Do you have it?
When you find out while dating that your relationship is going to become a long-distance relationship due to either one or both person’s jobs, which way do you run? If you run away from each other to deal with the stressors involved with relocating, then you may not be so lucky. If you cannot stand the fact physical intimacy goes out the door while you’re living miles apart, maybe you need to revisit your definition of a committed relationship.
If you have trouble talking about what is important to you and your partner, then according to your outlook on life, you may or may not be lucky to have the honor and privilege of working a long-distance relationship. Long-term relationships depend on good communication skills; sometimes more so than relationships where couples live within minutes of each other. Committed relationships depend on trust.
To make a long-distance relationship work there are two important factors:
- Understanding how men and women view the point of communication
- What commitment and trust really mean, i.e. the “hard work” required to make the relationship successful
If you’re in the beginning of a relationship, and there is a possibility that this is THE relationship — in some aspects, you speed up the selection process when the relationship either starts or goes into the long-distance category. While long-distance slows down physical intimacy, it is also a great test to how committed both people are in the relationship to making it work.
To make a committed long-distance relationship successful, you have to first have the perspective that the relationship itself is there to strengthen you as an individual, but it is also there and attention must be paid to the relationship itself if it is to work out. Especially for a long-distance relationship, effective communication is essential.
Here's how to make a long-distance relationship work.
Understand how men and women view the point of communication.
While on the phone there are two things to know about men and women. Men tend to communicate when they need to solve a problem. Women tend to view communicating as a way to connect and nurture.
Therefore, when men hear their women going through life talking about their day how stressful it is or relationship problems, men are wired to solve the problem and move on. It is essential to establish she is just talking about her day, and she doesn’t need any problems solved, she just needs him to listen and say “mm-hmm, really, oh.”
Ladies, remember the quality of what you talk about over quantity. Girlfriends are there for a purpose so do not use all of your time with your boyfriend venting. You’ll kill the relationship. When she gets to the end of going through her day, and asks him how things are going. If his reply is “good,” leave it at that. He does not have any problems to be solved, and he is only going to tend to talk about anything bothering him if he has already solved the problem in his head. This is just the way our brains are wired.
Knowing this simple difference between the way men and women communicate makes all the difference in the world. Especially when establishing the guidelines of how phone calls will work in a long-distance relationship.
One thing for women to be aware of is when you do go on and on about your day, if the man does not know that you’re talking just to talk, and you do not want him to solve your problems — then as he is sitting there listening, he becomes stressed out, because he is trying to solve your problem, so tell him you just need him to listen. If you need input, then you will ask!
Emails and text messaging are great ways to check-in and let the other person know you’re thinking about them. If it is anything other than that, then use the phone or Skype. You leave too much up to the imagination if you’re having a discussion or disagreement when using the written word rather than voice.
Learn what commitment and trust really mean (the “hard work” required to make the relationship successful).
Commitment is an interesting word when put into action. During the beginning phase of falling in love the real fact is that to make a relationship work, both people have to put in energy, which translates into hard work to make the relationship successful. This is something that “happy” couples know intuitively, but it is not something that is advertised.
A long-distance relationship is a chance to see how committed both people are to making that gray area, their relationship, work to their advantage as they go through life. Both have to be fully committed.
So, what do you think? Are you lucky to be in a long-distance relationship? You get time to focus on growing yourself while you’re away from each other. Your resiliency will depend on it. And the success of your relationship will depend on how hard you both work at learning new skills if you need them to communicate more effectively. Both of which are a win-win situation, depending on how you look at your life.