The rules of regular dating and an LDR are different. Are you committing any of these mistakes with a partner who’s half a world away?
Long distance relationships always seem to get such a bad rep. Many people seem to think that these relationships won’t last very long. They think it’s just a tiny misunderstanding away from breaking up. The thing that these people don’t know is that a lot of long distance relationships have successfully blossomed into a more mature relationship. In fact, a lot of them end up being so much healthier than your typical I-get-to-touch-my-SO relationships.
What you should never do in a long distance relationship
Like most conventional relationships, LDRs also face their fair share of problems, the most obvious one being the huge geographical gap between two lovers. In order to overcome this, we’ve created a list of things you must do your best to avoid, in order to maintain and nurture your relationship.
#1 Letting your LDR rule your life. No relationship should take up all of your time. Everyone needs to have some space to do their own thing, whether it’s work, activities or hanging out with loved ones. With long distance relationships, however, the two people involved may think that they need to spend every conceivable moment on the phone or on Skype together.
Quantity doesn’t equal quality. What are you supposed to talk about when you’re limiting each other’s social sphere to a video on a computer or phone? Go out there and do something interesting that you can talk about with your significant other. You can have a full life and still be able to make it home in time for your 9pm Skype session.
#2 Blaming your partner for lost time at work or school. You may have different time zones, which would require you to sacrifice a bit of time in order to talk to each other. For some, the time zone difference is just a couple of hours. For others, it’s a whole 12 hours. Just imagine waking up at 4am in order to catch your honey right as he gets home from work. This can result in loss of sleep, not being able to function at work or even being late for your obligations.
There is always a means of compromise. Let your significant other know that your activities are important. With the help of technology, you can leave videos and voice messages on each other’s phones. You can text. Compromise is a lot better than just bearing the inconvenience and then blaming your significant other when things go awry. [Read: Does absence make the heart grow fonder or wander?]
#3 Assuming you have the same expectations. No one does. Before you part ways or before you enter into a long distance relationship, you have to make your expectations clear. Say it if you want to talk every day, twice a day, have a video call once a week and so forth. Don’t assume you’re on the same page with this.
On your part, it’s also important that you know what your significant other expects. This allows you to discuss how you can insert your talk time in between your daily activities. Don’t just make it up along the way, because that’s just asking for a ton of misunderstanding and disappointment!
#4 Relying on one medium for your communication. The internet can get slow, phone lines can be unreliable and snail mail isn’t exactly practical. If your partner isn’t online, don’t instantly assume that you’ve been ditched on your date. Call up their mobile phone, and ask if everything’s okay.
The fact that you can’t physically go to your partner can open you up to a lot of paranoia, especially if your chosen medium flunks out on the other end. Just be patient, and don’t assume the worst immediately.
#5 Being out of reach during an argument. In a typical relationship, when couples fight and one of them walks out, the other only needs to sprint to catch up and start patching things up. In a long distance relationship, on the other hand, once you hang up, turn off your phone and go offline, what other options does your significant other have?
Your partner is not just a voice inside a gadget. On the other end of the line is a real person who is trying to make your relationship work. Shutting off your gadget won’t make them disappear, and it will only serve to make the problem worse. It’s like the physical equivalent of vanishing into thin air, and no one should have to go through that! [Read: 23 dos and don’ts of relationship arguments]
#6 Settling for just talking. The internet gives you the cheapest and most convenient way of communicating with other people. But it’s also nice to communicate in different ways, like sending snail mail or a postcard. There’s just something sweet and sentimental about knowing that you’re touching something your significant other has also recently touched.
Little surprise packages in the mail are also a sweet gesture, particularly for birthdays or anniversaries. If you’re feeling a little frisky, a little video striptease might even spice things up.
#7 Pretending that everything is okay when it’s not. This happens in typical relationships too. The difference is that in LDRs, your partner may not be able to tell that something is wrong from the fuzzy webcam image of you. If there’s something you want to talk about, speak up.
Your partner may not be there to hug you, but they can be an empathetic listener. Never underestimate how much your partner understands, especially if they’re dedicated enough to push through with a long distance relationship with you.
#8 Lying about a night out. Nights out are sort of a grey area in LDRs. Though some couples trust each other enough to be totally cool with it, other less secure couples aren’t as comfortable with it. Whatever your level of comfort about it, the bottom line is that you have to tell your partner the truth.
Let them know who you’re with, where you’ll be going and what you’ll get up to. Honesty and trust are two of the strongest pillars in LDRs. Lose one, and it all comes crumbling down. If you don’t trust yourself enough to not do anything you’ll regret, bring a friend who can keep you in check or don’t go out at all.
#9 Comparing your relationship to typical relationships. Every relationship is unique, with their own strong points and weaknesses. Your most obvious “weakness” just happens to be distance. But that doesn’t mean you’re not in a loving and healthy relationship.
Just because you don’t get to have sex or kiss or go on dates as often as the typical couple, doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed to fail. Typical relationships have their own ups and downs, as does yours. Don’t let the milestones of other couples make you think any less of your own relationship. [Read: 25 ways to make your partner feel appreciated]
#10 Giving in to cynics who put your relationship down. A long distance relationship is a tough pill to swallow. It’s not for everyone. But just because a bunch of people who have never tried it are saying that it’s bound to end in a breakup, doesn’t mean you have to fulfill their pessimistic prophecy. If you think your relationship is doing fine, and your partner agrees, then it probably is.
What other people say about your relationship can really hurt. But that should only give you the motivation to keep fighting for it, to prove them wrong. They don’t get to say what you and your partner can do. Besides, if anything, LDRs can be the ultimate test of love, understanding, trust and honesty. Not a lot of couples are given that chance, and even fewer couples pass the test.
As with every relationship, mistakes will be made along the way, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the first roadblock. Keep fighting for your long distance relationship, and allow yourselves to strengthen your bond, even if you’re miles apart.
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