People nowadays are traveling more than in the past not only for touristic purposes but also for study abroad opportunities or business ventures. But thanks to an increase in direct low-cost flights and advances in technology, we are all more closely connected than ever before. You just need a Wifi-connection to talk or even see your loved ones thousands of kilometers away. For the same reason, you can easily keep in contact with people you’ve met during a stay abroad, or their stay in your area. The notion of how people meet each other has changed.
As a result, the number of long distance relationships is increasing. Experts estimate that nearly 4 million singles and 3 million married couples are currently in long distance relationships worldwide. This kind of union is not necessarily less genuine or gratifying than an ordinary one, but it requires a considerable compromise.
Relationship counselors and witnesses (such as business travelers and soldiers’ wives) agreed about some main attitudes to avoid and some to pursue, for a lasting and joyful relationship.
1. Don't put off dealing with the problems. Sometimes when a loved one is away, we feel there are conversations we cannot have because it might be too much to handle. The foundation of a good relationship is honesty, caring, and transparency. So aim to be truthful and do not pretend everything is okay when it’s not by waiting for the other to discuss a problem between the two of you.
2. Get over the commonplace relationship notion. The first thing you can do is realize there are no “regular” relationships - only local and not so local. Additionally, long distance relationships offer an advantage over local ones: they pose a greater chance to build a relationship more slowly. Getting to know the right person incrementally can forge a stronger, more powerful union. Because of the distance, you have less shared experiences than those who see each other more often. So take your time!
3. Don't cut yourself off from the world. Most uncertainty in a long distance relationship comes from having intense feelings of intimacy and connection followed by feelings of having to stand on your own. That doesn’t mean you should internalize your insecurities and cut yourself off from the outside world. The more you isolate yourself, the more your insecurities will rise about your partner’s feelings for you.
4. Keep your social life active. The most important step you can make when feeling frustrated by the distance is nurturing your social life; pursue interests that you have always wanted to develop! A happy, healthy person is one with a supportive social network. Think about joining a writers’ group or taking a class in something that interests you. Joining a supportive group might be another way to keep you living your life happily. The point is to find something you like to do and jump in. It will help you find your personal stability with a positive feedback on your relationship.
5. Don't stop having fun. Do you find yourself saying: “But I want to wait and do that with my partner?” Maybe, but you can do it again when you are reunited. There should be no guilt when it comes to doing something for yourself and having a bit of fun. Life doesn't stop when you are separated from your loved one! So don’t stop living it, encourage the other to do the same and then swap stories of all your fun times. In a caring relationship, you should find joy in each other’s happiness.
6. Keep the romance alive. Coming back together after being apart repetitively can be challenging, but on the other hand it presents many opportunities to fall in love all over again. The key is to keep the romance alive during the times you are apart, taking advantage of the different ways you can remind your partner how special s/he makes you feel. Get creative, go beyond traditional “snail and e-mail," send your partner flowers, a special mix CD, a singing telegram or a gift you know your partner will appreciate. If you are not the most hands-on creative type, you can use technology to express how you feel.
Every relationship, whether local or long distance, is unique so use your best judgment with what feels right for the both of you.
Three things make for a happy relationship: personal independence and growth, mutual commitment, and great communication - even through the tough times! Distance can seem overwhelming, but where there is mutual will, love always finds a way.