Long distance relationships can be tricky to sustain especially if the relationship status remains the same for a long time. It can get boring and pretty difficult to manage. If there is anything that tests a relationship, it is long distance. It affects trust and faithfulness and most times long distance relationships might not last for long unless the two people are really committed to it. Relationship experts and psychologists say maintaining intimacy with your partner when they’re miles away can be an uphill task and it can take a toll on the romance in the long term. People who enter long distance relationships mostly know why they are into it and can only hold on until the time they’ve given themselves elapses. With no future plan of being together, sustaining it can be pretty difficult. Donatha Uwamariya, a counsellor, who went through a long-distance relationship five years ago, says that more than ever, today people are finding themselves in long distance relationships, with the tendency increasing more during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Along with working remotely, the Covid-19 pandemic showed us that people can actually sustain a long-distance relationship, mainly because they couldn’t travel due to lockdowns and other restrictions that made it impossible for people to move and be together. “People didn’t have many choices and they resorted to simply communicating on phone and social media platforms, but with the pandemic ceasing, many people are beginning to ask themselves, how long can I keep it going?” Uwamariya says. Uwamariya says that when the pandemic subsided, many long-distance relationships became fatigued as some people could not wait any longer when the other party didn’t move towards making it physical. According to Uwamariya, normally people hold on in a long-distance relationship because of the promise they have, whether it is marriage or one of the people is relocating to the other side. “When that doesn’t happen, people get bored and tired and easily move on,” she says, adding that most times technology alone is not enough to sustain a relationship. The most obvious thing people in a long-distance relationship have to do is to move towards living together or closer to each other before the relationship wears out. Most importantly, the lovebirds must find an effective way through which they constantly communicate. “It is a constant effort, you must keep the schedules, the planned calls and other aspects that make a long-distance relationship work. Failure to do that, mistrust can easily emerge,” she adds. The clinical nurse and psychologist says her own experience taught her that when the two parties are not determined to make it work, the relationship can easily come to an end. “He used to live in Canada, the time difference and clashing schedules made it difficult for us to keep a steady line of communication. We would fight over small things, especially around communication,” Uwamariya says. Overtime, she started to realise that his communication was beginning to reduce and most times just sending a ‘hi’, as though he wanted to simply show that he is communicating. “As a psychologist, it was easy for me to see that he was lying about something or was tired of the relationship but I could not tell him directly, until he figured out that he can’t hide it anymore,” she recalls. Later she found out that he was in another relationship in Canada and was even about to get married, but she was not surprised. However, in her line of duty, Uwamariya meets other people who are in long distance relationships and they actually work, but it is mainly because they share a common vision, which in a way holds them together. One of the individuals already had citizenship in the US and the other party in Rwanda was waiting for her documents so that she could join him. “You could see that they were up to something and they directed their efforts to it. Often the man would make time and travel to Rwanda to see her, which was quite an effort and a sign of love,” she observes. She points out that the couple believed that while video calls came in handy, they could not replace physical presence, which is why they always put effort in meeting physically. A long-distance relationship also thrives on patience and understanding each other because accusations and arguments can only make it worse. Experts say that for couples to maintain a long-distance relationship, they should avoid unnecessary fights and disagreements. “Trying to police your partner from a distance can be strenuous. The jealous type go as far as asking you to take photos of where you are or handover the phone to a person they know who could be near you.” Experts say that once a relationship takes that direction, it becomes nearly impossible to keep going but there will never be trust in the first place. “It’s important to be honest with your partner, seek reassurance and always keep an open line of communication without necessarily being controlling,” says Uwamariya, adding that without patience and tolerance, a long-distance relationship becomes difficult to manage.