Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it ~THOMAS FULLER
Long Distance Relationships (LDR) can be VERY TRICKY.
The possibility of success and the chances of failure are fairly balanced out in a Long distance relationship. Depending on various factors, these relationships can function just like those in which partners live close to each other. But it certainly does create an impact on the success of the relationships as well as minds.
If you are deciding whether or not to go for a long-distance relationship, you might be wondering:
- Is it right for you and the person you are with?
- Do long-distance relationship works?
- What is the most challenging thing about it?
- How often should you text or talk on the phone or visit each other?
- How do you stay present at the moment or happy, when you’re alone and not with them?
- How to maintain a happy, loving relationship?
We will explore all this and more…
What is a Long Distance Relationship?
Oxford Dictionary defines it as “A romantic relationship between two people who live far apart and so are unable to meet on a frequent basis.”
What are the Potential Challenges and Problems in Long Distance Relationship?
Let’s be honest: Every relationship has its ups and downs. Long Distance Relationships come with their own unique set of complications.
Conflicts are a part of every relationship. When you add distance into the mix, new problems arise. Whether you have been in long distance for two weeks or two years, you know that being away from your partner creates conflicts. As you move apart, you get less time and in turn have lesser discussions which give conflicts more space in your relationship. Conflicts also arise due to the fact that you don’t want to do something but you are forced to do so. It may even take place when it seems like a one-sided effort to keep the relationship going.
- RECONNECTING AFTER BEING APART:
There are many things which the partners have to share with each other especially when you reconnect after a long time. So, many times instead of making memories and enjoying the moments you have, you end up fighting on what you don’t have. The expectations are sometimes not met and you end up having more differences than you had before.
As it is said, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Constantly having the mindset of wanting to know more about your partner right then can affect the dynamics of your relationship. You start to lose out on your patience level. You start focusing on the negative and overanalyzing on the things which lead towards the relationship becoming toxic. It makes the relationship complex and you begin to have second thoughts about it.
Travelling is one of those things that may affect the relationship the most. The cost of travelling is high and it also requires time from your side to travel to your partner. It becomes extremely difficult to be involved in a deep conversation without you meeting the partner. It acts as a barrier to the relationship and creates a gap between the two.
When it comes to communication, there are two things which screw up the relationship. One is the lack of communication and the other is miscommunication. Lack of communication makes people feel lonely. The sense of loneliness may make you or the partner sarcastic. It starts with one partner sarcastically telling the other partner how the relationship is not their priority. If this sarcasm goes overboard, it can become the primary source of miscommunication.
Possibly the most common problem in all the relationships and not only in LDR. Mis-trust is the one aspect which LDR are very prone to. Because of the physical distance between partners, partners may find it difficult to trust each other completely. Due to the lack of trust, partners may start pulling apart mentally, causing more harm than physical distance. Problems are innate in a relationship but it is the lack of trust between couples which poses a serious threat to relationships.
People cheat in all kinds of relationship and for all kinds of reasons. The odds are just a little higher when you are in an LDR. The common worry in most of the long-distance relationships is that their partner may have an affair while they are separated. Loneliness, lack of loyalty, bad friendships, vulnerability, lack of emotional connection, unmet sexual needs, alcohol, and drugs are a few of the reasons that may lead the partners towards cheating.
- UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS:
Both you and your partner are sometimes not clear of what you want from the other one or from the relationship. What you and your partner expect out of a long-distance relationship goes a long way in determining your happiness and the success of the relationships. The unreasonable expectations not only affects the person who has it but affects the partner too and creates a sense of pressurization.
- NOT LIVING SEPARATE LIVES:
There is no doubt that the long-distance relationship requires some amount of sacrifice. But don’t put your life on hold under these circumstances. It is important to be considerate to not sacrifice more than it is necessary. It may lead to resentment and regret over the span of time. Couples usually isolate themselves and not live their lives up to the point and they may seem to be lost.
- LACK OF INTIMACY:
Sexual desire is like a glue that keeps both parties from drifting apart. By intimacy, I am not talking only about Physical intimacy but also Emotional one. Emotional intimacy is based on the deep knowledge of the partner we have. In the case of LDR, it may become very difficult to be aware of what the partner’s likes and dislikes actually are. Similarly, Physical intimacy comes from the comfort and the familiarity you get when you are close to each other. Whether be it kissing or hugging or sexual experiences. Due to the very limited time you get with each other, it is difficult to maintain the level of intimacy.
What are the Psychological Effects of being in a Long Distance Relationship?
