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How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work

by Dewi Ridzuan. |

Did your heart drop when your significant other told you they had to go abroad? Whether or not it’s to further their studies or career, long-distance relationships are hard work and may not be your cup of tea. You fear that you might lose this person or worry about problems that might create ripples in your relationship. Before you get ahead of yourself, here’s how to get prepared and test the waters to see if you’re ready to take the next step.

1. Be on the same page.

Communication is essential when it comes to a relationship. It is needed to emphasize your thoughts and opinions to your partner, especially about your bond. Spend more time talking about constructive criticisms on how to improve or continue the growth of your relationship.

Before the big move, a proper conversation is also needed on your boundaries with each other; what is excessive and what needs to be cut down, and not to forget to draw the lines on topics such as cheating. Compromise with each other's wants and needs - it's never a one-way thing.

2. Know your love language

In a relationship, being intuitive and in tune with your partner’s preferences is important. Without it, the sparks that were initially there will dissipate and leave you feeling lost and empty. Based on Gary Chapman’s book ‘The Five Love Languages’, these five cardinal rules are helpful as a guide in knowing how to please your partner in the best way possible.

Knowing the five love languages applies to even long-distance relationships:

  • Gift-giving: Giving tangible or intangible presents such as roses or an outfit.

  • Quality Time: Spending and making time to talk to each other.

  • Physical Touch: Hand-holding, plentiful hugs and so forth.

  • Acts of Service (Devotion): Making a Spotify playlist or writing snail mail.

  • Words of Affirmation: Channel Shakespeare’s ability to write odes and woo them.

Don’t see how this helps? My lecturer once explained that he cherishes quality time with his wife more than anything. So, even if she does everything else right and although appreciated, his dismal mood is sole because she isn’t providing the right need. Knowing your partner’s language is like a tickle spot; it always makes them smile!

3. Know your limits

Everybody is a ticking time bomb; some just have a shorter fuse than others. All relationships have limits and any long-distance couple should reassess their perimeters to ensure their love boat is afloat.

Discuss with your partner about these limitations so that you can get the best out of your relationship. Talking about this might choke up some tears but it’s important for it determines if either one of you can commit to the relationship any further. Here are a few pointers:

  • Time zones: Are the hours too far apart that you will not be able to communicate every day? Work on a specific time that you two can get on a video-call or a normal call.

  • Loyalty: What is considered cheating and what isn't?

  • Trips: Can either one of you visit each other in a budget-friendly way? Plan ways and trips to meet each other.

  • Time: Would both of you be patient enough to wait for your partner to come back?

  • Support: It takes two to tango, can you commit to being an emotional and mental support system?

4. Dates are still important

Just because your partner is a thousand miles away from you does not mean that you cannot have dates or celebrate special occasions together anymore. It just takes a little bit more effort on both sides to plan something as simple as Skyping every Monday and Friday night.

Want to send flowers to your partner? Just search for the nearest florist to your partner, drop them an email and pay via debit or credit card! In this day and age of technology, e-commerce services are especially booming in the love industry. Things such as clothing items, accessories, books and more can easily be delivered to your partner’s doorstep in a few taps!

5. Honesty is the best policy

No matter how brutal or sugar-coated, honesty will help you bring some realistic expectations into your relationship. Going hand-in-hand with communication, you and your partner have the responsibility, to be honest. If things are starting to get tough, be clear about what is bothering you and how can your partner amend it. Be sure to remember that you must also be honest to yourself. If you’re dissatisfied with something your partner did or didn’t do, voice your concerns and talk about an ultimatum. Don't assume things and it's important to speak about situations that either one of you are uncomfortable and tries your best to accommodate.

No one ever will say that long-distance relationships are the best kind of relationships but they are the kind of relationships that will allow both of you to connect on a different level compared to most couples. Not only will you understand each other differently, you learn more about yourself too - learning that time is precious, to plan and think for the long-term rather than short-term and being thrifty to save up to meet your partner across the ocean.

It's not easy but it could be worth it at the end of it all.

You may find out more about her on her Instagram as well.

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