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How to Deal With Long Distance Relationship: Expectations vs. Reality

The chances of finding the right person who’s in sync with your vibe are slim. But it’s terrible when life throws a curveball at you, and suddenly there’s a 14-hour time difference between you and your partner. Long-distance relationships are scary, which is probably why you’re here, looking for answers on how to make it work. 

However challenging, it’s not impossible to make your relationship apart from each other last. With the right communication and honesty, you can beat the odds that are stacked against you. Moreover, you’ll need to be patient, be open to making several adjustments, and have the right balance of trust and love.  

There’s undoubtedly so much more to that. So here’s my advice on how to deal with long distance relationship. Make sure you go through this whole article to make well-informed decisions, avoid the don’ts, and focus on realistically looking at this. 

Do Long Distance Relationships work: Opinion of Experts? 

Couples therapist Beverly Kort’s take on how to deal with a long-distance relationship is strong communication, trust, and making memories worth cherishing your time with each other. Let’s take a look at the statistics. 

A long-distance relationship is not super uncommon. You probably know at least one person who is in one other than yourself. In North America, one in three college students commits to long-distance relationships!

Moreover, a survey in 2018 showed that 60% of long-distance relationships last, and academic researchers reported 37% of couples breaking up within three months despite being geographically close. Researchers also say that long-distance relationships have more stability than couples who are close to each other geographically. 

Even though people don’t believe in long-distance relationships, the odds of them lasting are not so bad. Experts say that technology has drastically changed the landscape of relationships, especially a long-distance one. 

Video calling is highly encouraged by them besides letter writing, sharing small details about life (even the most mundane one!), checking in with partners, and, most notably, making adjustments. Find the right balance between communication and living your days.

How Do You Survive a Long Distance Relationship?

Staying in a long-distance relationship is frowned upon and advised against by so many people out there. That might include your own family and friends. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Undoubtedly, it isn’t going to be easy. But you might defy the odds.

I’ve mentioned a few tips on surviving a long-distance relationship here. But I’ve talked more broadly about other things you should keep in mind in the later parts of the article. 

Support one another and be present 

Although showing support may seem easy, it’s quite challenging. Usually, your partner may want your support with things that you may feel conflicted about. Always try to remember that your partner is also going through what you are. But you make it better by showing support and reassurance. 

Another piece of advice I would also recommend is to know each other’s schedules. If you know that, you can be more present and invest more time. Be there for each other when things get hard. 

At times, your partner may call out for you emotionally. If that happens, try to handle it with care and support. It’s very tricky to respond to your partner’s emotional call because sometimes they might just want a hug. Prioritize each other and try to be more intentional in making attempts to connect and be there. 

Communicate and commit 

Communication is your best friend in a long-distance relationship. Make the best out of technology and look out for each other. It’s easier than before to handle a long-distance relationship because there’s always unprecedented access to one another. But technology can’t compensate for everything, so don’t rely on it exclusively. 

You’ll make your connection more assertive with your partner once you’re both giving each other time extensively. This might not always be possible, but try to focus on quality instead of quantity. 

Often, you’ll get to see a unique side of your partner when you’re in a long-distance relationship as there’s a lot of different emotions on the table. This could be both for the better or worse. 

While it’s a typical response to give in to the urge of folding your hands and running away, talk about these feelings instead of making the walls bigger. It’s always easier to ask your partner than to give in to your doubts and paranoia with no solid ground. 

It’s best if you both are on the same page in terms of where you stand. Do you want to take it long-term? Do you want to be exclusive? These are essential questions you need to address before committing yourself to one another. 

Once you’ve addressed these, don’t hesitate to commit to your relationship and take it to the next level. However, this is a lot of work on yourself and your relationship. But which relationship doesn’t have thorns on its way?

Think confidently and positively

The experts advise you to learn how to love yourself first before wanting someone else to love you before entering any relationship. Self-love is fundamental and has no substitute in terms of confidence and security. 

