This is a blog post by my daughter Larissa, who is in a long-term, likely lifetime, relationship with an amazing guy. My husband and I have learned from our now adult daughters their entire lives. I’m sure many of you with children can relate.
I met my boyfriend right before I was about to leave Massachusetts to study in Australia for a year. Once I returned, he was living in Cleveland, and had a year and a half left in his Master’s program. By the time that we finally moved in together, we had been doing long distance for about two and a half years of our three year relationship. Although this was not an easy process, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world, as we learned invaluable lessons from this experience. These lessons have strengthened our relationship more than I would have ever thought in the beginning.
Learning how to talk about how to communicate: When you are living far away from one another, you do not have the luxury of communicating in any form other than texting or video chatting. Therefore, you have to be able to communicate effectively, as you cannot ignore less desirable aspects of your relationship if you have great sexual chemistry like you can in person. You will be forced to learn how to communicate in the best way for each other, or there is no way your relationship will thrive.
Love languages: Everyone has a different way in which they give and would like to receive love. We often unintentionally give love in the way that we would like to receive love, which can lead to imbalances down the line. The five love languages are: words of affirmation (verbal compliments, support, etc), gifts, acts of service (chores, taking over childcare, etc), quality time together, and physical touch. This website has a number of definitions, resources, and quizzes to help you figure out your own love language: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Making time for one another: If you cannot make physical plans with your partner, it is even more important to schedule out set times to emotionally spend with one another. We would schedule a weekly facetime date, and watch a show on Netflix together. To this day, we still prioritize the time we get to spend together, and never take it for granted.
Patience: It can be extremely frustrating to not be able to see your partner, especially if you are going through a rough patch in life. However, if you take these emotions out on your significant other, it will only hurt your relationship. Therefore, you must be willing to move through problems slowly but intentionally, and understand that every day cannot be perfect. If you can take lessons from the negative experiences and grow together, your relationship will flourish.
Trust: When you cannot get your own sexual and emotional needs met in person by your partner, it can be easy to drift off and think that your partner may be tempted to cheat. It is not difficult to cheat on someone, whether you live across the world from one another or just down the street. If you cannot trust your partner’s commitment to you, it is worth investigating why. Do you have difficulty trusting others? Have you or your partner cheated in the past (on you or a previous partner)? Are they giving you reasons to be suspicious, or are you pushing a great partner away? Be honest with your partner about what you are feeling, and evaluate whether you are being paranoid or if you should truly be concerned about your partner’s behavior.