Ten Ideas on How to Sustain a Long Distance Relationship

I am assuming that you two have already been in a relationship for a reasonable amount of time. Your time together is precious and sacred and both of you appreciate the fact that among thousands of people out there, the two of you chose to be together. I assume here that there are no lies, that both are committed to the relationship.

A long distance relationship is a trial of patience for two people in love. I’ve had my share of them due to my job commitments and at this stage in time, university degree requirement. In this article I will share several ideas on ways to not only sustain a pre-existing relationship but also develop it further.

Balance is the key to maintaining sanity in a long distance relationship. True, you may love him/her. But if you spend all your time focusing on how much you miss him/her, it will affect your moods and just make you a duller person.

Truth is, your biggest enemy is time. But at the same time, time squandered is a waste. For example, you spend all your life pining away for your partner hundreds or thousands of miles away when the thing that needs doing – your job, your degree, your life – is put on hold. Stop. You might say, “Well, its all part of the fun isn’t it? Staying up late, listening to silly soppy songs on radio, re-reading old letters. Where’s the harm in that?” Frankly, ma’am, a little is alright but a lot is way out of context.

On with the list of of Ten Ideas to Sustain A Long Distance Relationship

  1. Have DVD Fridays/Weekends

    The idea is that even though you’re apart, it wouldn’t hurt to synchronize watching a movie rental together. At least, after the movie, you can have a chat about the movie. Whether you liked it or not, or whether you identified with this or that character. At the very least, it’s a conversation topic.

  2. Work on a Common Project.

    A friend of mine works in Beijing while his wife is in the US. They’re engaged and working hard towards securing their future. They’ve just bought a home and are thinking of decorating it. Other than actually buying stuff and shipping it home (which can be extremely expensive!), whip out that Cameraphone, snap pics, put a price to it and post it on Flickror set up a blog. Now both of you are engaged in the search of fantasy furniture pieces!

  3. Share the Same Dream

    My gay friend and his partner are fitness buffs. They had this crazy idea of doing the 100km marathon. The thing is, one of them’s going away to the States for his studies and will periodically at the end of the year for his winter break. So I told them, why not train separately, but aim for a common end point. End of the year come back and race together. How about keeping a couple’s training journal?

  4. Skype & MSN

    The key ingredient for any great relationship is COMMUNICATION. Instantaneous if possible, delayed at best. Skype offers anybody with a fast broadband connection and decent CPU processor speed the opportunity to call anybody on the internet for FREE. If you can’t talk, use MSN messenger or any dozens of competing Instant Messaging services to keep in touch and focused. There’s now no excuse to communicate if calls are FREE and messages are Instantaneous!

  5. Stay Grounded and Focused

    I can’t emphasize this enough. Most people who arrive in a new city suddenly find themselves surrounded by new things to do, new people to meet etc. With that comes the temptation to try something new. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, or so they tell me. RESIST. Tell yourself, that you are in a perfectly good relationship and that you shouldn’t put yourself in a compromising position. Life shouldn’t be an episode of “Sex in the City”. That kind of life leaves you depleted and hollow. Before one of you leave, get a set of commitment rings/studs/bracelet – anything. It doesn’t have to be flashy but it is a token, a reminder that you carry in your heart, his/her heart. Mean it when you give it to him/her.

  6. Remember Your Anniversaries and Firsts

    Neglect it at your cost, but if you forget an anniversary, woe betide you… Write it down, print it out, tattoo it onto your brain, but make sure you remember your anniversaries and birthdays. Why? Well, with a little planning, that event can become focal points for the year. Something to look forward to. You could even surprise him/her with gifts sent by post. Ebay.com has lots of stuff on offer, so make full use of it. Everyone loves getting something special in the mail.

  7. Keep A Journal

    What doesn’t get written down, will not be remembered. You’re both young, enterprising adults with lives of your own. Keep track of your thoughts and emotional development. Keep track of your dreams and hopes. Doodle, scribble, inscribe your memory in a special way so that you may share it. The point is that sometimes Life moves so fast, you forget who you were or why you are with the person. A journal acts as a reminder.

  8. Pay Attention To Each Other’s Needs For Sleep

    Difference in time zone, jet lag, lack of morning coffee – are frequently cited reasons as to why you’re especially grouchy. Both partners need to be mindful that people get tired and need rest. When you agree to communicate choose a reasonable timing. Something that you’re both comfortable with. 8pm in Hong Kong is 12pm in Britain. That’s reasonable. When I was 8 hours ahead of my girl when she was visiting her family in UK, I came up with a table to remind myself of the time in UK, each time she logged on. I shared this with her and as much as possible we talked only when it was reasonable for us to do so.

  9. Use GoogleMaps To Visualize The Space Between You

    It’s a fun exercise to help crystallize the distance that separates the two of you. Go to GoogleMaps type in your address and then type in your partner’s address. Create a composite map of how you’ll be getting home if you were to walk the entire distance using satellite photos.

  10. Finally, Trust

    The most important thing in a relationship is Trust. Trust that your partner will do the right thing. Trust that you will do the right thing. Be aware that pitfalls await for any couple, and that he/she can cheat at any point in time and space because, really at the end of the day, its their choice. What we can do as partners of lovers who are abroad is be the best person that we can be.

I hope this write up will be of use to all lovers out there living under the tyranny of distance. Trust me on this, LDRs are worth having. There’s an old adage that goes, “Absence only makes the heart grow fonder” and the old-fuddy-duddy in me wants to believe in that. Till next time!