- FEAR OF MISSING OUT(FOMO):
It is defined in Oxford Dictionary as “Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.” It is a real thing. We’ve all felt it, the fear of missing out sucks. It is amplified when you feel like you are missing out on the large chunks of their life. It becomes more saddening as the days pass by and you start missing out on the smaller instances. too. You begin to feel like you don’t really know the person and they are changing. It starts affecting you and your relationship. It has become so prevalent that some mental health professionals have termed it an epidemic among young adults. Also, a pervasive mental health syndrome for all ages. To get out of FOMO, the best thing would be to face it and fight it. Some steps that can be taken include admit your problem and practice mindfulness.
- POSSESSIVENESS or INSECURITY:
It is a born feeling to know what the other partner is doing and where they are. This feeling of possessiveness or insecurity can be really difficult to overcome. You sometimes start panicking when the partner doesn’t reply back within a few minutes. Distance makes trusting difficult and aids towards possessiveness. The reality is probably very different, of course. But feeling the same for a long time may affect the health of yourselves and your relationship. The important thing to think is that whether you have anything to be insecure about? Are any of these things or people more important to your partner than you are? The answer is usually no. Therefore, always remember that your partner has chosen to be with you and there will be a hundred reasons for that. Try to be confident about all the things that make you special.
It is an extreme case of possessiveness or insecurity. It signals that you do care about the partner but too much of jealousy creates a negative impact on the relationship. Also, being continually jealous and having an argument on the same may possibly ruin a perfectly good relationship. Just by letting your mind be filled with jealousy and suspicion can be disturbing. In this, you just give yourself some unnecessary worries. It is likely to lead towards arguments with your partner, who might feel sad and hurt that you don’t trust them. Well, you should learn this thing that if your partner is really planning to cheat on you, there is not much you can do about it. Also, worrying about the same beforehand will do more harm than good. That means that you have nothing to lose by trusting your partner and your relationship will go smooth.
For those who are in a LDR, stress seems to be a part of a gig. Just listening to the word makes your heart beat a little faster. Being apart from the person whom you want to be the most with is very stressful. And when you and your partner are stressed, misunderstandings and conflicts can arise very easily. You get annoyed easily and start arguing over very silly things more frequently than before. Just try to find out the biggest source of pressure or stress when you are struggling in a relationship with your partner. Try to work over those and things like having patience, motivation, learning yoga can be a way to achieve more out of the situation of stress.
Anxiety is no easy ride when you have to live with it especially due to a long distance relationship. It is not good for you as well as for the people who are closest to you be it your partner or your friends and family. You will have a lot going on in your mind in this state. Most of those thoughts will be comprised of hypothetical situations, which may or may not be realistic but may cross your mind anyway. You are constantly at the edge thinking what is going to happen next. You may feel unsettled as you are not really sure what’s next. The distance makes it so much harder that you get stuck in a loop of what-ifs and you may not be able to stop it. If your partner is having anxiety than that is a whole new story where you should be prepared to answer a lot of questions. Be prepare for comforting your partner. Sometimes there can be moments of silence whereas sometimes there can be anxiety attacks taking place. Things, like listening to music, maintaining a journal, taking deep breaths and visualizing a safe space for yourself can really help you to get out of the situation. The more anxious you are, the harder it’ll be to maintain a happy relationship.
It is usual to feel alone and lonely when you are in a distance from your significant other. These emotions of missing your partner every single day are very normal. Sometimes it is just the emptiness that you may feel and sometimes it is a loss of contact with the partner. This starts making you wonder whether you are close to your partner or not? You know that you are not alone and that your partner is there to back you up. But you feel, that connection is lost when you were together. Just hold on and fight with your feelings, it is just a matter of a particular thought or a day and it will probably go away. Things, like planning the future together, keeping alive the emotional and physical intimacy, having a communication schedule, can bring you far away from the point where you will feel lonely.
Research suggests that one of the factors which lead to the termination of Long Distance Relationship is negativity. No relationship can thrive from the steady stream of negativity flowing into it. Negativity arises readily if you feel any of the above-mentioned characteristics. It is easy to get lost in the negative aspect of long distance relationship. Like feeling alone all the time, missing each other, dealing with jealousy and much more. The effects of these negative aspects are very drastic. Even a small amount of negative brain activity can weaken your immune system badly, making you more prone to illness. It can affect your intelligence as well as the ability to think. It may go unnoticed sometimes until something drastic happens. Things, like practicing kindness, setting your limits, focusing on your vision, surrounding yourself with more positive people can help you experience positivity.
LDR can be one of the toughest journeys for a couple to experience. Depression can be one of the underlying emotion for most of the people in LDR. It darkens your thoughts and feelings, can last for weeks or months and can come and go. When you are depressed for long, you are dragging your partner and others as well into it and your partner also suffers from it. It just leaves your significant other with a feeling of helplessness and confusion. To fight with the same, you need to be aware of emotions. Things, like talking to each other or family or friends about it, assuring your partner, eating healthy, going for meditation, regularly exercising, can be done to enrich your life. If you still feel stuck into it for long, you may think of consulting a psychologist.
