Never has there been a relationship that didn’t have a life of its own and require work and dedication to keep it fresh and alive. On the scale of 1 – 10, it is the long distance relationships that require the greatest effort (10). Just a few miles between couples can make things difficult. Hundreds of miles make it even more complicated and touchy. That being said, a long distance relationship isn’t impossible to work out in this time of smart phones and Internet. Here are some things to consider as you move forward with your long distance romance.
1) Communicate consistently and effectively
No one said it would be easy, long distance romances force you to communicate a great deal to make up for the distance. You will likely spend almost twice as much time talking and chatting on line. A great deal of your energy and time will be spent on your partner because you will feel that you need to communicate to keep things going. You are going to get tired. Things will then start to look less hopeful if you aren’t careful. You are going to have to tighten up. Be alert for the right moments; how and when you say things can matter more than how often you speak. Work with your partner to develop a healthy pattern of conversations. Removing the pressure of ‘when’ and ‘how’ to talk will be a great pressure release! Do you know their schedule? Have you asked about the best time to communicate (your phone date)? Try comparing various aspects of your lives side by side and see what you see. And when you can manage it, avoid excessive communication because, quite counter intuitively, it can be bad for the two of you.
2) You have emotions; be open
Do all that you can to be transparent with your emotions. It’s so important to be open about your emotions in a long distance relationship because you have so few of the physical cues to depend on. Feeling weak, talk about it, feeling insecure, talk about it…talk about your strengths, your experiences your joys and disappointments. Yes, you will find it easier to hide your true feelings at a distance, but is that why you are really there? Secrets are fertilizer for disasters. Distance makes everything larger: tension, jealousy, fear, envy, and insecurity are all fed by secrecy. Be honest and transparent about everything—force yourself!
3) Sweet nothings
Everyone loves a gift. It says ‘you’re on my mind” like few other things. They do a magical job of strengthening any relationship and they are like a tonic to long distance ones. If nothing else, it makes you think fondly of the person for whom you are purchasing the gift. Flowers, cards, or anything else your partner would think thoughtful are things that help carry your feelings from where you live to where they live. Remember that having something real in your hand strengthens the relationship.
4) Risqué is no risk at all
Regular physical intimacy can be really difficult in a long distance relationship. Talking, at times, is all that you have together. When you are talking about so many different things, don’t forget to include sex as one of your topics… and make it risqué if you want. Sexual longing is part of what keeps relationships going and actually strengthens trust between couples. Try and let your partner’s imagination run wild with innuendo and suggestive comments. Feel free to use your video chat if you are really feeling open and out there! Face it, turning your guy on, or girl for that matter, from time to time is critically important to keeping things alive until you see each other again. Don’t worry if your pastor wouldn’t say it, you go on ahead.
5) Be creative, surprise your partner, and don’t forget to ask questions
I know you love him, and he loves you, but dull conversations, long distance, suggest to some that the passion is fading. (Not good) If you want to avoid that, talk about the deep things that help you understand each other more completely. Listen, ask good questions, and remember that sometimes things just get boring and that is normal. Don’t blame your partner and don’t let it continue until one of the other of you starts to question the relationship…. Discover what they like, get creative and surprise them from time to time. Look up a good topic; write a poem, if that is your thing. You can even sing to them if you have the nerve! Just make them feel special and you will too
6) Together is always better
Doing things together like the movies or dinner might not be possible tonight, or even this month, but there are plenty of things you can do together on line. Watching the same movie at the same time is only one simple thing. (Be sure and discuss it afterwards for this one to feel right). If you are into video gaming, you can play a game together. Pick a date night and video chat to your heart’s content. It can really help to keep a relationship going!
7) Don’t forget those letters and long emails
That precious time to think and express yourself can be found in letters and emails. In years past, some of the most romantic feelings ever expressed were offered via letters. It takes things to a level not possible on the phone. The joy of a letter from your lover, or an email on your computer is much more exciting than a text. If the issue is touchy, write it. Besides, emails and letters can be enjoyed in the future…they will make great reads for your kids.
8) Manage your expectations
I know that there are times when things work out and you get so excited you can hardly stand it. Those expectations realized are simply the best! But there are also times when the ‘green eyed monster’ (jealousy) can get the best of you too. The ups (which are fabulous) come with downs as well and its easy to magnify the downs so that they you’re your life. Take care of them and don’t let them fester. When you consider using your old tricks like ‘silent treatment’ you hurt only yourself and make the relationship that much harder to manage and keep going. The best thing is to always talk to each other, not necessarily to find a resolution, but to simply share feelings and know that there is another human out there who cares for you. Together you can manage your shared emotions and expectations and that pays off big time!
9) Remember your friends and family
It is easy to focus inward, living in your mind when you spend so much time without someone you care for. Remember that lonelier times can be moderated and made easier to cope with, by being around family and friends. A long distance relationship can take its toll on the lovers, and it’s easy to forget that there is more to life than your think. Get involved in activities you have always enjoyed and don’t cut yourself off. The big thing is to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy so that you have the energy to keep your relationship healthy too.
10) Visit, visit, visit & visit again and again
Go see them! See them as often as the two of you can manage. Nothing equals the joy of meeting in person, even if only for a couple of hours. Not gift, letter, or words spoken in passion over the phone equal a simple hug. Meet soon and often. If your relationship is still limited to talking and interacting on line, take the chance and meet. Nothing else will do to show you if that on-line chemistry survives the test of the first meeting.
It may seem like the distance will make the relationship less rewarding. Yet, being aware of some simple things and incorporating them into your life will let things be just as fun and pleasing as you hope. My list is by no means exhaustive, so I hope you will feel free to add more, limited only by your imagination and budget.
SEE A LIFE COACH IN BATON ROUGE
Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative. You can see Frank’s other website, www.frankhopkinlifecoach.com on line as well.