Pursuing a romantic relationship with someone who lives in a different country or a different time zone, is never ideal. But at times, it’s unavoidable. People move for education, family, or to pursue their career goals. No matter what the reason, if they’re important to you, you must put in extra effort to protect and nurture your relationship.
Lori Bizzoco, author, journalist, and founder of a relationship advice service, chalks out the guidelines and tips for a successful long-distance relationship:
1. Communication Is Crucial
This is imperative for any relationship, but when you aren’t seeing your partner in person, it becomes even more important to keep the channels of communication open. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, but not being around the other person may give rise to moments when you feel like your life would not be very different without them. Use the Internet to its fullest. Seeing your love is only a phone call away. FaceTime or Skype can make a huge difference during moments of despair. You can also keep in touch throughout the day via text or e-mail, if your job allows. The more you talk to your partner, the closer you’ll feel, says Bizzoco. Maintain an online diary or calendar. This way, you can keep yourself abreast with the other person’s life and ask each other about it.
2. Do Things Together
Yes, it’s possible, even though your geographies differ. Join in some fun games you can play online together. Or decide upon a book that the two of you will read over the weekend, and discuss it in the coming week. Or watch some TV shows together. Doing this will constantly remind you about your similar tastes, and strengthen the bond. It could help if you take up each others hobbies as well. That way, you learn a new skill, and feel connected to your partner.
3. Encourage Emotional Intimacy
Since you don’t have the privilege of being physically intimate with your partner, look at it as an opportunity to get to know the other person on a deeper emotional level. Ask about their dreams and plans, what they were like as children, what makes them tick. Though you may be miles away from each other, try to make sure you are available via phone, email or SMS if your partner needs to talk urgently. What’s important is that you’re there—in heart, if not in person.
4. Don’t Overlook The Mundane
No detail is too small. Share conversations about how your day went with the little intricacies, such as, how you like your coffee, or what foods you’re allergic to. It will help you know the person as if you were living together, to ease in the adjustment when you do move in together, in future.
5. Set Expectations
Living away from each other after you’ve lived together, or even close by, is not going to be easy. Prepare yourself for the shift in emotions and try to make some ground rules for how you will deal with it. Firstly, talk to your partner and figure out a time when both of you will be free to talk. Plan ahead. It’s helpful to always have your next visit scheduled in advance. That way, you have something to look forward to. You can also have specific rules, like you won’t go more than three weeks without seeing each other in person.
6. Avoid Temptation
You must engage with your partner at many levels to avoid the temptation of seeking out someone who is around. “See the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Bizzoco. Although you may not be living in the same place now, you will, eventually. Remind yourself about why you’re currently apart, and why you have chosen to maintain a long-distance relationship. There must be something special, carrying you on.