Is your Long distance relationship worth keeping?
An old saying goes, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder,’ but with many of us constantly traveling or working abroad, keeping a long-distance relationship can be quite a challenge. All the waiting (if you are in different time zones), emailing, texting, going through important daily events alone, escalating paranoid thoughts, unfulfilled expectations could all be debilitating. So whether you are about to have a long-distance relationship or have been in one for several years with your partner you should discern if this relationship is, or still is, worth all your efforts.
It is no surprise that physical distance has a way of increasing emotional distance as well. If you or your partner already has one foot out of the door and is unsure of what the future may bring, perhaps it is best not to pursue your relationship anymore. Not being committed to making it work means you might just be setting yourselves up for failure, and possibly, a bad breakup.
How to gauge if the relationship is worth fighting for
Are you both committed on making the LDR work? If you or your partner is just about to leave, have a heart-to-heart conversation about the status of your relationship. Ask each other if either one of you is willing to go through the difficulties of keeping an LDR (long distance relationship). By talking, you will be able to gauge if your relationship is worth fighting for, as well as be able to explore what options work for the two of you. Such options include remaining friends until you are reunited, or keeping an ‘if we are meant to be, it will be’ mindset; this means preferring to fully separate, date other people, and just wait if the future will have its way of bringing you together again or not.
Are you both putting the same amount of effort? Now if you and your partner have been in an LDR for several years, check if you and your partner still put in the same amount of effort in keeping your relationship. Do you both still return calls or visit each other regularly? When was the last time you had a sincere and in-depth conversation? These are some questions you should consider to gauge if either one of you is still motivated to keep the relationship afloat. Irregularities and lack of communication could be danger signs that feelings are slowly waning out. When this happens, the best solution is to talk to your partner.
Do you have the same end in sight? Another factor to consider when gauging if the relationship is worth keeping, is whether both of you have the same end in sight. This does not always refer to marriage. This just means if you both have a secure plan of being together in the future. You should talk about where you both see yourselves in a few years, or where you think your careers might take you. After all, there is always that possibility that you or your partner might decide to move elsewhere permanently when your own priorities shift.
How to make a long-distance relationship work
However, if you and your partner truly want to be together then you will always find ways. Remember that long-distance relationships only last if you make it work – and we mean really work hard for it! Here are some tips to help you maintain your long-distance relationship and make it successful.
Keep in touch everyday and more than once if possible. Despite your busy schedules or time zones, make sure you contact each other everyday. If overseas phone calls prove a budget problem, use other mediums to communicate. It does not matter how you keep in touch but that you are able to maintain and strengthen your emotional connection with each other. Never put off the chance to talk to your partner everyday, or else you might find yourself putting it off for two days next time, then maybe four days, until you realize you have not spoken for a week!
Use free or inexpensive soft wares and programs to communicate to your partner. Using video chat calls, and emails every day is a cheap alternative. Since you will not be spending, you might be more eager to contact your partner with such soft wares and programs like:
- Skype – Skype allows you to chat, voice and video call the people that matter to you, wherever they are, and for free! However, if you want to call phones (either mobile or landlines), access WiFi or send texts, Skype offers affordable subscriptions as well.
- Face Time – Face Time is a free video chatting program for Apple/MAC products (iPhone, iPad and Mac PCs). It allows real-time chatting with another person.
- WhatsApp – WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging application that allows you to exchange messages, videos, and photos with Blackberry, Android, Windows and Nokia phones with without having to pay for the SMS. This is because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan you use for emails and web browsing.
- Kakao Talk – Kakao Talk app. for mobile phones is an instant messaging program. You can send and receive messages, videos, and photos free as long as there is a data or Wi-Fi connection. This is also a big money saver if you text internationally a lot as it only costs about $0.30 per message.
- Viber – Viber offers 100% free text, call, photo messages and location sharing with other Viber users no matter where they are or which device or network they are using. All you need is a 3G or Wi-Fi Internet connection. It requires no registration, alias or invitations. It also instantly integrates with your own contact list.
Pursue common interests. It is important that you bond and share similar interests even if it means pursuing them apart. For example, if there is a film you both want to see, watch them separately and then rave about the film over the phone afterwards.
Play a game together. Sometimes talking over the phone for too long can be a bit boring so whether it is chess, scrabble, or some MMORPG (massively multi-player online role-playing game), playing a game can lighten the mood. You can challenge each other in a friendly manner and spend the rest of the time just having fun. This is an effective and cheap way to bond and maintain closeness.
Give your partner something to remember you by. Provide your partner comfort and happiness by giving them a personal gift they can hold onto when they miss you or need you by their side. This idea might seem a little mushy but even teddy bears, photos of you can be a big help.
Be intimate with each other. Every couple needs intimacy, excitement, and physical affection to keep their love alive. When apart, send your partner teasing or erotic messages occasionally to satiate your intimate needs. However, when you get the opportunity to see each other, perhaps when you come home or your partner visits, indulge in your time together by booking a weekend getaway at a romantic hotel, or having a hot luxurious bath together.
Avoid jealousy. Jealousy, suspicion, paranoia, drama… all these are inevitable especially when dealing with a partner who is far away, but these factors also contribute to an unhealthy relationship. Avoid interrogating and nagging your partner when they cannot return a call in time or when they go out for drinks with colleagues. It is important that you trust your partner, but if you are having a hard time doing so, then have an honest and open conversation. Tell your partner your feelings so they can find a compromise to help you feel less insecure.
There are cases when our efforts become futile in keeping a long-distance relationship. No matter how hard we tried or spent time video calling each other, some relationships just turn sour. It is sad but it cannot always be helped. It is a reality. However, always remember that if you love your partner enough, in spite of an uncertain future, distance is never a problem you cannot overcome. Work for your relationship, stay optimistic, and hope for the best.