Long distance relationships can be filled with challenges that couples around the block from each other never face. On the other hand, the creative ways that you find to stay connected while you are living apart will increase your creativity when you are living together.
It’s incredibly easy to take another person for granted. You take for granted that they will always be there or will always love you… just because they always have. But when you live apart for a long period of time, you can draw on those memories to bring you closer together when you finally do live together. This is a bonus that other couples only experience if they purposefully take the time to be creative about connecting.
So, while it is a challenge to stay connected, learning these skills now makes your relationship better later.
While you’re apart take the time and make the effort to communicate at least once a day, more often if you can. You can maintain an emotional connection with communication that is brief and frequent. They don’t have to be long, in-depth heart-to-heart conversations but can be short text messages about your day, asking advice or just telling your partner that you are thinking about them.
Let’s not be stalkish or smothering about it though. Calling or texting every hour, waking them up before the alarm clock or ordering pizza to be sent to their place for dinner at night is a bit much. Instead, aim for substantial and detailed communications about your thoughts, asking questions, asking advice or telling about what happened to you that day.
But, let’s face it. After a bit, text messages and phone calls can get tedious. So break the mold and make a video for your partner. Use your phone to tape yourself driving to work, while the phone is in the passenger seat aimed at you. Chat with the phone like your partner is sitting in the seat next to you.
Write a love letter. The art of snail mail is failing in our society today. And yet, there is something so much more personal and loving about a piece of paper held in your hand. Write a thank you note to your partner for listening to you while you ranted about your boss. Or write an invitation to your next rendezvous.
Try to visit each other as often as possible. Long distance can mean a 30 minute trip or a 10 hour trip. Online dating has made meeting people from across the country easier than ever. Before this you had to actually get in the car and drive somewhere to see the Rocky Mountains and meet a cowboy! Schedule as much time together as you can and spend it with other people. We live in community and when you spend it together with other people, you actually get to know each other better.
Alternate who does the traveling. It might be easier for one of you to travel than the other, but it’s important that you both put in the effort to see each other. Otherwise the one doing all the traveling may grow to resent the one not traveling. If you can both get away, try meeting somewhere in the middle occasionally. You won’t be able to spend time with friends, but it’s a nice way to disconnect from everyday life and connect with your partner. Just don’t let it be the only way you meet, or your understanding of life together will be seen through rose colored glasses.
Celebrate the ability to talking about the ‘boring’ everyday parts of your everyday. Mundane parts of your day are just normal for everyone. Celebrate your ability to share that with your partner and make them an interrelated part of every day life. During these times be sure to support your partner in their decisions or when they are stressed or hurt. Make sure you are available to them when things go haywire in their life away from you. Not only do they feel loved and connected when they know you are available to them, but it deepens your relationship, and isn’t that what you’re after?