Long distance relationships generally get a bad reputation due to how prone they are to insecurity, over-analysis and fear. Despite the doom and gloom however, many long distance romances don’t just work, they flourish.
So, what separates the winners from the losers? This article represents my subjective opinion on what needs to be done right in order to make a distance-based relationship every inch as fulfilling and secure as a traditional one.
1. Maintain A Routine
Distance can easily catalyze feelings of insecurity. While there may be nothing you can do to bridge the physical divide (which is a proven way to reduce doubt and stress), establishing a loose contact routine can give a long distance relationship structure, and help keep the emotional divide from tearing at the seams.
Structure is often overlooked as a relationship tool. After-all, one of the glaring advantages of long distance relationships is the ability to keep our productivity and freedom at the forefront of our lives with very little compromise. But it can be taken too far. Even a very loose routine can help fend off behaviors which commonly afflict long distance relationships;
- Becoming overly jealous or controlling.
- The misinterpretation of communication.
- Feelings of solitude or abandonment.
- The fear of becoming increasingly detached.
Routine needn’t be rigid, controlling or boring. In fact, keeping it fun and light-hearted (such as a watching a film together or picking up a new hobby) is a far better way of keeping the flame alive and re-affirming long-term commitment.
2. Keep It Fresh
A great way to maintain both attraction and commitment is to periodically inject a wave of novelty into the relationship.
Distance is often viewed as a relationship handicap, but there are plus-sides. Turn barriers into opportunities by reminding yourself of new things to try and do. Here are a few examples:
- Reinvent intimacy. While “virtual” intimacy isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, it can be an exciting and fun (albeit limited) substitute for the real deal.
- Improve your own life as an individual. If your relationship has temporarily transitioned into long distance, take advantage of your new-found time to work on yourself. There is no better way of cementing attraction than by improving and loving oneself.
- Find new creative ways to express your feelings. Long distance relationships can be an excellent way of demonstrating affection because they open up new ways of communicating. By thinking outside of the box you are reminding someone how special they are in a simple yet devastatingly effective way.
3. Be Brutally Honest
Face to face communication allows us to judge intentions and situations based on body language as well as by what is said verbally. Long distance relationships tend to suffer from misinterpretation and the decay of trust because we are deprived of these visual cues. If we consider that over 90% of communication is non-verbal, it is easy to see how distance can lead to communication and security issues down the line. Fight back by confronting insecurities head-on, without allowing them pile-up.
4. Love Is In The Details
Just because you aren’t present, does not mean you aren’t able to convey the same level of affection and support that you can in a traditional relationship. One timeless way of keeping ye olde’ flame alive is by focusing on the details.
For instance, sending your partner a humorous, spontaneous text message will mean all-the-more due to the distance involved. When it comes to relationships, less is often more.
While traditional relationships can suffer from the twin evils of complacency and co-dependency, partners in long distance relationships have the advantage of rarely taking each other for granted (or at least not as frequently). Use this to your advantage!
5. Keep An Eye On The Future
The basic premise of most long distance loves is that at some point the relationship will transition into a life together. If this foundational hope is lost, if one or both partners lose faith in a future together — the relationship can swiftly fall apart.
In order to confront common thoughts such as “where are we going with this?“, it becomes imperative to keep an eye on the future. Addressing this concern in the short-term can be as easy as fussing over the details of a trip, or brainstorming a vacation together. The important thing is that at some level we are uniting the present with the future.
This point may seem superficially redundant compared to the others, but bear in mind that by “futuring” our partners we are not only convincing our conscious minds that a future together is possible, but are primarily coaxing our subconscious minds into accepting the relationship as a tangible entity.