A temporary separation, no matter what the distance, does not mean an abrupt end to a relationship. So long as both partners are committed to seeing the relationship continue, you can put as much distance between you as you like (which can sometimes be a good thing!) and keep things going strong. It is estimated in the US that nearly 3% of marriages were considered long distance at one point, and that 1 in 10 marriages were found to have had a period of long distance within the first 3 years. Distance is only a matter of miles, and a relationship that can continue moving forward despite it, is one that is meant to last.
Remember that old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?” If you’re being forced to find out the truth of it for yourself, there are a few things that you and your partner can do to make sure that your hearts do meet again, and are fonder than ever.
Clear the Air
Before you can even think about trying a long distance relationship, both partners have to be on the same page. This requires sitting down for a somewhat awkward and not so fun conversation, but it’s vital to determining whether a long distance relationship is even worth the effort. Both partners need to be clear as to what their plans and feelings are, as well as what they are expecting from the other. Your relationship must be defined at this point; are you just dating? Are you engaged? Knowing exactly where the relationship stands will help you to determine where it should go.
Once these few things are cleared up, even more awkward questions must be asked; do you want to remain exclusive? Is the other partner relocating in the future a possibility? What about visits? Where would you actually like to see the relationship going? When dealing with a long distance relationship, there must be clear goals in mind for the relationship; a, “day-to-day-see-how-it-goes,” approach is going to get you nowhere and things will be over before you know it.
Find Ways to Be “Together”
Technology has made life significantly easier when it comes to communication. Long gone are the days of hand-written letters and postage stamps. Not only can you text or email your partner at any moment within a few seconds, but cell phones have made calling even more convenient by adding video chat. Video chatting with a webcam and microphone helps close the distance between you just a little bit, and gives you the opportunity to “see” each other without actually seeing each other.
Daily calls or messages are crucial to maintaining the relationship. While you don’t have to have hour-long conversations every day, communicating and keeping each other involved will help you to stay close even while far apart. You can also make the best of a rough situation by finding ways to do things together. It may seem like something out of a bad chick flick, but watching a movie together on the phone or webcam, reading a book together, or anything else you can think of, will keep you close and retain the fun in your relationship.
Let Go of Control
One of the main things that both partners have to accept before committing to a long distance relationship is that they cannot retain control over each other. Both partners are going to keep going about their lives; they cannot simply stop moving forward because the other person is not physically present. When one partner tries to control the other by always needing to know where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with, they are only adding more stress to an already stressful situation. The truth is pretty clear; if you cannot trust your partner, you shouldn’t be in any sort of relationship with them – let alone a long distance one.
Don’t interrogate your partner, second guess, or accuse; the time you are able to make for each other is limited, so make the most of it. If you spend every phone call or IM session arguing, you will quickly become strangers.
Make the Best of It
While long distance relationships are undoubtedly difficult and emotional, there is no need to dwell on those things. Instead, find ways to look forward to when you will see each other. Think about how much more exciting it is, and how much more passion there is, when you can only see each other on occasion. Also remember that life is not solely about your relationship with your partner; you have other relationships too. While you have free time, enjoy spending time with your family and friends, and even time by yourself. Do the things that you love to do, but don’t have time for when you are home with your partner.
While you will always miss them, you may as well make the best of it and do some things for you. Once the distance is gone and the two of you are together, your time is absorbed in the relationship and you will start to wish you had taken advantage of the separateness when you had the chance.