Long Distance Relationship Definition
Long distance relationship is a romantic relationship that exists between partners who live apart from one another. Geographical separation isolates them. Partners in a long distance long relationship lack the opportunity to engage in face to face communication or contact (Tseng, 2016). Long distance relationship is faced with various challenges, but the most important factor is maintaining the relationship healthy. There are various factors that partners in a long distance relationship can use to keep a stable relationship. The most important factors that sustain long distance relationships are mutual trust and understanding.
Love has been in existence since the beginning of human race. Despite the developments in technology and science, people still find themselves in love. However, the demanding human social and economic needs such as the desire to pursue higher education and job commitments have led to the separation of various couples. As such, they have to maintain long distance relationships. This can sometimes be painful. However, it is an aspect that many people have to deal with at some point in life. The relationships have proved to be hard to the heart, but it calls for the personal commitment of both partners so as to maintain the relationship (Tseng, 2016). Several men and women have met in places that they find it hard to visit again. Such areas include visiting faraway friends or relatives, vacations, and cruises. These meetings sometimes do spark romantic relationships that may eventually end as a result of inevitable circumstances since people have to part ways. Such incidents have led to people being in long distance relationships. Despite the challenges that people may encounter in the long distance relationship, it is possible to maintain such relationships (Tseng, 2016). The couples can survive the separation. It requires a constant feeling of mutual and emotional dependability, constant communication, and strong commitment. The couples must frequently communicate so as to overcome the challenges associated with this type of relationship. They need to talk about anything and must develop a sense of understanding between them (Hugel, 2015). Therefore, this study focuses on the various strategies and techniques that can be used to ensure that the long distance relationships stand the test of time.
Various factors cause people to be in long distance relationships. Some of the factors include school, job, and online relationship. Despite all these factors, people still pursue love (Hugel, 2015). However, there are so many challenges or setbacks that are usually witnessed to make such relationships work-out. It is not easy to maintain long distance relationship. The couples always miss touch that should exist between them. The partners who are separated because of jobs or school have been obliged to devise methods or techniques that will make the relationship last or stand the test of time (Hugel, 2015). Students always find themselves in long distance relationships because of the different course choices. They are forced to pursue such courses in various colleges. Besides, there are those who are compelled to travel to foreign countries to further their education. As such, they are obliged to remain in long distance relationships. On the other hand, couples also separate because of job requirements. Some couples only meet once a year. There are also people who meet on special occasions such as vacations or the online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. These three categories of individuals often experience different challenges. Most of the times, they find themselves lonely and anxious since they miss those who mean a lot to them. Most of the people have always become anxious about such relationships, but it calls for personal commitment and sacrifice to overcome the challenges that couples are likely to experience (Tseng, 2016).
People who are in long distance relationship do experience different challenges. Couples find it hard to adapt to their current situations. This is caused by the reality and the expectations from the relationship. The gap that exists between the current situation and the relationship expectations are the primary causes of problems in the long distance relationships. The problems experienced in long distance relationship can be categorized into three groups’ namely psychological, communication, and relationship problems.
Communication is a vital ingredient in maintaining a healthy relationship. It plays a significant role in long distance relationship since it is the only way one can express himself or herself to the loved one (Tseng, 2016). This applies to the one who you cannot see, and establish a physical contact or hold hands as a way of reassurance. However, long distance relationship is faced with various challenges that call for personal commitment and mutual trust. The communication problems can arise from the following factors:
Differences in Time Zones
Couples who live in different continents find it hard to align their schedules to create an opportunity for effective communication. Time zone difference complicates the process of keeping on track the activities of your partner alongside your schedule. This gap creates problems in the long distance relationship that may take the time to overcome. To overcome time zone difference, the couples are required to organize and plan for their schedules effectively. Besides, they must be good time managers so as to keep track the activities of their partners and communicate at a time when both are off duty.
Discrepancy in the Means of Communication
The choice of the appropriate mode of communication may lead to communication problems in the long distance relationships. It is a fact that most men prefer chatting to talking as opposed to women who love to talk (Firmin, Ruth & Kaile, 2013). Males and females in long distance relationship should choose a mutually agreed mode of communication tool to avoid any discrepancies that may arise. Such communication apps may include video chat, voice calls or monosyllabic texts. The communication should always use romantic words such as I love you, I miss you, I cannot live without you by my side, and other words that can be used to spice a relationship. To develop mutual trust and love, the other partner may even decide to call at the wee hours of the night just to inquire about how the other partner is doing.
