How to build a successful long-term relationship

Relationships at a distance are difficult to maintain, and most people would not choose to live this way. The reasons that couples live in different geographic locations are many and varied. It may be that they were living in different cities when they met, or life’s events such as a job in a different location may have led to the parting.

Whatever the reason it is not easy to maintain such a relationship. Long-term relationships are built on shared experience. They must be worked on. The couple should be dating, having fun together, chatting and sharing jokes. When we don’t have the opportunity to share these moments our relationships can take strain. One or both partners may feel resentful of the other, and jealousies could arise.

Even when you get together for a few days these resentments can creep in. You have to roll so many experiences into a short period of time. Each minute of the time you have together is precious. For this reason, you may plan too many activities and your expectations of your partner may be too high. When the time together fails to meet your expectations, the result is likely disappointment and possible further resentment.

Many long-distance relationships don’t make the cut, and flounder in the wake of all the problems, but some couples who really work at it, manage to make the long haul and their relationships remain strong. This takes work.

Long-term relationships must be nurtured, and when you’re far apart the only way to look after the relationship is to speak to one another regularly. You should plan to phone every day or at least every second day so that you can tell each other about the activities of the day. This helps to keep the trust relationship intact as each partner is aware of what is happening in the life of the other.

It also affords you a chance to discuss the emotional effects of living apart. Individuals handle situations differently and it is likely that one partner may feel the separation more severely than the other. Talking about it will help you to keep connected.

Drop the weekend expectations. Don’t expect every moment together to be perfect. Plan to be together rather than planning a weekend full of activities.

When you think it may be over

For some people living apart is emotionally draining. One or both of you may feel that the long-distance relationship is not working. The time may come when you have to decide whether you want to continue the relationship at a distance.

You may be willing to compromise on aspects of the relationship or you may want to call it off. Either way, to avoid hurting the other person in the relationship it is important to sit down and discuss the issue.

If the time has come to discuss your long-distance relationship you may find it helpful to consult a trained counsellor to help you find the best solution. Counsellors are objective and understand the issues that couples face. They may be able to help you find a compromise.

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