Long distance relationships (LDR) are not for the weak at heart, not only that, they can also be expensive. Even if two people only live 4 hours a part, it gets expensive running back and forth, even if you take turns. Long distance relationships have a whole new dimension to them then a traditional relationship and one thing they can not survive with out is trust and communication, if either is lacking the relationship will never make it.
There are a couple reasons people can find themselves in a long distance relationship:
Pre-established relationships that are disconnected through work or other reasons that finds them in a long distance relationship may be able to benefit from some of these tips. However, this article is more directed towards the population that are in new relationships that are long distance out of choice by either chance encounters or meeting on an online dating site.
Long distance relationships by choice are becoming a common relationship. It is estimated that 4.4 million college age people and 3.5 million dating couples are in long distant relationships. That is not counting married couples that are separated do to work or war. The online dating sites continue to add to these numbers daily as people are easily connected to people who live cities, to states, to countries apart from one another. Break up rates in long distant couples is not that much greater then amongst couples that live in close proximity with one another or even together. Although LDRs have to work at their relationship in a different manner then traditional relationships, over all they are no less satisfied with the relationship other then the distance.
Something you need to consider if you are thinking about entering a long distance relationship is if you are capable of handling the extra commitment and work it requires. If you are recently in a LDR and have already have had thoughts of straying or obsessive thoughts that your partner is cheating you are not cut out for the long distance lifestyle. Here are some tips that will help in your dating ventures as well as maintenance of a long distance relationship.
Have an end in sight.
When people are separated by work or war, they have the advantage of knowing approximately how long the separation will be. This gives them something tangible to look forward to and calms fears of never being together. Therefore, give yourself the same advantage. Before getting to deep into the relationship, make a time line of how the relationship would ideally work out. Is the other person finishing their degree and does not choose to leave their current university? Take into accounts what things are happening in each other’s lives and make a reasonable time line of when the separation is going to end and you will be united.
Think about your willingness to relocate. If you have no intentions on relocating, make sure to make that clear early on in the relationship. You partner may feel the same way and you are then at a stalemate and need to make a decision to continue or call it quits.
Make time to communicate
In long distance relationship, communication levels need to be increased drastically compared to traditional relationships. You are wise to make sure you have the same cell phone carriers or a really good long distance phone plan. Schedule your communication so each partner knows when the next time will be when he or she will hear from you. This takes some of the worry out of the equation. The more you talk the less the distance will appear. Mark dates and times a month in advance with each other. It gives you both parties a tangible thing to look forward to. If for some reason you are not going to be able to call on a scheduled time, let the partner know in advance. Do not just blow it off as if it does not matter. Always think, would you want the same done to you?
Just like the phone communication, schedule physical visits in advance, the more the better, but no less then once every six months. Depending on the amount of distance between the couple will play a factor in the frequency of visits. It can get very expensive traveling all the time. However, in addition to scheduling physical visits, schedule mini vacations like a traditional relationship would have. This continues to help the relationship grow and stay fresh.
Trust can be an issue in any relationship, however if you already have trust issues, long distance is not for you. It takes a blind trust in a sense to be able to handle LDRs. You do not have the luxury of seeing this person daily nor can you talk to them every night the entire night through. You have to be willing to give a level of trust that is even deeper then that in a traditional relationship. Statistics show that people e who are in LDR do not cheat any more then a traditional relationship, however, they do have a tendency to worry about it more which can bring problems of their own in the relationship. A person can actually begin to believe their partner is cheating purely from worry alone and by no indication from the other partner that there is anything wrong.
In a long distance relationship, intimacy takes on a completely new meaning. You have to learn to focus on what you have at your disposal rather then what you don’t have. LDRs need to communicate more and in a variety of ways to stimulate as many senses as possible. Hand written letters, emails, phone call, video chats, tape-recorded messages, pictures, and tokens of love are all great ways to improve a distant intimacy. People in LDR need to communicate more there day to day activities, plans, how their day went, the small details of their life as well as the bigger ones to help the couples feel a part of their everyday living and an important part of each other’s life.
It is easy for people in LDR to begin to isolate themselves from others and only focus strictly on work to avoid uncomfortable situations while out in public. They appear to be physically single; however, they are not single emotionally. Although LDR are becoming more acceptable as a alternative dating arrangement, it is not yet seen by all as a real relationship which leads the person in a LDR having to re-explain their position repeatedly. Rather then always having to feel the need to defend their LDR and the reality of their love they simply avoid any situations that may bring up question. However, this is very unhealthy. People in long distance relationships still need to have a support circle with whom they can feel safe to discuss their relationship with as well as socialize with other people.
Quality of Relationship
Most people in LDR measure the success of their relationship based off their last physical encounter rather then the relationship as a whole. If the last visit went poorly, they may sit back with worries until the next visit. Phone conversations in the mid term avoid discussing how or why the last visit did not go well as others so the moment is not ruined. This is another aspect where long distance relationships can fail. Although they may have increase communication, they need to discuss the good and the bad and work through them regardless if they are sitting next to each other. They cannot allow things to fester up until the next visit and expect it to go well, or try to hide the negative feelings they have been dealing with since the last visit. Although the communication needs to be at an increased level in LDR, it needs to be of increased quality as well.
Over all, couples with mutual commitment to a LDR report having a satisfying sex relationship. When they do get to see each other physically, the sex is always fresh, new and exciting, much like honeymooning. The downside of this can be that the expectation level of their sex life remaining at status quo after uniting is unrealistic and seldom happens which can lead to problems and eventual break in the relationship. Couples substitute the physical connection part of sex while away through phone sex, erotic emails, and pictures. If you are not comfortable with “phone sex” and/or self-pleasure, you may want to reconsider a long distance relationship
Long distance relationship can work, they just take a different level of commitment, trust, and the couple must have excellent communication skills to make one work.