There are many reasons for a long distance relationship. Sometimes we meet someone far away and fall in love. Sometimes a job far away is the only job one person can get. And, sometimes other circumstances pull someone we love far away from us for just a period of time. No matter why it happens, long distance relationships can be hard to manage.
A long distance relationship can feel like you are both standing on either side of a glass wall unable to really touch and connect with each other. The distance can easily create a feeling of separation that has the potential to end your relationship completely. If you share kids, a house, bills, and pets, then it can be even more stressful.
One woman I know spends 11 months of the year apart from her husband, and many days she feels like she is the only one responsible for everything they share. Moreover, he is not a very good communicator, and she often questions his intentions. That’s a lot of weight on one person’s shoulders and a good reason to end the relationship.
There has to be a plan in place to make sure that, even though you are apart, you are still connecting and sharing responsibilities in a way that makes you feel like a couple. But, first, you have to decide if the relationship is worth keeping.
Should You Stay In Your Long Distance Relationship?
A relationship where you are both close to each other can be hard. It requires good relationships skills and a solid foundation of trust. But, a relationship where you spend a lot of time apart can be even harder. You really need to make sure that the trust levels are high and the communication is good. If you don’t have those two things, then your relationship is going to be full of struggles, worry, fighting, and confusion. No exceptions.
You can’t always look into your partner’s face. You won’t always know exactly what your partner is doing. That’s why it is important to be totally confident in each other and be able to communicate everything that the other person wants and needs to hear. Moreover, you have to be able to listen and not read into anything that your partner is saying.
One question you should ask yourself is, “Is this relationship worth the effort?” If you find that there are more struggles than not, then your relationship is affecting your life negatively, and you may be better off being single for now. If you find that your relationship makes you feel valued, supported, and loved, then it is totally worth the effort!
Another question you should ask yourself is, “Am I really capable of trusting them and are they capable of trusting me?” If you find there are issues with trust, then you are probably better off to find another relationship where trust is not an issue. You will have a much better relationship that way. But, if you both have a lot of faith in each other, then it’s likely a relationship that you should put some effort towards.
Lastly, you need to ask yourself if you can handle the duration of distance. As I said, I know a woman who is apart from her husband for 11 months out of the year. She never really considered the duration to be an issue, but it definitely is. If you are going to be apart for a duration you can handle, then you will find it much easier to maintain the relationship.
Just remember, when trust becomes an issue, a long distance relationship is doomed to fail. It is the main element of a successful long distance relationship.
The Benefits Of Distance In A Relationship
Some people worry that being in a long distance relationship will mean that they are not going to be as close to their partner, but that isn’t always the case. With Skype and text and apps to stay connected, you can always feel close to your partner, plus you get a ton of benefits that people living together don’t get. These are benefits that you should really want to enjoy if you are going to be in a long distance relationship.
For instance, distance really does make the heart grow founder. Unlike people who are around each other all the time, people in a long distance relationship are excited about getting together when they have the chance. And, the passion is often turned up to high for the time they are together.
Also, it’s nice to be able to do your own thing during the day and not have to answer to anyone or work around someone’s schedule, but still have someone to share your life with and get love from. Many people find that when they have the house to themselves, they have many more hours in the day to focus on work, chores, and personal things, and life just feels more productive.
In addition, you don’t have to try to compromise with meals, when to go out, where to go, and who gets what chore. This means that there is a lot less tension in the relationship and more room for focusing on the things that matter.
And, conversations are usually better in a long distance relationship where communication is important. Living with someone can sometimes feel like living with a ghost. You know they are there, but you don’t spend a lot of time talking to them about things. When there is distance involved, you get more insight into their day and how they feel because you listen with an intense interest.
Lastly, sleeping alone is a luxury that many couples would love. It’s nice to have someone to cuddle up to, sometimes, but sleeping alone is the ultimate way to sleep. You can use as many covers as you want, stretch out, keep the light off or on as you fall asleep, listen to music if you want, or do anything else that helps you feel rested without having to compromise with your partner.
Connecting In A Long Distance Relationship
Ok, so you trust your partner, you love the benefits of distance, and you are ready to commit to the relationship. How can you connect in a way that makes you feel as close as possible?
