Long Distance Relationship Tips: Making It Work

Long distance relationships can be challenging and often difficult. Here's advice that might help you stay together.

The long-distance romance is a modern phenomenon.One hundred years ago, the farthest a woman might look for a suitor was the next farm over.With the advent of the automobile, one might find the man of her dreams in the next city or even the next county.But today, with the availability of airplane travel and relationships springing up via internet dating services and through e-mail correspondence, long distance relationships have become much more commonplace.It is not at all unusual today for a couple to carry on a thriving romantic relationship though hundreds or even thousands of miles apart.

Long distance relationships do, however, have unique difficulties.The success of a long-distance relationship might depend greatly on whether the two people who make up the couple adopt the "absence makes the heart grow fonder" or the "out of sight, out of mind" philosophy.If you believe the former, chances are you have what it takes to make a long distance relationship work.Here are some tips to increase your chances of keeping those home fires burning while the two of you are apart.

Commitment.If you want your long-distance relationship to work, it is important that both of you agree on the level of commitment you expect from the relationship.If one of you sees the relationship as serious, committed and monogamous, while the other sees it is as a fun and flirty fling, then there are going to be problems down the road.It is important to make sure you are both on the same page and expect the same things from the relationship.Before throwing your heart and soul into a long-distance relationship, sit down with your partner and communicate openly and honestly about how each of you views the relationship, where you see it going and what you expect from one another.Agree on the ground rules.Making sure you are in agreement from the outset as to where your relationship is headed sets a firm foundation for the future and helps to avoid disappointment down the road.

Communication.Communication is a key in any relationship, but in a long-distance relationship, regular communication is crucial.Set aside regular time to talk to one another on the telephone.Take advantage of lower evening and weekend telephone rates.Make sure your cell phone plan offers free long distance and sufficient free weekend and off-peak minutes.Burning up the long-distance telephone lines is one sure fire way to keep the passion alive when the two of you are apart.But today's technology offers lots of other ways to communicate with your romantic partner.Flirt via e-mail.Enjoy an occasional night of passionate instant-messaging on the computer.Send each other cute, romantic (and often free) e-cards.And don't forget the more traditional ways of communicating with a sweetheart who is far away.Revive the long lost art of letter writing and send your significant other a passionate love letter now and then.Pop a card in the mail on special occasions or for no reason at all.When you are not often able to communicate your feelings through touch, other forms of communication become even more important.The long-distance relationship is the place to let your imagination run wild and come up with creative ways of keeping the lines of communication open between the two of you.

Honesty.Honesty is vital to every relationship.In a long-distance relationship, however, honesty has to be taken a step further.The longevity of a long-distance relationship depends a great deal on your ability to communicate honestly with one another about what you are feeling and to resolve issues that, if left to fester, might destroy your relationship.Do you always feel as if you are competing with the sports channel when you call your partner?Does your sweetheart seem to give her relationships with her girlfriends higher priority?If you want your romance to last, then you cannot ignore these feelings and allow resentment to take root in your relationship.Be honest with your partner about how you are feeling so that these issues can be addressed.

Compromise.Willingness to compromise is an important element of a successful long-distance romance.In a long-distance relationship, time together, whether on the telephone or in person, is a cherished commodity.You may have to compromise at times to make sure your relationship gets the attention it deserves.Take turns visiting one another to lighten the burden financially on each of you.Be willing to turn off the television and miss the first quarter of the basketball game when your lover calls and truly needs your time and attention.On the other hand, give your lover space, too, and be willing to reschedule a telephone call if your lover is watching the Big Game with friends and what you want to talk to him or her about can wait.

Flexibility.In order to make a long-distance relationship work, both of you have to be flexible.Things will not always go as planned.A long-awaited and much-needed weekend together may have to be postponed due to an unexpected work commitment for one of you.Understand that this is an occupational hazard of the long-distance relationship.It WILL happen, and when it does, be ready and willing to shake it off and go forward.Do not let the disappointment eat away at you and damage your relationship.Be ready to deal with unexpected changes of plan.Be open to spontaneous and last-minute opportunities to be together.

Trust.Of all the things that will eventually kill even the most passionate and loving long-distance relationship, lack of trust is the most prevalent.If you are sitting at home nights wondering what your partner is up to in another town, you have a problem.If you get upset when your lover's telephone line is busy, sure that he or she is talking to another romantic interest, you have a problem.If you cringe when you call your sweetheart's office and hear his sexy-sounding secretary's voice, you have a problem.If trust is an issue in your long-distance relationship, take a good, long look at the reasons for the mistrust.Has your partner given you reason not to trust him/her?If so, have these issues been resolved?Is it, perhaps, time for you to let go of the past and give him/her a chance to establish a new level of trust in your relationship?Or, if there are no rational reasons for the mistrust, do you have trust issues based on previous relationships or past hurts?If so, then you need to take a look at the reasons behind your inability to trust and deal with them.Seek counseling if necessary.If you are having trouble trusting your long-distance lover, the relationship will not work.Whether the mistrust is well-founded or not, it has to be resolved before you can move toward a successful and lasting relationship.

Independence.It is especially important to maintain a level of independence in a long-distance relationship.It is a mistake to sit at home by the telephone every night, waiting for your lover to call.Keep busy, be involved, and enjoy time with friends and in activities that are important to you.If your partner has a healthy approach to relationships, he or she will be doing the same, while still keeping you first and foremost in his or her mind.Giving up your life in favor of sitting home alone or spending each and every night on the telephone with your lover will eventually prove fatal to your relationship.Stay in touch with the things that make you the person you are, the things that keep you vibrant and alive and interesting, the things that made your partner fall in love with you in the first place.Keeping the sparkle in your own eyes is a sure fire way to keep the sizzle in your romantic relationship.

Acceptance.People who are involved in successful long-distance romances are realistic.They understand and accept that a long-distance relationship is going to have its own unique set of challenges.Rather than pout and complain about the obstacles in a long-distance romance, they focus on the positive aspects of the relationship and look for creative ways to minimize the impact of the geographical distance between them and their lover.Those in happy long-distance romances are accepting not only of their circumstances, but of each other as well.When you only get to see your lover once a month, the last thing you should be worried about is whether he puts the toilet seat down or whether she takes a few minutes longer than you would like to style her hair.

Optimism.If you want your long-distance relationship to be successful, you have to see the glass as half full, not half empty.Do not dwell on the negative.When you are feeling sad or disappointed because you cannot be with the one you love, take that opportunity to plan for the next time when you will be able to see your sweetheart.Use the passion you are feeling to your advantage and make sure your next romantic encounter will be one your partner will never forget.Always have your next rendezvous scheduled, even if it has to be several months away.Mark it on the calendar and count down the days.Just knowing that you will see your lover in X number of days gives you something to look forward to and helps to keep the relationship upbeat and fun.Before you know it, the long wait will be over and the two of you will be in each other's arms once more.

Although long-distance relationships require considerable more effort and attention than the traditional dating relationship, the rewards can be well worth it.Individuals involved in successful long-distance relationships often have a greater appreciation of each other.They have learned to value their time together, to communicate more often and on a deeper level and, above all, not to take each other for granted.The rewards extend beyond the relationship and to each individual's personal growth.By necessity, people in long-distance romances learn to be more open and communicative, more appreciative, more trusting and more independent.Look at your long-distance relationship as an opportunity to get to know your partner, and yourself, on a much deeper and more satisfying level.

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