Thanks to technology, the world is smaller than it has ever been before.
Loving from afar was far more difficult before the existence of long distance phone plans, instant messaging, video conferencing and email. Not to say long distance relationships are easier today, but they are increasingly more popular and the chances of sustainability are greater. With the con’s outweighing the pros, this is not an ideal situation for any couple. The following suggestions will help close the gap between you and your partner during the time you are apart. These tips have been offered by several couples who are at different stages of their long distance relationships; some of these couples are in the beginning phases and trying to make it work, while some have successfully made it work and are now living in the same city. Then there are a few that failed, either due to the challenges caused by distance or once making the move to live in the same city.
Before you decide to enter and endure a long distance relationship: You and your partner should be aware of the challenges and be willing to commit to making it work (or at least trying to make it work).
It is very important to discuss and decide on a permanent end date to your physical distance – whether that means you, your partner or both of you will move to live in reasonably closer proximity.
Discuss and agree on expectations you have for one another, this should include exclusiveness, frequency of phone calls and emails, instant chat and so forth. Commit to your scheduled talk/email/message times and be consistent. At times even the smallest inconsistency can be monumental to the person on the receiving end.
Ensure you opt for a long distance (text messaging and voice) plan with your phone company to ensure there are no additional barriers for various forms of communication.
During the time you are apart from one another: Communicate as often as possible, as many ways as possible and about as much as possible. Communication is what this type of relationship (especially) primarily relies upon.
Talk on the phone or video conference, i.e. Skype, Facetime. Asking questions, sharing your daily experiences and involving your partner in decision-making will help establish a strong foundation which can stand the test of time and distance. All important conversations or arguments should take place over the phone or video-conference and should be resolved and concluded before ending the conversation – physical distance combined with emotional distance is a recipe for disaster. Talk openly about insecurities and find ways to overcome them by making extra efforts to make one another feel secure.
Keep video-conference live while you both do your own thing like working, studying, cooking – it will give you a sense of closeness and being together.
Play games, shop online, watch movies and TV shows together by sharing screens or by watching them in sync while you both are on the phone commenting, giggling, sharing reactions, etc.
Be creative. Send love letters, post cards, flowers, gifts, video messages, voice notes, photographs. Keep it exciting with the element of surprise and anticipation!
After the move, once you are finally together: People in long distance relationships often believe if they can survive the distance, they can survive anything. On the contrary, people in long distance relationships tend to have a much more idealized and romanticized view of their partner than people living in the same location, thus making it easier to maintain the relationship when apart than when living in the same city.
Initially, you may miss missing your partner, you may feel taken for granted if/when you notice less effort is being made by your partner to be on his/her best behavior and/or look his/her best. Know that the dynamic won’t be the same as before, so allow the relationship to evolve, as it should. It will take time to adjust. Be flexible and be patient.
You may realize you don’t know one another as well as you thought, you may not even like each other as much, or perhaps you aren’t really compatible. Imperfections are forgotten or forgiven when time is limited. People tend to avoid fights or bringing up potential areas of conflict as they don’t want to spoil their time together, or when apart they just didn’t want to get into it over the phone.
You no longer have the same amount of time and freedom as before. People fantasize about how wonderful it will be when they are together. People don’t think about having to readjust their lives, their schedules, or their living spaces. You may have to change your work schedule, coordinate with your partner more, or spend time with each other’s friends and families. You may not have the same amount of time alone as you did, or in some cases your partner may still want alone time.
Long distance relationships can work and the majority of the couples who offered these aforementioned suggestions are living proof of the kind of happy and successful relationships a couple can have while apart and then when finally coming together. As long as you have a plan to live in the same city at some point (sooner better than later), commit to making an extra effort to making it work and are able to adjust to the transition of living in the same city, then you may just realize that it really doesn’t take absence to make the heart grow fonder after all.