Most couples detest the idea of pursuing a long-distance relationship. This is because it takes so much more work compared to having someone close by. Having a long-distance relationship is a by-product of working or immigrating abroad. The rule of thumb is to have a conversation before the situation presents itself, especially if there’s a possibility of either partner leaving for work or living abroad. This way, whatever you decide on will determine the next step you will take regarding your relationship.
Maintaining a long-distance relationship takes a lot of work, just like any other relationship does. However, there are different factors to consider that may impact or contribute to the success or failure of your relationship
First, there is homesickness. When you are in a foreign land for quite a while, you tend to miss home and the people you left behind for a better opportunity. Of course, everything is now online and you can Skype, FaceTime or video call the people you miss most and it may lift your spirits up a bit. But it is still different from having the people you love and miss with you physically.
Your significant other will struggle with homesickness a lot in the beginning. It is important to be very encouraging and reassuring to him or her despite the fact that you miss him or her too. Allowing them to vent out and pour their hearts out will give them a sense of release and relief. This will only be constant in the beginning, like the first two to three months while he or she is adjusting.
New environment, place, people, and climate
Second, the new environment- new place, new people, different climate. This new phase would depend on how both of you can easily adjust. Working and living abroad takes a lot of courage and one must always be strong enough emotionally to face it, most especially if you are involved in a long-distance relationship. It also takes a while getting used to. It takes a while to get used to a new route going to and from work, making new friends, and depending on where you are- the weather.
This period where your significant other is slowly acclimating his or herself into a new environment is when he or she needs you to be extremely patient and understanding. Suddenly immersing oneself into a new role without the people you’re used to or trust is quite frightening and difficult. Not only will your partner need to adjust with the commute and other living conditions but he or she will also have to adjust to living alone in a new country and to a new role in a new company.
Another thing to consider is the time difference. This is actually a big factor especially when you and your significant other have a time difference of at least 10 hours. When you have just woken up, he or she is about to sleep. This disrupts the constant messaging or frequent video calls. When this happens, there will be less time for communicating with each other. Multiple messages in a day will be reduced to two or one, depending on both your schedule. Video calls will be reduced to maybe twice a week or once a week, and sometimes it maybe just once or twice a month.
The key to making your relationship work despite the time difference is to schedule, especially video calls. You can do it on your days off. You can send messages every day and not expect or pressure your partner to reply right away. It is important that you both respect each other’s time at work so there won’t be any misunderstandings.
One thing that you or your partner may come across along the way of your long-distance relationship is the longing for each other, this is most especially true in cases of couples already in a long term relationship l, say five years or more. It is but normal to miss your significant other, especially in times you feel alone or down or even if you’re just tired from a full day’s work. Being away from someone you’ve been with for a long time makes it even more lonely.
Some people cope by keeping busy like joining a gym, watching a movie with newfound friends, taking a weekend trip, learning a new sport or musical instrument or visiting museums and exploring a little bit more. There are some who unknowingly fall through the cracks and give in to temptation and before they know it, they’re in deep.
This becomes a crossroad for couples. Trust is pivotal in a relationship, long-distance or not. In this stage, the next steps you will take may or may not be relationship-ending. As two mature adults, you should be rational when making decisions and make sure to not let your emotions get in the way.
While a break-up is possible, it doesn’t mean that it is certain. The same goes for disloyalty, dishonesty or unfaithfulness. There are couples who forge a strong enough foundation to their relationship that distance cannot break. These are couples who made a stand at the very start of their relationship, knowing full well what they are getting themselves into.
The Importance of Communication
The workaround in long-distance relationships is this: communication and commitment for it to work. Both of you must have the willingness to have open communication, which means no secrets especially those that may jeopardize your relationship. Keeping secrets is actually something that may make or break you. You have to make sure to talk about whatever is going on in your life, even those that are difficult to talk about. This is what having a relationship is about- having someone you can be yourself with and can accept that.
How to Stay in Love and Committed
Staying committed is not about just staying in the relationship even though you are both not happy anymore but staying just because you do not want to put the years you’ve spent to waste. It means staying committed to everything that you do that would affect your relationship. Every decision, every move, if you are totally committed, then you won’t do anything that’ll ruin what you have already built. It also means putting in the work. Schedule your virtual dates and make sure if you commit to it, you show up. If it isn’t possible, advise ahead so your partner won’t feel bad. Make sure you get to check in on each other to let your partner know that you care for them. Patience and perseverance are key in putting in the work.
Ultimately, a long-distance relationship is a precursor to whether your relationship is in it for the long run. It is a good determining factor if you are looking for a partner for life.