How to maintain intimacy in a long distance relationship


Long distance relationship

Being away from the one you love for long periods of time can be tough. Jo Middleton shares her top tips for maintaining intimacy in a long distance relationship

As I started writing this, my partner called me. It was 9am and he was on his way to work, travelling across London, while I’m at home in Somerset. For the last six months he’s worked in London during the week, only coming home at weekends. He’s not away for weeks at a time, but Monday to Friday still feels like a long time doing long distance for us.

‘That was funny timing,’ I said, and I told him what I was writing about.

‘Make sure you tell people that they need to speak on the phone every day, at least in the morning and at bedtime,’ he replied.

So, there we go, I just did.

It’s little things like this that we find are so important. You might be thinking, ‘Monday to Friday isn’t so bad, you’d barely see each other then anyway,’ but those snippets of the day – first thing in the morning when you’re waking up and last thing at night when you’d normally be getting into bed together – are vital. Without realising it, it’s in moments like these that you connect with each other, sharing little worries, excitements or gossip from the day – it’s like plugging in your phone to recharge.

The biggest thing that I think you can do to maintain intimacy in a long distance relationship is to cherish those little moments, and make time to be part of each other’s lives, even though you’re physically apart.

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Intimacy in a relationship isn’t about the grand gestures. It’s not about having a huge bouquet of flowers delivered to your partner at work so that they know you’re thinking of them. It’s about taking two minutes to send them a picture of a funny looking pigeon that you saw on your way to work, or making the time to tell them about your plans for the day, so that you feel like you’re involved in each other’s lives.

My partner and I used to walk to work together before he moved jobs, and I know that he misses those walks and that time spent together. On my walk recently, I sent him snapshots at intervals along the way, pointing out silly things like people having painted their front doors. It took no time or money but it instantly made us feel closer.

A couple of weeks ago, we had an evening where we were unable to talk to each other, which also coincided with my partner staying with a friend in London rather than in his usual room. Either of these things on their own would have been fine, but there was something about the way I felt when we spoke the next morning and it turned out that he hadn’t been where I thought he had that made me feel like his life was happening without me, and that’s never a nice feeling when you’re far away from someone you love.

So, for me, that’s the secret. Forget the surprise barbershop quartets at work and the expensive gifts, just make sure you do the little things that make you feel like you’re together emotionally, even when you’re miles apart.

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