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Making long distance relationships work

By kemi Lawal - Nigeria

Long distance relationships can be challenging and often difficult.
The long-distance romance is a modern phenomenon. One hundred years ago, the farthest a woman might look for a suitor was the next farm over. With the advent of the automobile, one might find the man of her dreams in the next city or even the next county. But today, with the availability of airplane travel and relationships springing up via internet dating services and through e-mail correspondence, long distance relationships have become much more commonplace. It is not at all unusual today for a couple to carry on a thriving romantic relationship though hundreds or even thousands of miles apart.

Long distance relationships do, however, have unique difficulties. The success of a long-distance relationship might depend greatly on whether the two people who make up the couple adopt the "absence makes the heart grow fonder" or the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy. If you believe the former, chances are you have what it takes to make a long distance relationship work.

Here are some tips to increase your chances of keeping those home fires burning while the two of you are apart.
If you want your long-distance relationship to work, it is important that both of you agree on the level of commitment you expect from the relationship. If one of you sees the relationship as serious, committed and monogamous, while the other sees it is as a fun and flirty fling, then there will be problems down the road. It is important to make sure you are both on the same page and expect the same things from the relationship. Before throwing your heart and soul into a long-distance relationship, sit down with your partner and communicate openly and honestly about how each of you views the relationship, where you see it going and what you expect from each other. Agree on the ground rules. Making sure you are in agreement from the outset as to where your relationship is headed sets a firm foundation for the future and helps to avoid disappointment down the road.

Communication is a key in any relationship, but in a long-distance relationship, regular communication is crucial. You must set aside regular time to talk to each other on the telephone. Take advantage of lower evening and weekend telephone rates. Make sure your cell phone plan offers free long distance and sufficient free weekend and off-peak minutes. Burning up the long-distance telephone lines is one sure way to keep the passion alive when the two of you are apart. But today's technology offers lots of other ways to communicate with your romantic partner. Flirt via e-mail. Enjoy an occasional night of passionate instant-messaging on the computer. Send each other cute, romantic (and often free) e-card. And don't forget the more traditional ways of communicating with a sweetheart who is far away. Revive the long lost art of letter writing and send your significant other a passionate love letter now and then. Pop a card in the mail on special occasions or for no reason at all. When you are not often able to communicate your feelings through touch, other forms of communication become even more important. The long-distance relationship is the place to let your imagination run wild and come up with creative ways of keeping the lines of communication open between the two of you.

Honesty is vital to every relationship. In a long-distance relationship, however, honesty has to be taken a step further. The longevity of a long-distance relationship depends a great deal on your ability to communicate honestly with each other about what you are feeling and to resolve issues that, if left to fester, might destroy your relationship. Do you always feel as if you are competing with the sports channel when you call your partner? Does your sweetheart seem to give her relationships with her girlfriends' higher priority? If you want your romance to last, then you cannot ignore these feelings and allow resentment to take root in your relationship. Be honest with your partner about how you are feeling so that these issues can be addressed.
Willingness to compromise is an important element of a successful long-distance romance. In a long-distance relationship, time together, whether on the telephone or in person, is a cherished commodity. Take turns visiting each other to lighten the burden financially on each of you. Be willing to turn off the television and miss the first quarter of the basketball game when your lover calls and truly needs your time and attention. On the other hand, give your lover space, too, and be willing to reschedule a telephone call if your lover is watching a game with friends and what you want to talk to him or her about can wait. 

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