Maintaining Love in a Long-Distance RelationshipStrategies for Overcoming the Challenges of Long-Distance Relationships
- 20 June 2023
Living In a Long-Distance Relationship Is Often Challenging
Maintaining a long-distance relationship is no easy feat. The physical separation can often test the strength of a partnership. Living in a long-distance relationship can be challenging, but for many, it is necessary during certain periods. Perhaps you or your partner have children in different places or a job that requires frequent or lengthy travels. Seeing each other infrequently requires a little extra effort from both you and your partner to make it work. Fortunately, there are tricks that make it easier!
Understanding the Struggles of Distance Relationships
Long-distance relationships present unique challenges that couples must navigate to keep their love strong. The physical absence can lead to feelings of loneliness, reduced quality time, and difficulty in maintaining emotional closeness. It is common for misunderstandings to grow bigger in long-distance relationships. When you can't see each other face to face, it's often more challenging to resolve any issues and talk through misunderstandings. However, recognizing these struggles is the first step toward finding effective solutions.
A common challenge is having different needs for contact. Do you and your partner have different needs for staying in touch when you are apart? It's common! For one person, multiple calls or text messages throughout the day are important to feel heard and validated, while the other feels completely calm and secure even without constant communication. Maybe you feel like the only one longing for contact, or you feel hurt or uncertain when your partner doesn't reach out as often? Having different needs for contact is completely natural and not something you can or should try to change. However, it is important to understand each other and talk about how you should act. Have you told your partner how you feel and what you need to feel secure? Try explaining what happens within you when it's been too long since you last spoke.
Making Long Distance Relationships Work
To find your way of making it work, it is important to discuss what the long-distance relationship means for both of you as a couple and what is required from both sides for it to function – a shared plan. This way, you reduce the risk of frustration, misunderstandings, and differing expectations.
Discuss things like:
- How often you should stay in touch and in what ways. Is it a text message to say goodnight or a quick video call over breakfast?
- How often you aim to meet physically and what you will do then. Is it every weekend or once a month? And when you meet, will you go on outings, meet friends and family, or have time for just the two of you? Or a mix?
- What the future should look like. How long will you live apart? Is it for months or years? Having a shared understanding of how long the period will last is important to reduce the risk of uncertainty and differing expectations.
Don't just talk about these types of questions once; revisit them from time to time to check in and reevaluate based on how it feels in the moment.
Creative Ways to Spend Quality Time in a Long Distance Relationship
Another important factor for functioning long-distance relationships is to have daily contact without making it a big deal - spending quality time “together” while actually being physically apart. Find those easygoing ways to spend time together between your physical meetings.
Here are some simple tips to try:
- Follow a TV series together. Watch one episode per evening so you can discuss it afterward. Or have a phone call ongoing while you both have it on, creating a more live feeling.
- Read a book together, one chapter per evening.
- Take a walk together over the phone.
- Cook the same dish simultaneously over a video call. Keep the call going even while you eat.
- Call and say goodnight. Sometimes it doesn't need to be more than a "kiss and goodnight" to feel closer to each other.
The Power of Absence: Why Long Distance Relationships Can Thrive
For many people, it is difficult not to be such an apparent part of each other's daily lives, especially if you have been living together before and now need to find new ways to relate to each other. But having a long-distance relationship can be a good fit for some. It can make you long even more to see each other and truly make the most of the time you have together. Not being part of each other's everyday lives every day can also reduce potential conflict areas.
Stay Connected with Guidance from the Relationship App Ally
We have developed the relationship app Ally to make methods and knowledge from couples therapy more accessible. Ally offers several features that are suitable for long-distance relationships. For example the "Daily Question" where each of you answers a daily question about each other (and then get to see each other's answers!), a way to spark curiosity and rediscover each other with exciting and unexpected conversations. Or start the habit of "Thinking of You" if you want more guidance on how to show that you're there for your partner even when you're not together.
Misunderstandings sometimes tend to escalate in long-distance relationships, as the absence of face-to-face interaction often hinders the resolution of issues. The app offers various exercises on different topics that help you increase your understanding of each other and communicate better. Ally is a new form of preventive couples therapy, suitable both for you who experience some relationship problems or you who long for more closeness and togetherness as a couple.