Is your long distance relationship thriving…or just surviving? Are you madly in love with someone but cannot find a way to live in the same city? How do you support your relationship when you have very real physical distance between you?
I have seen couples fall apart because they could not sustain their relationship due to the distance between them, and I have seen others who find creative, romantic ways to keep the love alive. I know people who had a long distance relationship for years, complained about it, and finally got together in the same city, only to break up months after they lived near each other. Some people have long distance relationships and like it that way. And some couples don’t like the distance at all, but manage to still stay close.
How do they do that? Here are some of the challenges that exist when you have an out-of-town romance, and what you can do about it:
If you have just met, take care to spend enough time to truly know each other before you get in a committed relationship. There is no substitute for face-to-face communication. You need to meet each other’s friends, family, and co-workers. You need to experience good times and stressful ones together. Once you do, decide what your expectations are for your relationship. Be open and honest. How much commitment are you willing to give each other? This clarity is important to minimize misunderstanding.
Once you can determine if you are both on the same level of investment in the relationship, trust and honesty become paramount to the success of your future. These elements are at the heart of all lasting unions, but distance challenges the security of your connection.
Be dedicated to the way you stay in touch. Phone calls, emails, and chatting on-line are important. Set up a regular time to visit with each other, building a routine. But add some surprises such as, homemade videos, collected poems put in a special book, or self-decorated greeting cards. Stretch your imagination further with a lock of your hair in a unique box; an absorbent piece of cloth with your perfume or after-shave scent; your favorite flower, pressed and framed. If the other person does not call often, make time for you, or send appropriate communications, do not hang on. Let go and get on with your life.
* Plan your reunions.
Decide where to meet, how often, and how you want to spend the time when you see each other. Be very clear about what your expectations are for the time you have together. This is where many relationships break down. His idea of the perfect weekend could be sitting in front of the TV with her at his side, watching football. Hers could be visiting friends, attending a romantic movie, and later sharing secrets of the heart. He may expect her to cook his dinner; she may expect him to take her out. We all have old scripts that play out in new relationships, and unless we communicate what we want from each other, this is a recipe for misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
Finally, decide how long you want to live apart, and set a date for the move. It is true that when one of you moves to the other one’s town, you are taking a risk. However, most people say that even when it doesn’t work out, at least they gave love a chance. They didn’t want to spend their life longing to be somewhere else, continuing–a long distance relationship.
Visit http://www.tonjaweimer.com or http://www.singlesdatingtips.com for more tips, skills, and insight on dating, relationships, singles, and love. Subscribe to our F*ree Savvy Dating Newsletter from master single’s coach, life coach, and syndicated columnist, Tonja Weimer. Copyright 2006, Tonja Weimer. (Please note source if reprinting this article.)