Can long distance relationships work?
The long distance relationship – or LDR – is a contentious issue in the dating world. People seem to be divided as to whether they are worth investing in. On one hand, the LDR can be like setting yourself up for frustration, pain and heartache. Why would you knowingly enter into a relationship that may be doomed from the start? Expensive airfares, long absences, painful video-chats and easily misinterpreted text messages – why bother? On the other hand, if there is a strong level of compatibility and you really believe in the potential of your union, surely the distance becomes irrelevant? If you’re reading this you’re probably either in an LDR or considering one, and wondering if it could work.mat
Here are our top tips to consider when it comes to long distance love:
- Do you know what you both want?
This is the very first thing you should try and establish before you start investing huge amounts of time, energy, and possibly money if you are travelling long distances to see each other. Are you both heading in the same direction? How long do you want to give it before you decide to either live closer or stop seeing each other?
- Are either of you willing to relocate?
This follows on from the last point. You need to talk early on about whether either of you are willing to eventually relocate. If neither of you are but you both want to marry and have a family, then it is clear from the outset that it is not going to work no matter how well you get along with each other.
- How often are you going to be able to physically see each other?
Hopefully the answer will be at least once a month, because any less than that will make it difficult for true intimacy to develop, even if you have tons of online communication. Physical contact like kissing, hugging and eye contact is essential to form a strong bond. About 80% of our communication is nonverbal and if you don’t see each other you will be missing out on communicating in this important way.
- Is communication a key aspect in your relationship?
During those times, apart it is important to communicate regularly. LDR couples are prone to ‘romantic idealisations’ about each other, meaning they are likely to reminisce in unrealistically positive terms, believing they have more in common than they really do. You need to be a good communicator for any relationship to work, so be willing to express how you truly feel. Couples that are proactive about getting to know each other and keep a grounded perception of their relationship are much more likely to survive.
- Take responsibility for your emotional wellbeing
Long distance relationships are tough, and you need to be in quite a secure position in yourself to handle the strain. The most common issues that arise are around trust and security, simply because there is more space between you for doubts to arise. While it is quite normal for painful feelings to arise, it is important to take responsibility for getting the help and support you need from your close friends, rather than dumping it all on your partner. Seeing someone continually distressed over Skype or on the phone can be very upsetting, and will eventually make each person question whether it is worth continuing the relationship if it is so painful.
- Optimal LDR mindset
The best way to approach any relationship is with an open mind. If you’ve had negative or painful experiences with long distance relationships in the past, then it is understandable to be cautious. But what if you approached each potential relationship with the philosophy of What if? What if they are my ideal, perfect match? What if we could be really happy together?
As long as you balance your what ifs with a dose of reality and pragmatism, you have nothing to lose. And believe it or not, there are benefits to being in a long-term relationship! You have more time to pursue your own interests, have the chance to travel to your partner’s home town, and learn to be more creative and resourceful in how you connect with each other. The benefits will be different for each couple, but it is important you identify them and remind yourself of them during difficult times.
Do you have any tips to share, tell us in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.
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