Being away from the person you love isn’t easy. Lack of physical intimacy and a different style of communication can take its toll on your relationship. While long-distance has its challenges, it also presents certain opportunities often overlooked by most couples.
To survive a long-distance relationship you need to know how to maintain an emotional connection with your partner. The lack of physical closeness creates a desire for touch. So the first step is to recognise how strong is this desire and how much it affects your relationship.
Let’s have a look at what’s going on with our desires, feelings and behaviour when we are in a long-distance relationship.
Expectations of a long-distance relationship
Many couples expect a long-distance relationship to be the same as face to face, but it’s not. Maybe in your mind, you realise that things are different, but what’s going on in your heart?
The first and by far the most important question is: what do you want from this relationship? It will also help you to know what your partner wants. Then, it’s time to come to an understanding of what does a long-distance relationship mean to you and how does it align with the way your partner sees it.
What do you want from your long-distance relationship?
Is it a temporary situation for a short period of time or is it the type of relationship that you want at this point in your life?
Whatever your circumstances, the key to a successful relationship is being on the same page with your partner. For this, both of you need to know what you want and be able to share it with each other in a way that both of you can understand the other’s feelings and desires.
We have this expectation that our partner should be able to guess what we want before we even know what we want. This alone can create a great deal of confusion. In a long-distance relationship, you have time for yourself. Reflect on what do you want for yourself and for your relationship.
To get what you want, you need to know what you want.
If you don’t say it, your partner doesn’t know it
So, you figured out what you want, great! Now it’s time to share it with your partner.
Some people believe that if they think something, their partner knows it. While Elon Musk is working on such a technology (source), you can do it an old-fashioned way. Say it or write it down in a letter or a text. Follow the 3 steps above to do it properly.
Finally, make a plan and make it specific
In a long-distance relationship, it is important to have a plan. The unknown can excite, but it can also be scary. Having a plan will put your mind at ease. It can reassure you about the state of your relationship and relieve the pressure of doubts.
No good planning on your own and informing your partner of your decisions. Make ’S.M.A.R.T.’ goals and make a plan, together. I am not a fan of acronyms, but this one really did the trick for me.
Set the date for your next meeting and plan something exciting for the meanwhile.
If you don’t have a specific plan, don’t expect anything specific to happen.
When you are asking yourself how to survive a long-distance relationship, it’s a sign that you are at a crossroads. You have a choice: see the long-distance as a source of your struggles or take it as an opportunity to reflect on your relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Long-distance relationships fail because couples are fighting with circumstances instead of understanding them. When you view your circumstances as obstacles to your happiness, it’s a struggle. And you may choose to struggle for a short while to achieve your goal. Just remember that every moment you spend “surviving” your relationship is one moment less you get to enjoy it.
Emotional distance is the one that can kill a relationship. Today’s technology makes it very easy for us to keep in touch. We can send a message in an instant and cross the globe in a day. However, when it comes to maintaining an emotional connection, most of us are left feeling powerless in the dark world of confusion. It is much simpler to navigate the outside world than it is to explore our inner-selves.
Begin by understanding why you are in a long-distance relationship. How often will you see each other? How long are you expecting it to last? How are you and your partner feeling about it? Keep in mind that one of you may be more comfortable with a long-distance relationship than the other. Express your needs and be accommodating towards one another.
Yes, you can. You can also fall in love with a fairy tale or a romance novel character. When you meet a person online, for example, you create an ideal. Then you weigh everything you learn about this person against your ideal to see if their characteristics match. If they do, you fall in love and if they don’t you move on. Falling in and out of love is not the same as having a relationship.
Getting Some Help
I hope that this article answered some of your questions. If you are struggling and could do with more help, here is how you can get it: