How to Maintain a Relationship Over Distance

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Beautiful couple hugging after long separation

Long-distance relationships are difficult. If you have ever dated someone that lives a hundred miles away or more, then you’ll know that this can place a number of unique strains on your relationship and potentially stall your progress.
But it’s not just the romantic relationship that has to survive over distance these days. Today, many of us maintain long-distance relationships with friends and family too. The world is getting ever larger and it is more likely than ever that you will have moved away from the small town you grew up in.
So how do you maintain the relationships you had without them fading away? Especially when life gets tough and you start to struggle to find time to catch up.
Keep it Regular
The first and most important tip is to maintain regular comms. When I was in a long distance relationship with my now-wife after we finished college, we would find time to speak on MSN (yes we’re old) every single night. Every single night.
My best friend today lives a two-hour drive away but we manage to stay in close contact by talking on the phone once a week. For an hour!
Why is this so important? Because it prevents the situation where you are just ‘catching up’ with someone after a long time. This is a very easy trap to fall into. After not seeing someone for a long time, there is simply too much to catch up on. So, we ask ‘what is new?’ and the conversation that follows will generally mean listing a series of events – only it will be a compressed version with lots missed out.
The problem is that this isn’t a meaningful interaction. If you have just listed a series of events, then you’ve not learned anything about how that person is feeling, you’ve not made each other laugh.
In fact, most of our most memorable and important conversations are about nothing. You can’t have those kinds of conversations if you’re always ‘catching up’, so make sure you converse regularly enough that this isn’t the reality!
Make Memories
The other problem with long distance relationships is that they tend to involve lots of phone calls and lots of brief interactions which aren’t you and the other person at your best. A weekend meet-up is always going to be forced and brief. Will you really look back fondly at that time you ‘met in a equidistant location for coffee’ and ‘caught up’? Have you ever found yourself in relationships where all you do is reminisce about the past?
But a holiday together as a group? That creates new memories. So, does dining in the dark. And so, does just hanging out as you normally would. Make memories. Don’t see people for the ‘sake of seeing them’.
Be Cool
And finally, be cool. Don’t be that guy or girl who constantly laments that you don’t see each other more. This can actually feel accusatory and end up making things more awkward. Accept that lives change and people move away and just really try to enjoy the time you do get with your friend or partner.
Citizen Coaching and Counselling provides one to one, couples and family counselling in Birmingham from our counselling centres in Birmingham City Centre and Jewellery Quarter. We have a number of counsellors that specialise in this work who can help you through difficult times. We have appointments available seven days a week – including evenings and at weekend daytimes.