You can expect not to feel jealous and territorial with your partner in a hypothetical situation. But realistically, it’s easier said than done. Even the most secure person feels a little insecure and possessive with their partners. But it’s essential to keep these feelings in check. 

If you’re not confident with yourself, you’ll be projecting your insecurities on your partner in casual situations like going out with colleagues, not giving enough time to you, being a little aloof. 

Think positively about these situations because it’s most times in your head rather than in reality. Your partner isn’t perfect, so they may not be able to manage their time correctly sometimes. Be patient and positive. Do things that make you happy when they’re not there with you. 

Be forgiving and understanding 

Relationships are never perfect. A long-distance relationship will be even more imperfect because you’ll have less time in person to make up for it. But having imperfections can be a perk of the relationship if you choose it to be.

You or your partner will most likely make many mistakes on the way to a promising future. It may seem like the easy way out to call quits based on these mistakes. But as Alexander Pope says, “To err is human, to forgive divine,” don’t hold on to these mistakes and resolve the issues. 

If your partner is busy and fails to invest more time in your relationship, try to be understanding. Remember that they’re only human and might be trying their best. Being understanding and considerate of your and their situation will take the relationship forward. 

Honor your promises 

Hopes from promises go a long way, longer than you would expect. These hopes give your partner a purpose, something to hold on to when you’re not there. So not keeping your promises will shatter these hopes, dreams, and fantasies that your partner had as you gave them your word. 

Moreover, when you give your word to your partner, it makes them feel loved and committed. When you don’t keep them, you’ll kill your relationship in the fastest way. This is truer if you’re repeatedly inconsistent with your promises. It also takes trust away from your relationship and plants seeds of doubt in your partner’s mind. 

So you have to make sure to honor your promises because if you don’t, you’ll only become more and more unreliable and aloof in the eyes of your partner. Doing so will also result in low efforts and expectations besides inviting an inevitable heartbreak. You’ll be pushing away your partner and making them close off emotionally. 

Give yourself and your partner appropriate space

It’s important to remember that you’re an individual before a significant other, and so is your partner. You’re both entitled to your own space and individuality. This isn’t a bad thing, so there is nothing to feel guilty about. It’s healthy for you and your partner’s mental well-being. 

There should be a healthy balance between your own and your partner’s space. You can take some time enjoying dinner with friends, hanging out, going to a movie, or even a rewarding spa day. Self-pampering activities will keep your mind fresh and boost your mood with confidence. 

Phrases like “I need some space” can send chills down your spine. When they’re having a busy day, or hanging out with friends, don’t be demanding of their time because this might come across as clingy to them. You don’t want them to feel like they’re suffocated and trapped with you. 

A great way of giving yourself time as an individual is to plan ahead of time and find similar things to do together that make you happy. You’ll both be in a good mood by the end of it, and it will also strengthen your connection with each other.

It’s all about little gestures 

Little gestures count the most in any relationship. You don’t always have to engage in extravagant efforts to make your partner happy. Sometimes merely showing up will have your partner taste saltwater on their face. Here are five things you can do today that will keep your partner happy. 

  • Presents to hold on to

Before you depart with your partner, give them something to hold on to. It might seem even more touching if you give them a personal item with your essence: a hoodie, jewelry, stuffed animals. 

  • Virtual date nights 

Plan and have virtual date nights. Watch a movie together on Skype or light a candle and have a meal next to each other virtually. While you’re at it, make meaningful conversations and smile for them. 

  • Surprise visits 

Show up on their doorstep if you can, unexpectedly. Doing so will make your partner very happy and keep them in an excellent mood for days to come. 

If you’re already on a visit, plan a romantic getaway on the weekend and disconnect from the baggage of your life. Walk under the moonlight, bathe in the saltwater wind, and have a meaningful conversation under lilac skies. Talk about valuable and meaningful things in person. 

  • Say three lovable things about each other before saying goodnight

A habit you can cultivate is saying three nice things about yourselves to each other at night before going to sleep. You can remind yourself why you’re grateful for having them in your life. It will undoubtedly make them happy. 