Over Reliance on Technology
Partners in long distance relationship may use technology to bring them closer and create a rift between them at the same time. Technology is used to strengthen a relationship when you use it to send consistent messages to your loved one. Besides, you can stay online on social media on various platforms such as Facebook, Skype or Google Hangout while updating your loved one on the progress of your daily activities. The partners can also use mobile phones to call their loved ones even more than twenty times a day reminding them of their love. Social media can also be used to send romantic messages that make the relationship healthy. However, when partners stop using technology, mistrust may develop, and this can crack a relationship. Therefore, it is important to keep constant communication while in a long distance relationship since it is a remedy to breaking relationships. Mutual trust should always be maintained during connection. Each partner should assure the other of their unending love.
The problems that may arise in a long distance relationship as a result of poor communication can be mitigated by effective communication that encourages feedback about the needs which have not been met (Firmin, Ruth & Kaile, 2013). These requirements may include agreeing when to communicate especially with partners who are affected by time zone difference. Besides, the partners may agree on the modalities that they can use to see each other in person. Therefore, effective communication is a vital ingredient to keeping a healthy long distance relationship.
Every romantic relationship always does have some problems. However, long distance relationships are faced with numerous challenges as a result of the distant between the partners. The distance between the couples makes it difficult to solve problems that they may encounter as compared to those who are in a close relationship.
Spending most of the time away from your partner affects the quality of a relationship. Such partners always spend most of their quality time alone. They do not have those who can take them to shop or attend parties organized by friends. Such couples will always feel lonely and unhappy when their friends attend parties with their lovers. However, it is important to grow the feeling of commitment and directing all the energy and time to the relationship to ensure that it lasts (Beck, 2013). Even in such circumstances where a partner cannot be accompanied to attend a party or go shopping, they should always remain emotionally attached. This will prevent them from growing apart. Love and trust should always prevail so as to overcome challenges that may hinder the relationship.
According to Doctor Kenneth Davidson, three types of dependency may affect long distance relationship. These include A-frame, M-frame and H-frame dependencies. An A-frame dependency is where one of the partners is too dependent on the other partner. An H-frame dependency is where there is interdependence between the couples. An M-frame dependency is where there is both dependence and interdependence among the partners in a relationship. For partners to avoid fallout in a long distance relationship, they should always embrace the M-frame pattern of dependency. In this case, everybody is treated as an equal partner, and there is no over-dependency.
Some of the problems associated with long distance relationships can be overcome by maintaining constant physical interaction. Partners in a long distance relationship can sacrifice their time to spend with their partners. They should not take too long before meeting physically. This would contribute to a lasting relationship. Lack of tangible support is also a contributing factor to relationship problems. Lack of support especially during bad times may affect the emotional feelings of the other partner. In this case, partners who are in a long distance relationship can use the existing technology to show their presence to their loved ones. This can be achieved through emotional support by engaging in constant or frequent communication (Beck, 2013).
Long Distance Relationship Psychological Problems
The physical separation has a negative impact on the mental health of partners in a long distance relationship. Physical separation is associated with emotional challenges that may be difficult to overcome. Partners in long distance relationship have always found it hard to overcome loneliness whenever they miss their loved ones. Loneliness is a major challenge in every long-distance relationship at some point because of the absence of the significant other and long duration of separation. As such, it becomes hard to bear the burden of being lonely. Other partners have also suffered depression; as a result long distance relationship. Depression usually comes about when loneliness starts to affect the mental health of the partners. This is because of lack of emotional fulfillment that they lack from their partners. The long-term effects of depression are detrimental to the health of the partners. This may also affect the relationship itself. The couples in a long distance relationship usually do miss doing some simple things together. Such activities include holding the other person hand, taking a walk together, feeling the touch of the spouse, having a meal together and smelling the other persons’ cologne or hair. These simple things do much to a relationship. When one misses them, he or she is likely to suffer a lot of psychological problems.
