Relationships require a lot of work, whether they are ones that involve living together or those where you’re far apart from each other. However, those in which the couple are living at a far distance from each other require some special skills in order to work.
The first key is a willingness to work, to focus on making this relationship successful. In order for this relationship to succeed, it will require you to be very intentional about your behavior. And your intention is to pay attention to this relationship, to nurture this relationship.
The second key is a commitment to the relationship by each member of the relationship. What kind of a commitment this is will be different for different couples. The important part is that the two in the relationship are clear with each other about their commitment. And it also is most successful when each takes this commitment very seriously and works at keeping their part of the commitment.
The third key is communication that is effective. This will be the glue that keeps the relationship intact. Both members of the couple need to work at sharing what is going on in their life, as well as sharing their emotions openly. Both members need to feel that the other welcomes their calls or their emails, and that they can feel free to contact the other.
The fourth key is trust. Each member of the couple must make the decision to trust their partner. Each member of the couple must decide to live up to the trust that their partner places in them. This is risky business, but it is the only way to keep your sanity in a relationship.
The fifth key requires the art of balance. You need to learn the fine balance between independence and dependence. You need to develop interests of your own, and an ability to enjoy your life on your own. Yet you also need to depend on your partner for support and other emotional needs.
When all of these are present, the sixth key seems to happen naturally; the sixth key is mutual respect.
Clear expectations with each other is the seventh key component. First of all, you have to understand yourself well enough to know what you are expecting of this person and of the relationship. Then, it is important to communicate this in a clear way. Then if there are differences in expectations between partners, this can be worked out.
- Get involved in other activities or causes of things you believe in.
- Help others less fortunate.
- Reach out to those who support you.
- Attend to your spirituality.
- Do something not typical of you—but not harming---and add a little spice and interest to your life.
- Write them a letter telling them how your feel. However, you may not want to send it to them.
- Distract yourself in some way---go to a movie, go to a sporting event, etc.
- Call or visit a friend.
- Go to Perkins and do your homework.
- Come to the Counseling Center to talk about it.
Relationships will always be challenging, and long-distance ones even more so. However, all of this work can result in a very fulfilling, healthy and successful relationship.