We must have all heard this time and again, that long distance relationships are the worst. Being a part of one is probably one of the most underrated struggles known to us, and only those with the strongest willpower can battle it out and emerge victorious in the end. Most people in a LDR would always feel like breaking up would be the better option rather than going through the whole process.There’s no way around the numerous insecurities that arise during a long distance relationship.
Why Don’t Long Distance Relationships Work Out?
The primary reason that LDRs don’t work out is the distance. Its actually crazy how body language and face-to-face matters, and exactly how misleading messages can be in place of proper communication. In most cases you would find that the same couple who fell out due to long distance were inseparable before the distance came in between. But here’s the silver lining: distance cannot change feelings, and love cannot change reality. If two people diligently and invariably want to be together, there is absolutely no such adversity that could affect them. In the end, all the pain and the loneliness will be worth it.
So when it comes to surviving the distance, here’s what I’ve learned is most important:
1.Set A Date To Meet
It is of utmost importance that your relationship has a date when you have something to look forward to together. You must set a date to meet up, making time out of your busy schedules, be it in a year, or six months, whenever possible. That is perhaps the only logical way to keep the flame going. Don’t let the distance be a permanent thing, and even if it is, there must be anticipation to meet up with your significant half some way or the other. The minute you stop having some milestone to look forward to together, you’ll be stuck in emotional limbo.
Communication is insanely vital in this case. Always remember, you lead separate lives in separate cities, (in some cases, even separate countries) and there is no possible way your partner would know what is going on with your life, or how you are feeling, unless you tell them. You must communicate very clearly without any qualms, whatsoever. Don’t be discreet about anything. If you want to know something, just ask directly, or tell them anything you want them to know, don’t wait for them to ask it. Share everything, even the smallest and the most stupidest things. Skype or Face-Time really helps, because you actually get to see the person. Do as much of it as possible that would suit both of you.
3. Do Not Impose
It is very important to your relationship that you do not impose it on your partner. Some couples create ground rules or expectations that they should have ‘n’ number of calls every week. I’ve always found that communication should happen unconditionally. You talk to each other when you want to, not because you have to. And if that means going 1-2 days without communicating, then so be it.
When you force communication you inevitably hit days that you don’t have much to talk about (or don’t feel like talking), you’ll be half-heartened and fill your communication with a bunch of fillers. So you’ll be spending time with your partner not because you want to but because you feel obligated to.
When the relationship is cross continental, communication becomes an ever bigger problem due to the separate time zones. Set a time for the two of you so that both of you could stock up on things to talk about and the interval would actually make you eager to catch up with one another.
4. Do Not Judge
We start to make all sorts of assumptions or judgments that are usually exaggerated or untrue when we are separated from the ones we love. This can manifest itself in various ways within a long distance relationship. In some cases, people get insanely jealous or irrationally possessive of their partner and become paranoid about very insignificant things. Just because your partner is living in a separate city/country doesn’t mean you nor your partner should stop having fun with others. If you aren’t happy in your own life, you could never be happy in your relationship. Hence it is very important that you give your partner his/her own personal space
5. Keep Faith
When in a LDR, you are afflicted with irrational fantasies which are very unhelpful and fatal to the relationship. You would constantly wonder whether your partner is cheating on you, whether he/she is seeing someone else, and you start second guessing the smallest things.
The best thing you can do in your relationship, for both of you, is to eradicate any possibilities of misunderstanding that may arise. For instance, if the power goes out and your partner misses their nightly Skype call, don’t sit there thinking yourself that this is it, the relationship’s over, he/she finally forgot about me. Go ahead and clarify what happened, because these little misunderstandings would turn into bigger misunderstandings and you wouldn’t be able to set things right after that. Remind yourself that you really don’t know what’s going on and the best thing you can do at any moment is simply ask your partner.
Send each other gifts from time to time. It doesn’t necessarily have to be very fancy or expensive; even a hand-written note, or post-card can do wonders. Sometimes, when you’re feeling very down or missing your partner, a warm hug can lift your mood, which is the biggest drawback in a LDR. It deprives you of the touch from your partner and physical proximity is minimum. Hence sending little gifts and notes from time to time is the closest substitute for that.
7. Keep Hope
A LDR can never survive without hope. And for there to be hope, there must be some possibility that you two will one day be together and achieve your Happily Ever After. You both need to have life visions that are aligned, shared values and mutual interests. Not only must there be some shared vision of a possible future for you together, but you both must also feel as though you’re working toward that vision. If he’s in Delhi and you’re in Kolkata, nothing will kill the relationship faster than applying for jobs in London and Hong Kong. All in all, that shared future must inadvertently be there, and achieving which must be a joint effort from both sides. Long distance relationships can only work if both partners have the life-rearranging commitment to one another and have the perseverance to pull through.
Is it Worth The Effort?
All through it, your inner voice would keep imploring you, “is it worth it?” On one level, yes, it is worth it even if the relationship goes down in the long run, because you will have learnt a lot about intimacy, about commitment and about yourself in the process.
On another level, it’s hard to tell. Because when you’re stuck in a long distance relationship, you don’t really know what it’s like to date the other person. You only have this halfway, vague idea of what it’s like. Yet again, that too has its own positiveness and shortcomings.
Can it work? Yes, it can. Does it work? Usually, no. But then again, that’s true for the vast majority of relationships. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever at least try. Surviving a long-distance relationship is all about creating and maintaining a solid foundation, and if two people endeavor in making it work no matter what, it will work, there’s no other way around it!