  • Go old school 

One of the most romantic gestures seen in the oldest generations is writing letters to your loved ones. Pour your heart out on paper and mail it today! It may seem insignificant, but everyone loves old-school gestures. Letters over text!

To make a regular relationship work on its own takes a lot of effort. But you have to try twice as hard to make a long-distance relationship work. Try to keep your expectations low, and have an open mind. You’ll only make things hard on your partner if you don’t have trust in them and yourself. 

What Should You Not Do in a Long-Distance Relationship?

Everything follows a pattern of rules. So, there are most certainly some things you should avoid in a long-distance relationship. You don’t have to follow these by heart, but if you’re preparing yourself for a long-distance relationship, you can try to remember these pointers.

Being low effort: The biggest no-no is putting less effort into your long-distance relationship. Maintaining one will take a chunk of your energy, but it will only make love for your significant other stronger and more beautiful.

Once you’ve started giving efforts, you will see things in a new direction and appreciate the little things. But this also means that you should also be on the receiving end of high efforts. The degree of actions should be mutual and equal for most parts. 

So, it’d be best if you made sure that you and your partner are aware of investing more time and effort to make the relationship work. 

Having unrealistic expectations: Life won’t pause itself just because it has changed. It will go on, and you have to make do with what you’re given. So going to parties and gatherings with no one by your side will undoubtedly make you feel lonely. 

However, don’t let your partner feel the need to compensate for these feelings, as it’s most likely he’s feeling the same. You’ll want to talk to them more than usual because you miss them. You’ll only be lonely if you choose to see it that way. 

But making them feel like they’re obligated to make you feel better right away is very unrealistic and detrimental. Even if it means missing out on things regular couples don’t, you have to understand your situation. 

Taking your significant other for granted: Romantic gestures can validate your partner’s presence, and many people rely on that. But actively showing such motions can be very difficult. 

It’s natural for a situation like that to lead to many problems. However, taking your partner for granted is never a solution to these feelings. One possible way is to treat them as though they’re here. 

Would you show up and surprise them? Then do that if your circumstances permit that. Would you have flowers on their doorway on a regular afternoon? Then go ahead and do that!

If you feel like your partner is taking you for granted, communicate your feelings to them. Make them see you and hear you. Be honest, raw, and real. Let them see the real you and have them love you for it. 

Try not to push your partner away: Being real and honest will drive the engine of your relationship. It’s best if you tried to avoid misunderstandings and talked with your partner about what bothers you. 

If talking to an individual bothers your partner, then maybe you should strongly consider having fewer conversations with them. Your partner should not feel like you can’t speak to them about what makes them feel upset. 

The changed circumstances of a long-distance relationship will undeniably make you or your partner feel a little insecure. When they try to talk about these feelings, it’s best to have an open mind and handle it maturely. 

Please don’t make them feel like they can’t tell you anything because you might react unpleasantly. Make your partner feel safe and secure. Let them never hesitate once to talk about their feelings with you.

Don’t invade your partner’s privacy: It’s important to remember that even though you might be sharing your life with your partner, you are an individual before a significant other. This is also applicable to your partner.

Things might get overwhelming at times. And you may feel the urge to cross some established boundaries. But even so, your partner is an individual with their own space. Try to respect your partner’s privacy and don’t assume the worst. You can try asking them about it. 

Should You Talk every day in Long Distance Relationships?

How to Deal With Long Distance Relationship

Getting to talk every day when your day and night apart is not practical. Expecting that to happen for a reasonable period is not a smart way to deal with long-distance relationships

Experts say that it might do more harm than good to talk every day. It’s not necessary to have a lot of conversations. You’ll ultimately run out of things to say. After that, an awkward silence will follow. 

As mentioned before, it is best if you tried to focus on quality rather than the number of conversations you’ll have while you’re apart. You could have more intriguing conversations with your partner if you went a few days without talking to them.

