Can Long-Distance Relationships Ever Really Work?
Social media, dating apps and chat sites are undoubtedly effective ways to meet new people. Connecting with the person of your dreams, then discovering they lives miles away –or on the other side of the world- can bring about another set of challenges for your budding relationship, however. Can long-distance relationships ever really work? How can you make sure you’re doing everything possible to keep the fires of passion stoked and ensure the romance lasts?
Be realistic & set boundaries
When embarking upon a long-distance relationship, it’s extremely important to manage your expectations right from the outset. Be realistic about where the relationship is headed, in combination with good communication with your partner so you know you’re both of the same mind.
It’s always advisable to discuss boundaries at the start of any relationship, but even more so with long-distance relationships where you don’t have the guidance of body language and the regular reassurance in-person meet-ups bring. Talk. Outline how you both envisage the relationship progressing, any limits you both may have, and ultimately, where you want the relationship to go.
Casual, no-strings attached fun relationships and deeply involved, looking-at-a-lifetime-together relationships are as good as each other, but you both need to be certain of the type of relationship you’re getting involved in and consent to all its related facets.
Keep in regular contact
They say, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ -but they also say, ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Keep in regular contact with your partner. Don’t let far too long go by without staying in contact; keep those romantic fires well stoked.
That’s not to say you should bombard your partner with messages and calls at all hours, haranguing them to the point of harassment is, as well as being rude and wrong, a sure-fire way to end the relationship. Your level of contact will ideally be one of the topics discussed when setting your boundaries and needs at the outset. Communicate with your partner about how often you’d like to hear from them –and, if necessary, how much is too much.
Set dates to look forward to
We all need something to look forward to, it makes every day that little bit brighter when you have an extra fun occasion marked on your calendar. A beacon of happiness on the horizon is even more pertinent in a long-distance relationship, where being physically apart from your partner is obviously a tough daily challenge.
Set a date in the future you can both look forward to, whether that’s meeting up once again or even meeting for the first time ever, depending on how your relationship began. Not only will having the meet-up date give you both something positive to hang on to in those dark lonely hours, it will help you to stay feeling connected to and bonded with your partner.
I’ve mentioned communication loads already –and it’s true, regularly talking with your partner is incredibly important in any relationship, and especially in a long-distance relationship where you don’t have that face-to-face aspect and the reassurance of physical contact. What’s more important than just having casual chats, though, is to communicate effectively.
What do I mean by that?
Keep the lines of communication all the way open and be approachable. Make sure your partner knows they can talk about anything to you, at any time. Relationships can drift and die because people keep deeper issues locked away inside, either bottling them up entirely or speaking about them to absolutely anyone else except their partner.
Don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling, to ask how they’re feeling, and check in on ‘real’ issues rather than just keeping things light but ultimately non-meaningful all the time.
Maintain absolute honesty
Iearn the spirit of effective as well as regular communication, this one bears repeating. Be completely honest with each other. In a long-distance relationship especially, the trust element of a relationship is absolutely relied upon to keep the bond between you absolutely unshakeable. Once you start hiding things from your partner, whether that’s feelings or behaviours, the relationship will begin to crumble.
Secrets and lies erode romance and relationships, so maintain absolute honesty no matter what. The future of your partnership relies upon it.
My final thoughts on long-distance relationships? I believe they can work, but I’m not sure how long for. I certainly don’t think all long-distance relationships are doomed to failure, but I do believe that they take a massive amount of effort from both partners in order to keep the passionate momentum which started you on this path at the outset.
If a casual, no-strings attached hookup over the internet is what you’re after, without any intention of meeting in real life, then sooner or later I believe the interest will fade as one or the other person moves on to something new. For those who are looking for a long-term relationship, enjoying the partnership over distance rather than in person isn’t ideal and I don’t believe it contributes to the long-term success of a relationship. If nothing else, one or both partners will ache to physically be with the other person.
As I’ve mentioned earlier in this article, you both need to be honest about what you’re looking to gain from the coupling, if you want your long-distance relationship to ever really work. Keep in touch, act in the best interests of your relationship and your partner and make sure you are working towards the same goal, then you’ll have the best chance of enjoying long-term relationship happiness, no matter the physical distance between you.
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