Making a Long-Distance Relationship Work

In my last piece, I disclosed some of the things that make my relationship with my husband work. It did raise some interesting points from readers. So, I’ve thought of having more articles on relationships. In this particular item, though, I’m featuring other people’s insights.

I was discussing about long-distance relationships with some people recently and it drew a good exchange of opinions and experiences. A couple of my friends attest to the fact that keeping a good long-distance relationship is possible. They’re kind enough to share with us their thoughts on not just love relationships, but also keeping in touch with family members and friends who are living in another part of the world.

14 years of going the distance for love

Rebecca, whom I’ve known from the time she met her long-distance love who’s now her husband, has this to say about the challenges and rewards of having this type of relationship:

“We’ve been in a long-distance relationship for 14 years now. Hubby is a Master Mariner who’s away for approximately 9 months a year. To make it work: we both understand our respective roles in our marriage – he’s the finance provider and I’m the home manager. We’re both aware of our moral responsibilities as life partners and parents. We’re aware of the perils of unguarded moments when we’re away from each other.”

It can happen to anyone

Michelle, on the other hand, has witnessed the success of long-distance love relationships in her family. She’s also been good at keeping close to her family and friends even when they’ve lived overseas for quite some time now. Here’s what she’s shared:

“I have two cousins whose husbands work overseas. I saw their worries during those times when communication was almost impossible and very expensive. I saw their tears when their children were ill and their husbands weren’t around. But, through it all, they survived.

I thought I’d never encounter a long-distance relationship until my cousin, who’s so close to me, studied in Japan before going to the US a few years ago. And there’s my forever friend since elementary who migrated to Canada, because her husband lives there.

And I’ve made a couple of friends online and via mobile phone because of common friends. I thought the friendship wouldn’t last long. I’ve a few friends in the US whom I never met in person, but kept in touch with me for years until now. I’ve also kept in touch with my friends in Canada every now and then through social networking.”

Is communication enough?

While communication is a very essential part of maintaining relationships with people who are on the other side of the country or the globe, there are other elements that you have to consciously bring into the scene to make it work. Rebecca shares this valuable portion from her experience:

“We keep in touch through phone calls, e-mail and Skype. And when hubby is here he spends a lot of quality time with the family. Socials are limited. Family is always (our) priority. We do not subscribe to the idea that absence makes one forget. The distance makes us cherish each other more. Love, respect and trust built around open communication are ideal for a long-distance relationship to survive.”

Michelle expounds on this with her own observation:

“Communication is just one way to help the relationship survive, but it’s not the only way and the only reason to keep it going. A friend once said that calling each other every day is not enough because there’s no emotional connection. It’s different when you see the other person eye to eye. It’s more difficult to talk heart to heart when you’re on the phone. Talking is easy, but feeling the depth of the words can be difficult.

Any relationship requires dedication, trust and honesty, among many other things. Keeping an open mind and heart can help anyone endure the distance and longing for their loved ones.

Many families and couples survive long-distance relationships, because they plan and talk about it before the other person leaves. If you happen to meet your loved one via the internet or mobile, then you should look for ways to know this person more. A background check won’t hurt especially nowadays. And if you have a friend or relative who lives in the same city or country as your distant lover, it’s better to ask for their help in getting to know the person.

But every situation is different and no one person or family can give you the best advice. But one thing’s for sure – it takes a lot of effort in keeping a long distance relationship. It’s best to keep an open communication, because this is the only way to keep in touch. Even if you are both busy or have different time zones, make sure that you have time to talk.

If it’s possible for you or your loved one to take a vacation, then do it. Save up for a yearly vacation, because you still need to connect and rekindle the relationship. It takes time, proper planning, and, of course, cooperation from both of you.”

Communication these days are much easier than a few years back. Thanks to advanced technology, you and your loved ones can contact each other anytime through voice or video calls on your PC or mobile phone. But as Rebecca and Michelle said, there’s so much more to this kind of arrangement than simple communication.

It does take a lot of effort to maintain long-distance relationships. Especially for couples who are living miles apart, I think it is quite an incredible feat to keep their relationship going well. I can’t help but think about this quote by the French memoirist Comte Roger de Bussy-Rabutin:

“Absence is to love as wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small and kindles the great.”

I guess if you view the distance between you and your loved one in this way, you’ll have a good chance of making it.

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