Long-distance relationships can be hard, but sometimes they’re unavoidable. Especially if you and your significant other had to part ways after high school and attend different schools this fall. It may sound impossible, but maintaining a bond between two people when they’re far apart can work.
I had a chance to speak with Natasha Sharma. She is the author of “The Kindness Journal,” TV/Media Personality, and Therapist. Sharma has some tips for you readers out there who now find themselves in long-distance relationships after moving away to a different city or even a different province to attend school this fall.
One of the things that can be troublesome in a long-distance relationship is the lack of physical connection because you no longer have that constant access to your significant other. That’s why keeping a consistent schedule of interaction is important. Sharma says “you’ve [got to find some time whether it’s once a day, every other day, or once a week], where you [dedicate time to connect with one another].” There are lots of ways to keep in touch with each other with all the technology we have these days like Skype, Facetime, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and the list goes on. “These are really good ways where you can see the person’s feelings [and] emotions,” she adds.
Trust is another big one. It can be problematic if one partner is prone to worry about their significant other or fearful that they’re engaging in activities they shouldn’t be. When you don’t have access to that person, “you need to be able to have a lot of trust and faith in your partner that they’re on the same page as you and that they value the relationship,” says Sharma. Whether it’s driving out to see your partner once a month or flying out to see you, partner, once every six months and using technology to stay connected in between, when a person values a relationship they will put in that effort to make it work.
Sharma also says having an endpoint is important. This only really applies if you plan on having a future together. There needs to be some sort of a plan to end your physical separation so that you can physiologically work towards it. This will require the two of you to sit down from time to time and reassess where each of you are at in the relationship. Can one of you move and if not, how many years until each of you are done your programs, what can we do in the meantime to keep the connection, etc.
Another issue couples can run into is when one or both partners are overly dependent on one another. This can be really hard for people in a long-distance relationship because they don’t have that other person there to constantly rely on and do things with. Sharma doesn’t think “it’s healthy for anyone to feel like they need their relationship in order to be happy, nobody needs their relationship.” She says the types of people who would do really well in long-distance relationships are those who are really confident on their own. “They enjoy spending time alone, they have a fulfilling and robust life outside of their relationship,” adds Sharma.
At the end of the day, Sharma says couples can make up their own rules and do what works for them in the relationship as long as they’re on the same page. She says you just have to ensure that “both people are in agreement about what they are and is completely fine and happy with whatever that plan for the relationship looks like.”