Anxiety may also set in a long distance relationship. Anxiety can be difficult to tackle since the partners may not be familiar with the kind of sensation they are undergoing. Stress may affect the level of trust and strain the relationship. There are also cases of insecurity associated with the long distance relationship. This arises when the other partners frequently interact with people of the opposite sex. Failure to deal with uncertainty in a long distance relationship may lead to jealousy and create an obsessive behavior that may influence the emotional attachment between the partners. To overcome insecurity, partners should always develop a mutual trust so as to maintain the relationship (Beck, 2013).
There are various ways that partners can devise to allow them to feel close to their loved ones despite being several kilometers apart. One of such ways is constant and frequent communication on cell phones (Beck, 2013). Partners can use the mobile phones to communicate with their spouses in the morning and the evening. In the morning, they should get to know how their partners spent their nights and the plans they have for the day. In the evenings, the partners may dwell on the progress of the day and what they intend to have for dinner before retiring to bed. The communication should always be maintained even during the weekends and the holidays. Constant communication usually builds mutual trust and understanding among the partners (Firmin, Ruth & Kaile, 2013).. In this way, they can resolve the challenges that they are likely to experience during the relationship. On the other hand, couples in a long distance relationship can also use social media to engage in productive conversations. The partners are required to be creative and employ some sense of humor so as to survive negative criticisms that may arise from friends and family members that are opposed to the relationship. The spouses can also use social media to resolve conflicts that may affect the relationship. However, they should avoid suspicious people who may interfere with their relationship.
Receiving or sending gifts also play a major role in maintaining a healthy long distance relationship. The gifts that are given by a lover do have an attached meaning and can arouse emotions and increase love between the spouses. Gifts are used to show true love, appreciation, and care that exist between partners (Beck, 2013). The gifts that can be sent to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship includes a teddy bear, a bunch of flowers, a collection of movies or love songs and a beautiful or cute bed cover or blanket. These gifts increase the level of commitment and draw the memory of the other partner towards the one who is away. Gifts are also useful in maintaining long distance relationships during challenging times. They increase the level of trust and love among the spouses.
Long distance relationship provides more room for love to flourish between the couples (Beck, 2013). It offers an excellent opportunity where partners can develop relationships that enhance love. For instance, time spent way doing active activities allow one to have a personal reflection about their journey in a relationship. These increases love for those who are in long distance relationship. Such positive activities may include sports hobby, poetry or painting. The paintings can be used as a way of communicating love. The paintings and other artistic work can also be sent as gifts. This provides an opportunity for spouses to grow in a relationship. Long distance relationships do not require defensive communication (Firmin, Ruth & Kaile, 2013). This will prevent physical intimacy between the partners. Defensive communication may include using harsh, rude and intimidating sentiments against the other partner. Defensive communication is common among partners who are unfaithful in their relationships. Partners in a long distance relationship should always keep their love fresh. This is a good way to maintain a long distance relationship.
Many people believe that long distance relationships can never work. Many people have been discouraged by friends and family members to quit their relationships as are the result of geographical separation with their partners. However, various relationship consultants have devised several ways that people can use to overcome challenges associated with this type of relationship. The spouses in a long distance relationship are always discouraged from being possessive. They should avoid much communication. The communication should only be done at the right moments (Firmin, Ruth & Kaile, 2013). The partners should also take the distance as an opportunity to grow their love and take it to a different level. The geographical separation should be treated as a chance that will bond the two together. According to Beck Julie (2013), the separation should make one feel closer than feeling far away. The partners should also learn how to talk dirty at some times. They can do this by sending teasing texts and other sexual sentiments that would arouse sexual desire. This acts as the glue and would keep both parties together for a longer duration. Sexual sentiments also help the couples to overcome emotional challenges that result from loneliness and anxiety.
From the above discussions, it is evident that long distance relationships among spouses can work. The concerned parties should embrace love and mutual trust. They should also communicate frequently as this would allow them to overcome loneliness and anxiety. The couples can at times be discouraged from the relationship, but it requires the commitment and agreement to keep the relationship healthy. The geographical distance only separates the lovers physically. However, they should embrace undying trust and mutual love even during challenging moments.
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