How To Survive a Long-Distance Relationship (LDR) In These Modern Times
People say that for love and romance to truly blossom between two partners, it takes a special kind of chemistry between both individuals for a relationship to work. Hopefully, the equation turns a simple spark into a flame that should last till death do them part.
If that is then the case, then one could also argue that a long-distance relationship (LDR) is the absolute litmus test of a committed relationship.
Whether for couples who are fresh out of college, or the going-strong sweethearts brought together by none other than destiny, entering and maintaining an LDR—and for whatever reasons—is generally considered a make-or-break moment in a couple's life.
One doesn't have to overthink—maintaining a long-distance relationship is a monumental obstacle, as it goes against the very nature of being in a relationship itself. Breaking down the word's etymology, the word “relation” or “relacion” in French means “report or connection.” In the strictest sense of the word, two things must physically touch in order to make a connection. Think Lego bricks, electrical wires, jewelry clasps etc.
But then come to think of it, the modern times have introduced us to a different concept of connection: Think Wi-Fi, Cellular Data, Bluetooth connectivity etc.
That said, not all is dark and bleak when we think of the probable outcomes of LDRs. If you're reading this, then chances are you are you must be in a long-distance relationship currently or you're about to be a part of one. Don't worry. If you play your cards right, you can turn the odds in your favor. There is still some gold left to glean in all this. As the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
According to Dr. Guldner of The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, a division of JF Milne Publications, 14 million couples in the United States define themselves as currently in a long-distance relationship. Here's another statistic: Of all engaged couples in the U.S., 75 percent of them—at some point in their relationships—have tried being in a long-distance relationship.
First off, people in a long-distance relationship need not despair over their circumstance. It is not a rarity. Couples can simply ask some of their friends for advice, or read and study more about it online, since maintaining a long-distance relationship with a partner is becoming more and more common these days. In the age before the internet, maintaining an LDR was not even a thought to be considered. Now, the game has changed.
There are several reasons that come up why maintaining a long-distance relationship is an option for serious lovers these days. But majority of these simply boil down to building a better life for an individual—or the couple—in terms of finances or career opportunities and advancement.
So, if you are in a long-distance relationship, don't worry—you are not alone.
Now, it's time to delve deeper into the dark abyss of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Here are some numbers that give one an idea of how tough it is to be in a long-distance relationship.
According to the same study, it takes only about four to five months before a long-distance relationship loses momentum and eventually ends. For everyone who has entered into a long-distance relationship, 40 percent of couples eventually call it quits.
The chances of coming out of an LDR victorious are not that high, yes. But the odds for making an LDR work out still outnumber the odds of it failing. The math says that if 40 percent failed to make the cut, 60 percent of them actually makes it out alive.
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Planning is key
If you want to be victorious one day, sharing to friends and family members of the days you spent in emotional purgatory before one day finally entering a heavenly union with your partner, then let's make this certain: making a long-distance relationship work takes exactly just that—work, and lots and lots of it.
Now, for starters, remember that an LDR is supposedly just a phase in a life-long journey of love. Please, remember that. It doesn't make sense for couples to be in a long-distance relationship forever, right?
If you're in a long-distance relationship right now and you have no idea what the end for both you and your partner looks like, then close this page right now, stop reading the article, and re-consider your relationship.
But if you're in an LDR right now, and you're serious about winning at this stage in your life, then the first important thing to take note of is this: Plan.
Yes. When it comes to LDRs, planning is not only crucial but is also key. When it comes to love, planning is not merely a logistical matter but an emotional and psychological one, too.
Talk about regular visits. Talk about how both of you are going to communicate. Talk about with which means and how frequent these talks will be. Talk about matching one's daily itinerary to make time for the other when it comes to video calls. Are both of you in the same time zone? Plan sleeping times, waking up hours etc. Talk about how long this LDR is supposed to be and when the endgame will be. (Take note: If you've reached this point in the article, it is integral that you finish reading until the end. There will be some caveats mentioned.)
Talk about why both of you are in a long-distance relationship in the first place. Plan how both of you will spend holidays together—imagine days like Valentine's Day, birthdays, Christmases and New Year's. Don't just talk about when the endgame will be, talk about what the endgame looks like. Talk about what goals both of you wish to achieve after the LDR phase.
Talk about how both of you are made for each other in spite of the odds. Take the numbers into account; do not underestimate the distance and the kinds of lifestyles waiting for your partner at his or her end of the world. Treat yourselves as love's underdogs, and try to chart a plan that will ensure that both of you will come out on top; part of that 60 percent who have emerged as LDR winners. Lastly, assure your partner and don't give that person any reason to fear or be jealous of anyone or anything. Be strong for each other.
With all the planning, talking and time both of you will be spending, it pays to be specific. Don't leave arguments out in the cold. Don't keep relationship plans to yourself. Don't presume your partner knows how you feel—share it.
Here are a few tips and tricks both of you can do, specifically, to enjoy each other's company even when miles apart.
Watch a favorite series together. In the age of Netflix, and assuming both of you are a) into watching TV series' and b) can somehow find a common title to watch together, then this is a perfect idea for date nights. First off, you don't have to watch a TV series at the same time, because chances are, time zones will be an issue. But if both of you can actually find time to watch it together, then imagine the possibilities! Not only will be both of you be secured at the thought that your significant other is 100 percent “with you,” conversations can veer away from the serious and you can have light moments together.
Play online games together. This is basically the same thing as the one mentioned above except this time, it's more interactive. God bless you both if you are both gamers, it's essentially an alternate universe where both of you can be together. Some of these games even allow microphones or front cameras activated, so you can read and react each other's plays.
Have weekly breakfast or dinner dates. Again, time may be an issue. But if both of you can strike a deal when to share a meal, then pursue it. And make this meal a virtual one, by turning on your phone or laptop, and seeing your loved one on the other end of the world through your mobile device. And yes, look good too. In fact, you can take this up a notch by cooking together.
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At the end of the day, or the entire time both of you will spend apart from each other, a long-distance relationship is all about love. And love is majorly built on a foundation of trust. Part of the reasons why LDRs break down is that because most partners turn paranoid and end up choking the other party by unnecessary and incessant calls, chats and follow-ups. While it's important to be there for the other person, giving your partner space is somehow also important. Scary, but important.
Think of a long-distance relationship as a necessary evil more than a poison pill. People who are indeed wired to be with each other, end up making the same effort to get through the phase. Both parties are careful not to find themselves in “dangerous places” (aka clubs, bars and other events where there are hot and available single people who are masters at flirting).
In the context of love and chemistry once again, not only is an LDR a litmus test telling of a couple's chances for eternal bliss. Look at LDR as an absolute catalyst as well.
If both of you just love each other because of physical attributes, but are somehow bound to fail because of issues unresolved, then an LDR will speed things up causing both parties to drift from each other, and perhaps, saving both of you from a future of ill fate. Maybe, just maybe, the LDR did both of you some good in the long-term.
But if both of you love each other's souls, thinking highly of the other and making sure you don't fail your partner, then an LDR will only boost the union on to another level, transcending beyond the mere physical connection. After this challenging phase, couples who have stared a long-distance relationship in the face, and have beaten it through love, time and effort, can confidently live with the thought that their connection is one that weaves science and romance with magic and miracles.
As Bono sings in the U2 track “Miracle Drug”: “Of science and the human heart, there is no limit. There is no failure here, sweetheart… just when you quit.”