The ultimate survival guide for a successful long distance relationship!

16 Jul
…A long but very worthwhile read…
Has your boy/girlfriend recently gotten a job transfer or moved cities or maybe just schools or lives in a different town from you or is away for a year doing masters or nysc? Or more frightening has he or she just joined the army? Your relationship may be heading to the rocks according to statistics which claim that majority of the long distance relationships are doomed to failure mostly as a result of unfaithfulness & drifting apart but we are trend-setters and we do not have to be a statistic!!! Cheer up mates, when life gives u lemons you make lemonade… So here are some great tips, alot of ’em are pretty basic for surviving and enjoying a long-distance romance. Remember that to you it may be a choice to date someone far away but for army wives and people whose income depends on a spouse who works miles away, they don’t have much of a choice…1. Communicate Daily
You and your partner will need to make it a priority to communicate daily to keep love alive. During the day communication can take place by email or text. In the evenings you need to have time designated to be on the phone to discuss your day, just like you would if you came home to them daily. Webcam chats on skype and yahoo have gained some popularity& it’s a great way of communicating with your partner as the person feels like he/she is actually there. Do not forget the rather old-fashioned but very romantic art of writing letters. Imagine receiving a letter from your partner in his/her handwriting? sending E-cards, funny emails, loads of personal pictures and even greeting cards by post help in the communication process. Despite the temptation to always keep your communication cheerful & light, remember this person is your friend & partner & you are allowed to share some of the down sides of your daily life with him/her too. Just don’t overwhelm the person as they tend to worry more when they are too far away to help you and offer the physical comfort you may need.2. Respond to your partner immediately (if possible)
You must show your partner that the relationship is priority to you. Respond to email, text or phone messages as quickly as possible. You want to create the image that communicating with them is important to you.

3. Send gifts or small tokens of appreciation and love
If your budget will allow send small gifts, flowers or even cards as often as you possibly can. This will keep you constantly on your loved ones mind. It will also build up an expectation of giving to each other. Who doesn’t like to receive things?

4. Make plans to see each other as often as possible
Make the sacrifices in your spending and lifestyle that will make traveling to see each other possible. Take advantage of frequent flyer miles, hotel&air ticket discounts.

5. Have long distance date nights
Set aside a day and time for uninterrupted activity with each other. You can do such things as agree upon a relationship/self-help book to read and assign chapters for discussion during your date time. Or you can both rent the same movie, start it simultaneously and watch it while on the phone together.

6. Remain optimistic
I know that this is a trying process at times, but it is important to remain optimistic. Reassure each other that the sacrifice is worth it and that you will be together soon.

7. Take lots of pictures when you’re together:
Sure, it’s sappy and lame, but who doesn’t want a picture of that special someone to look at when he/she’s not around. It helps to capture the special moments you share on the rare occasions when you do see as these photos may be all you have to guide you through the tough times. Pictures with both of you in them are much better than personal shots as they foster a degree of intimacy that’s a joy to behold during the long lonely periods. Plus, you can show your photos to people that insist on telling you your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t exist since they haven’t met.

8. Keep a Journal
Sometimes you may feel lonely, insecure and despondent and it’s harder when you have that friend who’s telling you it won’t work and putting doubts in your head or you’re surrounded by people whose partners are close by and all lovey-dovey and who won’t understand what you’re going through. Telling your partner your fears constantly may not be the best of ideas as fear begets fear and even though he/she may do a good job of reassuring you, constant complaint may put a strain on the relationship especially because the other person will feel powerless to help you and here’s where a journal comes in. It could be in a book, on your phone or on your p.c but wherever it is, pouring out your heart into it will make you feel a whole lot better like you actually talked to someone. Allowing yourself a personal outlet for your concerns, worries, joys and celebrations can be cathartic. The wife of a military officer confessed that the journal she kept throughout the first year served as a window into her previous experiences, showing her how far they had come and offering her own advice and encouragement for the rest of the year. Like an old friend, her journal inspired her into successfully surviving year number two.

