Plenty of relationships have to deal with significant periods of distance, whether it’s a few weeks, months, or even years. A study in the Journal of Communication found that as many as 3 million Americans experience geographical distance in their marriage, while three-quarters of all college students have participated in a long-distance relationship at some point.
Though many long-distance relationships are successful, in others, there is a natural tendency to fall into communication ruts or even break off the relationship entirely. But it doesn’t have to be that way. All it takes is a little creativity, persistence, and dedication (from both parties) to push past the distance and create a bond that will last. If you’re looking to inject the fun back into your relationship, check out these tips to keep your relationship as strong as ever.
Remember that it can work
Long-distance relationships do not have to be fragile things. In fact, a relationship can even grow stronger over distance. The Journal of Communication study proves that absence can indeed make the heart grown fonder, finding that people in long-distance relationships experience equal or more amounts of trust and contentment as those who are geographically close.
According to the study authors, this is because communication can become stronger and more intimate over long distances. By overcoming challenges and exercising honest conversation, the partners create a stronger bond based on trust and compatibility as opposed to physical closeness.
Entering into a long-distance relationship with a positive attitude will start you all on the right foot, working to preserve and grow as opposed to acting out in fear or jealousy.
Take an all-of-the-above approach to communication
With social media, various video chatting apps, and unlimited texting, there are more than enough methods of communication to keep in contact. Boredom will sour a relationship pretty quickly, so don’t limit yourself to a texting saga. Consider incorporating video calls, social media, and phone calls, or make it a truly romantic moment and consider sending a hand-written letter, postcard, or greeting card.
Don’t forget that a video call doesn’t have to just involve you two sitting on your respective couches and catching up. There are plenty of long-distance activities you can do while on Zoom like cooking a meal, watching a movie, going on a walk, or painting.
Some of these may seem quaint or old-fashioned, but that’s exactly what makes them fun. Give yourselves a reason to check the mail that doesn’t involve coupons or credit card offers.
Send online gifts
Even on a tight budget, you can find a small gift to send to your partner as a physical token of your commitment and affection.
Flower delivery services are easily accessible online, as are those that ship chocolates, fresh fruit, or just about anything else to your sweetheart’s desk or doorstep. To make it more personal, find a present that references an inside joke or treasured memory. Order prints of one of your favorite photos together and send them along to your partner, just to let them know you’re thinking about your treasured memories.
Sort out the schedules
At times, organizing schedules can feel like a game of Tetris. Maybe Tuesday is your busy day at work or your partner is less available in the evenings compared with daytime. It doesn’t matter what the scheduling specifics are, what matters is that you understand your partner’s preferences and behave accordingly. This relieves stress on both sides because there’s no unwanted communication, and unexplained periods of silence are no longer, well, unexplained.
Don’t forget: The devil is always in the details. Figure out ahead of time when and how you will communicate, including the time of day. If you don’t make a habit of scheduling before-hand, it will become more and more difficult to carve out the time needed for a healthy long-distance relationship. With all that said, there’s no need to plan every single tiny thing. Leave space for spontaneity and changing plans; just make sure there’s a basic structure in place for effective communication.
Like any other relationship, the success of a long-distance relationship is based on the commitment of each partner. If each partner is intent on making it work and on meeting each other’s needs, there’s no reason the relationship can’t be successful, even at the most frustrating of times. If you work through the situation together, you’ll both be there to reap the well-deserved rewards.
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