Get Into Routines
Just as you would get into a routine with your partner at home, get into a routine with them far away. Make plans for when you are going to talk in a way that works for both of you. For instance, if you are in two different time zones, you must pick a time that you will both be available. This will help you make the most of your time together and not worry about having to connect at times when you are busy or distracted.
Look Forward To Getting Together
Keep each other excited about upcoming get together to help you feel united about one goal. There is so much in your lives that you do and celebrate separately that it is important to pay attention to some moments just for the two of you. You can use countdown timers to help you both stay excited, or you can just constantly remind each other of what you are going to do together next time you are able to physically connect.
Keep Busy With Friends And Family
You may not consider this a way to connect to your partner, but it actually is! A lot of long distance relationships fail because one person is too lonely and becomes upset that their partner is never there for them, which causes a disconnect in the relationship.
If you are in a long distance relationship, then you know that you are not going to be able to spend a lot of face-to-face time with them, and because that kind of intimacy is important for your well-being, you have to find it elsewhere. Friends and family can help you feel like a part of something bigger in the moment, and fight off the loneliness that comes from being by yourself all the time.
Do Things Together
I can’t remember what movie it was in, but two lovers who had a lot of distance between them would look at the moon every night at the same time. This was a way to do something together without actually being together. Now, with the help of digital tools, we can do things together that really make us feel connected.
– We can play games together.
– We can do anything together with video chat.
– We can download an app, such as Couple, that allows us to feel a vibration on the phone when our partner touches it.
– We can download shared calendars to help us plan together.
There are so many ways that you can actually do things together, and you need to take advantage of as many as you can.
Get Really Personal With Your Communication
Lastly, when it comes to connection, you have to be willing to lay it out on the table so that there is no mistrust or disconnection. So many people end up questioning the intentions of their partner when there is distance involved. If intentions are not made clear, then that will put a crack in the relationship that could end up tearing it down completely.
You have to be willing to get personal and say what your partner needs to hear. This means expressing gratitude, hurt, anger, love, and concern, and then – if need be, having a conversation about those emotions until you both feel good. If you can do that, then you have a really good chance of making your long distance relationship last.
Sharing Responsibilities In A Long Distance Relationship
One of the main problems in a long distance relationship is that couples don’t always share household responsibilities like they do when they are together. They figure that the person at home should take care of everything at home while the other person focuses on whatever they need to do. Unfortunately, this causes one person to feel like their home is not really their home – more of a place where their partner lives and they come to once in a while.
The goal should be to have both of you feeling a sense of belonging when it comes to the big things like bills, the house, the kids, the pets, and the planning. Fortunately, just like connecting, there are many ways to share responsibilities in a long distance relationship. This will help you feel more balanced as a couple and more like a team.
Create A Shared Calendar
It is essential to have a shared calendar if you want to feel equally involved in what is happening. This will help you see when things like bills need to be paid, important events are coming up, and when one person has free time for appointments or other necessaties. Almost every online calendar allows you to share it with other people. So, find one that works for you, and get busy creating calendars for everything that matters in your lives.
Make Decisions Together
Do not make decisions alone, even if they are things that you can easily handle. If you do, then this will leave your partner feeling out of the loop. Therefore, when it comes to decisions such as a get together, renovations, big expenses, and anything else that is of importance, make sure you write it down and talk about it when you have the chance.
You can use the calendar for this. You can easily put in a note to discuss something so that you remember and inform your partner of what you will want to talk about later on. This will give you both some time to think about it and come up with your own solutions.
One of you shouldn’t have more power in the relationship and big decisions than the other. If you do, then resentment is going to enter into the relationship, and a long distance relationship full of resentment is going to put a crack in the connection you have, which will make a breakup much more likely.
Therefore, just like couples who live together, you have to find a compromise in order to be happy with the decisions you make. This requires some really good communication on both your ends. You have you make your case, listen to the other person and understand them, and then try to find a common ground where you can go from.
Are You Ready For A Long Distance Relationship?
There are a lot of benefits to a long distance relationship, and things can work out really well if you have trust and proper communication in the relationship. But, if you feel like you are not ready for it, then it’s best not to go forward with it. It can be very painful to be living with mistrust, worry, and anxiety, and not be able to talk to someone face-to-face. And, if you are not able to get a hold of your partner, then that is going to make it ten times worse.