How to Bridge the Miles Between You and Your Long-Distance Love
You never want to be away from the one you love, but sometimes, physical distance between two connected hearts is a necessary evil. Whether the separation stems from military deployment, an employment obligation or simply logistical issues, you can find ways to keep the miles between you from getting in the way of your relationship.
Set Clear Expectations
Clearly define your expectations. Each partner may have a different idea of what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. Is it OK to date others while you are apart, or, are you both committed to remaining faithful to each other despite the distance? Expectations need to be addressed and agreed upon so that you both agree about what to expect from each other.
Communicate Clearly and Consistently
Much like a traditional relationship in which distance is not an issue, communication is the key to keeping things happy and healthy between you and your partner. Luckily, technology makes it easy to keep the lines of communication open. Carve out time to talk to each other daily or as regularly as possible. Texting is a great way to exchange brief messages and keep in touch throughout the day, but avoid making it your primary method of communication. Things often get lost in translation via text, so reserve more serious conversations for phone or video chats.
Regular communication is important, but be careful not to overdo it. A nightly phone call or video chat to share feelings and experiences about your day is more helpful to your relationship than hourly calls to check in or check up on each other.
Do Things Together
Being apart doesn’t mean you can’t still do things together. Schedule a time for the two of you to share an experience across the miles. You can watch the same movie or television show while on the phone with each other, play an online game together, or read the same book and discuss your favorite parts. You can video chat during a meal or while you both are on a walk and share the experience together.
Take Advantage of Snail Mail
Technology is great, but sometimes it feels a bit impersonal. Most mailboxes these days are filled with junk mail or bills, so receiving something personal in the mail from someone you care about stands out. Put a smile on his face by sending him a greeting card with meaningful thoughts inside. You also can gather little things that you know he appreciates, such as a bag of his favorite coffee blend. Alternatively, bake a batch of your famous cookies and send him a care package via regular mail.
Make Plans Together
Counting the days until you see each other again is one way to keep things exciting in your long-distance relationship, but it only works if you have an idea of when that will happen. Plan your future visits with each other, and, if possible, try to alternate who does the traveling. If you are unable to visit each other while you are apart, start a countdown for the day when you will finally be reunited, and make plans for how you will celebrate on the big day.
Keep the Kids in the Loop
Having kids with your long-distance partner brings new challenges to the table. Keep the kids connected to your partner by arranging for them to talk on a regular basis too. Include the kids in scheduled video chats and share news of important achievements with their parent. If you are the parent who must be away from the kids, it can be hard to miss special events like recitals, games or academic recognition ceremonies. Ease the burden of being away for these milestones by sending your child a small gift or note to let her know how proud you are of her and her accomplishments.
Kristina Barroso earned a B.A. in Psychology from Florida International University. She is happily married, works full-time as a public school teacher and enjoys mothering her 5-year-old daughter and 14-year-old stepson. She has also fostered several children and loves writing about parenting, families, education and relationships on WorkingMother.com and TheClassroom.com.