9. Plan special events with family and friends
Whether it is a vacation, shopping or a coffee date, planning meetings with friends and family create events to look forward to and help to lighten the separation. These dates provide much needed laughs and support through a difficult time. Too much alone time can increase a sense of isolation. Get out of the house, have some fun and remember why these fabulous people are your friends in the first place.

10. Set personal goals
Set some kind of personal goal that you wish to accomplish by the end of a long separation. Many choose to get into shape, save money, take a class, or plan a vacation upon the return of their partner. By focusing on the positive aspects of being apart, it helps to focus the mind on positive accomplishments for the separation instead of the negative emotions. The added bonus is that at the end you’ll feel fit and sexy while spending all of that extra money on a fabulous vacation for two.

11. Join a support network
Many have found it helpful to chat with other people experiencing similar situations. Sometimes it just helps to hear stories from others who have
been-there-done-that. There are support groups on the internet and if that’s not to your taste, you can find someone or a group of people around you who are in the same shoes as you and hang out with them from time to time. Being able to meet, have a laugh as well as voice concerns has been the key to successful long-distance support groups. The online communities unite people from around the world for the sole purpose of support and advice based on extensive personal experience.

12.Trust each other
This tip is the most important of all. Since you’re not around, it’s important that you believe your partner isn’t bound to shack up with the maid, or the mailman or anyone else that crosses his/her path.
And of course, expect him/her to have that same level of trust with you. Don’t ask your partner what he/she is doing 24 hours a day, but do instill the fact that you trust him/her. That works better than tracing his/her phone calls any day. With the statistics, it’s bound to be hard to trust but not trusting your partner might be the very thing that ruins the relationship and not the imagined unfaithfulness so take the risk.

13.Don’t let jealousy get the better of you
One of the biggest problems in a long-distance relationship is jealousy. You’re not there with him, so when he starts talking about his friendship with a woman at work, your imagination goes into overdrive. After all, who would stick around for a long-distance relationship when he has a woman right there every day, right? Wrong. Chances are, they really are just friends. Don’t allow your imagination to run away with you. Extreme jealousy and possessiveness are the quickest ways to turn a relationship sour, so don’t let your paranoia and insecurity get the best of you. And if you do start having these feelings of jealousy, talk about them with your significant other. Express your concerns. You may be right, and maybe that woman has ulterior motives that your man just isn’t seeing. Or you may be wrong, and seeing things that aren’t there. Either way, get those feelings out in the open and talk about them. And this goes for the men too as a lot of men are prone to irrational jealousy especially when in a long-distance relationship. If her actions worry you, don’t keep quiet or use it as a license to get even but call her and draw attention to it in a voice that is neither accusing nor threatening because in most cases your assumptions may be wrong.Really listen to the other person, and try to work through the problem. Sometimes this can lead to an argument or hurt feelings, and that’s ok, as long as it’s handled properly.

14.Be honest
This is very important. Don’t use the distance as an opportunity to lead a double life or try out plan B or C. Remember that trust at this stage is fragile and any irregularities perceived may greatly injure the trust. When telling eachother about your day don’t leave out relevant bits or tell the other person what he/she wants to hear. Act each day the same way you would if the other person was in town and grant your partner the respect he/she deserves. If he hates you clubbing in a micro-mini dress then don’t do it when he’s across the ocean, someone may just put up pics on facebook!!!

15.Don’t let a disagreement or bad feelings escalate
Sometimes we get so upset that it becomes obvious that nothing will get solved until we take a step back from the situation. That’s ok. But don’t just end the conversation and leave it hanging. If you need some perspective, take it, but the next time you talk to your significant other, try to resolve the situation. If you find that you both have a tendency to say the wrong things, causing arguments to escalate, you may need to set ground rules for arguing. Some basic rules for arguing are not to bring up a past issue or past argument especially if it has been thrashed out before not even if it will help you buttress your point and to avoid all manner of name-calling & comparisons. Remember that winning doesnt make you the bigger person. You are both on the same team.

