From a Distance: Making a Long-Distance Relationship Work
People can’t control who they fall in love with and sometimes, they fall in love with people who live on the opposite side of the world. They end up in long-distance relationships. Love from a distance is no less valid, though it can be difficult to actually maintain a relationship. People have physical needs too.
If you’ve decided on committing to a long-term, long-distance relationship, there are a few things you’ll need to know to make it work.
Clarify the Terms of the Relationship
Long-distance relationships are a far different beast than normal relationships. Treating them like they were normal is a sure way to mess it up. Clarifying the terms of the relationship includes deciding on what to call it. Are the two of you boyfriend/girlfriend or are you just seeing each other? It may seem like pointless semantics, but it will make sure that you’re both on the same page.
You will also need to figure out whether you’re exclusive or not, and whether this relationship can blossom into something serious. You might also want to clarify whether or not relocation is in the cards if it goes well. It can be trying to have these questions come up, especially if it’s a new relationship, but it’s better to answer them sooner rather than later.
Talk About Sex
This is a touchy subject. Most relationships, if not all of them, involve a sexual element. This element is obviously diminished in terms of accessibility in a long-term relationship, but it doesn’t have to go away entirely. Thanks to the Internet, you can get naughty with her over a webcam or over chat. If you don’t feel that comfortable with the Internet, call her up and engage her in a classic and steamy phone-sex session.
For that matter, determine whether or not sleeping with another person counts as cheating. It’s a modern world, but people still have needs. You have needs. She or he has needs too. Discuss whether it’s okay for either of you to have one-night stands that serve to release sexual tension. It might be difficult to think of, but it can be healthy in the long run.
Gifts from Afar
Gifts should not make or break a relationship, but since you can’t show that you care with most of the little things, gifts will have to do. Use the advantages the Internet offers. Not so long ago, people in long-term relationships could only send their thoughts and gifts through snail mail, and most people could only send small gifts.
Thanks to the Internet, you can send gifts using services such as Amazon or eBay to have them shipped directly to her. Alternatively, you can avail of services in her area online, pay for them using Paypal or a credit card, and have anything from home-massages to flowers delivered to her doorstep.
Again, consider that not so long ago people separated by great distances can only communicate by phone. Communication is important, no matter how far apart or how close you are physically. You can use anything from Skype to Yahoo Messenger to make sure that you always have a way to talk to each other.
Make the time to talk with each other at least once a day. Even if it’s just small talk, letting her know that you’re there and that you still care can go a long way towards strengthening what is traditionally a tenuous relationship. You lack the physical aspect of a relationship, so you’ll have to make up for it in quality communication. Share your feelings and listen to what she says.
Long-distance relationships may be more difficult, but aside from the lack of a physical aspect, they face many of the same challenges as a traditional relationship. That means that while you have to treat it differently, that it remains a relationship that can be loving and healthy, one that could have a bright future.