Lately there have been a lot of discussions going around in the LDR community about what actually makes LDRs that last so different from LDRs that don’t. In fact, in the last decade or so, hundreds and thousands of blog posts, articles and forum topics have been created around this question. It’s something that is on any LDR couple’s mind and something we all want to know the secret to.
While the LDR community has discovered many crucial ways to keep a long distance relationship going, it’s not often that we hear what we really need to absolutely avoid in order to be that one success story we’re always reading about.
We’ve compiled what we consider to be the 7 ugliest, deadliest habits and actions that will surely cause your LDR to fail. These “sins” are so deadly that they sneak up on us and often we don’t even notice that they are affecting us and our relationship negatively until it’s almost too late.
1. Comparing your relationship to others
“What’s the harm in comparing my relationship to someone else’s?” you might ask. “Its not wrong to want what other couples have because I’m striving to get to that point myself. It’s just something I can’t help since I AM in a long distance relationship. Being in an LDR means that sometimes you’re just going to envy other people.”
Does this sound like you? You might be surprised to learn that comparing your relationship to others around you (in AND outside of the LDR community) based on what you see other couples achieving means you will come away from that feeling only 1 thing: Unhappiness.
Making it a habit, or a practice to compare your relationships to other couples who may have already closed the distance, visit one another frequently, or who may seem to have a “better” relationship within their LDR will make you feel inadequate and unaccomplished because they seem to have done more for their relationship that you have.
Don’t do that to yourself! It tears down your relationship in your mind -and what is your relationship if YOU are not rooting for it in heart and mind? Doomed.
2. Talking about closing the distance, but never taking any steps to do so
Zane and Delilah have been in an LDR for 5 years. They both know that they want to close the distance and have talked about it extensively. They’ve even visited one another -once or twice.
Zane is working part-time and Delilah is going to school to be a nurse and they’re enjoying their relationship as a whole, but they don’t have a set end date and have no short or long term goals that they are working towards together. So while they are enjoying their long distance relationship, the lack of goals means their long distance situation will never change.
There are couples out there who feel that they don’t need a plan of action to close the distance. They don’t want the regimented rules and structure or they simply don’t want to plan that much, that far ahead or just don’t know how.
Unfortunately, many of these couples find that while they talked about closing the distance within the first few months or years of their relationship, the time has just slipped by. Because they had no goals they were working towards at all, they’ve made NO progress towards closing the distance years later.
A long distance relationship is never a permanent solution. If you don’t have ANY goals set, not even short term goals like saving up money or planning an approximate date or year you’d like to close the distance -its as if you’re running a race where there is no finish line.
Eventually, like a runner in an endless race, your relationship will give out without ever knowing how or why it happened.
Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be.
3. Listening to or being around people who constantly look down or criticize your relationship
You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.
Negative people are everywhere. It’s a fact that negativity is something that we can’t avoid in the world today. But not everyone is so negative that it drains you. For every good thing in the world, there’s someone out there who actively opposes it. So don’t be surprised when someone says something negative about your LDR, directly or indirectly -jokingly or seriously.
What many people don’t know is that you don’t have to ignore negativity as if it never happened -passively and politely ignoring snide remarks and disapproving words.
The only way to really combat negative people is to avoid them. So if you have a friend that is constantly shoving negative remarks about LDRs your way, it might be time to break away from that negative energy -and that friend.
Negativity is contagious. If you surround yourself with negative people, you yourself will become negative about your own relationship.
Thankfully, positivity is also contagious! So if friends & family or workmates have you down about your LDR, reach out into the community to find others who can help you be positive about your relationship.
4. Thinking the “perfect” relationship is like a destination you can one day reach
A perfect relationship Isn’t actually perfect at all, it consists of two people who NEVER give up on each other despite any hurt or pain.
In a culture that highly emphasizes the “perfect” relationship in movies, books and television it can be really easy to get sucked into the idea that relationship perfection is something that can be attained.
Many teens and adults look to movies and books and fawn over the ideal relationships depicted in those stories as what they hope their relationship eventually will become. There are even millions of quotes circulating around the internet about what a perfect relationship is and should be.
But, let’s be real: There is NO such thing as a perfect relationship. All relationships have problems and there is no ultimate finish line that you will one day reach where you are the “perfect couple.” Relationships take constant, ongoing work. Forever.
Allowing yourself to get sucked into the idea that one day your relationship will be perfect or that closing the distance is the “destination” that will solve all your relationship problems is dangerous!
Focusing on attaining perfection will make you lose sight of the good things about your relationship. And when you realize that you are unable to reach that anticipated moment of perfection? It can only spell B-A-D for your relationship.
5. Deciding that your partner needs to make all of the adjustments and changes in your relationship
Have you ever thought about how much better your relationship would be if your S/O would just fix something about themselves? Maybe your boyfriend would be perfect if he just communicated with you a little better. Perhaps if your girlfriend paid a little more attention to things that are important, vs her nail or hair color.
It may not be those things in particular, but it would be a great falsehood to say that none of us has ever had similar thoughts. And those thoughts are incredibly dangerous. Why? They can make us get irritated with our partners, complain about them often and maybe even start to dislike them.
It’s so easy to look at someone else and see exactly what they are doing wrong but it’s not the easiest thing in the world to look at ourselves and see what WE need to change. If we’re having thoughts like these, maybe our first change should be our attitude towards our S/O.
A relationship is about TWO people trying to be better together and accepting the shortcomings that we both will inevitably have. So instead of hyper-focusing in on what your partner is doing wrong, look for ways that you can improve yourself -maybe starting with some patience!
6. Forgetting to do things that make your relationship feel fun and special
You talk to your partner everyday and you have a lot of fun together that way. You enjoy each others company without having to do anything lavish, expensive or “big” -but does that mean that you shouldn’t?
Some relationships become a danger when they start to become routine. Routine, while a good thing, can also sometimes mask the fact that your relationship may be getting stale. Sure you’ve been in an LDR for a few months or years and you know each other really well, but regardless of how well you know each other, it’s never wrong to do something special for the one you love. How could it be?
When you make your partner feel special by saying “I love you” often, sending a gift, or arranging to have a long distance date, you are strengthening the bonds between you more and more. There’s so many faces to a relationship and doing special things for one another is just as important as feeling comfortable together.
7. Holding onto past wrongs and slip ups or anger and jealousy
Never burn down the bridge of forgiveness by holding a grudge because one day you may need to cross that bridge yourself and need forgiveness.
Its a well known fact that everyone makes mistakes, but just knowing this doesn’t mean that forgiving those mistakes will be easy. This final #7 of our Deadly Sins of A Long Distance Relationship is one of the most important because LDRs are so susceptible to this.
Being far apart makes things that seem small become big. The stress, the distance -it almost seems to exacerbate the problems that may not be quite so small if you had your S/O close. Holding feelings of anger or jealousy, or holding on to past wrongs done by your partner in the relationship can only lead you down a path to break-up.
It’s difficult to take your feelings and just “let it go,” but it’s not impossible. The ultimate way to have a successful LDR is to always be ready and willing to forgive.