Long-Distance Relationships – Real Things You Should Know to Make Them Work

Relationships aren’t easy. Long-distance relationships definitely aren’t easy. Whether it’s a two-hour drive or states away, LDRs take effort and dedication, and they are not for the faint of heart.

What we should know about long-distance relationships to make them work

Introduction

In 2017, more of us are doing long-distance relationships than ever. You meet a great guy on Instagram who doesn’t live in the same country… You start dating the perfect man in your city, only to find out he’s been offered a new job 1000 miles away…

And suddenly, you find yourself having “Skype dates”, and you now spend half your work day sending silly photos to each other on Whatsapp. You feel like you’re falling in love with this guy – but can it actually work long term?

Matthew Hussey – dating expert on ABC’s digital series “What To Text Him Back”, – decided it’s time to be super honest about LDRs. You can read his thoughts below.

What people are thinking about LDRs

I’ve asked my audience what they thought about long-distance relationships:

“What I’ve learned from long-distance relationships is that you’re not always satisfied and you miss out on a lot.”

“I mean the hardest part of it all is trying to be there without actually being there.”

“Think again. Really… Because… It sucks.”

“When you can’t reach your man it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s naked somewhere with somebody else. Not ‘necessarily.’”

“I think long distance is really rewarding when people are doing it correctly and both investing equal amounts of effort. And, uh, sending a lot of nudes.”

“In my opinion, I call them Geographically Undesirable Relationships.”

Geographically Undesirable Relationships
© youtube.com

I think that in today’s world we are more likely to get into a long-distance relationship than, maybe, we’ve ever been before. Many of us are meeting people on online dating, social media, dating apps which give us access to people that are not simply within our local area.

Then there’s the mobility of us these days. We travel, we work in all different places. Many of us move cities several times in our lifetime. So, we’re more likely to begin something that then turns out to be long-distance because they’ll move or we move. My big question for today is –

Are long-distance relationships worth it?

Now, you may respond to this “Well, Matt, that just depends on how much you really like the person.” But how much can you trust? How much you think you like the person? There is a term that I think perfectly describes the trap many of us falling to, when the person we’re attracted to lives far away – cognitive distonance.

Cognitive distonance
© youtube.com

Cognitive distonance – liking someone more because they’re far away; whilst being blinded to their negative qualities and the problems the relationship would present if you were actually together everyday instead of sharing intermittent honeymoons.

And of course this notion of putting a premium on a relationship simply because you can’t have it because there’s a barrier. Doesn’t just apply to distance, it applies to any barrier. Think of Romeo and Juliet. How much can Julien really trust, how much she likes Romeo? Did she really like him because they had the most amazing rapport and connection or was it the case that she thought he’s a nice lad? And then, when she heard he’s also a part of the wrong gang and you can’t have him she went.

And why is it so important to assess how grounded in reality your feelings for a person really are? Because in a long-distance relationship you are playing with a resource that is impossibly finite – your time.

They’ve been clean rides away and it really just feels like you… you’re only known for two weeks when you’ve been dating a year and so much time’s invested.

In a long-distance relationship you are playing with a resource that is impossibly finite – your time. Click To Tweet

You can fritter away months or years in a long-distance relationship that never pans out. The reality of the long-distance relationship is they’re incredibly easy to slip into: start talking to someone, you flirt, you realize that you find them charming, that you want to speak to the more, that you enjoy telling them about your day…

And before you know it what started as harmless and fun, leads to an exclusive relationship where you’re now committed to somebody that you can rarely, if ever, have sex with.

I know that sounds abrupt why did I jump to sex so specifically all of a sudden? Because what separates a deep friendship from an intimate relationship? Intimacy.

What I’ve learned from a previous long-distance relationship is that intimacy is not a matter of proximity.

Okay. So, some of our audience might argue that intimacy can be created from afar. But, this is where I think it’s so important to follow those sage words that ultimate philosophical advice “know thyself”.

You have to know how important physical intimacy is to you going in. If like me, physical intimacy is so important to you, it’s something you need on a regular basis in your relationship, then you know – going into a long-distance relationship is something that will be its own form of torture for you. Which makes it so important that if you get into one and you know it’s that important to you that you actually have a plan to be together.

The most important question in LDRs

A long-distance relationship is figuring things out for means to an end. Do you guys like each other enough for one of you to move to be with the other person?

Yes. Do you like each other enough for one of you to move to actually be with the other person? Not we’re doing Skype calls because it’s fun and we miss each other and when are we going to do our next holiday? You can’t live for a holiday you have to live for real life! And real life is – is someone committed enough to make the investment to actually leave where they are to be with you or vice versa?

If that’s not going to happen or it’s not going to happen anytime soon, you may want to seriously consider whether an exclusive committed relationship with this person is worth it.

The hardest part of long-distance relationships is trying to be there without actually being there. Click To Tweet

I’m not saying that if you meet the love of your life you should just throwing out of the window because they’re not as a man to puts it “geographically” desirable. What I am saying is – be honest with yourself!

Are you being lazy?

Are you just comfortable getting your fix at night talking to someone who you like talking to about your day, instead of going out there and taking a risk to meet someone new?

Do you have a scarcity mindset that there’s no one who’s going to come along on your doorstep, so that you have to go for this person who’s miles away?

And is there an actual plan? Because, if there’s not, no matter how perfect you think you offer each other, neither of you are really taking the relationship seriously.

How to make your long-distance relationship last

Long-distance relationships can be difficult. But if you have a special connection and you’re both committed to making it work, the rewards can be well worth the obstacles you have to overcome.

I am in Cyprus. You are all over the world. Got me thinking we’re sort of in a long-distance relationship right now. And I get a lot of questions about long-distance relationships: can they work, what are the secrets to having a great long-distance relationship?

