He Said/She Said: How Do I make a Long Distance Relationship Work?

Dear Aaron & Rachel,chatting and cheating

My girlfriend and I have been dating for the past 6 months and we are in a long distance relationship. But in the past 6 months we’ve seen each other twice. I feel as though the distance between us is starting to get to us. We used to call each other almost every night and now we just call every couple of days. We also used to make efforts to visit each other but now that our careers are taking off we can’t travel to see each other as often. Not to mention it gets pretty expensive. With the decreasing communication and decreasing time together, I feel like our relationship isn’t nearly what it used to be and I’m worried what will happen if it continues down this path. What can I do to make things better and also rebuild our romance?

 

Rachel RussoShe Said

Long distance relationships can definitely be challenging–take it from someone who has been in one! Both parties really have to make effort to sustain the relationship and eventually if things are going to go the distance (no pun intended)) someone has to relocate. In the meantime, you and your girlfriend have to find ways to regularly stay connected. You should Skype or FaceTime at least once per week and get into the habit of having regular phone calls. Text conversations and seeing each other just a couple times is not enough to maintain intimacy. Make a plan to see each other as soon as you can to discuss what you both want from the relationship. If traveling to each other’s locations gets too expensive, meet in the middle–literally pick somewhere halfway in between and get together there. Where there is a will there is a way, but you are both going to have to work at this! Good luck!

He SaidAaron-Anderson-Marriage-Counselor-small

This question is a tricky one because there are as many solutions as there are long-distance relationships. Each relationship is unique (this is true even when distance isn’t involved). Each person has certain needs that need to be met. And how they prefer to have those needs met is unique, too.  For example, most people have a need for closeness. And they way some people prefer to have this need met is through sexual intimacy. Others prefer to have this need met through talking about personal things with someone they feel close too. Because people have different preferences on how to meet certain needs, there are unique ways to get those needs met.

In a long distance relationship, you need to figure out what your personal needs are in your relationship. For example, you may need to have physical intimacy. Or may you need to be shown more priority from your partner than over, say, their work. And once you discover those needs then you need to come up with creative ways to get them met. So, say, you need to have sexual intimacy to feel close but time and expense keeps that from happening as often as you need, you and your partner can come up with ways to be more sexual over the phone, Skype or text. Or as another example, if you need to be shown that you’re a priority to your partner you can make unbreakable dates with each other over every few days so you can feel that your partner is making time and space for you in their life.

Remember, imagination is critical when it comes to making long distance relationships work. Make a rule between you two that you can talk about any silly idea with each other during this time and it needs to be considered.

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