Long-distance relationships are difficult, there’s no doubting that. Normal relationships are difficult enough. Add hundreds or even thousands of miles between you and your partner, and you have some added complications to deal with.
Not all long-distance relationships are destined to fail. If you and your partner love each other and want to make it work, no distance should be the breaking point in your relationship.
Sure, it takes some understanding, commitment, and a little extra effort. But it’s worth it.
If you’re in a long-distance relationship or about to relocate, below are some of the challenges to look out for and solutions that’ll help.
Common Problems with Long-Distance Relationships
There are various problems in any relationship, regardless of the distance. Some of the most common challenges and problems with long-distance relationships are:
It’s easy to feel jealous of your partner when you’re not there to see who he or she is interacting with every day. The less often you see your partner, the more your mind can race with thoughts about what they’re up to.
It’s normal to feel jealous that other people are spending more time with them than you are, because they are. The challenge is managing these emotions and trusting them.
One of the biggest challenges with being in a long-distance relationship is one, or both of you drifting apart.
Without being together all the time, there is room in your lives for other things to take up your spare time. This commonly causes couples to drift apart as they become more invested and interested in things outside of the relationship.
Miscommunication or Lack of Communication
Good communication is one of the keys to a successful relationship. The easiest form of communication is face-to-face, so in a long-distance relationship it’s easy for this to go bad.
It can be difficult to express emotions and feelings via text or email, so it’s important to talk on the phone regularly. But even this doesn’t give you both the connection you get in person. A small misunderstanding or miscommunication can easily spiral into a bigger problem.
Lack of Physical Intimacy
This is somewhat dependent on how intimate your relationship was before it became long-distance. But lack of physical intimacy is a challenge when one person moves away and the relationship becomes a long-distance one.
Some couples even go as far as allowing each other to have sexual encounters with other people while apart. This can cause more problems in the long run, however. It’s a subject you need to talk openly about with one another.
Tips to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work
If you can identify the challenges of a long-distance relationship, you can discuss various solutions to them. Consider if any of the below options are right for you and your partner.
Establish Good Communication
Because bad communication is one of the fundamental problems with long-distance relationships, it will come as no surprise that good communication is key to a successful long-distance relationship.
Regular communication is great. But you need to mix it up, too. Don’t set a strict schedule, you both have lives to live. But set the tone that you can call anytime and talk about anything without any pressure.
Give each other the space to be vulnerable. Listen to understand and garner a judgement-free zone. Perhaps you can even develop a list of fair fighting rules.
Let’s not forget we live in a dynamic digital age too. Use video, Facetime, and audio messages to mix it up and surprise each other.
Put in the Extra Effort
Face up to the reality that you’re going to have to put in more effort than you would if you lived in the same city. It’s not ideal, but the circumstances are what they are. You’re far away and will not see each other in person as much, so make it extra special when you do.
Send your partner a surprise in the mail from time-to-time. Arrange a surprise visit. Watch the same movie “together” and talk about it after. You know them better than anyone, if there’s something they’d like, do it.
Set Relationship Goals
Maintaining a long-distance relationship is perfectly doable, but for how long? If there’s any uncertainty about the future, such as how long you’ll be apart, it’s going to put strain on the relationship.
Set some clear goals around how long you’ll both be apart. Discuss where you’re going to live eventually, what you both want from the relationship in the meantime, and anything else that’s appropriate.