Long-distance relationships usually go one of two ways:
The lack of intimacy forces the relationship to fizzle out.
One party moves closer to the other to continue the relationship together.
But it doesn’t always have to be this way. I and my current partner spent 7 whole years in a long-distance relationship.
The was even before COVID forced us all indoors.
Long-distance relationships are perfectly manageable in a long-term playing field. Especially if you’re in a long-distance relationship and would like things to last.
But don’t fret… According to a 2018 survey, around 60% of long-distance relationships go the distance. So the numbers are on your side.
It may have seemed simple to us at the time but, in hindsight, there were several methods we employed to ensure our relationship remained strong while we were apart for so long.
I’d like to share some of them with you, in the hopes your own long-term, long-distance relationships will continue to flourish.
This one should go without saying.
If you’re the kind of person who considers himself or herself to be sexually promiscuous, without the necessary willpower or desire to remain faithful, a long-distance relationship probably isn’t for you.
The further you are from your partner and the more chance you have to engage with members of the opposite sex, the more likely you are to break whatever trust you both share.
On the other hand, those who are willing to put in the effort and remain true to their long-distance relationship will find the whole experience so much more rewarding.
This is also true for the opposite end of the spectrum; You need to trust that your partner will also remain faithful to you, despite the distance.
Ask yourself: Am I a suspicious person? Do I have any paranoid tendencies?
You need to leave any of these worries at the door if you want your long-distance relationship to survive long-term.
If my long-distance adventure taught me anything it’s that being faithful is easy, if you’re of the right mindset.
Value your independence.
Being together should be the ultimate goal of any meaningful relationship. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your time apart.
Many people in a long-distance relationship yearn to be with their significant other as much as humanly possible. I can’t say I’m of the same makeup.
I enjoy my own company, as do many people in committed relationships.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your sanity during this time in your life is to value your independence, instead of wishing your situation to be somehow different.
If you spend your hours staring puppy-dog-eyed out a window, praying your partner will come running around the corner like a scene from a cheesy rom-com, you’re going to be bitterly disappointed. Especially when you know in your heart of hearts this won’t be the case. At least not for a while.
In times like these, your own company is your best friend. Learn to like the time you spend with yourself and you might even learn to like yourself a little more. If that’s a part of your self-esteem you’re lacking in.
You will be together again, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some small source of light while you’re apart.
Don’t be afraid to keep quiet for a while.
During the early stages of our long-distance relationship, my partner and I both fell into the trap of assuming we each needed to be contactable 24/7.
While it’s nice to be on the other end of a phone call or a DM when you can’t be together, there’s always a danger this desire will translate into a form of pressure.
Pretty soon you start feeling like you need to speak on the phone every day. You need to text each other all the time. You need to video chat as often as possible.
But this simply isn’t the case. In fact, it can become a pretty toxic trait of your relationship, if you’re not careful.
Getting into the habit of being in constant contact with each other will only add pressure to an already pressurized situation.
Instead, try to alternate the times when you speak to each other. Allow yourself the freedom to switch off your phone or your laptop for a few hours each day (be polite and let each other know, of course). Or suggest specific times in the day when speaking would be better for both of you.
This might sound a little draconian and robs some of the natural romanticism from your relationship. But sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all than to say too much.
Familiarity breeds contempt. But there’s more contempt to be had when you can’t read each other’s body language in person.
Make the most of your intimate moments.
Sex is always a tricky subject for those in a long-distance relationship.
During the limited amount of time you have together, you’re expected to fit in an awful lot:
Going on dates
Saying hi to friends and family
Planning your future
Time to relax together
And this is barely scratching the surface. Throw sex into the mix and it can become somewhat of a chore.
Then again, you could be one of those couples who put sex first and foremost on their Things-To-Do list.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But just be sure sex isn’t the overriding source of pleasure and happiness in your relationship. That never tends to last.
However, it’s important you set enough time aside to enjoy each other’s company in the bedroom. Or wherever you happen to get it on.
You don’t have anywhere near as much time as other couples do to truly get to know your partner sexually. So put in the extra effort when it comes to getting acclimated with your partner:
What are their turn-ons and offs?
What’s their psychological relationship to sex? Do they enjoy it? Not everybody does.
What’s their sexual experience? How does that affect your sexual dynamic?
In a long-distance relationship, you’re always playing sexual catch-up. My advice would be to learn as much as you can about your significant other in a short space of time, so you can enjoy each other in that department quicker.
This might feel awkward, as it likely relies on some pretty on-the-nose questions or actions. But you’ll both feel better for it in the long run.
Learn to love the distance.
Having to travel great distances to see the person you love can become a real strain on your relationship. So much so that many long-distance relationships never get over the first hurdle because of the distance.
That’s why you need to flip it on its head.
When I first started traveling to see my partner, I didn’t have a car. As you can imagine, this made things much more difficult and left me relying on public transportation.
Because who doesn’t love relying on the world’s most flawed timetable, right?…
But in a bizarre turn of events, I ended up enjoying much of the time I spent on the bus or on the train.
The three or so hours with nothing to do gave me time to rediscover my love of reading, or listening to alternative music, or finding an amazing podcast to get hooked on.
Many of these points can equally be applied if you’re a driver, too.
It was also pretty helpful for getting work done. My trusty laptop made it easy to write up any outstanding work I had leftover from the previous week.
The point is you shouldn’t look at the distance between yourself and your partner in a negative light. Look at travel as time you can invest in other things instead.
To sum up:
Don’t cheat (duh).
Learn to like yourself and your own time.
You don’t need to be in constant contact with each other.
Sex is great. Get good at enjoying it.
The distance only drags if you allow it to.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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The post 5 Methods To Survive a Long-Term, Long-Distance Relationship for Years appeared first on The Good Men Project.
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