Finding the right person to become committed to is a difficult process. It’s wonderful when you can find them, but unfortunately being in the same location isn’t always an option. In the past having careers in the military, truck driving/transport, academia, and sales required long periods of time away from home. Relationships were very difficult because couples would drift apart as their daily lives lost harmony. Now with our varied technologies, talking with your significant other is as easy as pressing a button. Conversing may be easier now but as always maintaining a long distance relationship takes hard work. All relationships could benefit from the skills developed by loving from a distance. There are two general components that need to be worked on when in a relationship. You and and your couple-hood.
It is important to remember that you are not responsible for the other person’s happiness whether they are in the next room or the next state. A healthy relationship should provide support and affection to the other person and yourself. However they should not replace your friends, family or hinder self growth. If you sacrifice these things in your life for the other person you are, in essence, knocking your foundation out from under you and you will be sure to crumble. In a LDR these supports are critical to surviving the absence of your number one.
If you find yourself becoming overly preoccupied with your partner, or have issues of trust that are unwarranted you might be facing issues of low self esteem. Healthy self esteem will not just benefit your romantic life, but you’ll get the most out of your daily experiences. It gives you the sense that you are worthy, worthy of love, of friends, of promotions. Basically you are giving yourself credit where credit is due.
Be honest with yourself. What do you want out of the relationship? What are your goals for life? What are your values? Having a clear understanding of what you believe will allow you to set boundaries and goals for the relationship as well. You can’t expect to grow with another person in the direction that you want to unless you know what that is. Also, be honest about how you feel, denying that there is a problem if there is one wont make it go away. If issues go unresolved, they are sure to turn up later on and they are usually worse than if you dealt with them directly.
In order to give of yourself, you need to be secure in who you are. Finding love will augment your life but you shouldn’t expect your partner to be your therapist. While they may be willing to help you through problems and support you, make sure you take the initiative towards your own well being. This can be hard while on the road, where you may feel out of the loop but consider the time out on the job as your time, and cherish your relationship with yourself. If you notice that you are suffering from a pattern of dysfunction, be it anger, low self esteem, or self destruction, consider seeking help. Getting help is not an indicator of weakness but rather it shows your strength and investment in your life and the lives of your loved ones. It shows that you want to be the best you can be.
You and Your Significant Other
The other part of the equation that you can effect is your relationship with your significant other. Establishing boundaries, making time for the two of you and communicating are key for staying on track. You can never, and should never try to control another person, but you can influence your relationship so that it is a safe haven for the both of you. Especially if you and your partner are in different locations you need to be taking steps to contact each other and to make those moments count. In a LDR you lack the luxury of common space so make the most out of each opportunity to connect.
You are not alone. Even if you feel like you and your partner are the only couple you know that faces the struggle of the long distance romance, you’re not. Though your friends and their spouses may be living together or nearby at least, more and more couples today are spreading out away from each other and making it work. This is happening for two reasons, better, more common technology and economic necessity. Take comfort in the reality that being in separate places is no indicator that you are at higher risk for breaking up.
The biggest component of success in your LDR is communication. Discuss with your partner your expectations of the relationship. Topics discussed should include, how exclusive you want your relationship to be, how long will you be long distance and how frequently you will visit, what you will do to make it work, and where you want your relationship to go. If you are married you already have an idea of your direction, so putting emphasis on a plan to make it work and following through on that plan is essential.
Being separated from your partner will not be easy, but if you are successful in the relationship it will make you a better partner for it. You will develop better listening skills and become better at expressing yourself. Couples that live close by each other or in the same house can fall into the rut of taking each other for granted. It is hard for that to happen in a LDR when each phone call is special because it may be the only time you hear your partner’s voice that day. In a LDR talking or writing are often your most common form of intimacy for days, weeks or even months. Even if you feel like you are not much of a talker, you will find yourself striving to express yourself to bridge the distance.
Every relationship faces hardships. It is important to remember why you two came together and what the good times are like. Participating in a long distance relationship is not a futile effort and many happy couples live in this style temporarily or for years on end. Appreciate your opportunity to have love in your life and cherish the person you have found.