It needs to be taken care of at very initial level in LDR so that the issues leading to fear can be resolved right there. Don’t curb it and then burst out one day when it has been transformed into some serious issues. It can lead to other psychological symptoms like stress, anxiety, depression etc. Insecurity and jealousy drive the fears like Fear Of Missing Out(FOMO), cheating, not being able to see or talk to them on a regular basis, the partner not having time and asking for space, future stability etc. Things, like writing down your fears and from where is it coming, avoiding excessive interference, establishing parameters, clarifying trust issues can avoid the fears and in turn its consequences.
Being close is the first and last desire of lovers, but being far and loving each other without an inch’s difference is the characteristic of real love.
What are the top 13 tips to make Long Distance Relationships work?
While long-distance relationships can be challenging, there are things that you can do to make them work. Even if you’re in the middle of a rough patch right now that is fine. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the wrong relationship. You may follow some of the tips below and can look out for changes you need to make your long distance relationship work.
- PRIORITIZE YOUR SCHEDULES WELL:
It is best to establish a few parameters if you are in a long distance relationship or have just entered into one. It is better than falling prey to insecurities about the partner. You can make a list of the events which you need to work on and with that prioritize your partner’s time. It is important to prioritize so that your partner doesn’t feel left out. This can help you create an important framework that both of you can agree with and within which your relationship can foster. This also reduces the possibilities of misunderstandings, the space for disappointments, as well as the scope of negative interactions. This way your partner will feel like they are important in your life and doesn’t feel left out.
The online Mind your Relationship workshop can help you in understanding your partner better which will enable you to focus and prioritize your schedules. This, in turn, will help you to avoid the unnecessary issues between you and your partner. “It is not about HAVING time, It is about MAKING time”
- MAKE SURE YOUR GOALS AND POTENTIAL ENDGAMES ARE IN SYNC:
It is important to evaluate the duration for which the long distance will last, as obviously, it can’t be forever. The goals for the relationship must be known to both partners and reviewed once in a while in order to understand the pathways which you both are following.
Are the goals you both are looking forward to in sync? Are you both looking out for the long-term relationship or not? These questions clear the picture whether you both are on the same page or not. When you and your relationship is goal-driven, it makes easier to plan things accordingly and would strengthen the bonds of love with the partner. It will instil a sense of security within you. With the help of the SOFT SEA Coaching model, you can aim to reform or transform your goals and match it with your partner’s. This will help you get in sync with each other. “The great relationship pertains to how well you continue building love until the end”
- UTILIZE TECHNOLOGY:
Whether together or at a distance, it is all about feeling connected. Technology in today’s world can play a big role in helping partners feel connected in a long distance relationship. Distance doesn’t necessarily mean missing out on having a physical presence. This is where technological advances like E-mail, Cell Phones, Text Messages, Facebook, Twitter, Skype offer resources to be in touch with one another.
Through technology, you can get easily connected. You can instantly be aware of what your partner is doing through social media. Social Networks can serve to compensate for the needs when your partner is away. Talking and updating about social connections is a feasible way to feel connected at a distance. This way you and your partner know about the people whom you are in regular connect with.
- TRY TO COMMUNICATE REGULARLY AND CREATIVELY:
Keep the channels of communication open. It is substantial for the success of the long distance relationship.
- Your conversations with the partner should not always be about how much you are missing the other person or how miserable you are without the partner.
- Simply share what you did the whole day. If you noticed something interesting share that.
- Be creative and discuss your future. You can also discuss what you will be doing when you meet each other next.
- Learn to ask questions which are more likely to elicit an involved response from him/her.
- Know your partner Love language. This will help you understand how your partner expresses and expects to receive love. This can actually solve most of your misunderstandings.
- DO THINGS TOGETHER:
Don’t just rely on general chat for communication. Come up with fun things to do together.
- Watch movies at the same time together
- Take a walk together
- Cook the same meals or play a game together online.
- Start having virtual dates to make it more romantic which shows that you are making an effort to make the relationship work.
- Share the memories of those parts when you are together, in a different and creative manner. “The most important moments and experiences in life are meant to be shared with your partner”, says Backe.
- Try to indulge in each other’s hobbies and motivate them to pursue their hobbies.
- MAKE VISITS:
Yes, it may cost but visits are the highlights of every long-distance relationship. It is like the most awaited moment you and your partner both look forward to. After all the waiting you finally get to meet each other to fulfil all the things like hugging, kissing, holding hands etc. These are common to the couples who meet on regular bases but very special and intimate for you and your partner to make the most out of it.
During the visits, don’t waste this time in speaking about the issues you face due to the long distance relationship instead enjoy the time you have got there. It will be like fireworks and butterflies all around.
