What happens if you meet the love of your life and suddenly he or she decides to move so far away that you are able to see each other only rarely? In today’s world, this is not uncommon. Attractive employment or educational opportunities can crop up almost anywhere in the world.
There is probably no greater test of the strength of a relationship than living hundreds or even thousands of miles apart for a lengthy period of time. A long-distance relationship is always a difficult situation—whether you’ve just met, are newly married or have been together for many years. But it can also be a means to cement your bond.
Fortunately, the same trends that have made separation more common have also produced some solutions to the problem. Ten years ago it would have been impossible to have eye-to-eye contact if your partner lived in another city or country, and phoning was often an expensive proposition. Today, all you need to do is download Skype and you have a cost-free way of seeing your absent partner’s face and hearing his or her voice.
But, as time drags on, this may not be enough. The trick, many experts agree, is for both of you to go the extra distance to keep your loved one an important part of your life, no matter how many miles separate you.
First, communicate, communicate, communicate — even just to say hello or talk about the weather. It is vital to stay in touch, to keep the bond alive, and we are lucky to have so many means of communicating, whether it is via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook—or even (how quaint!) snail mail, for those long, romantic letters that seem to be difficult to write in an e-mail. Don’t let a day go by without sending a message, no matter how simple.
Second, try to pursue common interests, such as seeing the same movies, watching the same TV shows or reading the same books, and then using them as topics of discussion. This will remind both of you how much you have in common.
Third, keep reminding each other of why you are making this sacrifice and what is waiting for you both when you are back together again. Keep your plans alive!
Fourth, visit each other as often as is possible. A touch and a kiss are worth a thousand e-mails.
Finally, and most important, trust your partner and always be frank. You cannot expect your partner to live in solitary confinement while you are apart, nor should you be expected to give up your social life. And life can present temptations when your partner is gone. Whatever you do, don’t interrogate and don’t lie. The respect you show each other during the separation will be vital to keeping your long-distance relationship alive.