Are you in a long-distance relationship, and you are wondering if it’s going to work? Are you unsure if you could commit yourself to a long-distance relationship? Or perhaps, you are considering backing down due to the pressure or strains associated with it. The good news is, you can work it out. Although it might be tough, long-distance relationships are possible and can be successful. It can be fun, but sometimes, straining just like everything else.
Love relationships where the partners are not in the same geographical location is termed a ‘long-distance relationship’. This sort of intimate relationship can occur in a conventional case (i.e. partners made the decision or choice) or as it relates to the military (i.e. compulsory, or partners have less choice). Another instance is when a partner is stuck in a particular location due to a natural disaster or pandemic. Whichever case you are in, you need to consciously take some steps to make it work.
Some people dread long-distance relationships due to past experiences, assumptions, or due to what they have heard or observed over time. It is understandable. Notwithstanding, I would like to state that long-distance relationships can still work, and sometimes, even better than the ones with both partners in the same location. There is nothing wrong with having a long-distance relationship.
"Commitment provides security and a sense of responsibility to you and your partner."
Don’t let anyone sell the idea that partners must be in the same location for a relationship to work. Otherwise, we should apologize to all military men and women who have sacrificed everything to keep the world safer by accepting postings to varied locations, even when they know that they will be separated from their partners.
Some partners were already thousands of miles apart when they connected, started a relationship, and eventually got married. The success of your relationship depends on how you manage it. For your long-distance relationship to work, you need to build the following virtues:
1. Trust: Trust is an essential virtue in relationships. Without trust, a relationship can’t work. First, you need to ensure you can trust each other. Trust is not spontaneous; it is a virtue one builds over time. The steps to building trust are through honesty and integrity. Watch out for our Insight Blog series on ‘Trust’ for more tips on building trust.
2. Commitment: This has to do with dedication. Are you willing to give your long-distance relationship what it takes both in the good and challenging times? Commitment provides security and a sense of responsibility to you and your partner.
3. Faith and hope: A combination of these two virtues will enable you to navigate through your waiting period. Look forward to your reunion with faith. The hope that you will reunite with your partner should give you the positive vibe you need to pull through.
4. Patience: Long-distance relationships require patience. Even when the waiting is almost getting to you, don’t give in. Be patient!
Here are 6R-actions you and your partner can take to effectively build a successful long-distance relationship.
1. Retain regular communication
Regular or constant communication keeps the flow going. When there is regular communication, you hardly feel the clock ticks. Talk about anything and everything.
Texting, audio and video calls are ways you can keep the relationship going. You should be very open to each other. It is imperative to lay your needs bare to each other. Discuss both your emotional and sexual needs. When you spend quality time to communicate with each other, it will eventually help both of you to relate better when you are finally together.
2. Respect the reasons for the distance
The reasons for your separation might be due to career, studies, financial (economic), family, and others. Respect these reasons and wait patiently for the right time to reunite. I am a firm believer of the saying that “whatever has a beginning, has an ending”. Don’t let your weeks, months or even years of continuous investment in your relationship waste because of forgetting the reasons that caused the distance. Undoubtedly, there will be times that you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Friends and family may even try to talk you out of the relationship. Some people might also suggest quitting, but hang in there as long as your relationship is working well. Be hopeful, respect the reasons, and wait patiently. Your relationship will be stronger when the waiting is over.
3. Remain positive and be honest
Let your focus be on the positive aspects of your relationship rather than on the negatives. You don’t need negative vibes during the times you are apart. Being away from your love can be difficult, but don’t let circumstances that you can’t change rob you of your joy. Avoid keeping secrets. It doesn’t help any relationship. Having nothing to hide makes you enjoy your relationship. By all means, avoid suspicious scenarios. Run from any activity that can potentially destroy your relationship or put you in a vulnerable position.
4. Remind yourselves of your love and commitment
Constantly remind each other of your love and commitment. Promise each other that you are there and will always be there for yourselves. Remind yourselves frequently of how you love and value each other and your relationship. Reassure each other of your promises. All these actions will help to minimize or clear off insecurities, doubts and jealousy that might creep in. It will also clarify your fate together.
5. Reduce unhealthy expectations
Reduce unhealthy expectations and behaviours such as selfishness, ingratitude, and greed. Don’t expect your partner to do things that are beyond them in order to please you. Avoid being insatiable and envious. Don’t expect your partner not to have friends and engage in other activities out there. The fact that you are apart does not mean you should stop living. While waiting, also take out time to invest in your other relationships such as family and friends. Build up yourself and your other networks. Love and cherish yourself and the people around you.
6. Remotely plan your future
If you are in a long-distance relationship with the person you intend spending the rest of your life with, you will have to plan for your future together. Similarly, if you are already married but geographically apart, you will also have to plan to merge your ‘worlds’. This might mean relocation, job change, transfer of studies or job, etc. Planning for your future and the hope of being together someday will weather the storm that being apart can bring.
I was in a long-distance relationship for a few years, and we learnt most things about each other over the phone. We planned our marriage via online communications. I only reunited with my husband barely three weeks before our marriage. After our marriage, we have lived apart periodically for several months. Anytime we recount the experiences of our long-distance relationship, we always have something to be thankful for. I encourage you to make your long-distance relationship work.
Are there other ways you think one can successfully build a long-distance relationship? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section. Let’s dazzle together!