I’ve done long distance relationships many times…and sworn after every one that I’d never do it again. Sometimes it works, other times not…it’s down to the people involved and the effort put in. They require more work than a regular relationship so make sure you’re willing to give it the energy required before diving in.
Distance disrupts the regular dating pattern and means it’s all or nothing…you go from not having someone around at all to them living with you for days at a time. You’re trying to get to know someone without the typical cadence of dates for things to progress at a natural pace. Fluctuating between the extremes can be exhausting.
Some of the biggest challenges are:
• Unusual relationship progression
• Not enough time together/physical touch
• Jealousy and insecurities
Communication is vital in the early days of a long distance relationship. Success relies on establishing expectations around frequency of meeting and contact from afar. Agree to a realistic plan that everyone is comfortable with and can commit to…don’t make empty promises you can’t keep. The majority of friction will come from needs not being met.
Give yourself the best chance of success by:
• Always knowing when you’ll next meet
• Having an end date in sight
• Communicating expectations
The lack of physical touch and quality time together are likely the most difficult things to overcome in long distance. You have to ensure both people feel secure in the connection without having physical closeness and regular time spent together. Fostering intimacy can be really tricky at a distance and challenging to maintain over long periods.
Ways to reinforce connection when apart:
• Sending thoughtful gifts/messages
• App controlled toys/phone sex
• Simultaneous activities on video calls (like cooking, cocktail making, video gaming etc)
Long distance relationships only survive with strong communication, trust, effort and a plan. If you go into it without preparation and just hope it will work out, it won’t. They can be very successful, but it will look different to most relationships and requires compromise and hard work. What’s been your experience of long distance relationships?
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