Relationships can be between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, best friends, family and even colleagues. This art is a type of dance and takes time, if not a lifetime to perfect. The best dance is that where partners mirror each other, in harmony and work together with synchronicity. It takes committment to make a relationship work, especially a long distance one.
With every type of relationship, there is an art.
Romantic relationships are often seen as the most complicated in this dance. However, in society it is made to look like this: boy meets girl, they date, fall in love, get married, have children and be happy. Has anything been more oversimplified than this?
There are many types of romantic relationships, which depend on several factors. These include what stage you are in with your life and could be your first love. Depending on your sexual orientation, it could be a heterosexual, gay, transgender or another type of relationship. Your actual status could vary; are you living together or have you married? Like I said, many different types. However, with every relationship, once we start digging deeper there are several factors that can vastly alter the dynamics of the relationship. Below, I have listed a few of these factors.
- Emotional/physical/sexual abuse
- Previously been married
- Children from another relationship
- Witnessing a traumatic divorce between his/her parents
- Commitment issues
- Not wanting children
- Wanting to be a stay at home mother/father
Again, this list could go on and on. It is also delving deeper into the more physical and mental issues that come with many relationships but never rear their ugly head when first dating. So, yes I am correct. The art of romantic relationships is complicated, their dance is more like the intricate, passionate Argentinian tango than the slower, more sedate waltz.
Long distance relationship – can it work?
To add to this list is the long-distance relationship. Many people are divided on what type of relationship this would be construed as. Yes, the people involved can talk, even see each other and be in each others lives but cannot be with each other physically. So how it is categorized is up to the individual.
With this modern world comes new lifestyles. People no longer stay in the same small area, in the same country all their lives. Travel across the world is possible and can be affordable to many. Although this brings the joy of new experiences and new cultures it can also bring the heartache of loss.
A relationship starts, a couple fall in love then for some reason one has to move. Not just a few miles away but to another country. This primarily happens because of work as a lot of industries have offices, contracts around the world and qualified staff can be deployed elsewhere.
Lets examine how to sustain a long distance relationship
I am currently in a long-distance relationship. My boyfriend is Colombian and we met online in England. He was here on a work visa. We were together for two years in England and its been the best, most prosperous relationship I’ve had. Due to this, when he had to leave the country due to his work visa expiring, we decided to try a long-distance relationship. Why did I do this you may ask? After being in a previous relationship where my self-esteem and creativity plummeted it took a long while to realize who I was again and build myself back up. Although I did this with my own determination, having a partner who is supportive and enhances every area of your live is very important and also very difficult to find. Hence my reason for continuing. So this post is for both you and I!
Below I have constructed a checklist for you should you be in or considering a long-distance relationship, along with how to make it work. As with anything, it is important to do your research and then perfect as you go along. Otherwise, you will fail.
By doing your homework, you will hopefully succeed.
When you first have that ‘long-distance relationship’ talk with your partner, set your boundaries together. This may be a slightly uncomfortable talk but neither of you will want to part not being sure of the rules. By rules, I mean talking about what you mean to each other and how you would like you like your relationship to progress whilst you are apart.
Questions to consider are:
Are you still a couple?
Are you both happy to remain faithful?
Will you work at staying in contact and meeting when you can?
Can you see an end date for the long-distance?
Are you willing to put in the work to make your long distance relationship last and work well?
By setting these boundaries, you may at the very least save yourself some heartache down the road but it could also help you and your partner with any anxiety and to be sure of your relationship status. Remember to tell yourself NOT to google ‘how many long distance relationships work’. There is never any point in comparing your relationship to anyone else.
Knowing your time zones is important for communication as the time you get up and go to bed could vary wildly depending on where you are in the world. The best way to do this is to install an app. There are several choices and all offer many benefits that can help you in areas other than your relationship.
World clock gives you easy to read information, time zones, calendars and international meeting planners.
Time temperature is another great app as it divides the world into sections so you can easily find the area you are looking for. it also allows you to plan meetings and helps to work out times in the future.
Once you know where your partner is going, you can use your app to work out the difference in your days and when you can communicate. I like to message at lunchtime when I know my partner is just getting up. He is already in my thoughts but it is important to let the person you love know this even though you are currently not together. Out of sight is definitely not out of mind.
Conversation – how to develop and make your long distance relationship work
Once you both know when you are at home or able to talk, you can arrange times to chat. Technology now has made this far simpler as a massive 73% of people video chat. I live in the UK but I have close friends who live in Kenya and Canada and we video chat regularly to stay in touch. Regular, face to face conversations with your partner are very important to feeling like you are still in contact.
Apart from video calls, WhatsApp is also a great, instant median of communication. Conversation, albeit on ‘chat’ feels like it flows, that it is a real conversation and does not leave you waiting for a response. And unlike video chat, it is possible to use this during the majority of your day.
I love writing and the joy of a handwritten letter. So for me it is important to also write to someone you care about who is far away from you. It is an art that is slowly becoming lost but is still an important one. What would you rather receive? An email from a friend or a letter in their handwriting with maybe a card in it, a photo, or a small present? So much more thought, time and effort has gone into the latter and it is much more personal. Therefore, this conveys to the person you are sending it to that they matter, that you take time out of your day to day life to write this letter and send it with love.
Have activities planned
When you were previously together, your time together would have consisted of activities. Just because you are currently apart does not mean these cannot continue. Pick a game night where you choose a couple of games to play. Or watch a movie together. You can’t share the popcorn but to be extra romantic you could always send some in the package that contains your letter!
Share in each others lives
It is sad but true to say that now that you are not geographically near each other, it is easy to grow apart as you stop sharing elements of your lives. Whereas when your partner lived close and you could meet after work and share your day, now this is more difficult. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. Spend time asking about each others days, their jobs, the friends they are seeing and their family. Why are they sad/upset? If they are ill, comfort them. Maybe one evening, ‘have an evening out’ together by dressing up, putting music on and having a drink together. It is all possible, it just requires thinking outside the box. This will make the times when you do see each other extra sweet.
This is an opportunity
This can seem a strange thing to say but this can be a temporarily good thing. Time apart can be healthy, an opportunity to evaluate what is going on in your life. Examine your immediate situation, your job, family, friends etc. Is there something you would like to change? How about a hobby you have never had time for? If you now have more time to fill, think about a course you could do or how you could improve your life. Just because someone you care for has temporarily left does not have to signify a sad time but rather an opportunity for while you are apart.
Keep the fire burning
Sex is a big part of a romantic relationship. A long time ago when travel was restricted to the rich, a long-distance relationship would mean sex would be limited to when you physically saw each other. As intimate relations are as much a part of an emotional connection as well as a physical one, this could be a challenging factor for a couple who are apart for a length of time.
Now, we have lots of ways of getting around this. It is important to show and tell your partner that you still have these feelings for them so think about time you can put aside for a sensual conversation. Send him or her provocative messages and photos and schedule video calls that can turn romantic.
Romantic relationships take both love and work to prosper. If you already have confidence in your relationship and faith in the person about to leave, you will have a good chance of not only making a lasting relationship but also examining and improving your own life whilst you have more time on your hands. Look upon it as an opportunity. Appreciate your relationship with your partner and the benefits will flow, both now that you are apart and in the future when you are together.