A friend recently confessed that despite being with her partner for over two years, and being completely head over heels in love with him, she didn’t think that they would last the year because he had just moved away for work and she couldn’t see how they could work as a long-distance couple. It seems this isn’t a totally unique view point either, according to the ‘long distance statistics’ website lots of couples who were formally in cohabitation are now long distance, (14 million couples to be precise) and four or five million of those were not married i.e. cohabitation couples prior to moving apart. But can these relationships (and my friend’s) have a happy ending?
Be realistic about change
When you first sit down to discuss the changes that are about to happen to your relationship you have to be realistic about how much this will affect your life as a couple and separately. In order to see each other as often as you can it may be necessary to give up weekend commitments; gym classes, meetings with friends and even the little things like household chores. You need to be really realistic about how much you can afford to give up, and for how long. There’s little point giving up every weekend to go to see each other if it means your home life will suffer, because in the week or whenever you aren’t visiting each other you’ll probably be miserable. My friend and her partner see each other every other week (or try to) so that in between they both have a weekend to see friends, have hobbies and whatever else to maintain normalness in their lives.
Accept if it isn’t working
My friend may have sounded negative in her prediction, but really I think she was just trying to be realistic. If it isn’t working and you argue every time you see each other then it may be time to reassess, take a break or decide if there is another way around it. At the end of the day no matter how much you love someone, if being apart is ultimately making you both miserable then something has to change, and unfortunately this can sometimes mean the relationship ending or taking a break.
Make the best of the new situation
A new study released in the Journal of Communications this month claims that actually long distance relationships can work very well, and even make couples in them closer. Basically by making the most of the time you do spend together you’ll miss out on the little daily arguments or disagreements and feel like when you do see each other you are all about that. When you have a weekend planned to see each other why not plan something a little special? A meal out or a trip you’ve been planning for a while? It’s also a great opportunity to act out movie-style fantasies like waiting at the train station with a bunch of flowers or sending little presents in the post to make your other half feel special. It makes sense that long distance can work if you work at it, so why not try the distance thing for a while, and see if it can’t make you closer.
OnePlusOne is a charity that works to strengthen relationships by creating resources that help families and frontline workers tackle relationship issues early. Learn more here.