For most people the idea of a having a successful long distance relationship is something of a dream. Consequently most people will avoid dating foreigners or anybody studying or working miles away from home.
The reasoning is, if it is hard enough to make local relationships work, where you see each other almost every day, then having extra miles between you makes it even more difficult, perhaps even impossible.
While you may not want a long distance relationship, chances are that at some stage in your life, you may be away from your partner.
Successful long distance relationships can and do exist. Here are some suggestions to guide you when you find yourself entangled in a long distance relationship:
• Ask the important questions at the onset, to make sure you are both clear on the parameters of the relationship.
These can be difficult and awkward questions to ask, but will save you great heartache and misunderstanding down the line.
Consider questions like “Are you open to the possibility of relocating if your partner can’t do otherwise?"
• Keep in touch and communicate in any possible way every day, more than once if possible. Since you won't be seeing each other, it's important to establish and maintain an emotional connection.
These don't have to be long, in-depth conversations (though those should occur sometimes).
Tell each other about your little triumphs and tragedies. Ask for advice. You can make phone calls; send text messages or emails.
While instant messaging and e-mails play a large role in long distance relationships, remember that they can in no way replace verbal communication. Make a few calls once in a while.
• Do not concentrate on the negative side of separation. Instead take advantage of the benefits: more time with friends and family.
A long distance relationship also avails you a chance to reflect on your relationship, make amends such that by the time your partner returns you have sorted out all your differences.
Most important, being far apart gives you a chance to maintain your individuality - something that can get lost in the shuffle when couples spend all their free time together.
• Pursue common interests, even if it means pursuing them apart. If a new movie is showing and you are both interested in watching, watch it individually and then call each other afterward and talk about it.
• Set your watches to go off at the same time every day, and synchronise your alarm with that of your partner. Make it a point to think of each other when your watch goes off.
• Avoid the temptation to be controlling. People have free will and no one can or should control another person.
As long as you are both interested in being in the relationship, you will stick with it and distance will not make a difference.
As soon as one of you decides the other is not a good match - or someone else is a better match - your relationship ends, whether you live 3000 miles apart, two streets over, or share the same bed with your wedding picture on the wall.
You are going to have to trust each other completely if this relationship is going to work.
• For those of you are still dating it important to discuss and talk about your future together, say if your partner is still studying.
Assuming that ultimately you would want to live together, discussing how you are going to get to that point will help you prove to each other that the relationship is going somewhere and that your efforts and frustrations are not in vain.
A long distance relationship just like any other relationship requires a great deal of work, excellent communication, patience, sacrifice and understanding.