Long-distance relationships arise for various reasons: due to a pandemic, studying or working abroad, a travel romance, or online dating. Either way, it can be difficult, so it’s important to understand the nature of these relationships and find ways to keep in touch with your partner if you live far apart.
Disadvantages of a long-distance relationship
There are difficulties in long-distance relationships that can become a point of tension and frustration, undermine trust, and lead to a breakup. For example:
- Impossibility of personal contact. Those who have experienced long-distance relationships cite the lack of physical intimacy as one of the most difficult. Tactility, touch, and sex help to strengthen affection, and, unfortunately, it is impossible to convey hugs and kisses through the screen.
- The different rhythms of life and the complexity of organizing joint time, especially if partners live in different time zones. But even in neighboring cities, free time schedules do not always coincide, and efforts must be made to find time for a conversation.
- The risk of getting carried away by another person. Partners are not immune from this in ordinary relationships, but most often their need for attention and intimacy is satisfied, and they spend their free time together. Long-distance relationships mean that everyone spends weekends and free evenings alone or in companies where they can meet a new love.
- You cannot count on the help of a partner. He may be sympathetic and provide moral support, but in a real situation (shopping for groceries, helping with the move, getting medicine from the pharmacy, or taking care of you when you’re sick, for example) you can feel lonely.
Benefits of a long-distance relationship
There are good things about long-distance relationships. For example:
- The ability to achieve a goal that requires a lot of effort and time. Get a degree, learn the skills to grow professionally, and train for a marathon—and it’s not all about dating.
- There is no common life – there are no reasons for disagreements and discontent.
- Personal space. Partners living together may experience discomfort from the inability to be alone.
- Long-distance relationships fuel mutual interest and enhance the joy of meeting.
- Each meeting becomes a holiday in itself, without additional scenery.
- There is a chance to change your life dramatically if your loved one lives in another city or country and sees your future there.
Long-distance relationship stages
- Adaptation. You have to get used to the fact that communication is concentrated only on gadgets, and evenings and weekends pass without a loved one nearby.
- Idealization. In long-distance relationships, it is easier to avoid grinding and conflicts, to hide your bad mood, to attribute desirable traits to your partner, or to pass off some as your own.
- Meetings. An important stage when all the accumulated tenderness can finally get out, and everything so important to talk about face-to-face becomes possible. The euphoria of dating can be replaced by a low mood after a breakup.
- Stagnation. It happens when there is dissatisfaction and a lack of understanding of where to move on, the relationship seems to freeze.
- Ending a long-distance relationship. If you managed to keep in touch, a new – long-awaited – stage may await you, when you are both in the same city and, perhaps, even live together. Even though you already know each other well, know how to express desires and feelings, and live through conflicts, in real life, it can be different than on opposite sides of the screen.
How to make long-distance relationships work
The key to building a comfortable relationship for both is an agreement on how long your part is. Outline the time frame: “when I graduate”, “when the contract ends”, or “when we buy a house”. How else to maintain relationships at a distance?
Find a time and a convenient communication channel for regular communication
Text and voice messages, exchange of songs and funny pictures will help to stay closer to each other. Video calls are a gift to anyone who maintains relationships at a distance. You can cook dinner with Zoom on, eat across from each other, and then watch a movie together. Services like Syncplay, Gaze, or Togethr TV make watching movies or YouTube videos together synchronous and convenient.
Have a shared ritual
Something interesting and important for your couple: a photo of the morning view from the window, a call during a “coffee together” break at work, a good night voice message, going out for groceries, and sharing a photo of a shopping cart… By making each other a part of your daily routine, you strengthen the connection.
When you are interested in your partner’s plans, show attention, show that his life is important to you: “How was the presentation of the project?”, “What did the doctor say?”, “Did you go to a new restaurant? How did you like the cuisine? Feeling included is very nice, and partners often learn this from each other.
Don’t Avoid Conflict
Few people want to spend the rare hours of meetings sorting out disagreements that arose some time ago, but you should not ignore the discussion of issues that are important to you. The tension will rise. Do not leave clarification of unpleasant moments to correspondence, allocate a meeting time or at least a video call for this.
Long-distance relationships require trust. Not knowing where and with whom the partner spends time, it remains to trust his words, and if doubts and jealousy arise, it is important to be able to speak honestly about them. Not blaming the other, but expressing your feelings. For example: “When I do not receive an answer to SMS for several hours, I feel lonely.” Or: “When I see photos with other girls on your Instagram, I get jealous.”
Create an opportunity to meet
Scheduling a meeting can be difficult and expensive, but a long-distance relationship is unlikely to last a long time without meetings at all. Be creative and decide where it will be more comfortable for you to meet: who is going to whom? Or is it more convenient to meet somewhere for a weekend or a short vacation? Surprise meetings are not for everyone – the partner may be busy and will not be able to give you time if you arrive spontaneously without warning.
Find your way to feel each other
Gadgets that can be controlled remotely will help maintain a sexual relationship. Don’t forget sexting, and sharing playful photos or videos – try what works for your couple to stay closer despite the distance.
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Make joint plans
Relationships at a distance most often have a certain period, and to remember this, plan a joint future. This does not necessarily mean a wedding, but: cities where you want to visit together, ideas for dates and leisure, walking routes, cafes, events, and anything that you want to share with your loved one.
So, if each of you understands the advantages and difficulties of long-distance relationships, sees more of the former than the latter, realizes what this step is for, and discusses the period of separation with your partner, we can talk about being ready for this amazing experience.
How do I know if a long-distance relationship is right for me?
A: Consider the indicators of readiness, such as trust, effective communication, emotional stability, independence, flexibility, and motivation. Evaluate your willingness and ability to manage the unique challenges of a long-distance relationship.
How often should I communicate with my long-distance partner?
A: There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as it depends on the couple’s preferences and schedules. However, regular communication is crucial for maintaining a strong connection. Discuss with your partner and establish a communication routine that works for both of you.
Can long-distance relationships work in the long run?
A: Yes, long-distance relationships can work in the long run, but they require effort and commitment from both partners. Maintaining effective communication, trust, and shared goals can help build a solid foundation for a lasting relationship.
What are some creative ways to stay connected in a long-distance relationship?
A: There are several ways to stay connected, such as scheduling regular video chats, sending care packages, playing online games together, sharing playlists, and planning surprise visits. Get creative and find activities that you both enjoy.
How do I cope with feelings of loneliness in a long-distance relationship?
A: Feeling lonely is a common challenge in a long-distance relationship. Find ways to stay connected, such as planning visits or engaging in shared activities. Additionally, focus on self-care and maintain a healthy social life outside of the relationship. Communication with your partner about your feelings can also help alleviate loneliness.