Quite often international relocation can mean living apart from a loved one for any given period of time. Although this may not be the ideal scenario it is something that many expats face.
If you’re contemplating, or are involved in, a long distance relationship then our 9 top tips for surviving a long distance relationship can help you to ensure that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
1) Agree the rules.
It is crucial that before you embark on any type of distance relationship you agree the rules of your partnership upfront. There needs to be a set of ground rules that you both agree to and are prepared to try and abide by. Some of the things you may wish to discuss include whether your relationship will be monogomas or not, who will be expected to visit who and when, and how frequently you will be expected to communicate with one another. If your partner has very different expectations of the relationship than you do, then you need to be prepared to discuss these in detail and be truthful about whether or not you really are prepared to agree to them. Sometimes it is better to cut ties before the long distance relationship starts than it is to attempt to carry on an unhappy partnership.
2) Have an end in sight.
One of the most important elements that any long-distance relationship needs to have is an end. Both parties need to understand how long they will be expected to live without their loved one and when they can expect a more normal relationship once again. Again, it is crucial to be truthful with one another and set realistic expectations about how long the relationship will be carried out over a distance. If you are not entirely sure never be tempted to halfheartedly select a random date as this will only lead to disappointment and potential resentment.
3) Trust one another.
Trust is vital to any relationship but it really does get tested with any long distance relationship. If you honestly feel that you can’t trust your partner while you are separated then you should ask yourself why and address those issues. Don’t be tempted to continually check up on your partner while they are away as you will eventually drive them away.
4) Make an effort.
Unlike many relationships you will not be around on a daily basis to show your loved one how much you care. You will therefore need to make an extra special effort to tell them how you feel and to demonstrate how much they mean to you. Send them text messages at random moments to show them you are thinking of them, hand write letters or send packages of special items. Going that extra mile will help recognize how important you are to them and they will feel confident and comfortable in the relationship.
5) Keep a level of normality.
Many long distance couples find that when they are together their time is spent is cram packed with activities, dinners out and tourist type visits to major landmarks in the host country. This is all well and good but you should also try to leave time to do things that give your relationship a sense of normality, like lazing around in bed on a Sunday morning, watching mindless television or cooking for one another. Keeping things real will give you both chance to relax in one another’s company and you will feel better for it. Do always remember that all couples do argue at some point and, if a visit does not go particularly well do not not automatically assume that it means the end of the relationship, ever single relationship does through peaks and valleys so do not put yourself under pressure for everything to be perfect all the time.
6) Communicate regularly but with flexibility.
All relationship experts will tell you of the importance of regular communication in long distance relationships. This is undoubtedly of utmost importance but you do also need to be able to enjoy the life that you are leading. Do set a regular time aside for communicating with your partner but don’t let it dictate your life. If you are invited to an event or evening out that clashes with the proposed time for contacting your partner tell them plenty of time in advance and arrange an alternative time that you both can commit to.
7) Do things together.
Even though you are physically apart there remains a number of things that you can do together. Arange a time to watch the same show or movie simultaneously, share a glass of wine while chatting online, read the same book over the course of the week or share a recipe and cook it together. Free internet voice calls using companies like Skype mean that you can put your computers on and spend time doing normal things in each other’s company. You don’t need to be talking but you can feel closer and that you do still share elements of each other’s lives.
8) Leave something to remember you by.
When you visit your partner place hidden gifts or notes throughout their home, car and personal possessions. Be as creative as you can so that they find them gradually over a period of time. Each moment they do find something you left behind they will be reminded of you and will be given confidence that you do love them and are thinking of them.
9) Know when to say goodbye.
It is a harsh fact of life that many long distance relationships do not succeed. If you find that your communication is becoming one-sided, you are arguing all the time and you are regularly being tempted by other offers then you need to truly examine the relationship and decide if it is the right thing for you. Talk openly about your feelings with your partner and, if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel then you should consider going your separate ways.
If you’re about to engage on a long distance relationship then do check out our free guide to long distance relationships