Many people are into long distance relationships. While some actually have the best time of their lives in this kind of relationship, others find out that they tend to struggle through it. Relationships generally are hard work but being in a long distance relationship can tend to be harder because of the ‘distance’ factor.
Being in a long distance relationship, one thing must always be constant, and that is communication. More importantly, the factor of trust must also be included. If these two factors aren’t present, you would only find out that all you are doing is meeting someone during vacations for sex, fun and nothing else.
The worst part is you could eventually keep deceiving yourself about the fact that you are in love with the person but as they say, what is love without trust? What are the things you must do in order to maintain the love and respect in your relationship most especially the one where the distance factor is a huge problem? How do you get to bridge that gap? Here are five proven ways in which this can be achieved, and they include:
1. Have a common goal
One of the essential things in a relationship is setting out ambitions and goals especially where the relationship is concerned. You both must have a set expectation(s) concerning your relationship.
This is irrespective of whether you are both on the same time zone or on different time zones. It is usually best to set out realistic goals in your relationship as it will keep you both hopeful and looking forward to it. This could be regarding where the relationship is headed, the time for visits, how communication should be like and so on.
Ensure that you never break plans or go about promising what you cant do. Never make decisions when you are not sure of achieving them. Once you take those steps, you must ensure that you see it through.
In as much as it is not always cool to break plans, there are times when these incidents can’t be avoided, and in such instances, you must be able to be flexible. Give each other room to change plans and be flexible about it but don’t let it become a habit. You both must understand that there is a reason why plans are made.
According to relationship expert and sex therapist Dr Kelifern Pomeranz, each couple who are in a long distance relationship have their own typical and unique wants, needs and expectations.
Usually, time is what works best to help the couple figure out what they need. Communications must be kept constant, and it needs to be on point when expectations are involved. It must also include what happens if one partner in the relationship can’t make it for the scheduled visit due to an unforeseen circumstance.
Also, one important topic that must be discussed is how issues must be resolved once they come up because whether we all like it or not, there are issues that will undoubtedly arise between the two parties.
Before embarking on a long distance relationship, you must ask questions like how often would we chat so that it doesn’t clash with your schedule as well how long the chats will last. How frequent will visits occur and for how long, once there is a misunderstanding, are there set down rules that include not hanging up the call or not replying both calls and messages? These and many more are the things you both should discuss before deciding on entering the relationship.
2. Time your schedules
This is one challenge most partners in a long distance relationship face. There is always a clash of timing, and this usually causes unnecessary conflicts among couples. Couples who are engaged in a long distance relationship must make efforts to align their schedules wholly and accurately.
If this is not done, your partner may begin to feel like he or she isn’t your priority and this starts to lead to feelings of trust and doubt. To avoid this altogether, let your partner know your schedules. After identifying each other’s programs, avoid calling each other in between tasks, appointments or meetings. This is disrespectful to him or her.
Don’t be selfish as to call your partner insisting he or she must talk to you especially after having a long day at work. You must ensure that the both of you get on the same page about when to call or video chat and when not to.
According to Dr Rachel Needle who is a sex psychologist, she says that coordinating schedule will help you both have an undistorted communication that works for you both at a convenient time of the day. And we totally recommend that you should try it too.
According to Dr needle, she also understands what having to be in a long distance relationship means as she has been in one herself for the past three years. She recommends that you get into a rhythm of communicating with your partner at a time that is comfortable for both of you.
You can always try to ensure that to a considerable extent, your communication is meaningful, and at other times, you both can have fun, check-ins, gossips and other random stuff you do with your partner generally. This will help both of you grow closer despite the distance as well as foster a bond.
3. Try video chatting with your partner
Gone were those days where technology wasn’t available, and all you had to do was send letters back and forth. Now technology has made things a tad easier for couples in a long distance relationship.
One of the massive benefits that technology has brought us the opportunity to actually see the faces of your partner even though he or she isn’t there with you physically just yet.
With more ways to communicate than ever, your partner might live countries away from you, but you could feel their presence in the same room as you. One of the most effective ways to build intimacy in a relationship is through video chats.
