Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? Maybe you know somehow who is in one? Whichever level of experience with such a relationship you’re at, it’s incredibly hard. The couples that make it are the exception not the norm.
When you talk to most couple therapists and counselors, you’ll begin noticing a pattern. Most of them don’t actually believe that a long distance relationship can genuinely work. Some will even go ahead and advice you to quit in case you’re having problems. But would it be wise to call it quits especially when you truly love your partner?
As we’re about to see, maintaining a long distance relationship is incredibly hard – that I admit. But one thing that makes us human is the ability to solve difficult problems. The kind that very few people think – are solvable. This article is geared towards that. To find a way of making a long distance relationship work.
The challenges of a long distance relationship
- Communication problems.
The difference in time zones is the cause of most communication problems. When one of you is planning to sleep, the other is preparing to go to work. When one is horny at 10 pm at night, the other is busy attending the company meeting at 2 pm. You only give them a few days and the situation is reversed. The other issue concerns what means of communication each one finds comfortable.
Video chatting might be your wife’s favorite means of communication yet you prefer texting or phone calls. These varying inclinations eventually add up hence creating unnecessary tension between you two.
- There’s a lot of jealousy in the air.
It’s natural to have trust issues when you’re not living with someone. Your mind gets into the habit of always assuming the worst every time you don’t hear from your girlfriend. And this is exactly what happens to her too. Jealousy becomes inevitable.
It lingers around even when you don’t have any sound evidence to confirm your suspicions. The idea that someone is living in a different physical space to yours means coming to false conclusions is always on the cards
- Less fun and too much seriousness.
Because time is always limited, things become way too serious whenever you communicate. You focus on the “big issues”. Things like work, business, health and relatives or friends take most of your talking time. Texting doesn’t help either.
You forget to talk about and do stupid things. The kind of things that come in handy when there’s a lot of tension between people.
Secrets are inevitable especially when you didn’t anticipate their occurrence. Whenever you don’t communicate on a daily basis, with time, you’ll forget to bring up some urgent matters. It becomes hard bringing them up in future as you don’t want your partner to think the worst of you.
Let the above scenario play out over and over again and you have a web of secrets and lies. The kind – that were never intended in the first place.
- Dependency on technology.
Sometimes you’ll spend days if not weeks not talking to your loved one as a result of technological problems. This is especially hard on the party whose technology is working just fine. And this leads to a cascade of unintended problems.
With days passed without communicating, either party can feel lonely. One can even begin questioning the foundations of the relationship. Without virtual sex, one can end up seeking other measures to release the sexual tension – which can lead to cheating.
- Risk of growing apart.
As a result of lacking physical interaction, growing apart becomes inevitable. There’s an unknown effect physical interaction creates. There’s something magical about all your senses being involved in an interaction with someone.
Technology does a great job but it’s far from perfect. Without the physical, the emotional suffers as well. There things you absorb emotionally by only sharing the same physical space with someone. Devoid of that, you become emotionally apart.
- Psychological problems.
Without someone to see her cry, your girlfriend develops loneliness. Because of past mistakes and problems, you fall into depression. The fact that the future of your relationship seems bleak, your wife suffers from anxiety. The uncertainty of your relationship creates so much tension between you two.
Psychological problems are common in a long distance relationship. There’s so much you don’t know. So much that scares you to the death. Each one of you reacts differently to these challenges which might even complicate the other’s reaction.
It’s hard and complex. But with knowledge and discipline we can do something to ease some of these issues. Here’s how…
How you make it work
- Don’t try to hide your emotions.
It’s okay to have doubt. Crying after an argument is fine. The emotions that arise out of the psychological issues we’ve talked about are inevitable. And it’s natural to feel the way you feel, everyone does. Don’t hide or suppress these emotions.
Talk to your partner about what you’re feeling. And see if she can help you calm down. If talking to her is out of the picture, talk to friends and family. You’ll need all the support you can get just to get through some problems. But don’t hide them. Confront them head on.
Otherwise, they’ll pile up until a point where the brain can’t handle the confusion anymore. And adverse effects will ensue. You don’t want that.
- Recognize that a long distance relationship is not natural (Be Realistic).
For all of human history, we’ve always lived close to our families and relatives. Our brains never evolved to easily handle long distance relationships. The only reason they can somewhat handle them is because of a phenomenal called “Neural plasticity” – The ability of the brain to adapt to any new situation.
