Some people love to be afraid. They watch horror movies, visit haunted houses, walk through cemeteries, and purposely put themselves in creepy and spooky situations. Depending on what you like, it can be fun to be scared, especially around Halloween.
There are plenty of ways that many of us make ourselves anxious, nervous, and afraid that are not fun, enjoyable, or what we really want. When you're in a long distance relationship (LDR), worries and doubts can creep in and ruin the good thing you've got going on. It's difficult enough to create a healthy and close relationship when you and your partner are separated by physical distance, but when you add in ghosts and ghouls from the past, it's nearly impossible for the relationship to survive.
Here's an example of what we're talking about...
Jenna and Dwayne met online and have been dating for over 6 months. They used to text and message each other several times a day, but this has tapered off lately. When Jenna's workload got busier at her job, she wasn't able to respond to Dwayne immediately. She always gets back to him now, but often not until she gets home in the evening. Dwayne has become suspicious and jealous because of this change. He's been cheated on before and has begun to accuse Jenna of losing interest in him and even of lying and cheating.
Because of the distance, it's easy for trust and connection to become strained. It's easy for mild concern or confusion to blow up into a big argument that's fueled by jealousy. What complicates the usual challenges in an LDR even more is when the past experiences of one or both people skew the way a situations appears.
This may be what's happening in your relationship too.
The ghosts and ghouls that can haunt and even kill a great relationship take the shape of what your ex did, your partner experienced in a college relationship, and even what happened to one (or both) of you when you were children growing up.
As the two of you try to make the most of the time you do have together (online, by phone, or in person), you find that these past experiences make it almost impossible to clearly communicate and to enjoy being together.
Use these 5 tips to avoid the ghosts of relationships past and return to being happy.
1. Clean Up Old Emotional Wounds
You may believe that you're way over the painful breakup you went through years ago, but are you really? What happens when similar situations come up now? Do you tense up and get suspicious more easily? If so, then there are probably layers of residual pain that need to be healed. Recognize this and set aside regular time to make completions and to heal your past.
2. Create Clear Relationship Agreements
Fuzzy or confusing relationship agreements will bring up the ghosts and ghouls of your past quickly. If you're not sure what "this" is that you and your partner are doing, ask. You can be upfront about what kind of commitment you're looking for right now and also what you're open to as a possibility in the future. Ask for what you want using affirmative words such as, "Are you willing to date me exclusively?"
3. Resolve Misunderstandings And Hurt Feelings
Don't allow a misunderstanding to get bigger. Chances are, it's not just going to go away. In an LDR, it's even more important for you and your partner to address a criticism or worrisome comment, find a resolution you both can be happy with, and then return to enjoying one another.
4. Re-Read Before You Click "Send"
It's absolutely essential that whatever you communicate to your partner, it's not a knee-jerk or impulsive statement coming from irritation, anger or fear. Read through your message — even if it's a quick text — before you click "send" or "enter." It only takes a moment to breathe deeply, look through what you've typed, and make sure it's something you really want to say.
5. Ask "What's True Now?"
To keep the ghosts and ghouls away from your relationship, make sure you're speaking and responding to what's going on in the present moment. It can get confusing when jealousy is triggered, or a situation arises that's similar to what happened in your past. Again, remember to breathe and pause. Then, ask yourself, "What's true now?"
This very simple technique allows you to communicate with your partner with clarity and accuracy too. It clears the way for the two of you to really hear and understand one another.
Healthy and effective communication is absolutely essential when it comes to an LDR. Click here to get our free 7 Day Communication Magic eCourse for more tips to help you create a close and trusting relationship.
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