4 Things ALL Long Distance Relationships Need To Survive

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long distance relationship

Sure, it's challenging. It's also worth it!

There's a sinking feeling you get when you realize you're falling for someone, but they live far away. It seems like a cruel irony with an inevitably painful end on the horizon.  
Though, in this high-tech, internet-based world, long distance relationships (LDRs) are not as difficult as they used to be, they're still far from easy.

Whether you're separated from your love because of school, work, military service, child custody terms, or another reason, not being able to sit down together and touch one another on a regular basis can cause a great deal of stress and strain.  
The physical distance can lead to emotional distance that leads to breakup or divorce.

For many couples, the price of not living in close proximity to one another can build suspicion and mistrust. Misunderstandings and miscommunications inflame more easily which further damages connection.  
But there is some hopeful news...  

Several studies have found that there are real benefits to long distance relationships, and the very same aspects of an LDR that seem to doom it, can actually work in favor of the couple. For example, being apart can inspire you to work more diligently to communicate clearly and in ways that keep you emotionally close.  
Another potential benefit is that, in an LDR, it is easier to "idealize" your partner in a positive way.

Rather than constantly nit-picking or fixating on everything that annoys you about the one you love, you inflate the good stuff. While this tendency has definite drawbacks and can lead to disappointment and disillusionment, it can also help keep a relationship going strong.  
Ultimately, it's best to stay rooted in the facts and neither put your partner on a pedestal nor only see their faults.

If you're in an LDR and want to steer clear of common traps associated with this type of relationship, follow these tips: 

1. Watch out for "stinkin' thinkin." 


When your thoughts run away from you, taking you to places rooted in worry and fear (not facts), that's what we call "stinkin' thinkin.'" Everybody — in all kinds of relationships — does this occasionally, and some of us do it often!  
Learn to notice when you have thoughts that cause you stress out, triggering feelings of suspicion and mistrust. When there's no reliable or true information to support those thoughts, you need to meet that "stinkin' thinkin'" with awareness and kindness. There may be something you need to confirm (or disconfirm) before drawing a conclusion. So, whenever you feel those scared emotions, use them as a reminder to return to the facts you have.  

2. Talk about the uncomfortable stuff. 


We understand. Your phone time, FaceTime, Skype sessions or other ways of communicating with your partner are precious. You don't want to be too "heavy" or a downer, but it's important for you to have serious discussions with your partner when needed on a regular basis. Talk about commitment (even if you're not to the point of making a long-term commitment) and create agreements so that you both know what to expect, how to listen to each other well, and what's expected of you in the relationship.  

3. Know when the relationship is a no-go. 


As you talk about the uncomfortable stuff, it will be easier to know if you and your partner have differing priorities and desires for the relationship. You can decide — based on facts and not on your fears or guesses — whether or not what you both want for right now or for the future matches up.  
Resist the urge to try to change your partner or to pretend that your idealizations about them are true. In any relationship, it's important to accept one another for who you each are and to appreciate what you each bring to the relationship. It's equally important to admit it to yourself (and each other) when staying together is just not in your best interests (and is possibly even unhealthy). 

4. Whenever possible, make it fun.  


Without a doubt, a long distance relationship requires both people to remain open, honest, and at their best (meaning that "stinkin' thinkin'" is dealt with before picking up the phone or logging on the computer). And, also, it's important to lighten up and make things fun.  
This challenges you to get creative and try things beyond what you "always" do when you're physically together. Also, remind yourself often why you fell for your partner in the first place to stoke the warmth, appreciation, and love you feel.  

Looking for ways to keep passion and spark alive in a long-term LDR (or any) relationship? Pick up our free Passionate Spark~Lasting Love ebook.