. Talk about what kind of talk/skype/Facetime routine feels good to you both. Check in weekly about your respective schedules and when you can or can‘t talk. Texting is great, but it‘s important to be able to respect that your significant other may not be able to respond right away. Along those lines, if your partner is trying to get a hold of you and you can‘t talk right then, shoot them a quick text, email or phone call that acknowledges them but gives them a head‘s up that you‘re busy. Then just set at time that you are both free to talk.
3. What are your love languages?
This is important for any couple, but especially when you are long distance. Talk to each other about how you feel special, loved and cared for by your partner. When you are in a long-distance relationship, you may have to be creative or work a little harder to show each other that you care. If physical intimacy is something that makes you feel loved or how you like to show love, talk about some other ways that might help you feel connected while you are apart. Write each other notes, send flowers, meals or care packages and take time to show interest in one another.
4. Listen and be heard!
It can be easy to feel disconnected when you are apart. Because you have your own lives going on in different zip codes, it may be easy to get caught up in your world and not included in your partner‘s. When you talk with one another, listen! Ask questions, listen, engage and validate. The more you work on being involved in what‘s important in the day-to-day life of your partner, the more connected you will feel.
Long-distance relationships aren‘t for everyone, but they can be passionate, successful and thriving. Following some of the tips above can help you enjoy one another even with miles and miles between you.
[image: via Dvortygirl on flickr]