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Taking a Long Distance Relationship to the Next Step of Commitment

by Keri Dillingham, studioD

The next level of commitment in a long-distance relationship is the exciting step of moving in together. It is not prudent, however, to give up all positive aspects of your long-distance relationship very soon after the move. in an article on FoxNews, Dr. Crystal Jiang and Dr. Jeffery Hancock compared how long-distance relationships fared against "normal" relationships and found that long-distance couples shared greater depths of communication, intimacy, and responsiveness while reporting greater satisfaction with their partner than did traditional couples, so implement what worked for you as a long-distance couple and be prepared to meet the challenges of living together to give your new arrangement the best start.

Communication Up Close

During your long-distance relationship, you and your partner had to communicate in several different ways. Now that you will be living in the same space, it can be easy to let those deeply felt emotions go unsaid. It is important to express your love so that you avoid falling into a daily routine that fosters a sense of detachment despite your proximity. "If you were sending loving emails and receiving sexy text messages, don’t stop completely, but don’t forget -- your partner is home!" recommends Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., in an article on PBS.org. Continue to send messages during times of separation to rekindle the feelings of longing -- yet remember to act on that titillation when face-to-face.

Intimacy Kept Anew

Before each reunion, you would plan your visits to the very last detail with great zest and anticipation for the time to come. Living together can take away the newness of intimacies as it becomes commonplace. To avoid the staleness and add a refreshing spark, author Gregory Guldner, M.D., says, "Ultimately, creative dates will help keep all relationships fun and exciting, and this should become a long-term goal for yours, as well." He further recommends that couples should avoid activities that keep them in a routine of staying home, such as renting movies. Rather, plan time together that will create a memory, such as escaping for a weekend getaway or having a night on the town.

Time Spent Wisely Together

While apart, you both had separate lives filled with other relationships that satisfied a need for face-to-face interaction and served as a way to cope with the separation, as Phillips points out. These other relationships with family, friends, and your career flourished. Once you are living together, especially in the beginning, there is an unspoken promise to spend as much time together as possible. Yet, be sure your relationships with family and friends do not disintegrate. Set time aside to meet with family and friends as a couple. In addition, be certain to focus on work when needed as not to lose the momentum you gained while apart.

Sharing the Duties as New Housemates

A beast of burden in any household is figuring out which person is responsible for completing a specific chore and assuring the distribution of the household work is fair. Because one party played host for the visit to his abode, it can be an issue if the original resident is expected to continue fulfilling that role once you both share the same residence. Unfortunately, this power struggle can lead to resentment if not resolved. To head this off, try to prevent acrimony by actively discussing who will do what to keep the home in order.

About the Author

After having earned two degrees in psychology, Keri Dillingham continues to focus her time researching and studying the intricate nature of the human relationship. She worked as a victim's advocate for those subjected to domestic violence, and, as such, is adept at discussing and reviewing topics that directly relate to healthy relationships and positive lifestyles.

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