Very few people idealize the long-distance relationship, even those in them. With good reason: being miles apart from the most important person in your life can be emotionally draining. But when they work out, LDRs are a testament to the power of love and commitment.
They’re not always so bad, either; in fact, some studies indicate that long-distance partners actually feel closer to each other. The distance requires them to take extra care, which means that traditional couples can learn a lot from them! Here are some things we can all learn from these unique relationships.
Trust Your Partner Completely
When you’re in a long-distance relationship, there’s no surefire way to “keep an eye” on your partner. When they tell you they’re doing or not doing something, you have to take their word for it. It can be harrowing experience, especially for people who have been wronged in the past.
For close-distance couples – especially those who have been married for a while – the same idea of trust still applies. A key ingredient in any marriage is trusting that your partner has good intentions. Frequent communication and transparency are key to establishing this sense of trust.
Give Your Partner Space
In long-distance relationships, space is a given…often hundreds of miles of it. These couples make their time together count, whether it’s confined to holiday breaks or a long weekend. When they’re not together, partners maintain jobs, hobbies, and even friend groups that are entirely separate from each other.
Privacy and space are essential to self-identity. Research backs it up: a long-term study called The Early Years of Marriage Project had 29 percent of its respondents citing lack of space as a problem in their marriages. This compares to 6 percent of those citing lack of sexual intimacy, the typical poster child for marital blues.
Value Quality Time
Most long-distance partners communicate every day when possible. While you no doubt talk to your spouse most days, how often do you make it count? Are you distracted by your phone, the TV, or other priorities?
A good example of this in long-distance relationships is the Skype and Netflix date, where partners get on Skype and synchronize a streaming movie to simulate a movie night together. The presence of Skype means your partner can tell if you’re distracted or not invested, making it much more important to stay focused. A close-distance couple and learn from this: it’s not only important to spend quality time together, but to take that quality time seriously.
Are you and your partner interested in strengthening your relationship? Are you preparing for marriage? Azevedo Family Psychology offers marital and premarital counseling for couples in the Triangle, including Cary, Holly Springs, and Raleigh-Durham. Contact us today and let’s create a life worth celebrating!
The Seven Principles Program will give you new insights and research-based relationship skills that can dramatically improve the intimacy and friendship in your relationship and help you resolve conflict in a healthy, productive way.