Perhaps you're in a relationship with someone who has moved away to university or a new job. Perhaps your new university is a long way from the one you love.
This article aims to help you to cope and make the most of a long-distance relationship.
How to make it work
As simple as it may sound this is probably the most essential part of having a long-distance relationship. When you are apart, make sure you put some time aside to talk to your partner about how things are going and what you have been up to. Just hearing their voice can sometimes make things seem that little bit easier. Speaking on the phone can be very expensive so making sure you are on the same mobile network as this can make things cheaper. If you have a good internet connection, another useful investment is a headset and microphone. With these you can talk for hours if you want to through Skype for free.
It is important that you are honest with your partner about how you are feeling. If you are feeling upset or angry and you don’t share this it can just make things worse and resentfulness can build up. Sometimes you may feel that your partner is having an easier time of it than you or that they don’t understand how you are feeling. Talking it through with them as soon as these feelings start to arise will enable you address them.
Have time to yourself
When your partner is away it can be tempting to stay at home and mope or just talk to them all the time. However this is how problems start to arise. It is important that you try to have your own life and your independence when your partner is not there. If you are able to have friends who you see regularly it will make things that little bit easier for you.
See each other regularly
If you are a busy person it can be difficult to make time to see your partner. The key lies in finding a successful balance. Cost is always going to be a factor when it comes to seeing your partner so it is important that trips are planned in advance where possible. It might be worth starting a fund into which you both put a little bit of money each week to make up travel costs. When it comes to visiting each other, try to make it so that you take it in turns to visit. It's only fair!
Romantic little tips
When you aren’t with your partner for much of the time it can be hard to be romantic. There are lots of little things that you can do to brighten up your partners’ day. Injecting a little bit of romance can often really help to make things easier.
Send a letter
As old-fashioned as it may seem in the days of the internet and text messages, sending a letter can be both romantic and therapeutic. Take the time to sit down and write your partner a letter telling them how you are feeling, what you have been doing, how much you are looking forward to seeing them, and so on. You will find it helps you to get these feelings out and your partner will enjoy reading them.
Send a gift or flowers
Financial restraints might mean this can’t be done too often, but it can be lovely to send a gift to your partner. This doesn’t have to be an expensive or overblown gesture; it can be as simple as remembering that your partner likes stripy socks and sending them a pair because you saw some they might like. It can be a pleasant surprise for your partner and it shows that you know them well and - even though you are apart - you are still thinking about them.
Spend a weekend away
Again this is something you probably can't do often because it can be expensive. However, it's maybe something that you can try every once in a while. Try going somewhere away from both of your homes. When you are constantly visiting each other there is always the situation where one is at home and the other is the guest. This way you are both somewhere new and can go out and explore a new place together.
Buy your partner a webcam
This doesn’t have to be for cheeky purposes! Having a webcam can make talking to your partner over the internet that little bit more personal. You can see their face light up when you tell them something exciting. It can be a really romantic and thoughtful gift.
Keep a diary
This is a lovely idea. Keep a diary of how you are feeling. This doesn’t have to be every day but just every now and then. When you next see your partner you can go through your diary together and read it and talk about what you have been doing.
What if it isn’t working
Long-distance relationships are hard and many of them don’t work out. Breaking up with someone is hard enough when you see them every day. But it is often even harder when you are in a long-distance relationship because you have the problem of when and how to do it. While there is no easy way to break up with someone there are some things you can do which make it easier.
Fire a warning shot. Before you go to see them make sure they are aware that things aren’t going well and that you need to talk to them about your relationship. Hopefully it won’t then come as too much of a surprise.
Try to make sure that you talk to them when you are in their home town and when you can leave relatively sharply. This will mean that you don’t have the uncomfortable situation of breaking up then still having to spend the rest of the weekend with them.
Cut down contact. While it can be easy to just slip into the routine of talking to your partner again it is important that you take some time apart before attempting to be friends.
Being in a long-distance relationship can be very difficult. The most important thing you can do is talk to your partner and make sure they know how you are feeling and that you know how they are feeling. Try to be romantic and to keep things interesting and most importantly try to enjoy yourself. That, after all, is what love is all about!
If you want to talk to other people about your long-distance relationship, head to the TSR Health and Relationships forum.
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