Maintaining connection in any relationship requires giving and receiving plenty of love, in words and actions. When you are separated by distance (called LDRs) this becomes significantly harder, although fortunately these days we have the internet to help.
When lovers were apart up until the early 90’s, they had to rely on letters, telephone calls and other ways to keep the flame alight. It was costly and there was often a delay. These days we can have an online conversation, in real time, free, for as long as we like and as often as we like.
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Few people would opt for an LDR, however sometimes life throws us curved balls and we can find ourselves in one reluctantly. The trick to making it work is not to let that reluctance become resentment, and to stay well connected by whatever means you can. I’ve heard it said that distance can improve a relationship, ‘(distance make the heart grow fonder’), deepening and developing greater strength if you have the right attitude and commitment, and a plan.
With kilometres and time between you it is vital that you have a clear understanding on what is ‘allowed’ and what isn’t. Fidelity is a given, but you also need to set personal boundaries. How often will you be in contact and how? What is enough contact and what is too little/too much?
2. Work out how to deal with negative feelings
It’s easy for your imagination to start working overtime especially if your partner goes to conferences or other work events where one-night stands would be easy. If you begin to think like this its vital to be able to discuss it without being dismissed or made to feel foolish. In fact, you also need to be able to say how you are finding the arrangement hard, and in what way. In other words you both need to respect each other and not be judgemental if there are any negative feelings.
3. Act like you’re single
Thats right, apart from the essential commitment to fidelity its OK to spread your wings and use the time alone to act like a singleton. Do the things that being on your own means you can do, from eating as you want and when, to going out when and where you want. Post on social media, start new friendships and explore and be curious about the world around you. There is nothing less attractive than having your partner sitting at home and pining – go out and live, and have something interesting to tell each other when you are next online.
4. Have a 3 month rule
Ensure that the gaps between seeing each other in the flesh is no more than 3 months at a time. You’ll need to touch each other, have sex, restore the real intimacy otherwise there is a real danger that it becomes too hard to be separated. Remember too that some reconciliations are going to be better than others. If you have one that lacks spark or connection don’t think the relationship is necessarily over. Keep talking about how you feel and share the way you are experiencing things.
5. Don’t have too much contact
You might think that being in a LDR means that you should talk every day, but its not really necessary. Allow a couple of days to pass – but probably no more than 3 at a time – to allow events to share to build up and keep the interest alive. You don’t have to share every detail of your life apart, in a minute-by-minute account. It’s boring.
6. Don’t rely on online communications alone
There are many other ways to keep in touch and create the little surprises that really feeds good romance. You can send flowers, write cards and letters, send each other newspaper cuttings or arrange a present from a store. All these things demonstrate that you are thinking of each other and the romance is still alive.
7. Do things your partner doesn’t enjoy
See -3- above: this is your chance to indulge in activities or practices that you cant do when you are together. Tell your partner about it, but ensure that they feel confident and safe in your love.
8. Don’t allow the distance to allow you to bottle things up
Just because you are separated don’t ignore ruptures or clashes. Conflict is always good (it is growth trying to happen) but only when handled well and where there is a good communication skills and techniques to achieve resolution. This means expressing acceptance for your partners point of view and empathy for their feelings.
9. Sexting is good.
Learning how to have good telephone and video sex is a skill like any other, and can definitely help you feel closer. And its necessary if you are to avoid the temptation of infidelity.
10. Send each other regular appreciations.
Tell each other what you appreciate about them on a regular basis, and tell them how you are feeling.
There is no need for a LDR to be difficult if you know it is part of a longer plan, so make sure that you are open about how you see things, and ensure that you are on the same page. Then the miles can melt away and time can fly before you are back together again.
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Watch how you can Reignite Your Relationship with RESCU Academy's new course with Relationship Therapist, Annie Gurton below: