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Every relationship requires hard work, but a long distance relationship suffers problems that you might not have to face in a regular relationship. But, what are these serious problems? Are they fixable? Or should you listen to everyone else, “long distance never works.”
Ignore that last line and the people who are saying that to you. Trust in someone who has been through it themselves alongside millions of others, long distance relationships totally work. There are many positive things that come from going through distance, things that you might never feel if you had never gone through those tough times apart.
However, no one likes to actually address the serious problems that comes with an LDR, right? So, let’s just do it right here, right now but with some saving grace on how to overcome these problems without it ending your relationship.
LRD Problems #1. Miscommunications
Possibly the most common problem to occur during an LDR. When you are texting, emailing even Skyping constantly, you will type or say things that can be misread. Especially over messenger, judging sarcasm or that joking tone can be an easy one to miss. Before you know it, your joke has been taken seriously and you are in a full-blown argument.
When miscommunications happen, our first instinct is to shout, question and get heated about it. A lot of LDR relies on trying to communicate without the access to nonverbal cues such as gestures, body language, facial expressions, eye contact and tone of voice. Try doing that every single day, you soon forget how to read what a person is actually trying to say.
If there is a language barrier with you and your partner then they might accidentally say something that to them sounds fine, but for you, the native speaker of that language knows it true meaning. Put yourself in their shoes before you react, do they know what that actually means?
Fixing the problem
Ask questions, stay calm and breathe.
3 things to keep in mind when you read a response that you don’t understand. If he/she says something that could be either a joke or a serious comment, then just ask, “sorry babe, what did you mean by that?”
It’s the most effective and simple way to communicate without misinterpreting.
TIP: respond, don’t react.
The more your relationship develop and the more time you spend “together” the more you will understand your partner’s communications style. Are they sarcastic 90% of the time? Are they sensitive? The more you learn, the more you will know what to take lightly and what to take seriously.
In terms of language barriers, have patience! Explain that what they said is interpreted like this, then they will know what to say and avoid in the future.
#2. Nothing to Talk About
From misinterpreting to feeling like you have nothing to talk about. Don’t worry, its normal!
What I have learnt after a few years of going through distance is that you shouldn’t text or skype just for the sake of it. Stop trying to make your long distant relationship a regular relationship.
When you get to see each other face to face regularly, conversation flows easier and you can spend time together without even talking. In an LDR this just isn’t the case, you can’t spend time together which doesn’t require talking. For instance, when you are together you can just watch TV together without saying a word for a few hours and you can’t start a conversation from something you both just experienced.
It is hard to understand that in an LDR, you don’t need to force communication.
I know from my experience that all you want to do is be with that person so you think that by calling them it will stop the pain of missing them. To some extent, it won’t help fill that hole because now you are just having the same conversation over and over again or just starring at each other waiting for a conversation to spark. This causes more tension and more worry that you have nothing to talk about.
There will be periods where you will talk constantly and periods where you talk a couple times a day. Just stick with it and don’t think that it is a negative thing for your relationship.
Fixing the problem
Don’t just rely on general chat for communication. Come up with fun things to do together while you are apart.
Watch movies at the same time together, cook the same meal at the same time or play a game together online.
There are loads of “virtual dates” that you can do, you just have to be creative!
Talk about the future and (if you are at that stage) what type of paint you would want the living room to have or what breed of dog you would want to have. Don’t just talk about what happened that day, play quiz games and imagine things together by talking about them.
#3. Putting Your Life on Hold
Do you miss your partner that much that you think to yourself that everything else in life can start when you are together?
Quick reality check, life is still happening even though you are apart from the one you want to share life with.
Are you not going out anymore because it’s not the same without him/her or because you don’t feel like yourself?
Segregating yourself from family, friends and hobbies will only cause yourself harm. You will soon start feeling extremely low and rely on your partner to keep you happy. This isn’t a good way to live for you or your partner.
Fixing the problem
Don’t fixate on your next skype call or spend every free minute talking on the phone. Organise your time so that you can speak to your partner but also, have a life. Spending time with friends and family is an important part to keeping you sane and also distracting you from the person you miss so much.
