Do Long Distance Relationships Last?

It's true that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” but sometimes “absence makes the heart wander”. Long distance relationships are plagued by more problems than regular relationships. Several times, relationships start as a fling and then you’re separated. And the time you’re apart, if it does fall apart, who is to blame really?  

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Start with the basics. Are both of you deeply committed to the relationship or is it just casual dating. Chances are that if the relationship was not serious before the separation, the separation will make it worse. So establish at the outset, what phase your relationship is in. If you are serious and have been with each other for a long time, you will be able to give the relationship the time and effort it requires during your time apart. If it’s casual, the effort will be a lot more, as will be the distractions and excuses.

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Be open to the idea of being in an open relationship. Sometimes, taking some time off from the relationship to clear your head, is a better idea than to whine and fret because you’re apart.  

Quite often, one partner becomes dominating and wants to know what the other one is doing at a certain time. Be rational. Would you have acted this way if he/she was in the same city? If your partner did the same thing, would you be OK with it. If you think your behaviour is rational, then you need to figure out your partner’s behaviour.

Jealousy can play havoc in a long distance relationship. If you’re the kind that gets a lot of attention from the opposite sex, don’t revel in it and share your conquests with your partner during your routine weekly phone call. The message that you’re trying to send is, “I’m hot and I have options”. If your wish is to do this and upset your partner, then you need to question why you really are in this relationship.

There will always be distractions in life, more so, where the opposite sex is concerned. If you tend to get interested in other men/women during your time apart, analyze why this is happening. Would you be interested in the person if you were with your partner? Is this happening because you’re lonely? Harmless attraction is fine. However, if you find yourself getting drawn to another person, ask yourself if it’s worth it to jeopardize your relationship with your partner. Most people indulge in these indiscretions and then pick up from where they left off. Be honest with your partner about your shenanigans. If word gets out and he/she finds out from someone else, that will surely be the end of the relationship.    

However, there are a few things you can do to sustain a long distance relationship. Whatever level or phase you’re at, if both of you have decided to make it work, there are several ways of keeping the magic alive.  

Use technology. In this day and age, there is no excuse for not staying in touch even when you're in a long distance relationship. Sending text messages, chat, e-mail and web cams have not only made our life easier, but have also breathed a new life into long distance relationships. Stay in touch everyday. Try to maintain the same frequency of communication. If you called each other everyday when you were together, then at least send each other e-mails everday…even if it’s a one-line “I miss your face so much” e-mail. Telephone calls and texting could get expensive. Limit this to once a week. Send handwritten letters once in a while. Nothing says “I love you” like a handwritten letter.  

Set up a virtual date with the help of a webcam. Dress up like you would on a real date. Doll up from head to toe. Fix a meal for yourself and make sure your boyfriend/girlfriend does that at the other end of the world…and switch on the webcam. Chat over dinner and share what happened over the week.     

In long distance relationships, couples drift apart because they can't perform activities together. Even if they stay in touch through phones and e-mails, it becomes boring and tedious after a while. Innovate and find out new ways of doing things together.       

Watch movies or television together. There are several websites from where you can stream.  

Play games together. Strategy games that you can put on hold and resume can be fun. Try to beat each other at virtual scrabble.    

Research something for him/her. You could look up his/her family history and share the link.

Have fun with Photoshop. Morph your girlfriend’s picture with Jim Morrision if she’s a fan. Or if your boyfriend has ever expressed a desire to be at a Sting concert, paste his face on one of the audience member’s body. You can go completely crazy and do this with historical figures and events. For example, make him/her one of the people in the Boston tea party or in one of the World War photographs, etc.   

Small gifts, cards and flowers can be very romantic and are easy to send. Personalize the gifts so he/she remembers you each time he/she looks at it. Papier mache dolls of both of you with characteristic clothes and accessories will always remind him/her of you. If you wear a blue sweater all the time, make the doll wear blue. If you have a tattoo, draw one on the doll. Anything that makes him/her think of you.

Keep an online journal/blog. You can both make posts together, on the same blog, about your day and what you feel, what you want, etc. It would be a great record of your time apart.   

Send him/her one your T-shirts…but don’t forget to spray it with your perfume, so that it smells like you.

Write a story in which the protagonist is you and you’re travelling on this long and arduous journey across continents, seas and mountains. Also, draw a map of the road route from you to him/her. It will be a fun thing for him/her to read.

Accepting that a long distance relationship will be difficult and trying, is the first step. If you’re in love and your partner loves you as well, this time, although difficult, will be only temporary. A relationship that stands the test of long distance really does have a great future.