Navigating Long Distance Relationships

Mental Health Matters

Navigating Long Distance RelationshipsNavigating Long Distance Relationships

In general, romantic partnerships require a lot of work. Practicing qualities such as patience, willingness, and thorough communication can be challenging – especially when you add distance into the mix. Thanks to modern technology, we can stay in communication with those we love regardless of the spatial distance. But despite having Facetime and Skype at our disposal, factors such as time difference, lack of touch, and physical separation can emphasize the distance and hinder feelings of connectedness. Long distance relationships can be challenging, especially when it feels like your connection is losing its potency. The following tips can help you and your partner feel understood, loved, and connected despite the distance.

  1. Designate schedules and stick to them. Between the different time zones and busy work schedules, it can be hard to follow through with regular phone calls and messages. But if you find yourselves consistently missing communication opportunities, it will be more difficult to stay connected. Find an overlap of when to set aside communication arrangements and commit to a time where you can call or video chat. Following through with your schedule shows that you are committed and prioritize communicating with your partner.
  2. Clarify expectations and end-goals. A long distance relationship can feel much more manageable if both partners have a mutual understanding of an end date. It’s easier to get through the road bumps if you know it’s only going to be temporary. When the timing is right, talk to your partner about end term goals for your relationship. Planning small trips in between can also give both of you something to look forward to.
  3. Not everything has to be digital. Staying digitally connected is important, but don’t overlook the small, tangible things. Keep photos around your room or in your wallet to have a reminder of your loved one. It can also be nice to keep a clothing item around that still smells like your partner to remind you of their presence.
  4. Be intentional when communicating. One of the benefits of long distance relationships is that communication becomes a precious opportunity. When conversations become rare, partners will naturally prioritize positive conversations and avoid the day-to-day nagging. Be intentional about your quality time and make it positive. If there is a serious issue you want to discuss, make sure you set aside time to openly discuss it instead of hashing it out in a serious of separate conversations. Remember, your time is valuable together.
  5. Don’t put your life on hold. While it’s important to stay connected with your partner, remember to live your own life. Try not to sacrifice pursuing your own hobbies, job opportunities, or cultivating friendships. Make the most out of your life whether your partner is here or not.

Staying connected can be hard work, but with effort and commitment, long distance relationships are doable. As hard as it is to be separate, remember to continue living your own life and give your partner the freedom to continue living their life as well. If you are having a hard time dealing with the long distance, consider seeking professional help. At Counseling California, we have hundreds of qualified MFTs who can help you navigate relationship issues. Get in touch with us today for more information!

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