As a good friend of a military wife, I’ve seen her spend many periods of time away from her husband. I am all too familiar with the struggle of a having to manage your relationship over long distance. Trying to stay connected, but also trying to be present where you are. Dealing with jealousy or concern because you can’t be with your partner. Trying to sync up times when you are both free to call or facetime, and of course trying to keep the spark alive when you may not even be in the same country. The list could go on about all the frustrations that come along with keeping a relationship positive and healthy when you aren’t able to see each other as frequently.
Despite these challenges, an estimated 14 million couples are currently in a long distance relationship! That’s a lot of people who don’t live near each other but still want to make their relationship work. If you are one of these people, you want to make (or keep) the LDR (long distance relationship) a long term relationship. Here are three tips for you and your partner manage your relationship over long distance, so that you can be far apart without falling apart.
How To Manage Your Relationship Over Long Distance
Make a schedule.
This is something crucial in long distance time periods. When you don’t schedule a time that both partners can be free to talk, it can be hard to sync schedules. This increases the likelihood of people going a few days before really checking in. Scheduling a time to talk can help you to be more present where you are as well. Rather than constantly texting or worrying that you may miss a call, you know when to expect one. When you have a time scheduled, you can put your phone away and focus on what is in front of you. Make the most of that communication is also key. Try to communicate clearly and honeslty as best you can. Miscommunication at some point in a long distance relationship is bound to happen, but being able to maintain good communication during time apart is a sign of strength of the relationship as a whole.
Make your time together count.
I am always surprised by the number of people who say that when they finally do get to see their significant other again, they spend their time arguing. Although sometimes this cannot be helped, when you do get time together, try not to let outside stressors impact the special time with your partner. If they are coming to visit you, try to plan a few activities that you both enjoy doing. Try learning something new together such as taking a cooking class or going on a historical walking tour of your town. Activities create lasting memories! Also, learning a new skill with your partner can strengthen your connection (and your even your passion).
Create hope for change.
One of the biggest killers of long distance relationships is the thought that the long distance may never end. 70% of long distance relationship breakups are credited to the lack of plans for change. This means there’s a lack of plans for long distance to change to being close to one another. In some situations, the long distance is temporary, such as military deployments, but in others, the distance is more permanent. If you want a long distance relationship to last long term, eventually the distance must go. Without plans for this or discussions of this, hopes for a future are likely to disappear. When this happens, the relationship may go with them.
Keep in mind that the distance doesn’t have to define your relationship. A recent study published in The Journal of Sex and Marital therapy showed that when comparing couples who lived in close proximity to long distance couples, relationship quality and happiness were much more related to the couple’s individual characteristics than being near or far from their significant other. If you work on having a strong, healthy relationship, you can manage the distance and still be happy and fulfilled.
If you and your partner are struggling in your long distance relationship or even if you just want to make it stronger, I recommend this team, because they have the capability to call or video your partner into the session so that you both can be a part of the process.
What are some things you’ve done to keep your relationship strong while being long distance?