For people in long-distance relationships, it often does not make much of a difference if the partners live a few hours, or a few days’ distance, away from each other. Maintaining and supporting a loving, trusting relationship, compounded with the fact that the partners do not spend their daily lives together, can be overwhelming at times, and wrought with challenges and setbacks. Yet long-distance relationships can still facilitate valuable opportunities for partners to experience growth, maturity and bonding together. Here are a few tips for making your relationship special and meaningful through the tough separation periods:
Tips On Long-Distance Relationships
1. Practice being respectful, honest and trusting with your partner and with yourself. Since you aren’t interacting and experiencing in each other’s daily lives on a regular basis, you may be thinking thoughts that aren’t always clearly communicated or directly put out in the open for discussion and reflection. As in any relationship but especially for long-distance, listening in a caring manner and honesty is a crucial component for facilitating trust with your partner. The more you voluntarily offer information and communicate empathy and what you’re feeling and reflecting about the relationship, the more your partner will feel secure and prompted to open up as well.
2. Frequent communication is an important element of long-distance relationships. Every relationship is different, but the advantage of talking or checking in with your partner at least once each day can provide a stabilizing force to a relationship that often may be unpredictable due to different schedules, responsibilities, or time-zones. Even if only for a few minutes, a simple phone call enables you hear your partner’s voice and share details or updates about each other’s lives. Also, checking in with each other allows you to always have something special to look forward to in the course of your day, and to plan and discuss your next reunion!
3. Bonding and nurturing emotional intimacy questions means being there for each other: “What was the most exciting/annoying part of your day?” “Tell me a story/memory about when you were (a certain age).” “Do you have any concerns or worries about our relationship?” “How are you feeling about us now?”
4. Making use of different technology is one of the bonus features of long-distance relationships. Couples are not limited to phone calls (though cell phones and “free night and weekends” plans do make talking on the phone for hours much cheaper and more convenient). To add an element of surprise and spice to your long-distance relationship, make the effort to send your partner a short email or text message expressing your feelings or just a sweet and simple “I love you”. The Internet also provides dozens of free “e-greeting cards” with which you can communicate almost any emotion to your partner in a cute animated and musical card or with old-fashioned phrases. Writing letters via “snail-mail” can be romantic and also a keepsake memento for those times you’re both feeling lonely or missing each other, or a surprise for a special occasion.
5. In a long-distance relationship, it’s often easy to misinterpret, misunderstand, or discount your partner’s feelings, words or actions on account of the difficulty of communication, clarity of intent or effort as contrasted with that of regular dating relationships. It’s essential to maintain a sense of humor with your partner, sharing in blunders of miscommunication and being able to laugh at your situation together. Knowing, understanding and accepting your partner is a long-term process and healthy relationships require respect for differences and awareness of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and positive and negative qualities.
6. Maintaining good personal boundaries and limits around other friendships and talking about realistic expectations creates greater comfort and a sense of security and doesn’t lead to mixed messages or signals. Keep in mind to end your conversations with appreciations, hopes and desires for the present and near future! This helps strengthen your coping abilities with the situation.