Many of us find ourselves in a long-distance relationship for lots of different reasons - it may be due to work commitments or being a student. Whatever the reason, long-distance relationships can be difficult to manage, but not impossible.
As long as a couple you are both equally committed to the relationship then the outlook is good.
Research suggests that 3 million people will live apart from their spouse at some point in their relationship, but it also suggests that those couples that have been in a long-distance relationship report the same or more satisfaction in their relationship than couples who are geographically close. It has been noted also that these couples have higher levels of dedication to the relationship and report feeling less trapped.
However, when embarking on a long-distance relationship, it is important that as a couple you set the boundaries and rules of the relationship - for example, when you will be in contact each day, or when you will have couple time together. A schedule is also a must so that you both know when you will see each other again, for example in two weeks’ time, or two months. Having an end date will help you both know when you will be together again.
Long-distance relationships can be beneficial to a couple in that they provide more opportunity for each individual to develop their own friendships and interests and meet interesting people, which means they have more to bring to the relationship. Each individual will also have time alone. Alone time is important to us all, but in a long-distance relationship, there is more of this. It does, however, mean that when you do meet your partner you are very excited to see them.
Communication is a key aspect of any couple relationship. In a long-distance relationship, communication is essential to maintain a connection and discussions about the everyday minutia which is the “glue” of a relationship and is so important to be able to share with each other. Couples who have experience of a long-distance relationship report that they do spend much more time engaging in conversation with their partner than they did when they were together in close proximity and felt they learned more about each other.
Technology has helped to ensure that we stay connected to the ones that we love and can support a couple to maintain a relationship when there is distance between them. Chatting via facetime, texting each other and sending WhatsApp photographs means that you are connected in real-time and photographs help to add detail and meaning to the interaction which enables a partner to feel like they are there sharing the experience also.
Couples can still have fun together even though you are not both in the same place. You can still have a date night via Skype, watch a movie together via streaming services or play a quiz or online games together. Using face time, you can even take your partner on a walk with you. The technological options available are endless and with a little ingenuity, anything is possible to maintain your couple relationship.
So, long-distance relationships can be maintained via the use of today’s wealth of technology. It is also important to note that sometimes distance can actually enhance our relationships in the short term in that we may focus more on our communication with each other and spend more time engaging in conversation. In my experience, many couples seek counselling as a result of no longer being able to “talk” to each other.
If you find yourself struggling with your relationship and feel you need some support through online relationship counselling, then please do contact me.