Five Proven Methods for a Successful LDR
We have all heard it before — a friend or family member was introduced to the love of their life, did long distance, and has been happily closing the gap and living life with their SO together. Now you find yourself in the same boat, only their stories didn't tell you just how hard and trying long distance really is. So how are you and your SO going to stay afloat in this relationship and be one of the success stories? Here's how.
1. Don't Let Jealousy Get the Best of You.
When I was in the first six months of my relationship with Alex, I was overbearing on texting. I was constantly jealous and insecure of the friends who got to hang out with him on a daily basis — especially women — and that proved to almost be my downfall. Jealousy is expected, but don't let it ruin your relationship. You and your SO are allowed to lead separate lives, including times where you do not text one another for extended periods of time. To ward off jealousy, have open conversations about how you are feeling with your partner. It is important for them to understand where you are coming from, but allow them time to give their own explanations.
In reality, this should be number one on the list. Communication will either make or break this relationship. Learning how to explain how you two are feeling throughout this experience is vital for it to grow. Not only should you be communicating what is going on through your week, having weekly Skype calls talking about fun and interesting things and planning fun activities to do with one another — you should be discussing hard-to-talk about emotions like jealousy, frustration, and loneliness. All of these "negative" feelings will pop up from time to time, and without your partner or you knowing about it, it won't be fixed. Communication is what will bond you two and allow you to overcome the obstacles in your path. With long distance relationships it's easy to only show the "good" side of yourself since your partner doesn't see you every single day, but that is one of the number one reasons why LD relationships fail. Speak up about things that are making you upset, uncomfortable, or angry. Letting them fester for the sake of looking like the perfect boyfriend or girlfriend will come back to haunt you.
I get it. No one likes to compromise on small things, and certainly not big things, but it is an every day part of a long-distance relationship. What if one of you likes to text way more then the other through the day? What if one of you is working, and the other is going to school and your times are messed up? What if you have to stay up late, or wake up early to Skype them or call them because of time zones? LDR's are full of compromises.
What are you able to take on without growing resentment? What are hot-topic issues like "When will we close the gap?" that you both can come to an agreement on that works for you? You will find that you will feel like you are compromising 80% and your partner 20%- and they will feel the same way! It's important to go back to point number two to remember to communicate about these compromises, and to make sure they are as fair as they can be within reason so no resentment builds.
4. Find Out Their Love Language.
Do they long for touch? Maybe sending a box with a pillow covered in your cologne/perfume will help them snuggle up to you at night. Are they all about words? Send good morning and goodnight messages, even if you know they won't see them right away. Send small texts telling them how much you appreciate them and what they have sacrificed/compromised for you two to be together. There is nothing better then building a foundation of gratitude in a LDR, which makes both parties feel like the work they are putting in is worthwhile and noticed. Find out what makes them feel happiness and most loved, and then do it. Even if you think you stink at writing, but they really lean towards words as what makes them happiest- that effort is part of #3's discussion — compromise. In return, they should do the same.
5. Last but Not Least, Gratitude.
Be thankful for one another. Explain to each other how thankful you are that you have the chance to be with them despite the long distance. Remind yourself and them why you are in this relationship, and why it is important to you. Be thankful for what they have given to you, and be proud of what you have given to them. Build each other up through your devotion, compromise, and determination. Don't give up even when it seems bleak. There will always be times where you doubt- but if you take a step back and remind yourself to be grateful for all you have and how rich this relationship really is, it will remind you that it is worth it.
How do I know? I was in a long distance relationship for two years - now living with him for one. We are a success story, and I wanted to share the knowledge I have learned to those just beginning to take their first steps into this amazing and bonding experience.
You and your partner can beat the odds. It's been done before and you will do it again. Best of luck.