Way back when letters were the most common form of communication on, there was a line that was very popular. The line was, “only distance and space can come between us’. Back then, it was just a common phrase that was used to express just how the bond between the lovers was.
What happens when distance actually comes between you and your lover? If not handled very carefully, long distance relationships are easily broken. Hence there is need to come up with ways of making both of you feel close when you are far apart. Here are a few tips:
Communication. The most important foundation in any relationship is communication and when lovers are far apart, good communication is very essential. Talking to each other frequently will strengthen the bond between you and your partner and thankfully, communication has been made very easy nowadays. What with all the social sites that are available; we are even spoilt for choice. They have really made the world a global village. Make good use of them to check on each other from time to time and the best thing is, most of them are free. Plan when to call each other, when to chat and occasionally Skype each other.
Cynthia met her husband online and it took them six months to finally meet. “I met Nathan online and after chatting for a while, we both decided to start a relationship. The most important thing I learnt about being away from each other was that communication is the key to maintaining a long distance relationship. We would send each other videos of ourselves on whatsapp, chat via Facebook and we would talk on Skype twice a week. It made things very easy for us”.
Spend Time ‘Together’. Spending time together here does not necessarily mean being with each other in person. This is where your creativity is should come to play. Come up with plans to enjoy each other’s company, for instance, you can both decide to watch a movie at the same time, play online games together and this is just but a few suggestions. You will have to let your imagination run wild and come up with ways to spend quality time with your partner; time zones notwithstanding.
“When I went abroad to study and left my fiancée, I thought things between us were over. I mean I was going away for over four years”. Says Kariuki. “In time we learnt to do things together, because of our different time zones, we would create time and perform chores together like washing clothes or cooking the same meal. That was how we survived”.
Avoid Gossip and Rumors. You went away and left your partner behind, it is normal to have doubts and fear, but listening to others bad mouth your spouse is wrong. Indeed, do not leave behind a spy to be informing you on what your spouse does or doesn’t. As it is, this will put a strain in your already difficult relationship and that is not good. So be very careful what you encourage from your friends/informers and I will remind you that if you entertain them, they will tell you what you want to hear.
Jane knows this only too well, she went abroad without intending to, used to spy on her spouse through her best friend.
“It was always James this or that and I would fight with him from what I had been told. It never occurred to me to ask what she was doing near my man every time and before I realized it, things between James went sour and we had to call it quits. I have always blamed myself for the breakup because if I had not listened to my friend and tried to trust James and work on our relationship, things would have been different”.
Enjoy Your Independence. The fact that your partner is away does not mean that you cannot have fun. You have every right to go out with the girls/boys and enjoy yourself. So long as you respect yourself and your relationship enough to know not to get in any compromising situation. Do not feel guilty about going out with your friends as you are not doing anything wrong. In fact talk to your spouse about doing the same and both of you discuss what is acceptable and what is not once you are out there.
“Boredom would make a person even lonelier with the spouse being away. It is alright to go out and enjoy yourself, have fun because as they say; ‘you only live once’ and so make yourself happy. Only important thing to remember is to do what you would feel okay if your spouse was doing it”, says Makena whose husband lives and works in South Africa.
Visit Each Other. It is important to create time to visit each other. Whether you are working or studying, seeing each other whenever time allows is highly encouraged, it does not matter even if it is only once a year. I’m sure that this can be achieved. Spending quality time together is one of the best things in strengthening a long time relationship. When you do find time to see each other, do many special things together that will help you look forward to the next visit. Again, creativity here is needed.
Otieno has this to say, “Nothing kept me going while I was away from my wife than the thought of next seeing her and being alone with her. We always had so much fun together and so many things to do that a month with her seemed like a week. I was always grateful that each year for those six that I worked in England, I could at least take a month to see her and this helped our relationship a lot”.
Talk About the Future.Planning for the future together, setting goals to be achieved are as important as good communication. Planning things together is a positive thing as it shows not only solidarity but also the willingness to spend the rest of your life together. By doing this, it is a clear sign that the relationship is heading in the right direction. Talks like, where you will live once you get married, how many kids you would like to get help in putting both of you at ease with your relationship.
“I would encourage lovers living apart to make future plans together. Long distance relationships require all the signs of permanency. Planning together indeed does break the distance and it is a way to ensure that you are both serious about the relationship”, says Angela a relationship expert.
A long-term relationship requires more attention because it is most fragile. It needs strong people who can withstand the distance and it can work if cultivated properly. If you are in one, I hope the six tips will help you even just a little. Otherwise, good luck to you.