Long Distance Relationships
By Anna Lynn Sibal
A long distance relationship, fondly called LDR for short in dating circles, is very hard to maintain. All the things that couples who live near each other get to enjoy and sometimes take for granted, such as intimacy and togetherness, are things that people in long distance relationships need to put extra effort in. The mere fact that LDR couples live far apart from each other, with no means of knowing what the other is up to or who the other is seeing or talking to, puts a lot of strain into the relationship.
Keeping the love strong in a long distance relationship is a true challenge. Here are a few pointers that can help keep the love alive no matter how far the distance.
1. Agree on some ground rules on how your long distance relationship should work. Be honest with each other on what the two of you want out of this relationship. Decide how often you would like to communicate with each other, on what occasions you should go fly to meet up with each other, if the two of you are free to see other people, and other such things. Setting expectations and agreeing on ground rules will help prevent unnecessary arguments in the future.
2. Keep in touch the old way. Emails, instant messaging, webcam and voice chatting is all nice and convenient, but there is something special about sending snail mail. The person who received it can put it his wallet and take it out to read whenever loneliness or the blues set in. Voice messages recorded on tape or CD, along with a few choice tracks from favorite artists are also great stuff to receive in the mail.
3. Get hooked on a common activity. It could be watching the same TV program at the same time, or maybe a movie on cable or DVD. Reading the same books works too. In this way, you both have something to talk about, and it simulates togetherness for the two of you, even if you are so far apart.
4. Do not sweat over the small stuff. Problems that are actually small in hindsight appear to be bigger than they actually are because the two of you do not get to talk as much as you can. So, when small things that are not really anything more than mildly irritating happen between the two of you, just let it slide. Do your fights for the really important stuff that matters.
5. Embrace uncertainty in your relationship. The two of you do not see each other all the time, so when the two of you do meet face to face, you might seem like strangers to each other. This feeling of uncertainty will not stay there for long. However, if it does linger far longer than it should, then perhaps the two of you have indeed become strangers. In that case, decide to break up gracefully.
6. Be honest. While the old saying tells us that distance makes the heart grow fonder, another and equally true saying states that distance can make the heart forget. If you have fallen in love with someone else who lives near you, or if you just feel that you do not love the other person anymore, just say so. However, say so over the phone, not over email, IM or answering machine. You know he/she deserves more than that.
7. Surprise the other by showing up at his/her doorstep out of the blue. There is nothing like seeing your best beloved in the flesh when words just cannot give justice to emotions.