Although we have been able to establish that technology has helped us bridge a gap, however, it can become a problem if one partner misuses it. Ensure that you don’t stalk your partner or his or her friends on social media.
Try to stop creating stories in your head or crazy thoughts about how your partner may have met this person especially if the friend is a new one and more so the opposite sex. You already have an opportunity to be with your partner facially, so don’t blow it.
Dr Tom Murray, a psychologist and a certified sex therapist, says “I recommend using video chats for couples in a long distance relationship. You can as well try to order the same meal in a chain restaurant and eat it together via face-time. This allows you both to have a shared experience, an extra memory created and an extra bond formed between you two”.
This is another way you two can get closer, and it also becomes more comfortable when having to settle a dispute that you both have when you do it via video chat. But I must warn you, and you can only use this effectively to resolve conflicts when you both are already settled down and level headed.
Avoid trying this when you are still angry as it could lead to more words and it can be painful. When maintaining a sexual relationship, if you are into it as well as your partner, you both can decide to discuss sex over the phone or better still video chat.
Dr Murray recommends partners who are in a sexual relationship to even encourage each other to be open and free with each other as that will help foster their bond and also help them feel a little better.
4. Maintain your individual lives and identity
As much as love is needed in a relationship, trust is required much more. Having to continually wonder and worry about what your partner is doing, who he or she sees at that moment, where he or she is at that point in time can become obsessive if left unchecked.
This can happen when there is little or no communication between partners for a period of time which could be because of the nature of your partner’s environment, circumstances or job. If you become obsessed with these thoughts, you will find yourself losing trust in your partner, and at the end of the day, that could ruin your relationship with him or her.
Avoid stalking your partner or excessively following your partners every move. It is obsessive, creepy and a little controlling of you would be honest with yourself. Trust your partner. There is a reason why He or she chose you, and you should be content with that.
Except if you have a concrete reason not to trust your partner, you shouldn’t be seen stalking him or her. Whoever you have any doubt in your heart, it is better to face it head on and discuss it with him or her than allowing these seeds of doubts to germinate and cause a bigger problem for you both.
Try to maintain your own life. Have your friends, do what you please and have the fun of your life. Stop worrying or obsessing. It isn’t good for you. According to Dr Pomeranz, “A common problem and mistake most couples deal with in a long distance relationship are over communication. I call it a couple enmeshing. These kinds of couple spend all day talking and all night communicating or video chatting”.
“This causes the individual to isolate themselves from their friends, and after doing this for a period, they end up feeling insecure and jealous most especially if their partner schedule all of a sudden becomes busier.
They will end up feeling cheated because they have abandoned their lives unknowingly and attached their lives to their partner’s. Hence the feeling of being abandoned.”
5. Include your partner in your own life but don’t do it excessively
If you already have a fulfilled life outside your relationship. That is awesome, and we say way to go. However, one mistake you shouldn’t be found making is ditching your partner for your life when he or she comes visiting. It is rude, unfair and utterly insensitive if you do that.
Instead whenever your partner comes to visit, ensure that you include him or her in your life. Except if he or she decided to stay indoors, take them out with your friends. Let him, or she feel welcomed and loved in your environment.
Ensure you don’t keep your partner out of your world. Don’t lock he or she out and don’t hold your worlds separate. Doing this can cause a lot of suspicion, lack of trust, jealousy and couple conflicts.
You must remember that the best way to build trust and intimacy is to let your partner genuinely know all sides of you. This is the same thing you should do if you were both living in the same place which you both should be planning on anyways. So don’t try to hide an aspect of you from your partner. Let it out. You can’t pretend forever, you know.
Make time for your partner. Try to introduce your partner to all of your friends. One effective way is to call a house party or a get together of your friends with the permission of your partner of course and introduce him or her to everyone meaningful to you. Make them feel included and involved.
Dr Needle says “Building a life and a strong system asides your relationship is very helpful for the stability of your relationship. However, never separate your partner from your other life. As much as possible, include them into your lifestyle whenever they are in town, or they come visiting.”
In conclusion, just like any relationship, long distance relationships thrive on lots of trust, communication and if you are into it, phone sex. Don’t underestimate them and don’t overdo them. You both would come out fine in the end or what do you think?