Earlier this year I wrote a post with five tips for surviving a long-distance relationship and interestingly enough, Google Analytics says a lot of people like it. Since this is
my our anniversary week-yes, we are celebrating all week-I thought I’d revisit how we got here and offer some more tips for those of you who are still working on your LDR.
As anyone who has ever been in love with someone who is more than a quick trip away will tell you, long distance relationships suck. It is amplified when your special someone lives in another time zone or if you are still in that “getting to know you” phase when you are forced apart.
All that aside, international LDRs can work and most of my expat friends have experienced separation from their significant other at some point during their relationships … and they all worked out just fine. If you are currently in an international long distance relationship, here are 10 tips to help your relationship survive.
1. Set Rules
Worried about being a nag if you “set rules” for your relationship? Think again. In his book, Long Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide, Dr. Gregory Guldner cites a study that claims 70% of LDR couples who don’t set rules end their relationship within six months.
2. Be on the Same Page Regarding Dating
Along that same line, make sure you and your honey are on the same page, especially when it comes to dating other people. My husband and I didn’t, but if you do, be sure to communicate openly and honestly when, and if, one of you wants to change that rule.
3. Set Times and Dates
I know it sounds like I’m obsessing over these rules, but knowing when you will hear from each other is vital for an LDR. My husband and I had one “set” time each day when he’d call me, so we both knew when we’d chat and had something to look forward to during our day.
4. Communicate Daily
Since the inception of Skype, communicating with your long distance lover is easier than ever. We didn’t have that luxury but as I mentioned, we still spoke every day. We had that one “set” phone call, then we’d call each other another one or two times throughout the day just to check in. Was it expensive? Yea … but not as bad as you’d think and now that you have Skype, you can forget about your pennies and centesimi and focus on your relationship.
5. Trust Each Other
I know, I know … easier said than done, right, but while trusting your partner is important for every relationship, it is crucial to the success of a LDR. There is no way you are going to know what he’s doing 24/7 and if he wants to stray, he certainly has the means, motive and opportunity. In fact, my husband came in while I was working on this post and I asked him for some input. His #1 tip … trust each other.
6. Share Your Insecurities
Oh, it is bound to come up at some point … he doesn’t answer the phone when you call, she can’t chat because of a work meeting and that nagging feeling is making you crazy. If you find you are constantly insecure and having “the talk” every few days, then you might have other issues you need to work on. However, if you are generally secure and something comes up that upsets you, address it. It could be something as simple as him calling later than normal because he wants to finish his new favorite TV show before he calls. Which brings me to my next point …
7. Don’t Create Drama
It’s hard not to wonder why your perfectly punctual partner doesn’t call when he says he will. You might envision him out with the imaginary hottie who moved in next door or picture him scoping the dance floor for a new fling. But don’t let your mind go there. You can’t do anything about it anyway and worrying yourself-or smothering him-will only damage your relationship and your self-esteem. Remember Tip #6 and discuss it.
8. Keep your Perspective
Richard and Kristine Carlson will tell you Not to Sweat the Small Stuff … and its all small stuff, they say. But in a LDR, the smallest things seem more important. However, keep your perspective. That one phone call can seem more important than it is because it is your one chance to talk that day but if you were in a normal, non-LDR, you wouldn’t lose it if you missed your boyfriend’s phone call.
All relationships take time to grow so depending on where you are in your relationship when it turns into a LDR, you may or may not want to commit right away. However, treat your LDR with the same patience and respect as you would a non-long distance relationship. At some point, you should both want to commit. If you don’t see yourself with this person 10 years down the road, then you are creating unneeded heartache for yourself and your far-flung friend.
Speaking of committing, be sure you know who you are committing to. While flying off to Paris to meet your boyfriend will create a whirlwind effect that might seem exotic, don’t get caught up in the magic. It is easy to fall in love with the image of who someone might be, but make sure you are actually in love with that person as as you progress down the LDR trail
I know a lot of you have had a long distance relationship with your partner and lived to tell about it. What other tips would you offer?
Traveling to southern Italy? Why not get coached on when and where to go by someone who lives there?
Photos: Sara Hu via Flickr