Professionals are more international than ever before, zipping around the world for work. What does this mean for relationships? We shared our thoughts with the Metro.
My long distance relationship didn’t work out, but here’s how to make yours last
I was quick to jump into one, thinking it’d be exciting and that the suspense of waiting to see my partner would keep me in it for the long-haul, but I was wrong.
We lived eight hours apart, but despite the distance, the first four months went swimmingly. It was all still so exciting. Sure, the travelling was draining but it felt worth it. We’d travel down to each other’s ends every other weekend and we’d spend around five days together at a time – which, when you add it up, amounted to the regular time most couples would spend together each month.
When we weren’t together, we’d miss each other terribly. We’d Skype most nights and we’d look forward to the next time we were due to see each other. Every time we saw each other we were very intimate, which made the whole experience all the more exciting.
However, as time went on, the distance took its toll.
We had been seeing each other so often each month that travel expenses were starting to add up. This meant that we decided to start cutting down our time together until we were seeing each other just once a month.
Of course, not seeing your partner for long periods of time causes a lot of sexual frustration – and so when we did see each other, that’s all we’d do. Time together became weekends of sex as opposed to anything else. It got boring and left us with not much to talk about – making us feel all the more distant – the opposite of what intimacy is supposed to do.
And the relationship didn’t just suffer when we were together. As we got deeper into the relationship, we started to miss each other less. We’d got used to the time apart and therefore it wasn’t as exciting when we were to finally see each other nor as heartbreaking when we said goodbye. It just became routine.
And, as we got used to it, the Skype calls lessened. The texts became sparse. Arguments started and caused us to become distant – with the trust we once had lessening due to the lack of communication.
Eventually, 11 months into the relationship, we decided over the phone to end it. It wasn’t working, neither of us were happy and the distance was just too much for us to handle a relationship.
Though the relationship didn’t work out, it taught me a few things about what I need from a relationship. While the long distance wasn’t right for me, I do believe others can succeed at it if their heart’s in it – though there are a few things I believe a long distance relationship needs in order to succeed.
My advice is to always sort out what you can manage financially when it comes to travel. Don’t start off by travelling to each other too much before realising you don’t have the money to do so.
Don’t rely on Skype and the internet to speak with each other all of the time. While it’s good to keep in touch, there will be odd times when the other won’t be able to get to a phone or computer – and for a long distance couple, a broken routine can become so much more when you’re not together.
Don’t make the relationship all about sex. Save it. Sure, it’s great to have an intimate weekend but if you don’t begin having experiences together that’s all your relationship will be about. The more time you spend with your partner the more you’re getting to know them – and while you can do that in the sheets you’ll have a lot more to tell your friends if you experience what’s beyond them.
And ultimately, don’t work your life around your long distance relationship. Let it work around you. If you only want to visit for a couple of days, do so. Not overplaying it when it comes to visits will mean there’s less chance of getting under each other’s feet too much. It will keep it less strained and a lot easier.
If you can’t visit for a weekend, explain that – don’t spend time and money that you don’t have. If you force too much into a long distance relationship, it’s not going to work.
Remember that relationships are supposed to be fun – and don’t commit to a person so far away if there’s none of that involved.
Metro.co.uk spoke with Caroline Brealey, CEO and Matchmaker of Mutual Attraction, who described long distance relationships as being a ‘challenge’ – even for the strongest of relationships.
She said: ‘That’s because the little things are what help us maintain happy and healthy relationships – being about to pop to the pub for a drink together after a long day at work, spending a lazy Sunday morning having a lie-in and watching trashy TV in bed together or simply hanging out together with no plans.
‘They’re things we take for granted when we have a partner who lives with us or nearby.’
However, Caroline says the main challenge of any long distance relationship is the lack of physical contact – and that doesn’t just mean sex.
‘Holding hands, having a cuddle, just chilling out on the sofa together watching a movie is all important physical contact that creates a bond. Our natural instinct is to want to be close to the one we love or have strong feelings for, so when that opportunity is removed it’s difficult,’ says Caroline
‘Plus, and sorry to say this, but men are usually a bit rubbish on the phone which makes for some awkward phone calls!’
Caroline doesn’t rule out making a long distance relationship work completely, though. She says that if you find someone who is really special to you, you shouldn’t be too quick to give up on the relationship – even if that means having to live apart for a long time.
She explained: ‘We don’t get those type of feelings very often so when we do, act on them! If they’re potentially your life partner, sacrificing a year apart can mean a whole lifetime together.
‘The important thing is to make sure you’re both open and honest with one another, communicate and have an end date for when you’ll stop being apart.
‘If neither of you are prepared to compromise and move then you need to be open and frank about it – don’t let it simmer and go un-talked about. If both of you are dead set on not moving then it’s unlikely it will go any further, but if you’re both prepared to compromise then long distance relationships can work.’
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