Long-Distance relationships. Most people say they just can’t be done. When the partners go their separate ways, the death knell sounds, and the relationship dies. But, is it the distance killing the friendship, or something else altogether?
Charlie Brown is right. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, but the rest of you can pine away to nothing if careful attention isn’t paid to you, first, and your partner, second. What!
Yes. You come first. You came into your relationship as a whole person (hopefully), and you will only maintain a healthy relationship with your loved one if you maintain yourself as a whole person. Don’t lose yourself in the other person! If you are truly mature enough to create a partnership with another person, then you will already have outside interests that invigorate you, make you passionate, and give meaning to your life. By all means, keep these going! They will continue to be your lifeblood whether your partner is physically with you or not.
So, you are separated for the time being. Sad, yes, and true, the shorter times are easier to deal with. One or two weeks can be hard--but try four months, six months, or even a year! It does happen, and fairly regularly, that couples are forced into undesired separation for many months at a time. How do they deal with this blow to their friendship? There are four rules of thumb to follow closely.
Here they are:
- Know that your partner is your best friend in the whole world. Trust them implicitly. Know that he or she loves you exclusively. If both of you do not know each other as closest friends, chances are, your relationship will not weather a long-distance scenario. (Yes, your lover has to be more important than your mom, dad, sisters, brothers, other “best friends,” sorority sisters, etc.)
- As mentioned above, take care of yourself first. Continue to be that vibrant, exciting person you were when your partner met you. Maintain your personal interests. Stay involved in life! This will keep you from doing two disastrous things: losing yourself in your partner (a frightening, terrible feeling!), and pining away in his or herabsence (a great way to lose weight… and get really sick in the process).
- Depending on the distance and time involved in your separation, do your very best to physically meet with your partner at least once a month. This is really non-optional. He needs to hold you; make love to you. You need to kiss him; have him say soft, sweet things to you. The quality time you spend together these short weekends (or on those surprise visits!) will mean the world to the both of you when your lives are finally back on track together.
- Never underestimate the power of technology! Keep the instant messaging, the emails, the mailbox, and the phone hot! (This is where cell phones from the same server appear to be angels from Heaven!)
You can do this. It is not easy, but you can do this. Oh, and one other thing that should help keep you going. Remember the good times, all the little subtleties, the laughs together, the goofiness, and even the tears. They are all precious now that she is gone; now that he is away for this little while. Cherish them. And above all, cherish the fact that you have someone in your life. So many people don’t.
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