- “Hey what are you up to?”
- “About to sleep.”
- “Ok, good night.”
- “Are you busy now?”
- “Yeah I’m at work.”
- “Ok…Talk to you later…”
- “Good morning! Hope you have a great day!”
- “Thanks. You too!”
Are you in a long-distance relationship, and having such “mundane” conversations with your loved ones?
Too often, we get emotional on a lonely night, and complain about how much long-distance relationships suck; Too often, we see a couple walking down the street together, and realize that our loved ones are not here to hold our hands; Too often, we use the word “survive” when it comes to long-distance relationships, and worry all the time that they won’t work out eventually…
Is a long-distance relationship going to be hard? Admittedly, yes. But does it mean that inevitably things are going to fall apart with you left alone broken-hearted? Definitely not!
While it is true that long-distance relationships may require more efforts on both sides, there are surely simple ways to make the relationship not only stable, but also full of sweetness, joy, and excitement.
1. Be Clear About Your Expectations
Maybe at times you feel this way: It is not the long-distance relationship itself that makes you feel powerless and hopeless, it is the idea that there might not be a future out of this relationship that does.
So, will there be a future? The answer may remain unclear if you do not think that you two have a solid emotional foundation, or an adamant will to make the long-distance relationship work. That is why it is crucial to sit down together and scratch out a plan, or at least set some ground rules to establish a common understanding on how things might look.
For example, both of you need to clarify what you each expect: Do you want to commit to an exclusive relationship, or is it okay to also go on dates with others? If you two are on the same page, then it may be time to overlook the future together: Are you trying to come together soon, or is it alright to keep being in a long-distance relationship throughout the foreseeable future?
Being open with each other about all these things is the first step. After all, it needs to be understood by the both of you that a good relationship does not just fall from the sky; It takes work to manage, especially for a long-distance one.
2. Stay Busy
Yes, finding love in another person is amazing; But do not ever forget, that before you are someone to someone else, you are yourself. So, while your loved one is physically away, instead of feeling exhausted missing him/her and being afraid to be alone, see it as a good opportunity to work towards a better self.
Go to the gym, have a meditation session, read a book, watch a movie, cook delicious food, hang out with friends, do some volunteer work, take an internet course and learn a new skill… Enjoy your life by doing things for your mental, emotional and spiritual self, so that you can surprise him/her with your awesomeness.
Staying busy this way can help you find yourself beyond a romantic relationship and develop an independent path as well as identity. It distracts you from thinking too much about the fact that the other person is not by your side at the moment. This helps prevent you from getting sad, or even paranoid and desperate, all of which may cast negative effects on your relationship.
Love yourself, so more love will come to you.
3. Communication is Key
The key to a great relationship is balance: Balance between the status of the two persons, was well as balance between solitude and time together as a couple. Either being too “sticky” or too aloof might make things worse. This is exactly why communication is crucial in a long-distance relationship.
To start with, it helps if both of you agree to not ever have cold wars. That is, to be open to communication instead of shutting one another out from your heart and mind. As such, it can still be hard to actually communicate right. Here are what you might want to consider:
When to communicate?
First of all, let each other know your schedules, and discuss on an ideal frequency of communication: Some couples have to talk three times a day, whereas others are okay saying hi just twice a week. Not that one is absolutely better than another, as long as you figure out what works best for both you and him/her. Whether it be in the mornings after you wake up every day, or right before you go to sleep on Sunday nights, setting up regular times to update to each other what is going on in your life is basic of the basics.
What to communicate?
A big concern for many long-distance couples has been that the two of you will gradually grow apart: “There used to be so many topics between us, but after several months apart, are we still going to have that many things to talk about?” Not to worry, only if you know how to keep each other company, even though it is just through text messages, phone calls, and video chats. Making him/her feel attended to during important events is a must: Send him/her a “good luck” message the morning of their job interview, or call to say “great job” after he/she finishes a final exam… To up the game, add a little more fun and creativity to your “ordinary” regular communication: tell a hilarious joke, gossip about someone, or even be flirtatious and evoke his/her sexual desire.
How to communicate?
Some couples try hard to “love”, but do not actually know how to “love”. For long-distance relationships, mastering the art of communication is one of the particularly important ways to “love” properly. One rule of thumb is to always give compliments, not complaints. Get the positive energy flowing. Once you give the other person the right amount of care and recognition, it will build up a circle of benign interactions. As for the ways of communication, texting, due to its convenience and efficiency, would be the most common one for most long-distance couples. However, a downside for texting is that sometimes it is hard to interpret the meanings behind pure words and emoticons. If you feel that texting has caused misunderstanding sometimes, do not rush to a conclusion and make a scene. Instead, calm down and try to call or video chat for deeper communication.
4. Be Honest
Because you are not physically with each other, many long-distance couples feel insecure: “If we cannot see each other, touch each other, or accompany each other by the side, how would I know whether or not he/she has been loyal to me?” Nine times out of ten that this “selfish” idea has crossed the mind of you who is in a long-distance relationship. It is okay to have such a feeling but exaggerating it and overplaying it could do great damage to the relationship.
Learning to trust one another is the foundation of the sense of security. Honesty would be the first step to building trust. This means putting your feelings on the table and talking about your jealousy, uncertainty, dissatisfaction, anxiety, suspicion, and other “secretive” emotions together, and most importantly, getting comfortable with giving and receiving support from him/her. Do not try to hide the problems in their early phases, because distance can make a small obstacle into a mountain.
Remember: Be honest with each other and be honest with yourself.
5. Create Good Memories
For someone in a long-distance relationship, sometimes having a picture of him/her in the wallet or on the desk is just not enough. In fact, there are so many other ways to spice things up even when the two of you are hundreds of miles apart.
Start with getting some couple stuffs to feel that he/she is right by your side all along: Wear pajamas designed for couples, buy the same key-chains, use matching coffee mugs, or even customize your set of wooden watches with personalized engravings . Believe it or not, these seemingly small and simple items can often carry so much meanings and memories. Having some of them will surely add a stroke of bright color to your long-distance relationship.
It is also a good idea to surprise each other with some nice gifts delivered to the door every once in a while. Imagine the joy on his/her face when discovering a hand-written love letter from you in the mailbox, receiving a bunch of flowers on your anniversary or a box of chocolate on Valentine’s Day. You might not be able to be there in person all the time, but at least send your love to show him/her that they have always been on your mind.
Of course, though, if you have the time and budget, it is best to get together every now and then, especially on special occasions such as holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays. Try visiting each other to celebrate these meaningful moments and take your time to enjoy the long-awaited intimacy. Even better, try syncing your vacations to travel to the same destination for some romantic getaways. These will no doubt be the all-time highlights of your relationship.
If you cannot afford being physically with each other, either timewise or moneywise, doing similar things together will also work for you to feel soothed and accompanied. From watching the same TV shows on Netflix at the same time, to singing a duet of your favorite songs through a karaoke app, it is always nice to be creative about things you can do simultaneously to share your common experiences. Little by little, you two will build many pieces of good memories together, despite the distance.
As the old saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, a long-distance relationship should be seen as a learning opportunity for both of you to develop your independent selves while apart, and eventually form an even stronger connection throughout this experience.
No one is denying that a long-distance relationship will very likely be tough, but it will also be a great chance to see if you two belong together. Believe in the positive outlook and with that, keep taking care of the relationship full-heartedly. Do not worry too much if it’s not perfect, because as long as you are on the same page about your commitment, devotion and goal, your long-distance relationship can be not only “alive”, but also “enjoyable”.