Long Distance Relationship Advice: How To Keep the Sparks Flying

Published: 17th June 2008
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But sometimes, it just works out that way. Maybe you started out living in the same place and one of you has to move - for a new job, perhaps, or maybe one of you is in the military and you're shipped out.

Perhaps you met someone marvelous while you were on vacation. Or, as happens so often these days, you met and fell in love on the Internet, but you live 3,000 miles apart.

Maintaining a commitment and keeping the sparks flying when you're apart is tough, but it's not impossible. I've had a few long distance relationships myself and, to be honest, they weren't any easier or more difficult than my "in-town" relationships.

The challenges are just different, that's all. In both cases, you and your partner have to be willing to do the work to make the relationship work. The biggest difference is that long distance relationships work best if you stay grounded in reality and know what you want from the arrangement - and what you're willing to do to make sure it thrives.

1) Know what you want

The first thing you need to do is have a long talk with your sweetie about what sort if a relationship you have. It might seem like you're micro-managing your love, but it helps to have all your cards in the table from the start.

Are you going to have a monogamous relationship and stay faithful despite the distance? Will you be "dating," meaning that you're free to see other people?

Are you going to just be "friends with benefits" or are you both hoping this will be a relationship that will stand the test of time?

Setting limits and boundaries can be difficult, but knowing what you both expect will do a lot to avoid hurt feelings and miscommunication further down the road.

Honesty is important in any relationship, but even more so when so much of your communication is via e-mail and telephone. You have to be ready to talk about things that aren't always pleasant - and to hear them. A long distance relationship can turn into a series of sexy phone calls and chatter about inconsequential things far too easily, and you have to be willing to talk about everything, including sex.

Of course, this is another area where you can set limits and boundaries - if your partner is fighting a war overseas and has been gone for a very long time, there may be things that you just can't handle hearing about.

You'll also need to be very, very patient. This is one area where I've had the most trouble - it's tough to have patience when you want so badly to be with someone who's far away! As exciting as a long distance relationship can be, make sure you fill your time with lots of other interesting activities so that you aren't spending every minute waiting for that next phone call or IM session.

Enjoy your favorite hobbies, see friends, and have a fulfilling life on your own - don't put your entire life on hold, waiting for the time when the two of you can be together. That's no way to live, and it also makes you a very boring person.

2) Happy is as happy does

The best way to make a long distance relationship flourish is to be positive and encouraging when talking to your sweetheart. Ask about their job, their work, and their family.

Tell them how proud you are of their accomplishments, and how lucky you feel to know them. It's all too easy to express jealousy when they're doing interesting things with other people (which is another reason you should have your own interests) and you may come off as resentful.

If they have special talents and can help you long-distance with things in your life, ask for their help - it'll help strengthen the bond between you. Share your good news and good moods with them whenever possible, to keep the relationship light and happy. Dwelling on how sad you are that you can't be together will quickly become a huge downer, and you'll both start to associate your relationship with angst and unhappiness rather than with love.

It takes a real; commitment to make a long-distance relationship work, but it can be as deep, fulfilling, and long-lasting as you want it to be. You just have to roll up your sleeves and get to work.


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