In any relationship, you must have ground rules that keep the couple grounded and moving forward. However, when you are dealing with a long-distance relationship these ground rules are even more important. That’s because you don’t have the opportunity to grow your relationship as quickly as you do when you live close by. This more intermittent communication slows the growth of the relationship, which can deepen the bond, but it can also lead to miscommunications. Having ground rules that you both follow can make this journey safer and more enjoyable.
There are several ground rules that you might discuss and these may prompt you to think of others. Remember to stay honest with each other and bring up things that you feel uncomfortable about. Being insecure and unsure will deepen your disrespect for the other person, increase your distrust and make a successful outcome less likely.
1. Communication: It’s important to talk about exactly what you can and can’t talk about between you – and when. Because you are miles away from each other, communication over phone, text and video chats become very important. While you don’t want to go overboard with the messaging, you do want to stay in touch. Only each of you can determine what is enough, and what’s too much.
2. Monogamy: This is a question that is best discussed and not left to the imagination. It may be difficult to talk about, but if you don’t one or the other will be left broken hearted.
3. Visiting: Because of the physical distance, a quick 20-minute visit just isn’t possible. You can’t meet for coffee between appointments, can’t pop over for dinner or meet for ice cream at the end of a long day. Instead, you must set expectations about how often you visit and who is doing the traveling. Try to share the travel responsibilities or one of you will be feeling taken for granted.
4. Dangerous situations: In a relationship, there are several different situations that can present dangerous options to one or the both of you. It’s important that you address these, especially when you are in a long-distance relationship. Eating lunch with co-workers, going out for a drink with friends, movies with a friend – all with the opposite sex friends, are dangerous situations. When you are lonely and missing your significant other, it can be all too tempting to fall into the arms of a ready and willing partner. Talk about where you both want to draw the line and then talk consistently about how this is working for you.
5. Messaging: Getting a text message from your partner in the middle of the day can bring a warm smile to your face. But getting them every hour can be annoying, overwhelming and stalk-ish. Talk about your boundaries!
6. Schedules: When you live in different cities and have different schedules, it’s great to know where your partner is during the day. This can help to alleviate anxiety and jealously.
7. Trust: While it may seem somewhat obvious to one, the other or both, having trust between you when there are also many miles between you is incredibly important to a successful outcome. Trust must be earned by doing what you say when you say you’ll do it, never lying, telling the truth, being honest and living up to your partner’s reasonable expectations. However, once lost, it is more difficult to get the trust back than it is to earn it in the first place.
8. Being there on good days and bad: Living in the same city, it’s easy to run over when you partner is having a bad day. A massage, a nice dinner and good cry can sometimes do wonders to bond your relationship. But, living long distance can make that next to impossible. It’s important that your partner knows you are there for them on good days and bad in whatever way they prefer. You might want to cry or talk it out, your partner may just want to know that you support them and then talk about something else to get their mind off it. You do what they want and not what you want.
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