So I thought I would do a talk specifically dedicated to all of you, who are either in a long-distance relationship or just on the edges, on the periphery of a long-distance relationship; wondering whether or not to dive in.

There are three big tips, that I want to talk about today for a long-distance relationship.

TIP #1: Create the unexpected moments in your communication

The first is surprises. So how might you do this? Well, if you’re always communicating by WhatsApp or Skype, even sending an email is going to be more powerful.

We don’t email because we think we have to write an essay to someone. Even if you just wrote them a couple of lines by email; think of the feeling someone gets in their gut when they’re not used to seeing your name appear in their inbox; and then all of a sudden they get an email from you. It’s a different feeling, so it creates that spark again.

Writing letters is another good one. I know it’s a little more difficult than an email. But a once in a while writing a letter is really sexy, and will absolutely surprise your partner and make them feel amazing.

It has your handwriting on the page. Think of that! It’s your real touch that has met with the page, that is now meeting with their touch when they hold the page. That’s really romantic, don’t lose it.

Presents. If you can send a gift to their house, that’s also really exciting and sexy. Even just taking pictures during your day and sending them pictures so that they have pictures of you going through your day.

Writing a letter could absolutely surprise your partner and make them feel amazing. Click To Tweet

So that you’re not always ending up talking to them at the end of the night or first thing in the morning. Instead, you’re actually letting them interact with your day and showing them a kind of montage of your day. It’s a really lovely thing to do.

TIP #2: Develop your other senses

Now I’m  kind of use the analogy of a blind person. A blind person develops heightened senses in other areas because they don’t have their sight. So, now everything else becomes strengthened.

The same can be true of you in your long-distance relationship. You can’t be standing next to someone; you can’t touch them; you can’t caress them; you can’t have sex with them; you can’t kiss them; you can’t have all of those intimate moments.

What you can do is develop the other senses. For example, the level of communication and connection you have; how well you get to know each other; how good you get reading each other.

You might actually be able to develop the more important parts of your relationship with someone while you’re away from them, then someone who is next to their partner.

There are plenty of people that are in a relationship where they watch movies, they have sex, they kiss… they watch movies, they have sex, they kiss, they eat together, they’re standing next to each other, they hold hands.

But, how well do they really know each other? Many times couples who spend all their time together get on the phone when they’re apart, and they have nothing to talk about. They realize they have no connection.

Maybe one of your senses is down, but the other ones can get better in this moment. So take advantage of that and frame that in a positive way, because it can be a positive thing.

TIP #3: The Right Mindset

This might just be the most important of all of them. You have to have this team mindset almost and us against the world mindset. That you and I can deal with any obstacle that comes our way. You and I are bigger than anything that could come our way.

There isn’t anything bigger than us; there’s no problem or obstacle bigger than us; there’s no person bigger than us as a couple. We can deal with whatever comes our way.

You have to have that instinct in your mind. Now, of course, you want to make sure that your partner feels the same, right? It’s worth having that conversation.

Look! Here’s how I feel about you. I feel really strongly about you. I’m willing to go through the difficult moments to do this with you, because I feel so intensely for you.

SEE ALSO: This Is Why Relationships Are Hard Nowadays – Neurobiological Reflexes

I just want to know that you feel the same; that you’re on the same page, because I wouldn’t want to do all of that if you’re not there with me. That’s a very legitimate conversation.

Because you don’t want to be investing all of this in a long-distance relationship if your partner isn’t there with you. But, if you have established, that you and your partner are in the same place in that way; don’t be afraid of what everyone else says.

Everyone else might tell you:

– “A-ah… you should be out”

– “You should be having fun”

– “You should be doing your own thing”

– “You shouldn’t be in this”

People don’t know your relationship. If you’re in it and it feels right and this person is important enough to put in the effort for, then you have to trust in your gut there and go for it. Even if there are hard times ahead.

But with one caveat – the two of you have to create some light at the end of the tunnel. The obvious light at the end of the tunnel is the day that you’re actually going to come together and be together.

The other way at the end of the tunnel might be a trip that you’re going to take together, or a time when you are going to see each other; time when it’s going to be better than it is now.

Hold on to that light at the end of the tunnel and celebrate it together, and work as a team to get there. There might be days where you’re weak and he’s strong. There might be a day where he’s weak and you’re strong.

That’s why you’re constantly helping each other up in different moments and acting as a team. You two against the world.

Conclusion

Lastly, I’ll say this. I have had my share of long-distance relationships and they’re really hard. There’s no sugarcoating in that. Long-distance relationships are hard.

So, if you’re going to do one; if you’re going to have a long-distance relationship, make sure that you feel the person you’re having it with is worth it. And you’re doing it because you really do feel a genuine connection with this person; not just because you’re lonely where you’re at in life and you have a scarcity mindset that says you couldn’t get anyone where you are right now.

And lastly… For the most part, I don’t regret any of the long-distance relationships I’ve had. Even though, for the time I was there, I was monogamous in a relationship with someone who was far away for a long time, and then it didn’t pan out.

I’ve still learnt so much from that relationship and I’m still glad that I had that relationship. So don’t beat yourself up.

If that relationship happens to end and you turn out to be wrong, take the lessons you can take from it; learn what you can learn, and then as you go into your next relationship you’ll be stronger, and wiser, and more able to love the next person.

About author

Matthew HusseyMatthew Hussey (born 19 June 1987) is a British television personality, human dynamics coach, and New York Times Bestselling author. He was a matchmaker on NBC’s Ready for Love. His writing credits include the New York Times Bestseller “Get The Guy: Learn Secrets of the Male Mind to Find the Man You Want and the Love You Deserve.” In America, he has provided relationship advice on CNN and NBC’s The Today (1952) Show.

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