There are times when circumstances lead you and your partner to different locations around the world, whether by choice or not. Some LDRs, long distance relationships, start this way with one person having to transition, while others end up here due to family, school, or work. Regardless of the reason, recognize that LDRs come with unique challenges that must be considered and addressed. While each relationship will vary in what specific issues arise, LDRs have some commonalities that will be shared below and recommendations given on how to handle the situation.
Doing Things Together, While Apart
Even when you and your partner are in different parts of the world, it is important to find ways to spend time together. With the current technology available, this is easier than ever. Streaming platforms allow you to binge watch shows together, even in real time, to make you feel as if you are sitting on the couch together. Watch together and connect to keep conversations going. Another option is to challenge each other to online games or quizzes to be entertained. There are also apps that allow you to share books, share exercise goals and achievements, and keep in touch. Be creative in spending time together while apart.
Schedule Time to Hang Out
On top of common activities, also schedule one on one time like a real couple. Take time to check-in and chat as often as possible. This is crucial in LDRs where you are not involved in one another’s daily life. While unscheduled calls are nice, it is important to set aside a chunk of time to chat as well, especially through Skype or Facetime so you can also see each other.
Right Amount of Communication
While scheduling time to chat and hang out is crucial, setting boundaries to establish the right amount of time is just as important. Constant communication can be draining for some, while others want daily check-ins at certain times. Discuss your preferences to avoid either overwhelming or neglecting your partner. This can change over time, so follow-up often to make sure needs are being met.
While technology is making LDRs easier, be willing to go old school at times to keep things interesting. Embrace letter writing as a drawn out and romantic way to stay connected while being creative.
Respect the Reason for Being Apart
There are numerous reasons couples are apart and it is important to respect that reason. Often, the situation is uncontrollable and making your partner feel guilty is not helpful. Respect that you are apart for now and make the most of it through creative communication that grows your connection. Remember that you and your partner agreed to the LDR even though it would be difficult. It is not permanent so maintain a connection and try to be positive.
Boundaries are important in any relationship, but especially LDRs. Thinking about the tip on communication, it is important to establish times to communicate and respect that they have a life in another place, separate from you for the time. Creating boundaries like Friday nights being for friends or no calls during work hours is crucial. Boundaries help establish and maintain trust and keeping you on the same page about what is acceptable. These discussions can be tough, but get easier with practice and time.
Enjoying a Personal Life
Just as in a regular relationship, it is important to maintain some independence in an LDR. Prioritize your needs over your partner’s at times which can mean socializing over being on the phone. It is imperative to maintain a normal life, even if long distance. Spend time with family and friends because it maintains your identity outside the relationship. It can be tough, but it can encourage your partner to do the same as you both learn and grow and avoid resentment.
Though technology makes it easier to connect, no relationship should be totally long distance. Schedule times to meet up in-person to maintain the intimate and physical connection. Pick a date far in advance and buy tickets early to save money and give yourself something to look forward to as you prepare. This will help you feel more connected and it can be fun to explore a new place together or visit your partner’s new city.
Talk About the Future
When discussing an LDR, make sure you and your partner are on the same page about the fture. You will not want to be long distance forever, so eventually a decision has to be made on what will happen. Discuss the course of the relationship and a timeline for an end goal. Discussing big picture ideas will keep you on the same page as you work toward reuniting and make being apart easier.
Relationships are hard enough to manage in person, but LDRs require extra, straightforward communication. Seek expert help if you are struggling.