Long distance relationships are becoming more common as people travel far away for work, study, or reasons beyond their control. While always challenging, there are ways to make relationships thrive despite the distance. Here are my 7 top tips for building successful long distance relationships….
1. Plan your long distance relationship
Make time for a serious heart-to-heart discussion with your partner. Face up to all the challenges that you are likely to experience through being so far apart from each other. Be honest and talk about all the ‘what ifs’ and plan what you can do when those occur as they surely will. Make contingency plans for your insecurities, your sexual needs, and what you need to put in place to keep the relationship thriving. The people that enjoy successful long distance relationships do not leave things to chance. By planning ahead, you strengthen your relationship commitment and build your resolve to make it work.
2. Keep the communication lines open
If you are hundreds or thousands of miles apart, it is easy to feel ‘separated’. Successful long distance relationships require daily interaction and sharing (the ‘relating’ to each other bit). Phones, email, texting, postal mail, and web cams… you must use them all. Remember that there is a hierarchy of value to these communication systems. Your best bet is to use a combination of web cam and an internet phone like Skype, so that you can see and talk to each other. Texts and emails are great for short little notes but no more than that as they are so open to misinterpretation. Make sure to send gifts, photos, home movie clips, and traditional love letters via postal mail too. There is nothing quite so rewarding as receiving a package from a distant loved one — it lets your partner know how much you care about them and are thinking of them.
3. Romantic ideas for long distance relationships
So how do you stay romantic during a long distance relationship? Romance is built on thoughtfulness, creativity and shared experiences of intimacy and joy. There are lots of ways you can demonstrate your romantic side, however far apart you are. Most important to your partner is being reassured that they are still loved and that you are thinking about them despite all the distractions of life where you are. Keep them in your heart by making a commitment to staying in regular contact. Send thoughtful and romantic care packages, as discussed, by mail. And make time for alone time together on your web cam internet phone get-togethers. One of the most romantic things you can do for successful long distance relationships is plan your future together. Talk about what you are going to do in the future. Always speak in terms of how much you are looking forward to being with them physically and sharing a life together. Plan what you are going to do when you meet up next time. And make the most of your memories and shared experiences. Talking about the fun things that you have done and will do is great strategy for keeping the chemistry alive in any romantic relationship. Be sure to give your partner regular and frequent re-assurance of your love and commitment. Watch out for misunderstanding and strive to get clarity in all your communications with your long-distance partner. Make sure when you are on the phone or web cam that you are alone. That way you can express yourselves better and there will be nothing to distract you.
4. Coping with sexual frustration and temptation
If you are healthy, you are going to be horny and it’s hard to get satisfaction if your partner is the other side of the country, or worse, the world. It is essential that you are both perfectly clear on the boundaries of the relationship. Some people are okay with the idea of their partners seeing other people while they are apart. But most are not. Clarify your own relationship and the level of commitment you are willing to give each other. Assess the likelihood of temptations. If your sweetie is off to college on the West Coast while you are going to college on the East Coast, you have to decide how strong your relationship is because you are both going to face major temptation in the form of other people who are actually there in front of you. Every couple is unique and only the pair of you can decide whether you can realistically commit. The secret is to maintain those communication lines and include lots of time for high-tech intimacy in the form of phone sex and web cam sex. Obviously you need a high level of trust in a relationship to do this, as you do not want to discover your beloved has posted your naked pictures online! Successful long distance relationships make provisions for sexual frustration by scheduling ‘fun’ time. More than that they focus on the experience of intimacy and depth and that is part of all your communications. The more you reveal of your true self the closer the relationship becomes. As for coping with temptation, this is where your commitment comes into play and the future planning that you do. Most people can get by on the promise of the hot stuff! Just make sure you carry through on what you say you are going to do to each other when you meet up!
5. Overcoming feelings of jealousy and fears of cheating
All romantic relationships can experience jealousy and fears about cheating, but generally long distance relationships take longer to resolve those feelings. The grass always seems greener on the other side especially if one partner has gone away somewhere exciting while the other is at home. If every time you talk to your beloved there appears to be a party on in the background, no wonder you feel jealous. The important thing is to not beat yourself up about it. It’s natural to feel a bit jealous and insecure. It is going to happen, so accept it and do not let it escalate. Maintain your own high self-esteem and high self-worth. Keep doing the things that you enjoy doing. You are a valuable, attractive, interesting person. It’s important for your own mental health that you adopt the attitude that your partner is lucky to have you in their life. Think that you are the best choice for them. Successful long distance relationships use the distance to have a clearer perspective on the relationship. Acknowledge the reality that you could form a successful relationship with any number of people. But you have chosen to build a wonderful relationship with this person who just happens to be a long distance away at this time. With this perspective your relationship is always based on choice. With you choosing to create a loving relationship rather than it being about neediness, craving or thinking this is the one and only.
6. Dealing with doubt about your feelings
Accept that it is natural for your enthusiasm to lessen at times. All relationships wax and wane, so refuse to see it as indicative of a failing relationship. Do not be afraid to express your feelings within a context that is safe. If you have planned well, you will have provided for this eventuality and you will both know that it is just a natural part of being apart. Evaluate where you are and where you are headed in the relationship. Make sure that you have shared relationship goals to aim for and that you are actively talking about your next physical meeting and any future life plans. People who live very much in the moment can often find it harder to maintain touch with their feelings for someone while apart. If that is you, make sure both you and your partner understand that you might not be as demonstrative from a distance. In this situation, it is best to try and schedule more regular meetings if possible. But it is also important, for your life not just your relationship, that you gain a better and longer time perspective. The most successful people financially are those who think and plan 10, 20, 30 years ahead. The same is true in relationships. Successful long distance relationships occur when both parties see the separation as temporary and having a finite duration, and that they are building towards a future together
7. Successful relationships at a distance and close-up
Ultimately you want to find out how to successfully love another person and how to create a blissful relationship. The fact that you are going to be apart for a while is just another challenge that you need to rise to. Relationships are full of challenges. Things are always coming along to throw you off balance. That is life. The trick is to adapt and overcome life’s challenges. In traditional wedding vows, the couple make promises to each other that they love, respect and care for each other through thick and thin, in rich times and poor times. There is a real magic in a commitment like that. Making a vow of that nature builds deep love between two people. Deep love is something you can only experience with time and commitment. It enriches your soul. You feel fulfilled by it to your very marrow. Successful long distance relationships are built by people committed to love and being loving to each other. Love is a verb. It is something that you can choose to do. Often times choosing to love involves hard work. But the rewards it pays outweigh anything else you can get from this world.