No matter how strong your relationship is, the idea of shifting from a local (or cohabitating) partnership to a long-distance relationship can be daunting (especially when you live and own a company together!), to say the least. Take a deep breath — this has been accomplished in the past. Though it might be a challenge, a healthy relationship can endure huge changes and potentially even grow stronger from the experience.
To successfully transition your relationship to become a strong long distance one, it’s crucial for it to be healthy. When we are dating in adulthood, partnerships are hard enough to manage, without throwing a six-hour flight in the mix. Being understanding of your partner’s decision to move for family or a career offer in another city is essential — don’t take offense to the decision. Instead, understand and work through issues together. Make sure resentment or jealousy isn’t a part of the equation because it will surely lead to the demise of your partnership. A healthy relationship is one where open communication exists without judgment. Consider hiring a relationship therapist to perfect an excellent line of communication with your partner before she/he moves.
It is typical that one person is more “needy” than the other (we covered this issue in a recent column). Your partner might require a little more love when distance suddenly becomes a factor. This doesn’t have to be incredibly time consuming or expensive, just make sure to set aside time to speak or Skype to make him or her feel more at ease and supported. Little things, like a voicemail saying, “Just wanted to let you know I am thinking about you,” or a sweet note in the mail goes a long way when you are going weeks without physical interaction.
Advance planning the next time you will see one another will keep the mindset on the right track. For example, have a trip planned before you separate, whether that is visiting the new city your partner is moving to or planning a sexy weekend getaway. Being alone is going to allow you to show emotion, intimacy, talk about your mindset and address issues. Plan this well in advance so you can chat about it prior to the visit. Intimacy is incredibly important and will connect you on many levels, so prioritize it.
Being able to visualize being close physically will allow you and your partner to look forward to your trip, without worry. And when you reconnect in your partner’s new city, make sure you meet his/her new friends. Remember that trust is the bond that holds people together and jealousy will rip your relationship apart.
These tips may sound easy, but be realistic about them. It helps to set goals about the future of your relationship. For example, did you discuss what will happen if your partnership is still healthy after a year of being apart? Will one of you move? What finances can you allocate for travel, vacations and spontaneous visits? Where will you spend the holidays? Be honest with your partner about your goals — though these may shift over time, it can be helpful to have direction for your relationship.
For it to work, you both must take a proactive approach. Think honestly about how much time and effort you’re willing to put into the relationship. “Making it through” a few months of being apart, can be a rewarding and invaluable enhancement of your relationship but it takes a lot of effort. With communication, trust and love, relationships can go stronger despite distance.
E-mail us with questions or advice at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @MegNovinskie @KimRosenberg.