Plan the visits itinerary before-hand, don’t forget to add something new each time you visit. Capture every moment, every day and try to leave your phones alone otherwise. So when it’s time to finally shed the tears of saying goodbye, you’ll know your love can sustain being months apart until you can finally be in each other’s arms again.
“Dream and aspire together”
- ENJOY YOUR ALONE TIME AND YOUR TIME YOUR WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY:
You are alone but until and unless you choose to be lonely, you are not. Don’t let your world revolve around your partner – you still have others, your friends and your family. Try spending quality time with them and keep on maintaining your relations with them as well.
Take this time to focus on what your hobbies are or what you want to achieve. Binge- watch shows, go to the gym, plan out a day with your friends. Do the things that make you feel happy, smart and fit.
There are plenty of things for you that doesn’t involve your partner and it is okay to do things alone. It is consequential to invest as much love in yourself as you do in your partner.
“The better you know and appreciate yourself, the better you can focus on knowing and appreciating your partner when you are together”
- STAY HONEST AND TRUST EACH OTHER:
Long Distance Relationships should be purely based around it. Remember that you signed up for LDR with pure honesty, whether it is for a small or big thing. Both trust and honesty go hand in hand. You have to believe that your partner is being honest with you. If they say they wouldn’t do anything to compromise your relationship, they mean it.
Talk about your feelings of fear, insecurity, jealousy, apathy, and things like that. Don’t try and deal with things all by yourself. Be open and honest with each other. Let your partner help you, give you the support you need. It’s better to look at the issues during its initial stage than to only disclose it when it’s all too late.
“Love + Trust + Honesty = Long Lasting Relationship”
- PERSONALIZED GIFTS:
Gifts have the power to create a memento. Be it anything from very little to a big thing just make sure that you make an effort, energy and time to select that. It can do the trick when you are not able to meet your partner in person.
We have a habit of attaching meanings with the small things in everyday life, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Try to store memories in physical things. It acts as hope. Be it a small pendant, a ring, a keychain, a collection of songs and videos, self-made cards or sketches or a bottle of fragrance.
At the moment you miss your significant other, you can just hold on to these gifts. This is why something so basic and simple can mean so much to a person, when others may see little or no value in it.
- STAY POSITIVE:
A little positivity goes a long way in keeping your relationship replenished. Whether you choose to be grateful, poke fun at each other or capitalize on good news. You need to make a constant effort to put in the positive energy in LDR.
You may witness some moments wherein you wish that your partner should be by your side. You may start feeling lonely because of their absence but you need to remind yourself that the fruits at the end will be sweet as heaven.
Being grateful and thankful to what you have is one way to keep the positivity within you alive. Take care of yourself, it helps you stay positive. The key here is to be optimistic, and not view distance as an obstacle, but as a learning experience. In order to live together, you must learn how to live apart from each other.
Mind Your Self Workshop can help you develop skills to manage your emotional state. This can help you stay positive in your day to day life
“When you feel like giving up, remember why you held on for so long”
- REASSURE YOUR PARTNER:
Validations of commitment and support are crucial when things are difficult and homecoming feels far away. The downside being a partner is not there but the benefit is often unexpected as new efforts are made by each partner to compensate that absence. You can store up what you plan to say and look forward to hearing what your partner has to say. The communication is often intended to reassure and connect.
Assure your partner once in a while that you are all in to make this relationship really work. You will put all the efforts to make it work. It is also a good idea to support your partner when they really need it. Love Languages helps you to reassure your partner in a way they will accept it and embrace your relationship with each other.
“Give them the extra assurance when they are doubting whether it will work.”
Loneliness can be challenging to overcome. If you and your partner are both comfortable and agree to it, you each can explore seeing other people in your area while still being a couple. The very fact that both of you have agreed to date others while being in an LDR exhibit that you trust each other wholeheartedly. It also shows that both of you won’t let insecurities about your relationship get the better of you. It means that both of you are aware of each other’s needs. Also, you are willing to walk that extra mile to take care of them. Agreeing to this shows that you both are transparent to each other. Don’t shy away from discussing advantages as well as shortcomings in your relationship.
“Disclosure of feelings, concerns, and confidences validates the trust that the other accepts who you are.”
- KEEP THE INTIMACY ALIVE:
Maintaining intimacy, be it Physical or Emotional, is important to keep moving forward in your relationship. Keep the flames burning by sending each other teasing texts filled with sexual innuendos and provocative descriptions. Sexy puns work pretty well too.
The best way to work around with it is to have a sexual agreement of some sort – there is no best one, but you do need one. You must work double to make sure that you’re sensitive to your partner’s need.
You must learn to anticipate each other’s need in advance. If your emotional intimacy is mostly communication and being in each other’s heads, then that ultimately means having the ability to see where an issue might arise. Resolve it before it has a chance to become a problem.
“Distance only separate bodies, not hearts”
“If there is a reason to love at a distance and you work together – you will find a way.”