How to Make it Work
Long distance love can be difficult, but it’s not necessarily a relationship death sentence. If you are really committed to someone, then there are ways to sustain your connection until you can live in the same city. Some couples maintain a long distance relationship for years, especially when professional opportunities don’t make it easy to get close. Here are some ways to stay connected to your loved one even when the miles keep you apart.
With Skype, FaceTime, and plenty of other ways to stay in touch – you should always have a way to see your partner’s face when you want to, even when you’re far away and dating long distance. Use all of the technology at your disposal to stay close. Talking on the phone is a good way to keep in touch, of course, but sometimes video chatting can help you feel better about your contact – nothing beats seeing a familiar smile at the end of a long day or seeing a look of empathy on your partner’s face. Best of all – programs like Skype are free.
When you aren’t there to give daily affirmations in person, it becomes even more important to extend romantic gestures. Whether it’s a small romantic note sent through the mail, or ordering your sweetheart’s favorite lunch and having it delivered to her as a surprise, these gestures will help keep the romance alive. Sometimes a lack of physical touch or closeness can make it feel like you’re drifting apart, so sincere romantic gestures are a must when you can’t be in the same city all of the time.
When one partner is burdened with all of the travel, he or she is bound to get exhausted. Hours in the car or on a plane every week, or even every few weeks, can get tiring and make it hard to have energy once you’re finally together. If you can, alternate who travels, or agree to meet in the middle. Splitting the travel is fair and it shows your partner that you’re capable of compromise in the relationship.
Make the Small Things Count
Appreciate the small moments when you are together, and pay full attention to each other. When you’re dating long distance you can’t take the small things for granted, like the chance to get up early and go to breakfast together. It’s also important not to take small interference too seriously. Sometimes family emergencies will mean canceling a scheduled phone call, or travel plans will need to be changed because of an unexpected work event. Try to roll with the punches, so that you can enjoy each other when you eventually get together.
Dating long distance isn’t always easy, but it can work. Once your bond is more secure, you can consider moving to be with your partner — or asking him to move with you. While you are still getting to know each other, however, it often makes sense to date without uprooting your entire life. With these guidelines, you can strengthen your bond and show affection even when you’re not physically together.
About Jennine Estes, MFT
Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653