Nothing can derail a relationship quite like that moment when you realize that you and he are going to school in two different states – or maybe one of you has enlisted in the military or you've taken a job offer far away. The bottom line is that you're going to have to get creative if you want to keep that flame burning. Distance doesn't have to act like a bucket of cold water on your relationship, but you do need to take pains to make it work and to ensure that you're together at important times.
How Often Is Often Enough?
How often you and your partner should see each other depends upon your individual psyches and on the dynamics of your relationship, because there's no one-size-fits-all requirement. Some people can deal with a long-distance relationship for six months or longer. Others need physical contact more frequently. The amount of distance between you two also factors in, because it's a lot easier to travel 200 miles than 2,000 miles. Whatever your schedule is or how far apart the miles are, watch out for warning signs. When you have an opportunity for time together, do you drop everything else to seize it? If your guy asks you to visit but you wiggle out of the commitment because the trip is a little difficult to manage -- you might be in the wrong relationship. It's especially important to be there for important occasions like his birthday, your anniversary -- or to be in the audience when he receives some special award. No matter how often you see each other, if you both thrive on the anticipation and if the occasion lives up to your expectations, separation isn't necessarily a bad thing – at least until you can resolve whatever issue is keeping you apart.
Discover Video Messaging
Technology is on your side. You don't have to get on a plane, train or in an automobile to "see" your partner. Schedule a time every day when you can video message from a computer or from your phone or when you can text like crazy. Send instant messages on the Internet or pick a time when it's convenient to talk on the phone for an extended period. You can't touch, but at least – with the help of technology – you can see each other smile and you can hear each other's voice. Sharing this personal time is important, especially if you can't actually get together all that often. If your contact continues to be part of your daily life and involves sharing minute details, it will help keep the fire burning and will help the time pass quickly until your next "real" meeting.
If you really want to get creative, ask your grandparent's advice. Depending on her age, she may have lived through an earlier time where the love of her life was on a different continent. She couldn't go online. She couldn't pick up the telephone and hear his voice. So what did she do? She sent care packages and letters where she painstakingly wrote her innermost thoughts and then waited weeks before she received a response. She lived through it and so will you, because you have the advantage of modern technology. Sending snail mail and goodies adds a personal touch – he can hold them and enjoy them -- and it might make him feel like you're not so far away. If nothing else, think how good your partner will feel when the postman rings his doorbell.
Work on Your Mindset
Maintaining a long-distance relationship is as much about your mindset as it is about the time you spend together – or apart. Certain personality types deal better with separation than others, according to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., for Psychology Today. If you need a lot of daily reassurance that your relationship is perfect, a long-distance situation may prove too difficult. If you're confident in your partner's faithfulness, your relationship is strong and you have plenty of other interests to keep you going while he's away, you may be equipped to handle the separation.
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