Long-distance relationships are defined by geographical distance between partners that does not allow them to spend time with each other on a regular basis. In some long-distance relationships, the partners can see each other on weekends while in others, the partners live so far away from each other that they can only see each other a couple of times a year. LIKE ME! My partner lives in Texas at the moment, but this is not the only long distance we have done.
When we began dating, he lived in Illinois and I lived in Indiana. Then, in college I studied abroad in Spain which separated us nearly 5,000 miles for about 5 months. It sucked; but long distance relationships (LDRs) are not uncommon! Which is why I feel it may need some more attention!
Around 14 million couples define themselves as having a LDR and 3.75 million married couples are actually in LDRs. Statistics also show that around 33 percent of LDRs are college relationships, and close to 75 percent of all engaged couples have been in a LDR at some point (https://bedbible.com/long-distance-relationship-statistics/) Long-Distance Relationships are developed or can be developed for several reasons. The most common being related to academic or professional reasonings. Either the partners are studying at different universities or work in different cities or countries, or met online!
I am almost certain that if you have ever found yourself in a long distance relationship, you have experienced some of the hardships that can come along with it. I know I have. Love is already kind of a complicated thing right? Then we add distance.. sheesh. When distance is added to the list of things love already has to fight against, we find that there is a great deal of adjustment that needs to happen to maintain a loving relationship. It is possible, though!
Believe it or not, while there are many challenges to LDRs, there are also some great benefits. I would argue that communication increases when a partner is farther away. When talking is all you have to rely on to connect, and the relationship is important to you, you will ensure you make the time to communicate. Additionally, I think this increases the overall intimacy of the relationship. You look forward to something, you strengthen the relationship, and you perhaps even develop a greater fondness for your partner. LDRs encourage interdependence; a safe bond that can allow you both to rely on one another in a healthy and adaptive way. I am painfully aware that though there are benefits, there are also hardships. If you are experiencing some of the negative aspects of being in a LDR such as feeling alone all the time, experiencing jealousy, poor communication and much, much more.
Something I have found to be helpful in my own relationship is working really hard to build intimacy whenever possible. Keep in mind building intimacy can look a lot of different ways, and every relationship is unique so these next tips may or may not be helpful for you in your LDR.
Be honest about expectations.
How long between visits? How long will this last? Envision the future together. What are the plans long-term? COMMUNICATE.
Facetime, Zoom, call, snail mail (so cute!).
Respect the Importance of Making an Effort:
Acknowledge and validate the efforts you are noticing in one another.
Set an Intimacy Goal for each Visit:
Opposed to ruminating on the intimacy you feel you are missing out on, imagine creative and fun ways to connect when you are together. Share your ideas!
Life happens, and being mindful and flexible of that fact will save you a headache. Plans can and will change, you may just have to adjust accordingly.
Enjoy your Personal Time:
Space is nice; remember, you are an individual first.
Set an End Date:
While long distance may be working now, it is not ideal for the long term (again, debatable!). However, you may eventually want to live in the same place as your partner so discussing an ideal or even tentative “end date” to the distance can certainly be something to look forward to.
If the relationship matters, the distance does not. You can and will make it through!