Long-distance relationships - Do they work? What are they?.

You have finally met somebody worth holding on to after an everlasting search. Together, you're so happy but you are separated by miles and miles of distance. With everything that went down in March of 2020, most relationships were forced to become long-distance.

My partner and I had been in a relationship for four months before we were forced to be in a long-distance relationship for the next year and a half. Since then, we have come a long way and settled into this relationship. From experience, I have realised how hard it is to be in a long-distance relationship and what all goes into it to make it work and to make it last.

The importance of communication:

At first, I found the whole change going into a long-distance relationship very jarring and it was the same for him. We were sending each other photos every hour but we couldn't figure out how to really ‘communicate’ anymore. That’s when I sought out help from the trusty internet to find out things we could do together even though we're far apart.

I figured out a way where we could watch youtube videos together and I’d show him videos I found funny and he’d show me ones that he found funny. Then, he introduced me to a video game which I ended up really liking and we played continuously for 2 to 3 hours straight every day and spoke to each other. This is how we ended up re-establishing communication in our relationship.

The first couple of months for any couple in a long-distance relationship is the most crucial. You can tell by how much effort you and your partner are putting into this relationship whether it will last or not. No matter how busy we were with work or exams, my partner and I never gave up on taking out time for each other. At the end of the day, we always spoke to each other about anything and everything on our minds. This is why communication is so important in any relationship especially if you are in a long-distance one.

Why fighting isn’t really all that bad:

Communicating in a long-distance relationship can be very tricky especially on days when you don’t have time for a video call or a voice call and that adds up, and one day, it will likely cause a fight. There is always a notion that fighting is inherently bad for your relationship.

Contrary to that if you ‘fight in the right way’; which is without saying hurtful things to the other person but saying what you mean, what you feel and expressing how the other person or their actions have truly hurt you, ends up solving problems that have existed in your relationship for a long time. So next time you fight with your significant other instead of saying “you ….” say “I felt….”.

Establish a routine but don’t necessarily stick to it:

Something that has worked for me and my partner is to establish a routine around our schedules which means scheduling date night in advance and doing fun activities together at least two to three times a week. But we don't hold each other accountable to it strictly. We understand that schedules can change especially when you're working or at school, so we tend to maintain a flexible outlook. Flexibility removes resentment when your significant other cannot make time for you. Not only that but if my significant other is flexible to my schedule, making time for them becomes a priority on my to-do list.

Lastly, it is important to understand that even though you want to connect with your partner on the days when you both have a lot of free time, you need to give them their own space and take some time for yourself. This is key for a healthy relationship. On some days, my partner needs to catch up on a tv show and I am just checking once or twice how they are and whether they are enjoying the show and when I do incredibly miss them, I communicate that and then we do something together.

Long-distance relationships, contrary to what everyone thinks, definitely work. As long as both you and your partner form open lines of communication, plan romantic date nights for each other and

give each other space.

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