Those who are in a long distance relationship have already decided to take the road less traveled. But that doesn’t mean it won’t get stressful along the way. No relationship can avoid stress, but long distance couples may face uniquely stressful situations. Here are some you may come across in your LDR.
Anyone in a long distance relationship knows that a lull in the conversation will happen. You’ve asked every getting-to-know-you question you’ve found online. You may try to compile a list of things during the day to talk about that night on the phone, but either it only takes up five minutes, or you forgot the list by the time you got home from work or school.
When you live your lives apart it’s sometimes hard to keep the conversation going, and this can cause stress. Solution? Breathe and give yourselves a break. No one expects you to be the most interesting person (or the most interested person) in the world. Take a night or two off from talking. You won’t perish, I promise. Acknowledge that sometimes there’s just nothing to say and be okay with it. More than likely, a situation at school, work, or family will come up the next day and give you plenty to discuss.
For a long distance couple, nothing can be more acutely stressful than not being able to communicate with your significant other. Whether it’s planned or unplanned, it may become a heightened state of anxiety for you. Here’s how to avoid a Communication Breakdown breakdown: If you know that communication will be limited or unavailable for a period of time (overseas trip, final exams, etc.), talk about it and plan for it.
Discuss your worries and make a plan for what to do during that time, both as a couple, and individually. Schedule hangout time with friends, start that big project you’ve been putting off, do the movie marathon. If the communication breakdown is unplanned due to lack of connectivity or an emergency, don’t automatically assume the worst.
On the other hand, don’t get angry. If it’s unusual for your partner to go MIA, their absence is probably not under their control and they’re not deliberately trying to upset you. Stay calm, wait it out, and if it gets to be longer than you’re comfortable with, try to reach them through other communication outlets, or contact a family member or friend. In the end, it was probably just bad cell phone service on their weekend trip to Grandma’s house and everything was fine all along.
For a long distance couple, this is probably the biggest form of stress. Sometimes it feels like the relationship is 10% together and 90% waiting. And it’s not just the waiting to see each other again. To allude to the previous section, the waiting may be for a return text or call. Waiting to find out work or exam schedules so you can plan your next visit. Waiting for the day you can close the gap.
Waiting causes stress because humans simply do not like waiting; we are impatient. How do you lessen the stress of waiting? Start planning your next visit. Get out and do something without looking at your phone every five minutes. And again, acknowledge how hard it is, but then move on. Don’t dwell on the sadness of having to wait for each other.
People act out their stress in different ways. Some people like to vent, others stay quiet. You may find your partner taking it out on you indirectly. If this is the case, first extend grace. You know how hard it is, give them the grace you hope they would give you. Then, talk it out and come up with ways to destress your relationship.
If you acknowledge what in the relationship stresses you out and work on these issues together, you will keep the stress level down and will be able to enjoy the relationship for what it is.