If you’ve ever heard the phrase that dating and marriage is hard, then you would be correct in assuming that someone else – or more accurately – some billion’s of someone else’s’ have been through it.
For those that have found long distance love, the struggles are intensified exponentially. It’s not just the distance or a trust issue, it goes deeper, much deeper than the two people involved would be able to imagine when they say to each other that they are going to commit to a full on relationship.
For those that do venture into this realm, the commitment to each other and the challenges that the two of you are going to face is going to be like none that you could have dreamed of. There are going to be a lot of times that one of both of you are going to want to give up, citing that it’s just not worth it. But it is.
As outlined below, trust is going to be a ugly devil that will stick it’s head into what is going to seem like every word that is spoken. More so if the two of you are on the opposite side of the world, especially now that we are still dealing with this covid mess.
While this is only a suggested list and not a do-all-be-all, it is something to consider and if you find yourself in a jam with your thoughts. Step back, take time to think about things before causing more problems in your relationship that could end up putting an end to it.
- Discuss together the level of commitment to each other and to the relationship. Have lengthy discussions about what you want from yourself and each other in this relationship while you are apart. Some couples believe that they are in the same place when really they are in different spots, they have just not talked out loud about their differences. Assume nothing. Discuss everything. How will you handle loneliness?
- Avoid jealousy and be trusting. It is easy to let your thoughts run away when you are not together. Do not let jealous questions or thoughts contaminate your relationship. Find ways to calm your thinking. Talk about concerns that you may have when you are in a good spot and know that these relationships are difficult for all people.
- Check in and catch up with each other every day. Be sure to have time to catch up with each other at the end of each day whenever possible. Block out at least 30 minutes at the end of each day to catch up with what is happening in each other’s world. Build on your relationship as you grow in your understanding of your partner and what he or she is experiencing each day.
- Embrace technology. Send text or messages or emails during the day just to let your partner know that you are thinking about him or her. Use any number of free technologies that are available – Skype, Facebook, etc – when you can so that you can see each other.
- Have regular time together. If possible, make it in person. It is important for connection and intimacy to be together as much as possible. Clearly, this may not be possible for some couples. Military families are separated for long periods of time. However, whenever possible, find ways to make it a priority to be together, in person, as frequently as possible.
- Pursue common interests, even if you are not doing them together all of the time. Look for things to do that you can share with each other when you are together and are interested in talking about when you are apart.
- Talk about your future together. Plan for vacations or holidays. Talk about goals for yourselves and, if you are engaged, for your future as a couple. Plan for when you will be together in the future. Be open and honest about your struggles with being apart while also respecting that you do not want your partner to feel guilty about the separation. Make sure that is only a very small part of your conversations with each other. You should not be afraid to voice your concerns and struggles with being apart. It may be that you two can hear it as another way of saying “I love you” or an invitation to problem solve about how to make changes.
- Share loving and positive feelings every day. In healthy relationships, there are five positives for every one negative. Find ways to contribute to the formula. Find ways to be a happy person even if you are not together. Do not wait to be together to enjoy your life.
- Find ways to be a happy person even if you are not together. Do not wait to be together to enjoy your life. Relationships don’t make people happy. People make themselves happy. Happier people are more fun to be around. Find ways to make yourself happy and enjoy your life so that you have positive outlook on life that will contribute to your relationship when you connect or are together.