My partner of a few years left four weeks ago for a job on the West Coast. He’ll be there for a year. We’re missing each other and are committed to the relationship yet we are having some challenges staying connected now that we aren’t seeing each other every day. Could you give us some tips on how to deal with being apart for so long?
— Long Distance Lover, Kapaa
Aloha Long Distance Lover,
Thanks for writing in. Your question has become a reality for an increasing number of couples that are living far apart due to work opportunities across the country and the globe. Yes, living far away from each other isn’t easy, though the physical distance doesn’t need to get in the way of the relationship growing. Actually you can take advantage of the distance and become better friends and lovers.
There are many things you can and need to do to create a flourishing relationship while being apart. Funny, a lot of what I’ll share with you are things any couple benefits from, even if they are around each other every day.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
It’s vital to be honest with each other about everything; from how you feel about each other to how your day is going. Ideally to be in touch on a daily basis, sharing what you would normally be doing if you were together. Ask “How’s the new work situation? What are the people like? Anyone you feel you’d like to hang out with on the weekends? How are your friends and family?” Listen intently and support one another. If you feel your partner is holding back emotionally dare to talk about it. You’ll both be better off for it.
Get real and have the talk. Do you both want to stay committed and monogamous? If so, great, that will cut down on a lot of jealousy creeping in. Yet if jealousy arises, don’t hold it in. Discuss it. Have fun snuggling up to your emotional challenges and physical desires and be creative to support one another. Being faithful to each other will strengthen your bond.
Research shows that long-distance relationships get stronger by increasing the quality and frequency of communication by phone, text, email, web cams, etc. Stuff messages and letters of how you appreciate your partner inside a box of home-baked cookies with other fun foods that you send via snail mail.
“Good communication is a stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Cary Valentine is a certified relationship coach, a relationship and business performance expert and the author of “In Love Forever.” He can be reached at (808) 346-6652 and firstname.lastname@example.org