Long distance relationships are tough to go through. Because of that, there are certain things that you should never, ever do.
You should never abuse your partner’s trust, be mistrustful and jealous, constantly suppress your true feelings, leave disagreements unresolved, or put your life on hold for your LDR. Doing these things consistently can compound the strain on your long distance relationship.
Do your best to avoid these sins and you’ll both stand a better chance at a happy ending. Let’s dive in.
Don’t abuse your partner’s trust in you
Do you hear it? The little devil on your shoulder?
Being in a long distance relationship makes it so much easier to fool around and keep things from your partner.
It goes without saying, but don’t cheat, and don’t lie.
I get it. It’s tempting to do so. They’re not around, and they’re not in the same city, and you’re getting attention from others…
However, that situation can result in some actions that you will surely regret afterwards.
Your partner has taken a leap of faith to go through this challenge with you, and abusing that trust is not good.
If you really do feel like you just can’t handle being faithful through this ordeal, do yourself and your partner a favor and come clean instead of stringing them along.
There’s no shame in throwing in the towel if you can’t endure the distance.
Alternatively, if both you and your partner are progressive and accepting of things like open relationships, then you could possibly explore that possibility.
Don’t lose trust and assume the worst
On the flip side, it’s not fair to your partner if you start throwing around accusations left and right.
For example, I was on a video call with my partner late one night and she was preoccupied with someone on her phone. It turns out that a friend of a friend had found her contact details and was sending her messages in the middle of the night.
Naturally, I assumed the worst, and brooded over it for a couple of days and a few sleepless nights.
My partner picked up on my attitude, and asked me what was wrong. I told her that seeing her respond to some random stranger really bothered me. She said that she blocked his repeated attempts to connect with her, and he had stopped contacting her since that one day.
And that was that.
A long distance relationship can really wreak havoc on your sense of trust and loyalty. However, assuming the worst straight away isn’t fair to your partner, and constantly accusing them of being unfaithful and untrustworthy is a sure fire way to build resentment.
Don’t always suppress your true feelings
Sometimes, your partner might do things that annoy you a little, but you’d get over it and move on.
But sometimes there are things that might really bother you, and they can really affect your relationship.
Your windows of communication are limited by time. So, instead of bringing up all these negative vibes, you might feel like pushing those feelings aside, so you can enjoy talking with them.
Doing this for a long time can really put a strain on you.
When you’re in a long distance relationship, any negative feelings are magnified and intensified. Unfortunately for you, you can’t just hug it out, drive to their place, or turn to physical intimacy.
Keeping things to yourself and letting them fester in your mind is being unkind to yourself and your partner. Refusing to communicate on these issues and leaving your partner to guess what might be wrong is just as bad.
It sucks to open up like this. It may result in tears and heartache. But if you both want to succeed in the relationship, there are times where you’ll have to face these problems together. The alternative is to bear that load alone and suffer in silence.
Try not to leave disagreements unresolved
Every couple has arguments and problems that they have to navigate together. Unfortunately, as a long distance couple, you’ll be exposed to more stresses and challenges. As a result, you’ll likely find yourself in more disagreements.
It’s hard to resolve every single issue in a relationship. But letting disagreements sit quietly in the background can quickly build up resentment and negative feelings between you.
Unlike a real life couple, you can’t simply treat them to a nice date, or cuddle, or simply move on. There’ll always be the constant tension and stress of the distance, and not being with each other.
One way I thought of my own LDR was that it was like a boat in a restless ocean. We were both navigating this tough situation, trying to make it to land.
Any time we left an argument unresolved, we weren’t working together to try and bring this boat to shore. Meanwhile, the waves would toss our boat around and threaten to capsize our relationship.
The first few times we fought were extremely difficult, because it was new territory for us. We were used to settling our issues face to face whenever we wanted. Now, we were at the mercy of time and distance.
Our rules of communication
As the months went on, we learned better ways of communicating with each other. Some things that helped us:
|We did this…||Instead of…|
|Really listened to what the person had to say||Tuning out, waiting for our turn to talk|
|Took turns to speak and respected each other’s voice||Dominating the conversation to make sure only our points were heard|
|Be genuine with our feelings||Saying that we were fine, when we actually weren’t|
|Shared what we wanted out of the relationship||Staying silent and hoping the other person agreed|
Soon, working through disagreements and relationship issues took hardly any time at all. We were also able to carry through those skills into our face-to-face relationship.
(Just between you and me, dealing with disagreements face to face is so much easier. Try having a serious conversation over a spotty Wi-Fi connection and through a phone screen, and you’ll know what I mean!)
Don’t put your lives on hold for your LDR
If you feel like you’ve found the one, you may be tempted to forego everything else and throw your whole being into the relationship.
As someone who did this for a while, please don’t do this.
Because you are a unique individual that doesn’t have to be defined by someone else.
Chances are you have friends, family, and work colleagues to connect with and form social relationships with. You may have a career you’re following, or you may have talents you want to develop. You may have your own dreams and aspirations, places to visit, books to read and write, movies and musicals to enjoy.
And besides, spending the length of your LDR glued to a phone screen, hoping that a message comes through or living for the next time you get a call? That isn’t a healthy approach.
People around you will wonder where you’ve gone. They’ll miss you and wonder what happened to the version of you before your long distance relationship started.
I hate to admit it, but I did this.
I’d skip out on work functions, or catching up with friends, or even family dinners with the excuse that I had to Skype my girlfriend. I spent entire weekends locked in my room, whiling the hours away with her on the other end, and not spending it with the people that were actually there with me in that space.
This led to people resenting not only my relationship with her, but her directly. They saw her as this stranger on the other end of the phone that was taking away their friend, brother, or son. That’s when the skepticism and the criticism came. “Who is she, really? Why are you still doing this? Why don’t you just get back together?”
I later realized that they weren’t mad at her, but they were upset with who I had become. And that was because I gave up on other relationships and aspirations to focus on her and to maintain my LDR.
The thing I didn’t realize was that the relationship would still keep going, even if I wasn’t with her on the phone 8 hours a day. She still had feelings for me, and I still loved her.
So don’t forget to live your life while you’re in an LDR. Your same-city relationships and your life goals shouldn’t have to suffer for it.