Remember the song “This long distance is killing me” by Brandy? A long distance relationship (LDR) is one in which the couple involved desire a close relationship but opportunities for physical meetings and communication are largely restricted due to geographic distance.
Can My Long Distance Relationship Work?
Yes! However, in order for a long distance relationship to thrive, the persons involved must be willing to put in the work and effort needed to keep the relationship intact.
Preparing for Your Long Distance Relationship
The best way to handle LDR is to commit before the separation to engage in open and honest communication and to also know what each partner involved wants out of the relationship.
Before the separation, one of the most important things to sit and determine with your partner are the rules and terms of your long distance relationship. If one partner feels the other treats the relationship as casual and open while they are busy investing in the relationship, problems may arise.
Also, factors like “How to resolve conflicts in relationships” and “How to communicate trust issues” will go a long way in determining how well your LDR thrives.
The Three Cs of Long Distance Relationship
Over the weekend, I spoke to a handsome number of couples who are or had been in long distance relationships. I wanted to know the reason behind the failure of some LDRs and why others seem to effortlessly carry on.
Finally, after hours of going through several interview questions, a dear friend said “My long distance relationship has been largely successful because of what I call ‘The Three Cs of Long Distance Relationships. Here they are:
Qualities LDR Couples Must Have
Vision: To agree to a long distance relationship without an end goal in sight is to shoot you in the leg. If you must, why should you?
What are the expected outcomes and relationship goals of your LDR? Marriage? Courtship? Heartbreak? Best to find out before you begin.
Knowledge: Until you know a thing, you can never understand it much less master it. Take out time to dutifully study your significant other. What are their habits? What makes them extremely sad or happy?
What are their pursuits in life and how can you in turn be interested in those pursuits? Knowledge comes by study, genuine interests in their life, communication and if you’re spiritual like me, prayer!
Communication: Healthy, meaningful and intentional communication is the spine of every successful relationship. Communication is so important in a relationship that without it, almost nothing else you apply will work.
What modes of communication do you use?
What tone do you employ when talking to them?
Here is a tip I learnt from the Bible: When communicating, avoid foolish and unlearned questions.
Trust: If communication is the spine of a healthy relationship, trust is the heart of it. You can never commit your all to a thing or person you do not trust.
Trust is especially of a necessity if you fear your partner may end up with another person because of the separation. Lack of trust can be a breeding ground for nagging, extreme jealousy, doubts, suspicion and paranoia
Commitment: Commitment is often likened to trust but they are different. Your commitment to a person can still be present even when you don’t trust them. This is especially important in times where you may have to against all odds stay with them even after they might have broken trust.
Commitment gives you reasons to stay even after they must have hurt you or behaved in a way that communicates disdain or lack of respect for the relationship or your person. Opportunities to cheat may look too enticing when you are not committed.
Contentment: This one is very unpopular but it is absolutely necessary. You will meet a lot richer, beautiful, handsome and intelligent people who may look like what you should be dating.
In times like that, you must make up your mind to stick with your choice of a partner and commit to making them become what you admire in such persons if a change is needful. Otherwise, don’t sweat it. A bird in hand is worth thousands in the forest.
Accountability: You are not in a relationship with yourself. You have to act like it. The days when you will switch off your phone for hours, get up and travel without informing anyone and take important life decisions all by yourself are over.
Independence: Until you have a life outside of your long distance relationship, you will continue to look to your partner for gratification, happiness or entertainment.
Volunteer in organizations or commit to learning a skill in their absence. Get to work, apply for a job, hang out with your own circle of friends and revisit the things that use to make you happy when you were single.
Time management: This is especially needful for partners in LDR if they are to remain organized and schedule times of communication and meeting physically while they cope with daily life activities.
10 Quick Tips for Success in LDR
- Set up phone dates and take them as serious as physical dates.
- Make new friends but define your boundaries.
- Call and send text messages randomly to check on them. Don’t buy into that “She must call first” nonsense.
- Surprise your partner with small, personal, and loving gifts especially ones that would constantly remind them of you.
- Share your plans for the upcoming week.
- Your interests might be different but along your lines of similarity, buy the same book and discuss it together.
- Try video calls.
- Visit your partner (if you can afford it) and if your values allow for that.
- Endure and accept the distance.
- Be active in church or any social activity you love.
The Dos and Don’ts of Long Distance Relationships
1. Don’t compromise: If you are already in a LDR, consider revisiting the rules that you held dear while single and see if you have had to compromise. What compromises have you made? What would you like to change? Is there anything you are afraid of letting your partner know?
2. Don’t Assume: Assumptions make your imagination run wild and give room for doubts, suspicion and trust issues to set in.
3. Don’t hang on to the relationship because you are scared of becoming single.
4. Do avoid Pressure: If you agreed to anything under pressure, you may consider withdrawing consent as this may soon build up resentment for them in your heart.
5. Do ask questions when you need clarity.
7. Do consider their motives when you feel hurt. Ask yourself if you believe they truly intended to hurt you
8. Do play together if you want to stay together.
9. Do eliminate the words “always, every, never, forever” from your conversations with them especially when you are angry/.
10. Do learn to say “sorry.” It’s an important part of moving on from an argument.
You Can Have a Successful Long Distance Relationship
Although emotionally challenging, if you love each other and are committed to seeing the long distance relationship work and you know with some measure of certainty, the end goal, take a chance.
What are your thoughts about long distance relationships? We’d like to hear them in the comment box below.