Are you feeling like you’re having second thoughts about your relationship?
Don’t feel bad. It can happen to any of us. No relationship is 100% perfect, and we as people are willing to entertain any and all thoughts. It helps us survive, learn, and constantly figure out if we’re in a good place in life.
In a long distance relationship, these doubts can surface even more often. Your trust is being constantly tested, and you’re in a lonely situation. It can be especially difficult if there is no end date in sight.
If you’re suffering from long distance relationship doubts, here are a few suggestions. Hopefully they can help reaffirm your love and dedication for your partner, and encourage you to keep going until the next time you can see them again.
- Accept that the honeymoon period wears off
- Reaffirm your love for each other regularly
- Lean on your support network
- Be honest with them about your feelings
- Don’t be afraid of the mundane
- Focus on yourself, too
- Avoid petty arguments
- Accept that doubt will always be there
1. Accept that the honeymoon period wears off
Like with most relationships or situations, once you’ve grown accustomed to it, you’re probably going to feel like that spark just isn’t there anymore.
I think there can be a spark in a long distance relationship, too. Even if you’ve known each other for a while, you’re still figuring out how to date long distance, how to communicate with each other, and figure out cute ways to let them know you’re thinking of them. It’s not quite the same, but it can still be pretty exciting and fresh.
However, the novelty can wear off, and eventually you get used to everything they do.
There are various schools of thought on this. What worked for me was that I accepted that the giddy high of the new relationship wasn’t going to last forever.
I came to terms with the fact that we wouldn’t be able to keep our fires lit red hot like a bonfire all the way through our relationship. (If you’re able to do this, contact me and send me notes!)
But I did know that I was able to keep our love smoldering and subtle. We were able to take it past infatuation and move into a real partnership.
When you decide to take your relationship long distance, I see that as a progression towards a real partnership. To me, that’s deeper and more meaningful than any old fling you might have.
2. Reaffirm your love for each other regularly
Confession time: every now and then, I had doubts about my own long distance relationship.
We were long distance for years. My attempts at finding a work visa or a job sponsor in her country felt completely fruitless. Naturally, there’d be times when I would stop and think, “Geez…we’ve been doing this for what feels like forever. Is this really going to work…?”
And then, right on cue, whenever my partner and I called each other up, she’d tell me how much she loved me. She’d say how much she hated the distance, and told me how much she appreciated me trying my best to bring us together. She’d say all the things she missed doing with me, and all the things she loved about me as a person.
That was enough for me to think, “This’ll work. We’ll make it work. Because we love each other way too much.”
At the same time, I worked hard to remind my partner that I loved them.
I just let her know how happy I was. I made her feel loved with kind words of affirmation, and sent her letters and postcards. I wasn’t composing sonnets or playing songs for her that I wrote over a weekend—but if you’re capable of doing that, it’ll surely be appreciated!
Us reminding each other of the love we had really helped to dispel any doubts we had.
3. Lean on your support network
The relationship is just between the two of you, but there are so many other people around you to help make it work.
Your support network is one of your lifelines. A good support network will listen to you vent your frustrations, lift your spirits when you’re down, offer advice when you ask, and put things into perspective for you.
Whenever your partner comes to visit, or vice versa, make sure you make time for each other’s families and friends. Make your partner a fixture in their minds, so whenever you’re on dates or chatting with them, they’ll know exactly who it is and how important they are to you.
And when you’re going through relationship doubts, they can help remind you of the good times in your relationship. Or, they might kick start you into action to start planning your next trip, or figure out exactly how you’re going to close the distance.
At the very least, they can offer a sympathetic shoulder, and we all need one of those from time to time.
4. Be honest with them about your feelings
Negative thoughts don’t do well when they’re left on their own in one’s head.
The doubt you may be feeling often stems from a lack of confidence about your relationship. For me, the biggest confidence killer was fear of the unknown, which led to doubts about the future.
There was a time where we simply didn’t know where the relationship would end up, or what we could do to fix it. At the same time, I knew that keeping it to myself would result in me obsessing over all the possible what-ifs.