Moreover, it’s exhausting to keep your partner updated about every single mundane detail of your life. So don’t expect to talk every single day. Make use of your free schedule and engage in productivity.

Both of you are busy individuals with many other commitments besides each other. So it’s natural that one of your schedules won’t coincide, and you’ll miss out on talking for an entire day. However, this contact gap shouldn’t last for several days at a time. 

When to Not Deal with a Long distance relationship

For a long-distance relationship to work, you’ll have to go out of your way and devote a lot of time and energy. When you hear about success stories from couples who overcame the obstacles in long-distance relationships, you’re certainly going to get hopes up to make yours last. 

But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, the relationship doesn’t seem like it’s going forward. I’ve mentioned some things you should look out for in your long-distance relationship that might seem like red flags. 

Inconsistent communication 

If your communication is falling apart and you’re going several days without speaking to each other, you’re going to feel empty and heavy-hearted. It’s challenging to feel safe and at ease when your partner takes a week or more to respond to simple texts. 

Also, if you’re the one who’s always initiating conversations, you might want to talk to your partner about what you’re feeling.

Staying for reasons that feel wrong 

Calling quits can sometimes be more problematic than staying in a relationship that’s going nowhere. If you no longer want to be with your partner, but you’re staying with them because you’ve developed a habit of them, then you should re-evaluate the reasons why you’re staying with them. 

Besides, your stubbornness shouldn’t be a reason why you choose to stay. 

Lack of meaningful conversations 

For a relationship to go forward, you need to have meaningful conversations about things you both value. You should rediscover yourselves every once in a while when you’re having some of these conversations. If it doesn’t seem like that anymore, then it’s time you have a conversation about it with your partner.  

You’re changing and not for the better

You’re inevitably going to change in a relationship. But it shouldn’t make you dislike who you become. If it triggers your insecurities and doesn’t bring out the best in you, it may be causing constant fights. These fights may be putting you in a sour mood. So it may be an excellent time to consider if this situation is right for you.

Talking feels like a chore 

If you’re no longer looking forward to regular FaceTimes, it’s likely that you don’t feel connected to your partner anymore. It might also seep out the excitement out of you when you think about talking to your partner. 

When there’s no future 

If you both know that you have to say goodbye at one point in life, you already know that your relationship’s chances to last are not great. You may still have a strong connection and feelings for them, but you know the outcome will be the same as you’re expecting. Even if it’s harrowing to part ways, you might want to consider that and talk to your partner.  

Disclaimer:

If you see some of these happening, don’t feel disheartened and address these issues with your partner. These might ring a few alarm bells, but it’s not beyond fixing. You can resolve these issues by communicating correctly with your partner. 

Every relationship is different, so don’t try to generalize yours with others. Try your best individually, and you’ll know what to do. Make video phone calls often, and try to have raw and honest conversations. This might be another obstacle to overcome, and yours might be another success story people read online. 

The Distance Won’t Last Forever

Don’t be demoralized if your relationship isn’t going well. The distance certainly makes everything twice as hard, but it also makes everything worthwhile. Don’t lose hope and talk about these feelings with your partner. You can even refer to therapy if that helps. 

The distance that you hate can actually be a good thing. It is a great opportunity for you to truly realize how much you love your partner and how much you are willing to do for him or her. The same goes for your partner as well. If there were any cracks in the bond between you and your partner before they are sure to reveal now or heal completely.  

This could be a new opportunity for you and your partner to tell stories to your grandkids. The distance will not last forever, and you’ll get to be with your person soon. Remind yourself and your partner of the things you’re thankful for. Try to stay positive and grateful. Give each other small tokens of love every once in a while, and you’ll be fine. 

Conclusion 

People say that distance makes everything seem sweeter. But reality begs to differ when things get hard. However, distance proves the dynamic of a relationship, and most times, it’s for the better. I hope this article has provided you with some clarity on how to deal with a long-distance relationship now that you’ve read it. 

Stay happy and cheerful. Wishing you and your partner good luck and happy life! I’m sure you guys will make it work. Thanks for stopping by.


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