Congratulations, you’ve met the love of your life. You couldn’t be happier. Well, you could be a lot happier if you could get together. The trouble is you live on opposite sides of the continent, or even in different countries.
Image source: chiarashine on Flickr
Definitely, your primary concern in this situation would be how to make a long distance relationship work.
Increasing numbers of people are meeting their future long-term partners on the internet, either via dating sites or social media. On the one hand, this is an advantage as single people can participate in a much wider pool of potential mates. On the other hand, it does mean that more relationships have to be conducted long-distance until the partners can establish a permanent close arrangement.
We’re going to have a look at potential long-distance relationship obstacles – and how to minimize them.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Relationship
One of the biggest problems to deal with is the long, dry desert of time in between your meetings. You’re living life in a sort of relationship limbo. You go out and see all the happy couples, arms entwined, gazing at each other with total absorption. And there you are, in a relationship, but not. It’s tough putting on a brave smile and continually explaining to people that it’s "just temporary".
Image source: Antoine K on Flickr
You need a strategy to enable you to get through the days or even weeks when you can’t see each other. A simple routine will help break up the days. Send a cheerful early morning greeting and loving good night every single day. Arrange to have at least one phone call at approximately the same time each day. Spend time in shared online activities – games, Facebook, watching the same videos or simply Skyping. When you have these together sessions to look forward to, the day doesn’t seem so long.
Beware of overkill – you need to have an independent life away from your laptop or smartphone. Constant connectivity to your love can become tedious after a while.
Don’t give up your social life. It’s too easy to jettison nights out with your friends to be with your online love. You still need friends outside of the relationship, so make time for them too.
Stay within your self-imposed boundaries. It would be silly to put yourself in situations where you are tempted to find comfort in the arms of another. So avoid clubs and places where you could find yourself near a tempting dalliance. You’ll never forgive yourself if you have a drunken fling. That brings us to…
Trusting Each Other in a Long-Distance Relationship
This is a biggie. When your love mentions, “Fiona in the office,” it’s hard not to feel a twinge of jealousy. After all, she’s there and you aren’t. She gets to gaze upon your adored one whenever she likes. Of course, it works both ways too; your partner will be feeling the same discomfort when you mention your brother’s best friend is popping over to unblock the kitchen sink.
Image source: BK on Flickr
Look upon this as a good way to develop trust. If the feelings are extreme, then this relationship will always suffer with trust and jealousy issues whether you are apart or together. Just remember, you are the one he’s phoning three times a day. It’s you he’s saying goodnight to, and you are the one he’s flying thousands of miles to see on a regular basis. If the relationship can survive all that, then it can also survive “Fiona in the office.”
Sharing Too Much Information
By all means, get sexy online or on the phone; however, please do be careful about sending intimate photos. Be realistic; the relationship might not last, and you don't want photos like that "out there", do you?
Image source: Tom Kershaw on Flickr
Long-Distance Emotional Reality
This is something you might not have considered at the start. There will be times when you wonder if you can keep going. When you have had a bad day, a game of online Scrabble is not the same as getting a great big hug from your love. It’s difficult not to feel a bit sorry for yourself. You can mitigate some of the emotional roller-coasters by sharing your feelings with your partner. Be honest about how difficult this is for you. Keep in mind, though, that he might have had a bad day too, and dealing with your pain might be too much, so try to stay positive.
Image source: Phuket@photographer.net on Flickr
Your bestie can help. If you have a close friend, then ask him or her for support. Your sister or even your mother can prop you up emotionally if needed. A big hug and a cup of hot chocolate will often help put things in perspective.
The Tangled Wires of Long-Distance Communication
It’s oh-so-easy to get yourselves in a twist when communicating long-distance. Occasionally, an email or a text message can mean something else to the recipient than you intended. It’s easy to read the wrong thing into words on a screen because you are unable to hear the intonation and see the expression of the other person. So when you get that sinking feeling when reading an ambiguous message, don’t go on the offensive. Wait for your love to clarify what she or he meant.
Image source: Wade Morgen on Flickr
Similarly, when sending messages, make sure you use emoticons or choose your words carefully. What you meant as ironic humor can be taken literally by your love.
Advantages of a Long-Distance Romance
There are positives to starting off a relationship long-distance:
Image source: Jason Burrows on Flickr
- You get to know each other’s minds intimately.
- You can work the bugs out before you commit to a live-in and costly (emotionally and financially) arrangement.
- You discover each other’s emotional strengths and weaknesses.
- Your relationship will be based on love, not lust.
- Trust is unlikely to be an issue when you are together permanently.
- You value your time together.
- Good communication will always be one of your strengths as a couple.
If you are one of the growing band of long-distance couples waiting for the opportunity to get together, know this: If you can survive these early trials of separation, you have a good chance of making your love last a lifetime.