5 rules for dealing with arguments in long distance relationships
Communicating in a relationship is tough, but communicating in long distance relationships is even harder. You have physical, and to some extent emotional, space between you, and an argument by phone or over the internet will only make this worse. Don’t let an argument become something more serious by playing by these rules
Rule 1: Give your partner – and yourself – space
So you’ve had a set-to, be it over the phone, by text, or even online. Just as in a face-to-face argument, you both now need to take a step back. The temptation might be to try and continue the argument, bombarding your other half with texts about how you feel, but that’s the worst thing you can do. For one thing, they probably won’t respond, leaving you feeling even more upset.
You need to give yourself time to think about how you feel about the argument, and to carry out some of the steps below, without wading straight back in. Let your partner know that you’re giving both of you time to think, and you’ll be in touch later (whether that’s after work, the next morning, or whatever’s right for you). That way they know where they stand, but you can still have some breathing space.
Rule 2: Work out if you’d have had the argument if you were apart
Long distance relationships are hard. They often require more time, understanding and patience than other relationships. The pressures that are on a couple living hundreds of miles away from each other can cause arguments, without any other cause. Whether it’s because your plans to see each other have had to be moved back, or one of you has had a bad day at work and is taking it out on the person at the other end of the phone, arguments can spring from nowhere.
Couple this with the fact that communicating through non face-to-face methods can often cause problems on its own, (missing visual clues, bad phone lines etc.) and couples in long distance relationships really do have it tough. You need to take all of this into account when deciding where your argument actually sprang from. If it did come from long-distance pressures then maybe you need to find better ways to communicate as a couple.
Rule 3: Admit your part in the argument
This is true of any argument; first admit your faults to yourself, and then to your partner. You’ll be amazed by how much better you feel – honestly! Once you admit it to yourself, you’ll be ready to face up to your partner and explain why you reacted the way you did, and hopefully clear the way towards making up.
Rule 4: Make time to make up
In long distance relationships it’s a bit harder for one of you to appear on the other person’s doorstep with a big box of chocolates and a balloon that says ‘I’m sorry’. But when it comes to making up after your argument, make sure you have the time to have a good chat. Don’t try to just grab a 5-minute conversation with your other half at the end of the day. Put some time aside in the evening when neither of you have got anything else on. Set up an online video call if you can – it really helps to be able to see your partner.
Rule 5: Forget it
With any argument you should have your disagreement, make up and then leave it alone. Nothing is to be gained from harking back to a previous disagreement to make a point. It just makes you look petty and your partner will live in fear that if they ever bring up anything again it might be used against them. Closure on arguments is important because if you don’t achieve it you’ll never let the issue lie – that’s why rule # 4 is so important!
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