Nearly everyone has been involved in a long distance relationship at some point in their life.
Most of us have failed to maintain it, and have inevitably broken up, even though it may have been a promising relationship.
Why is that so? What are the common reasons for breaking up in those relationships, and how can you make them work?
To begin with, I was there myself.
A good friend of mine gave my e-mail address to his wife's best friend.
Shortly after that, she dropped me a line. So we got to know each other.
The great thing about e-mail communication is that there are no games. At least there shouldn't be. You can present yourself as the person you are.
You can truly open up.
So we fell in love just for the people we were. No masks, no shields. But still 2000 miles apart.
Of course, the critical moment was when we first met.
Would the picture we had of each other synchronize with the outer picture?
If you've been dishonest, then you will fail at this point.
Luckily, it worked out for us.
Long distance relationships can happen due to various reasons.
Here are some of the common scenarios:
- You've met in a chat room or an online personal site, and realized in the end that you were several states away from each other.
- You recently graduated college and have moved back to your hometown, while your boyfriend or girlfriend has stayed in the college town.
- At work you've been promoted and sent to a new city for an important program, and will be in that location for several months.
That kind of relationships have both advantages and disadvantages.
For some, the distance is a good way to slowly open up to the relationship without the constant presence of the partner.
The romance stays kindled because you aren't around the person 24/7, having to see different habits and routines that can get repetitive.
Regarding disadvantages, it is very frustrating that there is no intimacy, no hugging, no kissing – at least between the meetings.
You will experience difficulties in connecting because you don't have eye contact, and can't take walks or enjoy dinners out together.
Then again, that makes the meetings so much more intense than they would be in a “normal” relationship.
It's the quality, not the quantity.
It can work, but there are some rules and guides you have to follow.
Of course, there is also a crucial condition that without, any long term relationship will not work:
You must have a sincere interest in each other.
I mean a deep, emotional connection, whether you've been together before the spatial separation or you've just met each other through chat or e-mail.
I'm afraid a physical attraction is not enough.
That's why most summer vacation affairs fail in the end.
Here are the rules that made my personal long distance relationship work:
1. Have A Relationship Plan For The Future
Know where you are heading. Have a light at the end of the tunnel.
What do you want to accomplish in your partnership?
Have goals and a time frame for when you want to be together. It is critical that you both have a hope to live for.
Have a light at the end of the tunnel.
I think that this is the most common reason why some relationships over distance don't work – they don't have a plan.
They just hope it will turn out right eventually, and that a miracle is going to happen.
Indeed this also means you will have to make sacrifices. At least one of you.
Realize that you most likely only have three options:
- she moves to him
- he moves to her
- both move to another place
Start talking about it as soon as you realize that you want to be together.
The biggest mistake you can make is to hush it up.
2. Meet Regularly
Try to see each other every month, at least once.
Plan this ahead, and include some activities like town visits, museums, a weekend in a fancy hotel, etc.
Make it a celebration, an explosion – something very special!
Soon these short meetings will be something you long for, something that you will align your life around.
Remember, you can only get a real connection by touching, feeling and smelling a person.
You don't get smell with email or Skype, or that initial wow you feel inside when you see your love.
So do everything you can to meet at least once a month.
3. Use Modern Technologies To Communicate
You need all the help you can get, so why not use the excellent benefits of a modern communication world:
- Write at least one e-mail to each other every day
- Use Skype/Facetime or something similar to talk to each other for free. Believe me; it's awesome watching a movie together while simultaneously talking to each other
- Use Instant Messaging
- Use digital photographs or take videos of your daily activities and send them via e-mail
- Use a webcam, (this I can highly recommend)
Using all this electronic stuff will make it much easier for you both.
Imagine how it used to be 100 years ago when a letter used to take months.
4. Give Yourselves A Free Day
This one-sided communication – I mean with no physical interaction – can sometimes frustrate you very intensively.
It is possible that this frustration then turns to conflicts between you as an outlet for it.
This could lead to misunderstandings that are tough to resolve per e-mail.
Believe me one thing – you do not want to have a fight over e-mail or phone.
I found it very helpful to insert a day or two without any communication.
What happens then is that you miss each other very intensely, and you usually find yourselves at a much higher level than you were before.
If the only way of interaction between you is canceled for a day or two, you will either progress or doubt.
In any case, you will know where you stand.
This is also a good way to test the strength of your relationship.
5. Write Extensive And Intimate Emails
“The most important thing here is – be honest!”
Open yourself up completely.
Write about your inner state, what you are feeling, what you dream about, what you hope for.
As a rule of guidance, describe in your emails, your inner state and during your phone calls, your outer state.
Writing is more intense than verbal communication and allows you to be more intimate. That will create a tighter bond between you.
The most important thing here is – be honest!
Don't pretend you are someone you are not. Don't put yourself in a better light.
You will only have a chance if both people are completely honest and congruent.
6. Send A Written Letter Once In A While
Do not underestimate that marvelous feeling when you look in your mailbox and find a letter from your love, open it, and see his/her writing.
This is a pleasure we often forget about in this modern era.
Not to mention that it's far more romantic.
7. Beware Of Jealousy
Jealousy is a very dangerous thing and can threaten every romantic relationship.
Jealousy is commonly a lack of trust and understanding. It very often reveals insecurities and bad experiences in other relationships.
The keyword here is simply – trust.
You cannot control and observe your partner. You can only have faith in your relationship, and in the things you have built in the times, you have had together.
Hold on to that, and never give into that green eyed monster.
Jealousy is one of the most negative and destructive emotions there is!
Listen to Shakespeare:
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on; that cuckold lives in bliss
Who, certain of his fate, loves not his wronger
But, O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!
8. Avoid Dangerous “Situations”
As mentioned before, trust is essential.
If you completely trust your partner and also have faith in your relationship, you can pretty much do what you want without endangering anything you have together.
However, I nevertheless recommend avoiding some specific situations.
Of course, it depends on the person, but I would not go out with anyone of the opposite sex alone, or go to wild parties.
Simply avoid temptations that could distract you from each other.
Better safe than sorry!
9. Never Lose Faith
People will tell you that relationships over a long distance never work.
Watch out – you will meet a lot of skepticism.
People will “warn you” about this kind of relationships, especially those who have had negative experiences with them.
Don't listen to them.
People tend to negate things they failed on.
Listen to me – it can definitely work, but you both have to believe it.
Check out my article on achieving goals.
10. Always Stay Positive
Always assume that your partner loves you and cares about you.
Never believe anything negative, whether you read something in his/her emails or you disliked how he/she made a weird comment on something.
Don't interpret too much into anything.
The problem with non-face-to-face communication is the lack of facial expression.
It is so easy to misinterpret, but unfortunately much harder to trust and stay positive.
I assure you, if something were really wrong, you would know it.
As you can see, I'm positive about long distance relationships.
They expose ongoing life lessons and prove that love, loyalty, and faith are the vital ingredients to a lasting relationship.
Have faith, have trust, and you both will succeed in the end.