Successful long-distance marriages are becoming more common, as more than three million married couples are living apart, according to the feature article, "How We Love Now" on WebMD. These couples must find creative ways to build intimacy, to communicate and to maintain a healthy relationship. Making the distance more of a positive than a negative is a tough job and requires effort from both partners. Some relationship problems can actually be magnified by the distance. You should also consider that a long-distance relationship will not work for everyone and may be more damaging than beneficial.
A long-distance marriage is more likely to succeed if both partners plan carefully about how things will work. Divide the responsibilities for household tasks and finances, suggests Mary Jo Rapini, Ph.D., in her article, “Some Tips for Making Long-Distance Marriage Work,” published on PsychCentral. Making responsibilities as balanced as possible can help to take some of the pressure off any one person. If children are involved, then you will need to hire extra help to help with the household chores. Decide on how you will keep in touch with each other and your children. Schedule face-to-face meetings as often as possible.
Communication Is Key
Keep the lines of communication open. This will make or break the success of the arrangement. With all the options for interpersonal communication available, long-distance couples have a variety of ways to stay in touch. In fact, long-distance couples can actually have deeper and more intimate connections than those who are together, says Crystal Jiang, based on the results of her study, “Absence Makes the Communication Grow Fonder: Geographic Separation, Interpersonal Media, and Intimacy in Dating Relationships,” published in the Journal of Communication last year. Partners in a long-distance relationship are less likely to take each other for granted and are open to sharing intimacy through all available means. Keep each other up to date through your social media accounts, texting and video messaging. Consider some alternates such as exchanging letters, sending care packages or keeping a daily journal to share with your partner, once you are together again.
Jealousy and Insecurity
Unfortunately, being far apart can give rise to feelings of insecurity in a couple, says Rapini. One spouse may become jealous of the other partner's interactions away from home. Fear that your spouse will be tempted to cheat because of the distance is more likely in these relationships, according to WebMD. This can be especially true if trust issues already existed in the relationship. Insecurities can stem from feeling disconnected or from feeling left out of the daily goings on in the other partner’s daily business. The spouse who lives with the children can sometimes become overwhelmed by the pressures of caring for the children without a mate close at hand.
Weigh the Odds
Although it is true that distance can facilitate a stronger relationship, a long-distance marriage can become rife with problems or be doomed to fail from the start, based on some conditions. Some people cannot handle these types of relationships. Do not attempt a long-distance marriage if one or both partners have problems being alone, if one or both partners have a tendency cheat or if unresolved issues with trust exist, suggests Rapini. You should also not consider this option if one partner has a health concern that will require consistent care.
Latoya Newman is a novelist who wrote and published her first novel in 2012. She has a background in education, research and counseling. She taught at the elementary level for eight years, and has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from York University in Toronto, Canada.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images