Unless you met online, the chances are that your relationship didn’t start out as a long distance one and, while making that transition can be very difficult, you certainly don’t immediately envisage having to think how to actually save a long distance relationship!
Unfortunately, this point is very often reached a lot quicker than most people imagine because the vast majority of us have no experience and really don’t know (or haven’t given any real thought to) how to actually make a long distance relationship work and consequently save a long distance relationship if it goes wrong. The naive view is that love will conquer all.
Regrettably it doesn’t!
Long distance relationships take work and commitment, but if you’re prepared to make the effort necessary, the rewards far outweigh the negative aspects. However, while that’s true, very often couples don’t actually realize that there needs to be a major change in attitude on both sides when one or the other is forced to move away for whatever reason, and the result is that many people really do struggle with the shift in thinking that is necessary to save a long distance relationship.
If you have truly reached the point where you need to save your long distance relationship, there are various strategies that you can both implement immediately. However, the biggest caveat to getting your long distance relationship back on track is that you have BOTH got to want to. If either of you are not prepared to put in the effort, then my advice would be to walk away now.
So just how do you save a long distance relationship?
1. First of all, you both need to reaffirm your love for each other. You may think this isn’t necessary, but the chances are that one or both of you have lost sight of why you’re actually putting yourselves through this. You need each other’s reassurance that the love really is still there underneath of the crap that’s gotten in the way.
2. Communication is king! I’m sure that you’ve heard this a myriad of times when dealing with a long distance relationship; but however tired you are of hearing it said, written or even sung about, the simple fact is that it’s true. And more than that, you have to tell each other exactly what your contact expectations are – what you will be happy with as a minimum. For you, a telephone call twice a week may be sufficient while your significant other could be thinking more along the lines of twice a day plus texts! Of course there has to be a level of compromise, but you do need to decide what your minimum interaction needs are; when and how you’re going to communicate and then stick to it. If either of you are unable to keep a phone assignation, then you should let your partner know about it as soon as possible, and ensure that you make another date. It all sounds very clinical but it really is vital that you understand each other’s basic communication needs.
3. Once you’ve got your basic communication needs sorted out, then you can start to think creatively. There are lots of little (and not so little) ways that you can show your lover that you’re thinking of them. Hand written letters; e-cards; simple texts and even small gifts can all go a long way to bringing you closer together.
4. If you want to save your long distance relationship, then you need to bridge the miles and recreate the bond that’s lost when you don’t have that physical connection. Real intimacy is not about being in the same room; it’s about sharing yourself with your partner, and you can do that even if you’re thousands of miles apart. Keep your lover up to speed about the little things that happens to you throughout your day – even things that you maybe wouldn’t think of sharing if you were going to see each other that evening. This doesn’t have to take long, a quick text or e-mail; nobody is asking you to write a ‘dear diary’ (though you can if you want to!) Sharing the trivial things will help to bring both of you closer together and recreate that all important connection.
5. Save your long distance relationship by reigniting the spark and making ‘special’ time for each other. Just because you’re not able to see each other often, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a date together. It comes back to creative thinking. There are so many video chat options available now that eating a meal or watching a movie together really is possible, even when you’re a bunch of miles apart.
These are just some simple strategies that you can put into action quickly to save your long distance relationship. But of course it may not be that simple. You may have trust issues or be finding it really difficult to open up to your partner and say exactly how you feel. If that’s the case, you might want to consider seeking help from an outside source that will help you both to re-connect and bring back the spark that you’ve lost.
One last thing: If you can both begin to remember why you fell in love in the first place, you really are half way there to recreating the all important connection that can save a long distance relationship.