There comes a day in a long-distance relationship when couples ask themselves whether they’ll make it. Although the great emphasis on distance is often the cause of this question, research suggests that your thoughts on the relationship and your outlook greatly contribute to thriving LDRs.
Being in a long-distance relationship (LDR) can awaken different emotions. The thought of seeing one another someday brings excitement, but the dragging days can be distressing. Therefore, those who engage in long-distance relationships don’t do it haphazardly, as the process calls for commitment, trust, and compromise.
Plain and simple, the distance creates additional concerns. While the distance can play into the misunderstandings you can experience, the focus should not solely be on that factor. The relationship dynamic is still crucial. Sometimes, the fear of distance overshadows other essential factors that can improve connection in a relationship.
Many problems will come to the surface, along with conflicting feelings that can be hard to manage. However, it is not impossible to work through if you understand certain foundational elements. Start with these 6 essentials for a healthy long-distance relationship.
What Is a Long-Distance Relationship (LDR)?
Geographical separation of different sorts defines a long-distance relationship. While some partners may be car drives away from each other, some may require travel by plane. Regardless of the distance, there are rare or no in-person physical interactions between couples in LDRs.
Different circumstances can lead to a long-distance relationship. Some partners start their relationships through online connections, while others transition from regular into long-distance relationships due to personal circumstances. In other common cases, partners briefly meet while on vacation or study-abroad programs and decide to enter a relationship after returning to their home countries.
How To Maintain Long Distance Relationship
Some barriers can contribute to long-distance relationship pitfalls, but you can work through them. The 6 elements discussed below can help you extensively.
Vet Your Partner
It can be easy to fall in love with the idea of someone when you haven’t physically spent time with them. This is especially true for distance relationships that started online or briefly in person before the geographical separation.
Taking the time to see whether you love the idea of that person or the person for whom they are is highly important to sustain LDRs. If you feel this person can do no wrong, you’re more than likely idealizing them, which can block you from seeing red flags.
They seem like a good candidate, but vetting them will reduce distractions and factors that prevent you from truly learning about them. Vetting might seem complicated when you can’t be physically close, so being honest with yourself from the start of the relationship is vital.
Before getting emotionally invested, apply logic, and pay attention to response patterns when you’re establishing boundaries and making your values known. Additionally, ask questions to eliminate doubts and be clear about the direction of the relationship. This process prevents the shock when you finally meet, and the idealization fades.
Put Forth Effort
How do you know you’re not giving enough? It can be tricky to figure out since you can’t show up for them physically, but there are other ways. Showing up for your partner emotionally, listening to their needs, supporting their interests, and practicing gratitude are ways to demonstrate effort.
What kills long-distance relationships is ignoring elements that contribute to overall thriving relationships. Although there is no physical closeness, it does not mean there shouldn’t be any effort.
Technology advancements have made it easier to stay connected these days. You can still plan virtual dates, talk about your day, and make time for your partner in different ways you know they’ll appreciate. Additionally, follow through with your plans and work through insecurities together.
It is important to stay consistent and meet your relationship expectations. Making efforts to be part of moments in your partner’s life can prevent emotional distance.
Avoid Forced Communication
There is no doubt that communication is crucial, especially for long-distance relationship partners. Since you’re not seeing each other, you may feel compelled to communicate multiple times a day or daily. While this frequency may work for some couples, it won’t work for all.
There is no hard rule on how often you should talk to your partner. Therefore, understanding the frequency of communication that works best for you and your partner is essential. Otherwise, you’ll feel forced to maintain communication habits that aren’t true to your relationship.
Additionally, to develop a successful form of communication, know each other’s preferred method. Some people instead communicate by phone calls, while others prefer text messages. Being able to determine this at the beginning of your relationship will eliminate a lot of obstacles you may have to face later. However, it is not too late to make changes.
Make Room for Them
The goal is to be in the same location one day, whether you’re moving in together or close to one another. Mentally prepare yourself for the day you’ll be together. It doesn’t matter if it is months or years before the distance ends.
Problems can arise when you don’t make room for your partner. Because they physically don’t fit into your daily life, your routine does not essentially involve them. You have more time dedicated to yourself, platonic relationships, or your professional life. It can be difficult to adjust to a new normal once they become part of your physical world.
The day the distance will no longer exist can be life-changing. If you’re someone that does not adjust well to change, plan for these events.
Respect One Another’s Time
Your commitment to your partner should be as important as any other. If you set every Sunday afternoon aside for “Ice Cream Sundays” to bond with one another over a Facetime call, keep to it. If emergencies arise, communicate with your partner as soon as you can.
Unexplained absences in a long-distance relationship can confuse your partner and create insecurities. Your partner may form thoughts that lead them to believe you do not prioritize them or the relationship.
If some scheduled times do not work, let your partner know beforehand. This is where clear communication and transparency become core principles to adopt into your relationship.
Express Love in Ways They Need
The best way to love your partner is in their love language. So, spend time learning ways they want to be loved. For instance, flowers are beautiful gifts, and some people would love to receive them often as a show of love. However, it is not the best thing to do if your partner does not like flowers. While they will surely appreciate the kind gesture, they don’t necessarily connect that to love because they don’t like flowers.
Speaking different love languages is common in relationships. It becomes a bit more complex in LDRs. How can you love your partner in physical touch if that’s the way they appreciate love, but you are not physically close? You can improvise by sending gifts that show their love language. In this example of physical touch, you can send personal clothing (i.e., a hoodie) with your favorite perfume so they feel closer to you whenever they wear it.
Once you’ve understood your partner, it is easier to envision what they may find thoughtful. How you show love will remind you of your presence in their life.
The idea of meeting and falling in love with someone miles away from you isn’t shocking. There are many people in the world, and just because geography acts as a barrier does not mean you can’t pursue your heart’s desires.
Physical closeness is not the only way to connect with someone, as many thriving long-distance relationships prove. Many factors play into the success of LDRs, starting with understanding the 6 elements covered in this article.