Seven Secrets of Successful Long-Distance Relationships
Let me help you hang on to love over long distances
With the present economic climate increasingly people have to move to find jobs, often leaving loved ones behind. It can feel very frustrating, even daunting, finding yourself in a long-distance relationship. If you're not careful your relationship might go the way of many others when you find like Prince Harry and Chelsy Davy that distances can slowly chip away at your love. Although some lucky few, like actress Eva Longoria and husband Tony Parker, claim the long distance keeps their love alive – but that takes work and wisdom!
Here are seven secrets to make your long distance relationship a success:
Secret Number One: Set the Scene –
You both need to know what you expect from your long-distance relationship. Setting the scene early and discussing all the aspects of how you see it working can strengthen your bond from the outset. Those who simply muddle through are more likely to find their relationship unravelling than those who recognise the challenges they face from the start.
Secret Number Two: Keep Connected –
Thankfully there are so many ways you can keep connected on a regular, daily basis nowadays. Between phone conversations, e-mail, and text messaging there’s no reason why you can't keep as in touch during the day, as do couples who live under the same roof. Use these methods to let the other know how much you care about them, that you're missing them, and the little details of your life that couples share. Also it's important when apart not to drone on about what a ‘horrible day’ you've had, etc. You can turn a partner off if every night your conversations are all about negative things. Instead tilt your conversations in favour flirty and fun topics and only raise issues when you have to.
Secret Number Three: Avoid the Proverbial Pedestal –
Beware of the pitfalls of over-romanticising your long-distance relationship. When you're not sharing the actual day-to-day grind with each other some long-distance relationships stay on "honeymoon mode". Everything is so exciting and passionate and you both feel so alive when you finally have a snatched weekend together. It's then a massive shock when you spend a longer period of time together and have to face the more mundane things of coupledom like who puts the rubbish out, gets the wash on, and who's going to do the weekly shop.
Secret Number Four: Weekend Ways –
Many long-distance couples try to cram a mini-lifetime into a weekend. It's natural to want to catch up on everything but it's important to be selective about what you do and talk about, or you'll find the weekend is very stressful. Set boundaries on, say, how many run-of-the-mill issues you tackle in a weekend - you know the routine housekeeping things that are necessary but that you don't want to completely take over your short time together. Always make sure you have a balance between pleasurable catching-up time and the routine stuff.
Secret Number Five: Get Practical –
It's important to look carefully at both of your routines and optimise who does the travel to the other, and when. Don't fall into the trap that this should be an exact 50-50 split. In an ideal world it would be, but depending on the demands of each of your lives it may be more practical for one of you to do more of the travelling. Or it might make sense for the person who lives away to travel back to your main home, most of the time. If both of you already had permanent homes in separate cities when you first met then it might become a more even 50-50 split for travel arrangements.
Secret Number Six: Surprising Remedies –
Time apart can be tough so make sure you sprinkle it with little surprises for your partner. Send them little gifts, they needn't be expensive, but something personal like sending them their favourite bar of chocolate wrapped in pretty paper. Or if you hear a song that reminds you of them, buy the CD and post it to them with a little note about which track they should listen to. This way you both know how much you're thinking of each other.
Secret Number Seven: Avoid Temptation –
You might think you’re so deeply in love that the long-distance won't make a difference. Believe me, many people have confided to me that in a moment of loneliness, or when they've had a tiff on the phone with their long-distance partner, they've succumbed to a flirty colleague or someone else who comes along at that moment. Be aware when you're feeling lonely or have had a disagreement that you should stay away from that person who's a bit too flirty and willing to fill the gap in your long-distance relationship.
Inevitably you won't have the Beckham's budget to ferry you back and forth between Italy and LA, but using these seven secrets should keep your long-distance love alive.
Published in The Express Newspaper