Tuesday, July 22, 2008
More and more people are involved in long-distance relationships each year. Technology has allowed for people to connect on-line and stay connected on-line via e-mail, messenger, webcam, Skype, social networking sites, text messaging, phone, and even blogs. So why does it work for some people and not others? SocyBerty offers an interesting theory about why long-distance relationships work for certain personalities.
Here are some tips that I've compiled based on personal experience,observations made from successful and unsuccessful relationships, and a lil' bit of research:
1. Discuss expectations upfront. Make sure you are both on the same page. I've learned that men typically don't think about serious relationships until their early 30's (maybe late 20's if you're lucky). If all goes well, discuss the possibility of relocation.
2. Maintain an emotional connection with communication. It doesn't need to be a phone call til the sunrises, but it's important to share the little things from your day-to-day. Utilize the new tools available to you to stay connected. Mix things up a bit every now and then. Blow a kiss via webcam, send a naughty text in the middle of the day, send e-cards for no specific reason, hide little notes for them in the house when you visit, or send a love letter the old-fashioned way and drop it in the mailbox. Be creative, keep it fresh! But don't forget the power of hearing each others' voice. Verbal communication is essential.
3. Keep it interesting. Just because you can't be together physically, you can still enjoy books, podcasts, movies, and (my personal favorite) reality shows together. Just watch the boob tube individually and share your opinions about who should be eliminated from Project Runway or Top Chef. A fun idea I found is to set an alarm on your phones to play a sentimental song the same time every day, i.e. the song that reminds you of each other, the song the club played when you first danced, the song you discovered together, etc. Think of each other when your alarm goes off, and simply enjoy the fact that the other perso is thinking of you at that very same moment in time. Find creative ways to bond.
4. Trust each other. Avoid being suspicious for no given reason and try not to make any assumptions. If there isn't trust in the relationship, why be in the relationship in the first place? Long-distance relationships will test you and your partner; you need to trust him/her entirely as paranoia can play a major part in the failure of your relationship.
5. Talk about your future together. Assuming that ultimately you'd want to live together, discussing how you're going to get to that point will help you prove to each other that the relationship is going somewhere and that your efforts and frustrations are not in vain.
6. Know when it's time to say good-bye and know when it's time to be patient. Many couples will stay together just because they are too comfortable and afraid to be alone. When communication becomes one-sided or sparse for too long and for no apparent reason, when arguments become too frequent, it's time to re-evaluate the relationship. If you do decide that your significant other is not the ONE, the relationship needs to end. Why pretend to make it something it's not? However, keep in mind that relationships also require a great deal of work and compromise. Try to understand each others' situations in every scenario.
Here's a question I ponder about every now and then, if a long-distance relationship seems ideal for your lifestyle because your career consumes a huge part of your so-called life, would relocating to be together poison the relationship? (Nick - this has absolutely nothing to do with us)