Back then, my partner could tell when something was wrong. I’d tell her that I was okay so she wouldn’t worry. She’d pause, then say, “That’s not a real ‘okay’.”
Chances are if you have those doubts on your mind, you’re not going to be able to hide it from your partner anyway. Hiding those doubts from them will only make them feel like you can’t trust them with those emotions.
Sharing those doubts out loud can let them empathize with you. You’re both in this together, after all.
Being honest about your feelings gives you both the opportunity to process that doubt and think of ways to resolve it. At the very least, it lets them comfort you in your time of need.
5. Don’t be afraid of the mundane
My partner and I didn’t always have regular deep and meaningful conversations where we were blowing each other’s mind, sharing things we didn’t know about each other.
I remember one time she told me a story from her past. I’d already heard it, but I liked hearing it, and I told her so. She jokingly replied, “Man, I have nothing more to share with you.”
Did that mean the relationship was doomed? I definitely hope not. But we’re still going strong!
When we were well into our long distance relationship, we were talking about everything to each other. I’d be giving blow by blow accounts of my commute to and from the city. I’d be describing the screeches of the cockatoos outside my window at 6 a.m. I’d be recounting office politics and how my co-worker tried to sell me on the power of healing crystals.
Our conversations always gave me something to look forward to. And, really, that’s what a long distance relationship is at its core. It’s anticipation. It’s waiting for that next moment of communication or contact. It’s being patient for a happily ever after.
So if you’re having doubts because you feel like you’re lagging in conversation or you’re not coming up with interesting topics anymore, don’t be too worried. Honestly, some of my favorite times with my wife were just sharing a comfortable silence, with each of us doing our own thing on a FaceTime call.
6. Focus on yourself, too
When you’re in a long distance relationship, it can be easy to fall into the hole of how difficult your situation is. You miss your partner, and you wish that you could just be together with them.
If you feel obligated to put in a lot of effort into your relationship, that can lead to resentment and burnout. Those negative feelings can lead to doubts and questioning if this relationship is working for you.
If that’s the case, take a step back. Don’t feel like you should throw yourself into the relationship, because that won’t necessarily make it any better or stronger.
Focus on the goals you want to accomplish. Start projects and plan for the future. Find other outlets other than living to your relationship’s schedule.
Nurture the relationships around you, too. See your friends and hang out with your family. Keeping to yourself and staying on your laptop or phone all day waiting for them to finish work isn’t a healthy mindset.
7. Avoid petty arguments
Arguments over long distance are hard. Bringing negative emotion into a situation that is inherently stressful makes a tough situation even harder.
Constantly engaging in petty squabbles and little quarrels here and there can put a strain on both of you. And being in a situation where there are a few extra reasons to separate can plant those seeds of doubt.
One time, my partner and I were bickering while we were long distance. She was studying for a Master’s program, and we were arguing over the meaning of a word.
At the time, I was frustrated and tired of being apart, and I said something hurtful about her intelligence. Those words, compounded with the pain of being part, really broke her heart.
She tried to brush it off, but it didn’t work, and in the end it just made us both feel terrible in the end. At that moment, I couldn’t help but think, “This is too fucking hard right now.”
In the end, we apologized for the things we said and opened up about the real issues behind that argument. It brought us closer together and gave me the confidence to work through anything and everything with her.
Try to kill those trivial issues dead before they have a chance to appear. You might need to hold your tongue or compromise…or, even better, try to get to the heart of them and figure out where they’re coming from.
8. Accept that doubt will always be there
In the end, having doubts about your relationship may just be a thing you’ll have to accept.
Learn to let go of the little things. You won’t be able to control every single issue that comes your way. A while ago, I read Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff, and I found it really helpful in letting go of the things that I thought really affected me.
As I mentioned earlier, no relationship is 100% perfect. There will be times when you’ll argue, or they’ll do something that infuriates you, or they’ll forget something important.
It happens. Long distance intensifies and magnifies things, and their actions (or lack of action) will feel like huge mountains.
Talk things through with your partner, and be kind. After all, “to err is human, to forgive, divine.” Remember that they’re going through this, too.