Finding true love and genuine happiness in a relationship can make you feel like the luckiest person in the world. In fact, the first chapters of everyone’s love story are like pages in a fairy tale, so perfect that you can never think of anything that can ever take them away. However, reality, unlike in any fictional world, has a way of breaking and shattering every single piece of our daydreams.
This story is true for some who have had the unfortunate chance of finding themselves in a not so typical love relationship. Although at first glance, an LDR may seem like a normal, more complicated arrangement between two people in love, there are major and often constant factors that can make this romantic set up not so ideal especially for those who are too young to understand true commitment.
In a long distance relationship, couples face more challenges that cannot easily be fixed without making sacrifices and relying on tough but necessary life decisions.
To help out those of you who are currently in this bittersweet stage of their life, here are some pieces of advice couples in a long distance relationship should know.
1. Teach yourself how to be independent.
It’s one of the most important skills that a person should learn: you have to have your own choices, your own thoughts, and you must have the courage and strength to live life without relying on other people.
The very definition of being independent makes it a necessary characteristic that couples in a long distance relationship should have. However, independence in the context of a romantic bond does not mean that you don’t need your partner to live a happy life. Rather, it teaches us that your relationship and the physical absence of the person you love should not hinder you from living life to the fullest.
2. Learn how to express your thoughts without words.
Your words may sound sweet and romantic but it’s also important that you learn how to express how you feel through verbal and nonverbal language. In a long distance relationship, words and sentences, whether written or spoken, often lose their value. As a response, you have to make an effort to make sure that your ‘I love you’ and ‘I miss you’ won’t just appear to be some routinely boring expressions.
Let romantic gestures, nonverbal cues and sweet actions do the talking. Go an extra mile just to make sure that your significant other feels that they are loved and missed every single day.
3. Never entertain unnecessary emotions.
It’s normal for people to feel sad and lonely and the truth is, no long distance relationship has ever survived without the tears and the heartbreaks. However, there are just emotions that are not only unnecessary but can also be damaging to the relationship. Examples of these wreckers are anger, paranoia, insecurity and even selfishness.
If you are in a long distance relationship, make sure that you have the maturity and wisdom to never let these negativities linger in your head.
4. Don’t let your world revolve around them.
The love of your life should not be the center of your universe. You are constantly reminded of this in almost every relationship advice that you encounter because it’s the most important. Remember that you have your own life to live and your own dreams to fulfill, so don’t let anyone, not even your soulmate hinder you from everything that you can achieve.
Try to set personal goals, develop new hobbies, be with other people or even visit new places. Someone who truly loves you will be happier if you’re busier doing the things you love instead of staying in your room, alone and sad just because they are so far away from you.
5. Accept that both of you can make mistakes.
No one, and not even your soulmate, is perfect. We all make mistakes and we have to be reminded of this every time we want to be angry at someone for their shortcomings. The same is true in relationships.
Your partner won’t always do the right thing; your lover can’t always give you everything you want; your soulmate won’t always say the right words. Nonetheless, forgive them. Focus more on the good things and appreciate the efforts that they have made, no matter how imperfect the results are.
6. Give them time to be alone.
No, you don’t have to text or call them every waking hour. Spending time with them can be really sweet and is a sign that you truly love them but it can be unhealthy if you’re no longer giving them the freedom to live their days – or even just hours – without your online and virtual presence.
Give them space and time to be with their own thoughts; give them time to live a life outside of your relationship. Be reminded that you don’t have to be a part of their every day. What is important is that, you are there and you will be there whenever it matters the most.
7. Be with good friends; spend time with your family.
And be with other people who genuinely want the best for you. Why don’t you spend a quality time with your family? Go on a fun date with your friends or meet a childhood best friend and have the best time reminiscing old days?
8. Know when you’re already being selfish.
Sometimes, we become selfish and unfair without even realizing it. It’s important to recognize the needs of your partner and to make decisions that won’t only benefit yourself. For example, when was the last time that you asked them what they want? When was the last time that you took their feelings into consideration before saying something?
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9. Find a way to make them feel special every day.
Don’t let a single day pass without making them feel that they are loved and missed. It does not even have to be something grand or extraordinary. What’s important is you are making an effort to allot a part of your busy schedule just to make their day.
Your other priorities and commitments at work may be important but make sure that you still have the time and energy to do your part in the relationship.
ALSO READ: 24 Tips to Make Your Girlfriend Feel Special
10. Remember the most important dates.
Never forget the most special days like anniversaries, birthdays and other dates that are all part of your love story. Being a long distance relationship should not stop you from celebrating the most important days in your life as a couple because those days can serve as a sweet remedy to your longing hearts.
11. Remind yourself that you’re not alone in this one.
And remember that you’re not the only one who is suffering from the loneliness of longing. You are on the same boat and understanding this reality can help both of you. This is because, even if you are not physically together, every decision that you make can affect your partner; everything you say and everything you do have the potential to either make or break them.
