How to Make it Through a Long Distance Relationship
By Triantafillia (Rose) Memisaki
All you need is TLC. Tender Love and Care, yes. But more importantly: Trust, Love (as in Romance) and Communication. Allow me to explain…
Trust is the backbone of any relationship. But in a long distance one, it’s also the keystone keeping everything in place. Without it, everything will collapse. Imagine always being afraid to go out with your friends. Imagine constantly feeling threatened that your partner will leave you for someone else. That’s no way to live, is it? Most of the time when one is jealous of the other, it’s their own insecurities that are the source of the problem and not their partner’s behavior. Nonetheless, you’re in this together. So humor each other. I’m not saying neither of you should have a social life when you’re apart. Just that, if one of you feels insecure, the other should do everything they can to help them get over it. Not by confining themselves to the house, but by discussing what the other is afraid of and by showing them in every way possible that they respect and care for them enough to change the little things in their actions that might trigger mistrust. These discussions might be slightly humiliating, but remember that they are absolutely necessary.
Another main cause of mistrust (other than partner’s past or current actions and past experiences that cause personal insecurities) is when people talk. And trust me, they talk a lot more than you might think. It might make no sense at all, but some people actually find pleasure in destroying other people’s happiness. They might have gone through rough situations and now sow the seeds of discord among couples that seem to be making it work better than they did. You can’t let these people ruin it for you. They might try to make you doubt your partner or even yourself. They might try to make you do things you normally wouldn’t do. Or they might simply give lousy advice and destroy your relationship without meaning to. A lot of different things come into play. Just make sure you keep them all in mind, so you can counter them early. Your relationship is yours and your partner’s business. You should discuss any problems with each other, not with your siblings, not with your friends and certainly not with strangers. Those people can feel like they’re helping but keeping your problems from your partner is just perpetuating them. And it will hurt your partner more when they find out you didn’t share your problems with them. It will make them feel like you don’t trust them enough, which in turn will make them start to feel mistrust towards you. It’s a vicious cycle. So stop it while it’s early.
Which brings me to the second most important part of this kind of relationship: Communication. How do you expect to discuss these problems, if you don’t know how to communicate effectively? It simply doesn’t work. So what constitutes effective communication between a couple? Well, for one thing: respect. That’s definitely a must. And with respect comes honesty. 100% complete honesty. Even if you hide something tiny because you know it will make them uncomfortable, when they find out (and trust me, sooner or later they will) they’ll just feel betrayed, disrespected and mistrusted. And worse, they will stop trusting you because they will wonder what else you’re hiding from them. Take it from me, it starts to get ugly after that. So don’t let it reach that point, because it will become harder and harder to handle.
Another part of communicating well with your partner across a distance is timing. If there are more than 2 time zones between you, make sure you schedule your calls so that they are convenient – or at least not torturous – for your partner. Sometimes of course, like if one of you is 5 or more hours ahead of the other, one of you is going to have to stay up late. Or get up really early. If it can’t be helped, at least try to switch things around so that it’s not just one of the two sacrificing their beauty sleep. Sleep deprivation can make you or your partner irritable to the point that you get into fights with each other for ridiculous reasons. Try not to let it reach that point.
But timing also refers to the frequency with which you communicate with each other. One of you might require more or less contact than the other. In that case, once again, talk it over and figure out a frequency that feels as workable and as natural as possible to both of you. Let’s say you’re the one who would feel perfectly alright with one call a week, but your partner prefers to talk at least once a day. In that case, see if you can send them little emails or texts. It doesn’t have to be an essay. Just a sentence or two, telling them how you feel about them. It shows them you are thinking about them and that you care enough to take some time out of your busy schedule for them. It might not sound like much, but a little effort can go a long way.
And one last thing you have to always keep in mind when spending time with your long distance partner, is that 60% of every impression that you make is through body language. So when such a large part of your communication is done through texts, emails, chats, letters and phone-calls you have to keep in mind that you have to make up for that missing 60%, by being that much more communicative. Make sure you make it clear to each other (right away) when something the other said doesn’t feel right to you. Explain to one another exactly what you meant, if they seem to have taken it the wrong way. Don’t attack your partner, assume they’re not paying attention to what you say or that they don’t care how you feel any more just because they misunderstood something. It’s easier than you might think to misunderstand each other when there isn’t any body language involved. Even when it is involved, there is still room for misunderstandings. You can’t read each other’s minds, and it’s not always accurate when you read between the lines. So take the easy way out and simply ask them to explain what they meant. If both of you are calm about it, it doesn’t have to get awkward.
Last but certainly not least, make sure to incorporate romance in your relationship. Just because you can’t see your partner every day, that doesn’t mean you can’t be romantic. All you need is a little imagination. Today’s world makes it so much easier to do pretty much anything you come up with. And more often than not, it’s the little things that show the most love. You can show your love through a short poem, order them flowers just because, write them an old fashioned letter, send them something of yours to hold on to. The list is endless. For those who have a hard time coming up with romantic ideas, Michelle and Frank at LovingFromADistance.com have over 100 original ideas to help you out. Go check them out! You’ll definitely find something that works for you.
The key is interrelatedness. These three simple little tips will make each other feel that you’re immersed in the other’s life; like you’re no more than a few streets apart. Trust me, it’s not as hard as it sounds. All you have to do is care enough about each other to make this relationship work. Everything else will come naturally, as long as you have a general idea of what you have to do.
If you want more detailed advice to help you through this difficult time, you can watch the videos:
“How To Deal With A Long Distance Relationship” at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ms5T2lndnWQ), then
“How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work” at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiF6jX79nmY) and
“How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work (extra tips)” at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b5tOMAIpro).