The term “long distance relationship” or LDR is generally a depressing one, mainly because we have heard about so many cases where relationships ended when one party goes overseas for a long period of time. Separation tends to kill, and therefore LDRs hardly works.
But you can still make it work. And while I ain’t no expert in LDR, I sat down and thought about this topic for a long period of time. And together with my personal experience, I think I finally arrived at the answer to it. As long as BOTH parties follow the following 5 steps, you will have an easier time dealing with the LDR.
1. Embrace it. Don’t Compromise.
Let’s face it, when a party wants/needs to go overseas, there has to be a reason. It may be a need or a want, but in any case, it is something that is going to happen, and no one’s going to change that. So as much as you might hate it, do not ask your partner to compromise in terms of coming back earlier, or delay the departure.
Contrary to popular belief, relationship is not about compromising. It is about embracing the differences in lifestyle, beliefs, and habits. By compromising, you are actually forcing your partner to be someone different, something no one will ever feel comfortable with, no matter how strong the love is.
So don’t make requests that require compromising. And do not agree to compromise anything when you are going overseas. Because as we all know, such compromises will only lead to unhappiness and heartbreak. Nothing good comes out of it.
2. Use Technology.
So how do you endure not seeing each other for such prolonged periods of time?
Thanks to technology, people can communicate with more ease than ever. Have regular Skype or FaceTime sessions, or communicate with each other regularly through iMessage or WhatsApp.
But what you may not realize is that there is even more technology can do to make your LDR smoother.
Apple Watch, which will be on released coming spring, has the ability to send your heartbeat to another party who is also wearing an Apple Watch. The receiving party will feel the heartbeat through a new technology called Taptic Engine. To quote apple.com:
“In less technical terms, it taps you on the wrist… you feel a tactile sensation that’s recognizably different for each kind of interaction. Combined with subtle audio cues from the specially engineered speaker driver, the Taptic Engine creates a discreet, sophisticated, and nuanced experience by engaging more of your senses. It also enables some entirely new, intimate ways for you to … get someone’s attention with a gentle tap. Or even send something as personal as your heartbeat.”
I guess this is the closest you get to actually feeling each other’s physical presence. Call it gimmicky if you wish, but when you are missing each other, even a single heartbeat will make your day a whole lot better.
Separately, Find My Friends app available on iPhone allows you to track the movement of your partner, so you can know if he/she is in school, at work, or having some fun with friends at the pub down the street. You’re NOT supposed to use this to stalk your partner. Rather, when you don’t receive a reply from your partner it helps you to better understand the situation (and not jump to unnecessary conclusion). Perhaps he or she is hard at work, or attending lessons? Even if he/she is catching up with friends, try to understand. Everyone needs time and personal space to socialize.
3. Change Your Mentality.
As much as we want to know what to DO to maintain a LDR, we also need to consider how to THINK. Needless to say, an LDR is different from a normal relationship. As such, a different mindset is necessary.
- Don’t substitute the lack of physical meet up with excessive texting. Give each other a break and some personal space.
- Don’t be suspicious of everything just because you are not physically together with your partner. Have more faith and react to matters like how you would in a normal relationship.
- Don’t belittle or go against what your partner is doing overseas just because you don’t agree or understand or simply don’t bother.
- Show even more encouragement and support because maintaining a LDR is already tough enough to begin with.
- Keep the amount of negative energy (disagreements, quarrels, etc) at a minimum, because everything will be amplified during a LDR. Frankly, it is hard to resolve a conflict when you are miles apart from each other.
It is definitely an uphill task to change one’s mentality. But if you wish to make things work, we would advise reminding yourself to do this on a daily basis.
4. Live a Different Schedule.
LDR is about more than just the separation. It’s also about the other differences that come along. Living in a different country, there will be differences in lifestyle, culture, schedule, friends, ways of life and even time zones.
And what this means is that you cannot expect your partner to live the same life same schedule over at the foreign land. So don’t overreact when he/she is not home at 10pm or suddenly engages in numerous social activities.
What you can do is to appreciate the fact that both of you will now have different schedules. Learn to appreciate the differences, and make notes in your own calendar. If possible, make some changes to your own schedule so as to accommodate your other half’s new lifestyle.
5. Expect Change to be The Only Constant.
People change when they go overseas. And change need not always be for the good or bad. Global exposure changes the way we see the world, the way we think, the way we interact with our surroundings, and most importantly, the things we expect from a relationship.
So to no surprise, very often the number one reason why LDRs fail is because the other half “has changed”. Obviously. So what can you do about it?
Well, for a start, prepare yourself for these changes. Subsequently, talk to your partner. Not in a confrontational manner, but rather in a understanding way. There should be no blaming in this process. Rather, your aim is to understand his/her point of view and embrace it. If you cannot do so, give yourself some time to think about it. Remember, in a LDR, there is absolutely no room for disagreement (refer to point 3).
If you are able to get past yourself as well as all the differences, and embrace who your partner is, what he/she has become, then congratulations, you have survived the LDR 🙂
At the end of the day, if you cannot embrace it, then you’re not loving him/her in entirety. If that’s the case, what’s the point of continuing to hold on to such a relationship? You have to ask yourself whether you still love him/her, or whether your feelings have turned into a form of reliance.