By Yetunde Arebi
Maintaining an emotional relationship generally with a loved one is no piecemeal. It comes with it turns and hurdles. The hurdles and turns are peculiar if you are in a long distance relationship and it might not always be the most comforting or convenient romantic relationship. And even though we all know that absence, or as in this case, distance makes the heart grow fonder, don’t forget also that out of sight could be out of mind too. However, since the debate on which of the two positions is true remains inconclusive, our best bet would be to hold on to what you have, knowing that no relationship can thrive on auto drive anyway. We need to work at it as well as stay focussed and patient. I have gathered a few tips that might be of help if you are planning on starting a long distance relationship or have found yourself in one without a choice.
Just as with every relationship, communication is very important. It is even more pertinently so in a long distance relationship because of the physical disconnection. It is important to establish and maintain an emotional connection between you and your partner. Though it might not always feel convenient, but try not to let yourselves slack as it is important to keep each other up-to-date when you’re not involved in the day-to-day of each other’s lives. You must endeavour to communicate in some way every day, more than once if possible. Preferably morning and night. They don’t have to be long or in-depth discussions since you both have your personal lives and schedules. Try to know and work around each other’s schedules, especially if one is busier than the other. If you are the busy one, warn your partner that you may have limited time, and try to send at least a quick email or text, or a share a brief phone call. When your partner contacts you, reply as promptly as you can. If your partner isn’t replying, wait patiently and understand that your partner may be busy at that moment. With such busy lives and so many obligations pulling at you from all different directions, it’s easy to neglect communicating in a long distance relationship. So, be careful.
When you’re in a long-distance, lack of communication can prey on insecurities, especially for the woman. Long calls can be quite tasking on the budget especially trunk calls across countries and continents. Using other modes of communication will keep you and your partner close without you having to break the bank. Luckily, the world has not only become a global village, it is also reachable at the touch of a button. Take advantage of the internet and various social networking platforms which are accessible at next to no cost at all. Participate in an online community or project. Subscribe to on-line video chats so you can see each other even if you can’t be in each other’s arms. In addition, you can both learn to do the same things as the same time, such as watch a Television, see a movie, read an e-book, or even play a game together, all on the internet. Flexibility is important if you wish to make a long distance relationship work.
Depending on the distance, documentation and your budget, there is need for you to make the time to see each other. No relationship can thrive on phone calls and text messages alone, you need to see each other in person at every opportunity. So, try to schedule regular visits if possible, otherwise, make plans for the next visit as soon as each one ends, it makes the separation much easier to deal with. Because time together is scarce, when you do see each other, take as much advantage as possible of your ability to be intimate with each other. Prioritize the time you have together by doing those things you don’t have the privilege of when you are apart. You may also break the routine by planning to meet outside of your stations by choosing places new to both of you. It’s important to make this visits even, to avoid a disgruntled other-half. According to Debra Berndt, author of Let Love In, “Make sure that each person takes a turn visiting the other’s city. This way no one feels as though they are doing all the travelling, thus making all the effort in the relationship.” There is no doubt that one partner might be less busier than the other, the busier partner must try not to take things for granted though.
Even though you have this huge distance between you and your partner, you still have to be there to support them, especially if they are ever in trouble, hurt or generally distressed. Ensure you are available to them so they can reach you if they need you. Remember, everyone needs a shoulder to lean on and who better than a partner you are in an emotional relationship with. Sometimes, just a word of advice, motivation or encouragement is all the support that’s needed to get them moving along. Never forget that the boring parts of life are also a normal part of relationships, so, never feel ashamed, angry or embarrassed when these come up. You will need to support and encourage each other in terms of your goals and aspirations as well. Assist each other in overcoming your doubts, fears and uncertainties as well as explore scary and difficult subjects along with the good ones. As the saying goes, “two thinking heads are better than one”. Bear in mind that if your partner ends up dealing with everything alone, they will eventually not need you. So sometimes, it’s important that you be present physically.
Forget me not
Keep little keepsakes of each other so that you will always feel connected to your partner. A keepsake is anything kept or given to be kept as a token of friendship or affection; in remembrance of a person, place or event. Remember the song, “Something to remember me by”, by Shallamar? When you give your partner a personal object of yours, when they miss you, they will be able to hold on to something that you gave them or once belonged to you. This will indirectly provide comfort, and the thought of being with you. A friend told me she loves to add at least an item given by her lover to her dressing for support, when she goes for important functions. You may also leave something personal to you behind at his place when you go visiting. Ladies are really fond of this. For many of us, it’s a way of placing our stamps or declaring territorial boundaries. If this is too brazen and you wish to be more classy, stick to one good perfume and make it your signature perfume. With time, the smell of you will be all over his place, especially in his bed, so that you are the last thing on his senses when he falls asleep.
Know what you have
Though this might sound a little bit mercenary, but if you are in a long distance relationship, it might be just appropriate if the two of you are on the same page as early on in the relationship as possible. You need to know and understand what you are doing together to avoid wasting time, energy and emotions. Ask the important questions right away to make sure you are both clear on the nature of the relationship. Naming your relationship (dating, seeing each other, boyfriend-girlfriend, engaged) as well as defining exclusivity (limited to one person, or both of you are free to date others) can be difficult and awkward questions to ask, but knowing will save you great heartache and misunderstanding down the line. Stating your end goals and expectations will allow you both to work together to build the relationship you want.
Try as much as possible to Keep your anger in check. Long distance relationships are already difficult because you are emotionally attached to a person you cannot touch or comfort. If you have negative thoughts or feelings that are not true, you may begin to doubt your love feelings for your partner. Fights over the phone may also aggravate these doubts further. Going to bed with anger or anxiety is bad enough even when you are sleeping on the same bed, not to now mention when you are thousands of miles apart. Please try to keep off topic such as politics, economy, religion and anything that can spark off an argument. Avoid texts that can be misinterpreted and avoid typo errors and abbreviations that you are not sure your partner understands. Better safe than sorry, they say.
Always remember, every kind of relationship takes hard work and dedication to your loved one or partner, whether it’s long distance or proximal. Above all, do have reasonable expectations and avoid listening to haters who will fuel your doubts. Everyone has a unique experience of life and their doubts do not dictate your future.
Do have a wonderful weekend!!