All relationships are hard work, long-distance relationships sometimes even more so. If anyone tells you otherwise, they do not know what they are talking about. Long-distance relationships have all the pitfalls of a normal relationship with additional hurdles to leap over every step of the way.
Whether a long-distance relationship starts out long distance or if it transitioned from an in-person relationship to an LDR, the genetic makeup stays the same, the five steps needed to keep the relationship healthy stay the same.
Talking is essential.
A relationship is not a relationship without talking. Now, you do not necessarily have to talk every day. It depends on the individuals involved. For some, constant contact can make long-distance relationships even harder. For others, it is absolutely necessary and without it they feel abandoned. Luckily, in this digital age, there are any number of means, creative and commonplace, to keep in touch. Skype is the modern favorite, but for those feeling old, school nothing can beat a telephone conversation. Emails may seem impersonal, but they are an easy way to send out love letters without the snail mail wait. Texts are a great way to have micro-conversations. Smartphone apps are a creative way to keep in touch, such as Words With Friends and Draw Something. For those in long-distance relationships, this is nothing new. What you need to do is find out what types of talking work best for you and your partner.
There is talking and then there is communicating.
Communication is an issue in regular relationships. In LDRs, it’s even harder. The nature of a long-distance relationship can often devolve into pleasantries, especially in those infrequent visits. Because you see each other so infrequently, you don’t want to spoil your time together with fights and disagreements. This is a surefire way to kill a LDR. If you have issues, talk them out. Sure, it can make a weekend together less fun, but long-distance relationships are about surviving. Also, you will grow closer with every issue resolved despite how geographically distant you are.
Long-distance relationships can seem artificial. As the length of the LDR grows, you may sometimes feel like you are not in a real relationship. You are. You just have to be reminded of it. Romantic gestures are a great way to do this. Buy flowers from a florist that does deliveries in your significant other’s part of the world. Or even better, get creative – send an edible arrangement or something he or she has an interest in like video games or water guns. Not only will these gestures make your partner feel more attached, they will help you remember that your relationship is a real one.
Do your own thing.
Constantly obsessing over your long distance relationship is like killing it with a thousand blows. You cannot think about it every waking second. If you do, you will grow dissatisfied and then resentful. Instead, find things you enjoy doing on your own. Pick up a hobby or focus on your work. Not only are these sort of things distractions from obsessing over your LDR, they can also be productive and good for your overall mental health.
Have an end date.
All long-distance relationships must come to an end. That does not mean you have to break up, but it does mean you have to get geographically near one another at some point. Whether you went to different universities or had to move apart for work, you need a plan to move together. Set a date to aim for where you will move near each other again no matter what. If that date passes and there is no progress towards moving closer, well, perhaps the relationship is a dead end. If you started the relationship long-distance, discuss with your significant other when a date to meet up will be.
Every long-distance relationship needs an end date. Without it, the sense of progress that all relationships have will eventually hit a wall. When that happens, your relationship will be doomed if something does not change.
Keep these five things in mind, and you may make it out of your LDR with just a plain, old, wonderful R.
About the Author
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Jacob Gross is a writer or words and code. He recently got out of a long distance relationship himself, and this advice stems from what he did right and wrong in that relationship. He recently worked on the website design for www.charterthatyacht.com and he thinks it came out great. He does not advise to code and be in relationship at the same time; the two tend to compete for affection.