There was a time when long distant relationships always carried a stigma for not working. However, now in modern society where technology has brought us closer together, long distant relationships have the same if not a better chance of survival as any other relationship form. Being a counsellor/psychotherapist and having been in a long distant relationship, I have first hand experience of the emotional roller coaster a long distant relationship can put on you. However unbeknown to many people it can also have many benefits. For example, when finally seeing your lover, the anticipation can be so intense that the passion can be extremely fiery.
Would I prefer a long distance relationship now? In my mid thirties with kids, my answer would probably be a no, although in a fierce argument, this coud quite easily become a yes. I would argue that it is in your youth where you would probably benefit the most out of a long distant relationship. You would get to live the best of both worlds. Living your life completely independently, exploring the world and having adventures, all the while knowing that someone is there who is waiting for you. So having been in the experience, what tips can I give you keep your relationships alive?
1) Don’t take things personally
Both of you will be living your separate lives in your own cities and changes in plans will be evitable. Work, family or illnesses can get in the way and depending on where about you are in the world, time differences can also play a big part. It is therefore healthier for both parties to remain understanding, open and flexible that changes may take place and not to see it as a power struggle. “Taking it with a pinch of salt” really plays an important factor really.
Trust is something that is important is any relationship and without it a relationship will not be able to last. However in long distant relationships this is even more important as you can not see what the other person is getting up to every second of the day. If there is no trust and you start to securitize everything and constantly question your partner, it will only cause an argument making you feel alone, frustrated and hurt.
3) Focus on you
Yes, you are in a relationship and yes, you have your partner but the best thing about being in a long distant relationship is that you can have the best of both worlds. This is the only relationship where you can give yourself complete focus, you can go out with your friends, family or even take up a hobby without worrying how it will affect your partner. By keeping yourself busy you are not only meeting new people but preparing yourself for times when loneliness does hit and preparing stories to tell your partner when you speak, therefore improving your relationship
4) Get Creative
Set a certain time everyday to connect with each other where you can talk about your day and what’s happened. Try to update your partner on your life and its happening, however mundane it may sound to you. Send each other pictures, audio clips and short videos you keep you both interested and amused. If you fancy a change from using the phone, you have apps that allow face time such as skype or take a step back and start sending each other love letters, that way you can say what you feel when you like without overdoing it.
5) Roll the gifts
Just because you and your partner don’t meet each other every day doesn’t mean you can’t mail a gift, send a love song, order a lunch box or have flowers delivered. With company such as Boomf, Moon Pig and other online stores you can always show your loved one you care by occasionally surprising them. The little extra effort that you put in showing your love will be enough to out a spark back in your relationship.
6) Exchange personal belongings
Why not give each other some of your precious belongings with your own personal smells. Yes, you heard that right, with your smells. There is a lot of research in smells being linked to memory. By giving your loved one a piece of your clothing every so often can be soothing whenever they miss you. I know a couple who used to mail each other their t-shirts once a fortnight so they would be able to maintain the closeness without actually physically being present.
7) Apps Galore
There are many apps available in the modern world that can allow you to have a shared experience where you can play a game or watch a movie together. By sharing these experiences together it reduces the distance that you have between you and gives you an opportunity to spend time together sharing something you both enjoy.
8) Surprise Trips
Plan a trip to go and see your loved one when they are not expecting you. This will show them that they are always on your mind and will help them become more understanding and flexible as they will see that you are putting them first. However when you go and see, don’t just turn it in to a night of passion, instead pamper and spoil them and show them that its not about sex but it’s about you wanting to spend time with them.
Always have a goal as to how long you both will be apart. Draw up a timeline, mark down the estimated time apart and draw an end goal. The goal can be short term or long term, but it is important that by setting the goals both parties are on the same page and with that in mind, you both have the same thing to work towards and to look forward to.
10) Stay Positive
As hard as it may be, you have to be positive. People will always have an opinion and sometimes it will not always be a helpful one. You will need to constantly need to inject positive energy into your long term relationship as this is what will give you the drive and focus to continue the relationship forwards.
Sex in a long distant relationship can be frustrating but there are many ways that you can deal with this. Nowadays there are many apps that offer video calling and that offer free calls enabling you to relieve your sexual frustrations. You can experiment with your partner using various methods such as phone sex using role play, sexting or even video chats. Both of you will have to be open and be willing to experiment to new and interesting ideas.
So in conclusion for those that want long distant relationships to work, there are many things out there that can help and enable you for it to work, but unfortunately our emotions have not quite developed and it will take time, patience and effort. You have understand that it will be hard at times, lonely and upsetting for the majority but when you and your partner come together, it will all be worth it in the end and it will be a great story to tell the grandchildren