How do you sustain a relationship when the two of you rarely see each other in person? Does “absence make the heart grow fonder”? Or is it more a case of “out of sight, out of mind”?
The question largely depends on the two people involved in a relationship. Both partners have to feel a strong commitment to making things work. Also, both halves of the couple have to possess fairly good communication skills. After all, when you can no longer rely on physical proximity, shared daily routines, and sex to keep your bond strong healthy, communication and trust become even more important.
Ground Rules in Long Distance Relationships
Take some time to discuss the ways that things will change when the two of you are apart. This includes every aspect of your relationship, from sex to paying the bills and handling other shared responsibilities. Have a frank discussion about issues such as boundaries and jealousy. Where do you each draw the line? Will you feel uncomfortable if your partner flirts with someone else? Or perhaps you’re OK with your partner taking a temporary f**k-buddy while the two of you are thousands of miles apart but want some assurance of emotional fidelity?
If the partner who is going out of town typically shoulders most of the child-rearing or financial arrangements, that will need to change. This may entail detailed discussions about each person’s attitudes about money or disciplining children or other matters. In some cases, the best way to handle the departure of one partner is to hire someone to help out in some way—whether a financial advisor or a babysitter. What’s important is actually talking frankly about these matters in advance rather than simply assuming the two of you are on the same page about everything.
How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Tech the Ways
Fortunately, technology makes long distance relationships (LDR’s) easier than they once were. My grandmother has told me stories of waiting weeks to receive a letter from my grandfather when he was serving in the armed forces during World War II. So by contrast, when my Love King and I have spent time apart while he’s on extended business trips, we have things relatively easy. We can actually talk face-to-face (using Skype or FaceTime or Hangouts or other video-talk systems) so I can not only hear his voice but watch him speak.
All the little quirks—like the way the skin around his eyes crinkle when he laughs, his lopsided smile when he relays a funny anecdote about his day—are available to me.
Technology also permits us to share some common daily experiences across hundreds of miles. Using an online streaming service plus our mobile phones, we often watch a favorite television show or movie together. This might sound like a small thing, but restores a sense of intimacy to simultaneously experience the same jokes or suspense or whatever the plotline offers, and to share comments with each other as we watch.
Being separated can even provide an opening to share the kind of “corny” romantic gestures you might be embarrassed to enact when together in your living room. The Love King and I both share a love of poetry. During a recent period when we were apart, we read favorite poems aloud to each other on our computer screens. We also frequently sent each other voice messages. There were some days when I repeatedly listened to his recorded voice telling me how much he loves me.
Get intimate together – Skype is your friend!
Of course the same technology also offers more X-rated opportunities for connecting with your sweetie. A friend of mine initially found this notion very sterile and a poor substitute for actually touching her husband when he had to be in the States for six months while she remained in London. But she discovered that she and her hubby actually became more creative in how they shared their sexuality with each other over Skype. They began to talk more about each partner’s fantasies, whereas previously they had relied on a sort of scripted familiarity with each other’s pleasure.
Send Gifts in Long Distance Relationships
Of course technology cannot entirely substitute for actual intimacy (even for you Aquarius types out there!). Don’t forget the small, intimate things that have nothing to do with computers or phones. Send your absent sweetie care packages which reveal both your awareness of his/her tastes and how much you miss being together.
You might want to pack a book you picked out especially for her/him, and enclose as a bookmark a love note. Or send a small box of your partner’s favorite food (perhaps even cookies you bake yourself if you’re talented in that direction.) Don’t forget that the sense of smell is often a powerful aspect of how we connect with someone we love.
You might want to enclose in the care package a T-shirt or sweater you recently wore or the pillowcase you slept on for a week. Or spray a letter with your favourite perfume or aftershave. Go ahead and get creative, allowing yourself to think about what your lover needs, as well as what will bring a smile to her/his face.
I know from experience that long distance relationships can be tough so make sure that you and your partner are really committed to each other and the extra effort that it will take to keep your relationship special.
The Love Queen