But this ability is not ingrained deep down into our psyches. Expecting yourself or your partner to cope without any troubles is unrealistic.
Once you two approach the situation with the caution and low expectations it deserves, then you’ll be in a much better position to handle all the problems that might come your way. Even when extreme situations like cheating come into play, you’ll be in a better mental state to handle them.
A long distance relationship is not natural. You’re essentially tussling out with nature – and that is always destined to be a really hard battle.
- Entertain the idea of a “monogamish relationship.”
A “monogamish relationship” is one where both parties agree to have a long term commitment (just like in monogamy) – but while having sex with other people. This article goes into real details about such relationships.
Monogamish relationships are based on the idea that sexual fidelity is difficult. So instead of people cheating and lying to each other, they instead get comfortable with the idea of sleeping with other people. Rules are made according to how much both parties can permit. This kind of relationship reduces sexual frustration in a relationship.
The fact that you won’t stop someone from getting attracted to other people means a monogamish relationship is a solid option. In your case, decide on what the rules are. Do you agree with sexual infidelity or emotional infidelity? What boundaries shouldn’t be crossed? And so on.
- Masturbate – A LOT.
Masturbation is healthy. It reduces on the sexual tension in cases where you don’t have your partner around to help out. It reduces stress, anger and boredom.
Better yet, do it while your partner is watching on a video chat – as this can be stimulating to them – hence doing some masturbation of their own.
- Use the magic of technology to reduce on the sexual tension created by distance.
They’re sex toys that can be integrated with the internet to make a soothing experience for both of you. A lot of phone apps can be used to enhance and dramatize your sexual experience.
Use all sorts of technologies to enhance your sexual lives as much as possible. This will reduce the gap between the virtual and the real worlds.
- Avoid pointless arguments and negative energy from other people.
There will be people especially those close to you both who don’t feel you’ll make it work. But –to hell with them. They don’t have the guts and the will that both of you have. Because their opinions will get to your head, stay away from such people. Those who care about you will instead support you.
Also, don’t dwell on unnecessary arguments. When you’re in a long distance relationship, your brain is always on the lookout for the negative stuff to dwell on. Don’t give it any. Avoid negativity as much as possible. Use the ratio of 10:1 instead of 5:1, that is – have 10 moments of positivity instead of the five you can have while living in the same physical space – for every negative moment.
- Re-create the physical interaction.
Send each other stuff you’ve both touched. Maybe it’s the clothes you both wore but didn’t wash – the dirtier, the smellier – the better. Play online games together to re-create the fun you used to have while living together. Watch Netflix together (there’s a web app that helps you watch Netflix in sync). Talk about the most mundane of things – life is made up mundane stuff.
Having all your senses engaged will go a long way to ensure that you don’t grow apart.
- The underappreciated power of photos.
Send her photos of your work place. Make it a habit of sending her photos of you eating food. Send her your shower pics. And advise her to do the same. You need to see all her photos. From the ones she takes while buying groceries to those dirty ones. You need to update your database of her boobs, bums and all of her body parts. Heck, those are supposed to be your guide to masturbation.
Photos are the closest thing we have of recreating the past and elongating memories that were meant to be enjoyed only once. Send each other photos – A LOT.
- Go the extra mile
Make sure you talk to each other every day. It’s not easy but DO IT. Your relationship depends on it. Check on her in the morning and before you sleep every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a text or video chat.
It’s natural to become lazy but don’t let it happen. Send each other written letters and customized packages every now and then. Give her surprise visits every once in a while. Don’t count how many times who is doing what. Just do whatever you can.
Count down the remaining days until the next time you meet each other. The human brain works best when it’s hopeful – when it has something to shoot for. Because when everything is uncertain, then we have a problem.
If most long distance relationships fail, it means the ones that survive do something that others don’t. They go the extra mile. They do things others are lazy to do. And eventually they survive. You’ll survive – trust me.
Maintaining a long distance relationship is damn hard. But with discipline and commitment, you can make it work. With trust and patience, you can survive all the blows life will throw at you. As long as you approach the situation with the seriousness it deserves, and do everything we’ve talked about here – success is inevitable.
So, what do you think? Have you survived a long distance relationship before? Other people would love to hear about your experiences on Facebook.