There are specific challenges that couples in long distance relationships face which other couples do not. But, with a little bit of ingenuity and work, there are also fixes to those challenges. You know your long distance relationship is in trouble when . . .
- You both operate by different rules about when and how to communicate or what should be shared.
- When only one of you is making the effort to stay connected.
- When you feel like you “have to” call, talk, text or otherwise communicate with your partner. It’s a sure sign things are out of tune when it’s an obligation to communicate and not because you want to.
- You are jealous of everything. You might think that jealousy signals your undying love for the other person, but instead it is a signal that there is a trust breakdown. Without trust your relationship is headed for a break up.
So, what can you do about it?
Almost every problem with a long distance relationship can be “fixed” with open communication and action. It’s great to talk openly about your concerns and desires but if no action is taken then the conversation fell on deaf ears. It’s great to take action to mend a relationship, but if it’s the wrong actions that the other person doesn’t appreciate, then all your work is done for naught.
Step one is ask. Set aside some time in your conversations when you can be open and honest with each other without fear of repercussions later. Tell your partner what you need, want or desire and ask them to do the same thing. Then make a plan together and take action.
For instance, if you or your partner is jealous, talk about why or what the other person is doing to trigger feelings of jealousy. Then work together to find a solution that meets both your needs. Maybe your partner doesn’t like that you go to lunch with the same person of the opposite sex every day at work. You share information from your lunches but that only drives the wedge further. Instead, you might invite along another 1 or 2 people to lunch or find another person to go to lunch with.
But the underlying issue with jealousy is a lack of trust. So, while you are working out the functional aspects of going to lunch with someone else, you’ll also have to address why there is a lack of trust. Did one of you break that trust between you and your relationship is still healing? Did the jealous partner come from another bad relationship where there was cheating or a parent that was cheating?
When it comes to trust, you can’t always work it out on your own. Use a couple of counseling sessions to iron out the issues and develop a communication pattern that works for both of you. And, before you start thinking that it’s a long distance relationship and there’s no way you’re spending an hour at the shrink’s office every time you’re visiting, remember there are digital solutions to counseling, like video chatting. Although it’s a bit unorthodox, so is your long distance relationship. If you want it to work, then it’s time to start working at it!
If only one of you is working to stay connected then talk about that too. Maybe the other person is swamped at work and is enjoying the extra effort you are putting in to connecting. Or maybe they are taking you for granted. Before jumping to conclusions either way, ask! You don’t know until you ask.
Without asking you are just assuming and that is definitely something that will kill any relationship. Assumptions shouldn’t be made – ever.
If you are the one feeling obligated to talk with your partner, then it’s time for you to ask yourself a few honest questions about whether or not this relationship is exactly what you want or when you want it. Sometimes we find exactly the right thing at exactly the wrong time in our lives. It’s important to be honest with yourself, so you can be honest with your partner.
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