16. Surprise one another
Every now and then, send a random gift for no reason whatsoever. Send a random “I love you because…” email. Send an e-card. Leave a happy message on her answering machine at home to cheer her up when you know she’s having a rough day at work. Take a sick day and surprise him by showing up at his doorstep unannounced (but not at a time that will interfere with his work or other obligations). Little surprises keep the relationship fresh, and help both of you focus on the happy parts of your relationship rather than how much you hate long-distance relationships.

17. Never hesitate to let your loved one know how much you care.
I cannot say this enough. It is so important that you let your love know just how much they mean to you. Whether you get to see them or if you have to tell them over the phone, by e-mail, or through a letter- tell them every chance you get. Nothing keeps love alive more than loving words and kindness.

18. Write down the little things that you want to remember or that are special to you.
Keep several different scrapbooks of little memories that you have with your love. Whether it be pictures, letters, tickets to games and movies you’ve been to, or just little gizmos and gadgets that make you think of him/her. It’s so special to look back on them later on- and of course every memory makes you fall in love all over again.

19.Find several songs that remind you of your loved one, and share them with each other- that way every time you hear the song randomly on the radio, or you play it on your itunes or ipod, you will think of them. This is a
great way to stay connected!

20.Meet halfway! Nothing beats personal time together. If a long distance separates you, consider meeting halfway. Even one weekend together can recharge your relationship. If you are separated by a journey of 4hours, find a place that’s 2hrs from both your homes and book a hotel there. It’d be a cheaper means of meeting up and an opportunity to explore a new place together. You can choose a romantic Bed&breakfast or country inn so you get plenty of privacy.

Long distance relationships may not be the most desirable relationships, but they can work, if you work at them. Communication, honesty, and focusing on the needs of the other will allow your relationship to sustain the distance, and when you are reunited your relationship will be the better for it.

BONUS:After what seems like forever apart, you are now planning what to do when your long distance boyfriend or girlfriend comes to see you. If you keep this advice in mind, you will know how to make
the most out of your weekend visits.

I. Make Plans
You may be thinking that, after all this time apart, all you need is to be together and things will be great. But after awhile, conversations may run a little dry and the both of you will want to do something. Make sure to plan at least one night or day where you can go sightseeing.
If they have never been to your city, show them some of the places that you love to hang out. This will give them more of an insight to who you are, by showing them how you spend your time, and you can bond over shared activities.
If they have already visited you before and you know of a certain places that they have enjoyed in the past, make sure to include those in your itinerary. But, don’t forget to put new places that you have scoped out on the list as well. Show them why you love where you live so much. Maybe they will start to love it too!

II. Let Your Plans Be Flexible
You may be dying to show them the great museum that you found or to take them to the hottest new nightclub but they may have other ideas in mind. This is especially true on their first night with you. Along with not having seen you in awhile and just wanting to talk, they may just simply be tired from their trip. Don’t overload them with a strict schedule of places that they have to go with you.

III. Don’t Expect Too Much Or Too Little
If you get your hopes up for a whirlwind romantic weekend, you may just be disappointed after it’s all over.
No matter what, don’t get hurt if they decline your invite to go somewhere specific. Like any other couple, you will both grow and change over time. Every person does. Just because they are not as fond of the newest abstract artist is not a sign that your love is falling apart. It could simply mean that they do not like the artist.
Above all, don’t look for signs of an impending breakup every time you see them! One less than stellar visit does not mean that you have lost what you had together.
Every couple has bad dates every once in awhile; you may just feel it more because you have less time together than most. You start reading into things to much and you’ll close the book on any other future possibilities
but if, every time you are planning what to do when your boyfriend or girlfriend comes to visit you, you end up feeling less excitement and more dread, it may be time to reexamine your relationship. If, no matter what you do to try and learn how to make the most out of your weekend visits together, you come up empty handed, it’s may be time to plan the next one discussing what’s wrong.

As mentioned before, everyone changes in different ways. It’s just a matter if you are going to grow together or if it may be time to do a little traveling apart.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 16, 2010 in Relationships


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One response to “The ultimate survival guide for a successful long distance relationship!

  1. michelle

    March 21, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    I’m in a long distance relationship now. I want us to beat the odds. I like traveling the path less taken. Will take advice.


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