Are you stressed about your long-distance relationship? Are you ready to break-up? Long-distance relationships are becoming a fact of life. As we advance in technology in the new world of social media with facebook and myspace, relationships are also changing. You are in a business trip and you meet someone at the airport, or you are using an online dating program, you find a potential mate, and you decide to pursue a relationship with that person. According to a recent research, long-distance relationships are more stable than we think. It was found that long- distance relationships are characterized by commitment, which is influenced by satisfaction and happiness with the relationship (Pistole, Roberts & Mosko, 2010). However, after a while it can be tiring and overwhelming trying to be in a long-distance relationship, especially when you have family and friends telling you that long-distance relationships do not work. Couples end up focusing on the frustrations of the distance and forget the reasons why they got together in the first place. Before you “call it quits”, here are some tips to making your long-distance relationship work:
1. Describe to your partner what the relationship means to you. This is the first step in moving forward with your relationship. Defining the relationship will help you create boundaries that will be used when things get difficult. Ask yourself, “Should we be just friends? Can we have a solid relationship?”
2. Be truthful to yourself and your partner. Be honest about your needs and don’t be afraid of sharing your feelings. Communication is going to be to most important element in your long-distance relationship and it will help create the strong foundation necessary to make the relationship work.
3. Be patient. Sometimes the “waiting” can create anxiety for both partners leading to arguments. Keep yourself busy with your career, exercising, get involved volunteering in your community, or think about going back to school.
4. Create a routine. Since you don’t get to see each other everyday, it’s important to create a routine where you both share things that are happening in your daily lives. Schedule daily phone calls, talk about TV shows that you both can watch together, and send emails or text messages during the day encouraging each other.
5. Make plans for the future. Planning for the future includes not only scheduling a vacation together but setting goals for the future such as moving closer to each and getting married. This can be difficult for couples since they have family and friends giving opinions about the relationship. Most of us have a negative perception of long-distance relationships because we see couples in the entertainment industry breaking up on the news every day, however, we are not accurately informed. Couples who are in, contemplating, transitioning to, or transitioning from a long distance relationship would benefit from seeing a couples’ counselor who would be able to help them clarify what the relationship represents, each partners’ investments in the relationship and the positive and negative consequences of their investments.
Pistole, M., Roberts, A., & Mosko, J. (2010). Commitment Predictors: Long-Distance Versus Geographically Close Relationships. Journal of Counseling & Development, 88-2, 146-153. 2010 American Counseling Association.
Murphy, F. (2009). Making Your Long-Distance Relationship Work. Health Discovery.com
About the Author: Marta Rocha is Registered Mental Health Counselor. Marta is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Marta Rocha is specialized in the areas of Marriage Counseling, Family Issues, Stress Management, Leadership Training, Anxiety, Depression, Sports Psychology, Grief, and Substance Abuse & Addictions. Marta Rocha has 12 years of experience in sales & marketing, advertising, promotions, management, and professional development. Her professional affiliations are with the American Counseling Association, and the American Association of Christian Counselors.