Going the distance: do long distance relationships work?

Do Long Distance Relationships Work?

Do long distance relationships work? Yes, of course. Any relationship where both parties are entirely committed to making it work can succeed. But…

Long distance relationships often remain stunted, unable to fully evolve into a shared life unless the impediment of distance is removed. You can maintain a long distance relationship, but you must share the same space on a regular basis to interpret, organise and advance into a shared future.

Assuming the distance between you is not a permanent impediment, your focus should be on establishing strategies to maintain your relationship (until you can inhabit the same physical space).

Do long distance relationships work: honesty

Prepare for the separation by vocalising fears and insecurities. Articulate what you expect from one other, and precisely what you don’t. Consider the things you will struggle with as an individual, then as a couple. Minimize feelings of abandonment or resentment by remembering it’s an adjustment for you both; you must both make sacrifices and compromise. Establish boundaries for post-separation behaviour and create a realistic routine/schedule for contact keeping. Arrange your first meeting pre-separation.

Communication

When considering, do long distance relationships work, it’s irrelevant how established your relationship is, as long as both parties are committed to exploring a monogamous partnership. Resolve to continue to make all decisions together. Those who keep their partners involved in their daily lives are most likely to maintain successful relationships. Don’t keep feelings to yourself. It’s your job to support and reassure your partner; keep the lines of communication open and defer to one another before approaching a third party. Communication requires effort, resilience and patience. To maintain significance in each other’s lives these things must take precedence.

Do long distance relationships work: intimacy

Physical intimacy is diminished by distance. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Effective communication and vulnerability establishes emotional intimacy, the bedrock of any solid, loving relationship. Use Skype, letters, phone calls, texts, email to reacquaint yourself with you best friend/partner. All communication is invaluable and essential. Complacency erodes self-esteem and affection. Surprise romantic gestures make one another feel valued; use the impediment of distance and the desire to overcome it to inject some creativity into your relationship.

Trust

Do long distance relationships work? Not without trust. It’s easy to indulge your imagination and torture yourself with imaginary scenarios, but jealousy is a virus; left untreated it will infect your reason and happiness. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have a relationship to sit worrying about. Insecurity is self-defeating and cruel; invest in your relationship instead. Small issues escalate disproportionately when large amounts of time are spent apart. Practice sensitivity and try not to take your partner for granted. Make a point of honouring plans; this informs trust, a sense of security and reliability. But remember, none of us are perfect; show understanding if your partner forgets to ring at exactly 9pm.

Do long distance relationships work?

Spontaneity can suffer in long distance relationships, and there’s pressure to be ‘on’ and at your best at every meeting. Make kindness and realistic expectations part of your adaptive strategy. This reflective time may prove a valuable opportunity to resolve pre-existing issues and test your resolve as a couple. It is crucial to retain a positive, optimistic, flexible attitude; resist myopic, selfish thoughts. Focus on ways to turn the situation to your advantage.

Both parties must be committed to prioritising their relationship, and investing dedicated time and effort is key; communication, honesty and trust are your strategic bedrock.

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