Instead of suffering apart, why don’t you face the challenges together? Instead of getting through the bad times alone, why don’t you support each other and give each strength?
12. Respect their ability to make the right decisions alone.
Especially if these decisions have the potential to change their life for the better. You have to accept the fact that even if you always want the best for your significant other, sometimes they have to do things on their own.
Sometimes, our wanting to protect and shield them from the cruelties of life hinder them from exploring and spreading their wings. Relationships are not prisons and love is not the lock. Relationships should be a fertile and healthy place to grow as a person and your love should be a key that can unlock both of your potential to be the best persons you can be.
13. Set your individual personal goals.
Your world should not revolve around one person and no matter how romantic it sounds, focusing on a single aspect like your relationship could hinder you from achieving more productive goals outside of your love life.
Why don’t you make each other proud by setting individual goals at work or in school? Why don’t you finally apply for that dream job of yours? How about starting the business that you’ve been wanting to have?
14. Make strong and lasting connections.
Long distance relationships can often make words powerless. It’s not just about the distance or the time you are apart, but it’s about that feeling of connection. Learn how to communicate not in words but in actions, sweet and romantic gestures.
Words may not be enough but it doesn’t matter because you have this extraordinary connection that makes you understand each other in any medium, verbal or not.
15. Know your limits as a partner.
You’re miles away from your lover and you think that you only want the best for them – until you realize that your love and care are starting to suffocate them. Remember that they’re human, too. They need their space and freedom to grow on their own.
It’s good to know your limits and to know when to step in.
16. Stop making up stories inside your head.
Don’t be paranoid and listen more to what they say instead of consulting your negative thoughts and relying on your own stories to explain everything. It’s important to give them a chance to speak and explain; it’s important to ask the right questions to get the answer that truly matters.
17. Don’t be overprotective and overly attached.
There’s a certain kind of being clingy that is cute and romantic but being overly attached is a whole different story. Don’t make them feel that they are locked up in an imaginary prison just because you can’t last a day without them.
There’s a healthy kind of attachment, and it involves respecting their space, freedom and strength to handle their own life and to spend time on their own.
18. Never let temptations ruin what you have.
Think about the consequences of your actions. For instance, many couples in a long distance relationship don’t last long just because of a single yet selfish mistake: giving in to temptations.
Don’t forget that someone is waiting for you. Stay true to the promises you made to each other.
19. Don’t let other people make the decisions for you.
It’s good to have friends to give you the pieces of advice that you need especially during the hardest stages of a long distance relationship but it’s not right to let them decide on what will happen to your life.
Remember that you are the only one who knows what is going on. Be guided by the experiences of others but you should make sure that you have the final say.
20. Don’t let a moment of anger break their heart.
Couples fight all the time but in long distance relationships, arguments can really be more upsetting and can have the potential to escalate into something more serious. In addition, many couples know that during the times when you can’t really control how you feel, you say hurtful words that can break your partner’s heart.
Sometimes, we say those words out of anger but most of the time, we don’t really mean them. They may forgive you but it won’t undo the things that your words have done.
21. Remind yourself that your partner is a social being.
They have to be with other people sometimes, and if your significant other is the extrovert and social butterfly type, you’ll know that you can’t keep them locked up in their room all the time. Accept the fact that your boyfriend/girlfriend has to be with his/her crowd. It’s in their personality to spend time with their friends and with other people – and it’s just too cruel and selfish to make them feel that they don’t deserve this freedom.
22. Don’t feel guilty about having a good time.
You don’t have to feel sad and lonely all the time just because the love of your life is miles away from you – and it’s perfectly okay to allow yourself to have a great time with your friends or other people. It’s not a betrayal to have fun, as long as you know your limits.
23. Schedule online date nights.
Have you ever tried a “video call date” or a sweet ritual of just talking over the phone, remembering and reminiscing those unforgettable moments when you first met? After that, send them something tangible: a bunch of flowers, write them a letter or just surprise them with something that can surely make them smile.
24. Appreciate the presence of other people.
Aside from your partner, there are other people in your life, your close friends and loving family, who can bring you the happiness and love that you need. They are the people who can put a smile on your face, the ones whose hugs can make you feel loved, and whose sense of humor never fails to crack you up.
25. Talk about the future together.
The only way that can make everything lighter and easier is to talk about a better and happier future together. Hope is a powerful thing especially during the hardest and most challenging moments of our lives.
Promise them that after all the sacrifices and the pain of being apart, you’ll find happiness and love in each other’s arms.
If the love of your life has no choice but to be thousands of miles away from you, if your significant other has chosen to still be with you even if they have to spend years in another country, if your soulmate has to chase their dreams in another continent, should it really mark the end of a beautiful chapter between the two of you? Or should you beat the odds and survive the biggest challenge that you can face as a couple?
The answer is all now up to you, but take this one last piece of advice with you: nothing good comes easy, so make sure that you won’t waste the opportunity of finding true happiness just because you were too scared to even try.
Photo by Yana Tkachenko