“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” is a well-known phrase with it earliest form in the Roman poet Sextus Propertius’s words “Always toward absent lovers love’s tide stronger flows.” Does it really? Does the tide of love flow stronger with the absence of a lover or does it simply dry up? If you ask me, I will say it goes both ways. The tide would dry up if you do nothing to sustain it. On the other hand, if you know the secrets to defeating the distance, you may be in for a very strong tide of love in your Long Distant Relationship (LDR).
Here are ten secrets to keeping the tide of love stronger in a LDR:
Communication – Communication is important to every relationship but it is the key secret to achieving a great LDR. The distance has robbed you of the physical intimacy of touch and sight, so, you need to make up for this in your communication. Communicate with all the technology available – laptop, Ipad, mobile phone… Use everything available to your generation: Skype, Whatspp, Facebook, Facetime, Instagram, Emails, Postal services … Do not under estimate the power of a traditional love letter in the mail either. Your partner would want to hear your voice, see your face, look at your pictures, read your text and this is only possible if you use a combination of all these hardwares, softwares and applications.
I would prescribe a minimum of a phone call a day and a supplement of other forms of communication. Note that this prescription has a side effect, you may fall into the state of mind where communication becomes an obligation and your calls become a signing in procedure. My remedy would be to communicate as your heart feels, the chances are that, if you are in love, you will want to communicate every second of the day.
Do things together – Love grows with shared memories and distance should not stop you from having shared experiences. Rent the same film and watch it at the same time even if you are on a different time zone find a suitable meeting point. Same film on the screen, two identical bowls of pop corn, Skype on – video call in progress and it is a date. Cook the same food, eat at the same time. Wear the same cloth, colour, jewellery and other stuffs. Play the same game if you can. This does not mean you should become identical twins; it simply gives you more experiences to talk about when you next meet. It provides you with shared memories and reduces the loneliness that goes with LDR.
Plan joint experience – if our experiences shapes who we are then you want to make sure you have similar experiences with your partner. This would ensure you don’t grow into entirely different people with no common ground. You and your partner would have different friends and go out with different people. You will both meet and relate with different characters. These people would shape your ideas and influence your growth. You have little or no control on who your partner relates with but you can learn about these people through your partner’s eyes and vice versa.
If you are going for a carnival with your friends, advice your partner to go for a similar carnival with his/her friends. If your partner is having a party in his/her apartment, have one in yours. The planning, execution and evaluation of these events would keep you closer.
Sentimental gifts– there are reasons why we put up pictures in our houses; explore this sentimental human nature to the fullest to keep your relationship strong. If married people can leave love notes under the pillow, in packed lunches, on the fridge and in all other odd places, you can do the same and much more to keep the fire of your love burning while you are apart. These gifts do not need to be expensive; they just need to have sentimental values and history. They should be things that would make your partner think of you and smile. Collect things that make you think of your partner, if you explain why you want it, I am sure they will be willing to part with it. You can frame the ticket to the movies you saw while you were together and send it off to your partner. These give gifts remind your partner of your existence. Gifts of customized mugs, identical jewellery, pictures are a few examples.
Trust – Trust is the bases of all relationship and if you are in a long distance relationship, you need an over dose of this liquid substance called trust. Maybe not liquid but you get the point. You cannot let your mind wonder to the possibility of your partner’s unfaithfulness. The truth is that if he/she were a cheater, he/she would cheat whether he/she lives under your nose or not. Remember that your partner also has the same anxiety has you do and if they can trust you so can you. LDR is not for over jealous beings, if you are, you are in for an emotional roller coaster and it is not pretty. You need to be faithful if you are not; you will always suspect your partner of doing the same even when they are not. Fulfil your part of the bargain and trust that your partner is doing the same; he/she also has to trust you.
Flirt – Flirt, flirt and flirt and when you are done flirting, flirt some more. Make your partner ache for you; it increases the need for days to fly by until your next meeting. You want your partner thinking back to your last conversation with a smile and a thousand butterflies flying in secret places in their body. ( If you know what I mean.) For some it relieves the sexual tension of not having sexual contact with their partner, for others it satisfies a secret fantasy.
If you have not gone down the pre-marital sex route, nothing stops you from flirting over the phone, just be sure you are not promising what you would not be able to deliver on your meet up days. If you have scaled the fence of chastity, do not settle for involuntary celibacy because of distance; opt for telephone sex if it works for you. Just be clear on how far you want to go with the online sexual contact. There has been issues of pictures falling into the wrong hands so if you foresee an embarrassing moment, don’t do it.
Avoid Arguments– Every relationship has moment of arguments but avoid them like a plague when you are in a long distance relationship. Learn from lawyers, they take two different sides, argue their case and reach a settlement. Let each party present his/her case in a logical manner and you both reach a logical conclusion. Compromising and understanding is the key. You cannot afford to argue or keep malice because it would eat at you and put a deep gap in your relationship. You are allowed to disagree, you are individuals and I’ll be surprise if you don’t disagree but do not let your disagreement turn into argument. This is because arguments fast turn into bitter fights and communication technologies have a reputation for cutting you out at those points of argument.
Keep journal – Keeping a journal or on-line dairy gives both parties an opportunity to be a part of each other’s life. We all have insecurities, doubts and uncertainties which are on the highest within LDRs. This is because you don’t know what is going on with your partner and you have to take their word for it. Sometimes there is not enough time to relate the events of the day when you phone or text or Skype, an online journal gives you a wider view about the daily life of your partner. The pattern of the journal also gives you a big insight into your partner’s personality and helps you predict their reaction to certain issues thereby avoiding unnecessary fights and arguments. The consistency in your individual journal post helps in building trust, which is a critical secret to a great LDR.
Hope – Hope is a great thing. You need to give each other something to hope for in terms of visits. Do not ever end a visit without setting the date for the next one. (I believe you know that life is worth living when there is something to look forward to). A set visit date breaks up your LDR into mini segment of absence and makes the separation easier to bear. It is also easier and more exciting to have a date to plan towards and hope for. This does not mean you cannot do the surprise “I miss you and just wanted to pop in” visits, it only means if all the surprise visits fail, this set date is sure to stand. It is important to fight tooth and nail to make sure you make good on your set visit days. Saying goodbye at the end of a visit is a lot easier when you already have another to look forward to.
Check and balances – Constantly check the health of your relationship. You cannot afford to let Long Distant Relationship have a sore throat or flu because by the time you get to speak with your partner again, the sore throat would have graduated to a collapsed lung. Deal with issues eating away at you there and then. Ask your partner if you are cool and check within you that there is nothing bugging you about the relationship. Make sure you regularly discuss your plans for the future. This is to ensure that you are still on the same page with your partner. It is amazing how people’s value and priority change with miles.
Long Distant Relationship does work but you would have to do the extra work to make it work. Use the above secrets to breathe life into your Long Distant Relationship and watch it blossom into the beautiful flower you desire and deserve.