Traditionally long distance relationships have been unlikely to last beyond 6 months, but in the age of the internet, Skype and mobile phones they have more chance than ever of being successful. The challenges facing people engaged in a long-distance relationship are unique. It can take more careful planning, time and attention than a traditional relationship but if you are both committed to making it work there is no reason why it can’t be just as fulfilling and satisfying as any other relationship. To give your long distance relationship the very best chance of success here are our top 6 secrets.
1. Creating clear parameters
Early on you both need to decide where you would both like this relationship to go. This will happen in a traditional relationship but there isn’t the same urgency. If you are going to invest time and effort in keeping in contact; money travelling to visit each other and emotional energy in establishing a bond over a distance you want to know early on that you are both heading in the same direction. Are you going to give it 6 months of you both giving it your very best shot and then get together to review how it is going? Are you working towards living together one day? Do you know what level of commitment the other person wants from you and whether you can give it?
You don’t need to make all these decisions straight away but you do need to both have the ability to say what you want and need and articulate how you are feeling as the relationship goes on.
2. Keeping regular contact
In order to make a long distance relationship work you need daily contact so that you become part of each other’s daily lives. This is easier than it used to be with the internet and Skype – no more huge phone bills!
Talk on the phone or online; write emails; send love letters; Skype or instant message – it is all great for your developing relationship but even the most talkative of people might run out of things to say. Try doing things together – watch a film at the same time and then talk about it; play Scrabble, chess or some other online game; learn a language together and then practice your skills while planning a trip to that country – there are no end of things you can engage together in online which will give you plenty to talk about every day and deepen your bond and connection with each other.
3. Have face to face contact – as much as possible
Although you can develop a great virtual relationship it is really important that you set regular dates to meet up and see each other face to face. The physical contact of your partner is the glue that binds all the other things together – the smell of their skin; the touch of their hand; the kisses that say more than words ever could – it is vital to the success of the relationship that these meetings happen. When one visit has ended plan the next so you both have something to look forward to.
4. Develop trust
Trust is the cornerstone of all healthy and lasting relationships but it is particularly important when it comes to long distance relationships – there is so much distance between you it is easy to become insecure or unsure about your partner’s commitment. This is why having clear parameters and daily contact is so important. It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t both get insecure at different times but if you are in daily contact you will be able to talk about how you are feeling rather than having days or weeks feeling unsure and insecure.
5. Nurture security
Feeling secure in a relationship comes from being really clear with each other about what is happening and where you are going. Firm plans, definite times arranged when you will meet online; a willingness to talk about the future and, most importantly, an agreement that if it isn’t working you will tell each other – all of these things will create the security you need in order for your relationship to survive and thrive.
6. Have an attitude of gratitude
Many long distance relationships don’t survive because the distance between them becomes a painful experience and when the couple talk it is about how awful it is that they can’t be together, how much they miss each other and how difficult it all is. Watching your partner suffer emotional pain is horrible and will lead some people to conclude it is better to finish it rather than prolong the agony.
When you talk try to focus on what is great about your relationship and although it will be painful at times don’t wallow in it or you might risk losing them altogether.