How to make a long distance relationship work
Notoriously long distance relationships are short lived and hard to maintain but with advances in communication technology it’s much easier to make them work.
According to recent research by Queens University unmarried couples who live geographically far apart are no longer at a disadvantage and their relationships thrive just as well as those where a couple lives near each other. This is encouraging for online daters because the wider your geographical search area the better the chances of you being matched with someone who’s compatible with you.
One of the research authors Karan Blair says “If you’re not physically with one another regularly, you must engage in other activities to establish the relationship otherwise there would simply be no relationship.” This encourages meaningful conversation, which leads to more effective communication, which in turn heightens intimacy and relationship satisfaction. So what do couples need to do to make a long distance relationship work?
Be clear from the start
It’s important that you’re both clear with each other from the start about the limit and scope of a potential relationship. This may mean that conversations about marriage, kids and commitment happen much sooner because you need to establish that you’re both heading in the same direction if you’re going to commit time and energy and be prepared to travel regularly to see each other.
Stay in touch
Like any relationship a long distance relationship will fail to thrive if it’s not given enough time and attention. Daily contact of some sort is ideal for building a strong connection. Use emails, texts, calls and Skype to communicate and you will soon fall into patterns which help you become part of each other’s daily lives. If you’re open to sharing your life with this person, and keeping in regular contact, you’ll prioritise the time to do this above other things.
Don’t limit contact to when you’re feeling happy, optimistic and upbeat. If this relationship is going to work you must be prepared for your partner to get to know you in good times and in bad. It’s often when someone supports us through a rough time that the relationship really strengthens.
No amount of virtual contact will ever be as satisfying as seeing your partner face to face. Holding them in your arms and making that all-important physical connection is what will cement the relationship that you’ve been building.
Set firm plans for meeting up and don’t let other things get in the way of you fulfilling those commitments. The most damaging things to a long distance relationship are inconsistency and broken promises especially ones regarding when you are going to be able to see each other.
When one visit ends set firm plans for the next time you will see each other so you both have something to look forward to.
Share interests and develop new ones
Your contact with each other doesn’t have to be limited to conversation. With the wonders of the modern world you can now play games; take courses and learn languages together even though you’re miles apart. You can share links to favourite songs and send photos and videos. There’s no limit to the amount of intimacy that can be developed even if you’re on the other side of the world.
A word of caution – do meet up in person, at least once, to ensure the match is genuine before you share openly about your private life online and never share anything you’re uncomfortable with. What goes online stays online.
A positive experience
Long distance relationships often don’t survive because what should be a happy event becomes a painful experience. If, every time you talk, it’s about how unbearable it is being apart and how much you miss each other, it’s going to bring you both down.
When you talk try to focus on what’s great about your relationship and your plans for the future. In order for it to work and you both need to stay committed. You need to know that you will be together one day and that the relationship is making you both happy, not miserable.
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