Do things that make you feel happy, smart and fit. For myself, I go to the gym a lot more when my partner is away. The gym is a great stress reliever and also takes up time in my day where I don’t have to think about my LDR.
Also, it is okay to do things alone. You can still get out in the fresh air, read and participate in activities. It is important to invest as much love in yourself as you do in your partner.
#4. Growing Apart
The most serious problem in an LDR. While you spend that time apart from each other you are both experiencing new things as individuals.
You will learn things and continue to grow as a person and so will they. Keeping track of how each other is changing or developing can be a tricky thing to do.
Doing things alone all the time can start to feel normal and naturally make you drift from your relationship.
Fixing the problem
Before the drifting even happens, discuss beforehand what you should do if one or both of you start to feel that you are drifting apart.
Here are some tips on preventing this from happening
Have a light at the end of the tunnel. Meaning, have a goal that you are both working towards that will eventually stop the distance. No one wants to be in a distance relationship forever.
In the meantime, regular visits in both directions.
Work hard on keeping good, regular communication where you can continue to learn and grow together even while apart.
Dream and aspire together
#5. Too Busy to Talk
On the flip side of the problem of talking too much, there is also the serious problem of being too busy or too tired to talk.
Especially with those you are juggling time difference, it can get extremely hard fitting in those hours to deep conversations.
Trying to continue your normal life of working or studying, exercising, socializing, sleeping and fitting in meaningful time to spend online or on the phone with your partner, it can become tough.
In my experience, me and my partner have share a time difference of 4 hours. Times when I have wanted to go to bed and we have barely spoken yet. In-depth conversations are an important part to an LDR. Only talking about your day and how you are is not as effective as those deep and meaningful talks – which we all need!
Fixing the problem
If you are too busy to skype every day then agree of “skype dates” at least once a week so that you can dedicate sufficient time to talk about more things that just how your day was!
If you normally talk every day, then maybe cut back a little bit until you have recharged your batteries. Communicate with your partner that you need to catch up on sleep or have some busy days coming up and you can focus on a good talk in a couple days’ time.
Jealousy is such a common problem that I have already written a whole post dedicate to it, click here for a more in-depth solution https://www.luvstance.com/single-post/OvercomingJealousy
Jealousy is a natural and normal feeling that isn’t always a negative thing. Jealousy signals that you really do care about this person. But, too much jealousy can have a negative impact on your relationship.
If you are constantly jealous and arguing about jealousy issues then you are showing signs of insecurity, possessiveness, anger and suspicion. A combination or even just one of these can lead to the destruction of your LDR.
Fixing the problem
Control your jealousy before it starts to control you. Find out what is triggering this emotion and why you feel this way.
There are ways that you and your partner can manage jealousy. Being honest and open about things is the most obvious way. Look at my overcoming jealous blog for more information.
This applies mainly to those who have started an LDR and never met face to face before. However, it can also apply to people who started of face to face but have to go through a stint of distance.
Ghosting means literally disappearing. Your partner isn’t answering calls, returning texts and you are going out of your mind wondering what has happened to them.
If this has happened late in a relationship then you have the right to be completely concerned. However, it is not uncommon for those who have met online to decide that they no longer want to talk to this person anymore.
Perhaps they got to a point where they didn’t see it going anywhere or they met someone else and they decided that it is easier to just disappear from your life than giving you an explanation.
This is one of the hardest situations in an LDR because you have little control over it. If you live thousands of miles apart it is unlikely you are going to go searching for them.
Fixing the problem
If you are the person ghosting, ask yourself why? Are you purposely trying to hurt this person who has invested their time in you? Or are you looking for the easy way out?
No matter which reason you are ghosting for, the simple solution is to stop it. Have some respect for yourself and the other person who cares about you and give an honest reason as to why you want to stop the relationship or what you could both work on to fix the problem.
If you are the one being ghosted, don’t let it slide. Ask the friends or family members of your partner if you have any way to contact them. Send a few messages explaining your concern. If and when they finish their silent treatment with you, don’t just let them back in. Express your frustration towards their actions and tell them how you wish they had dealt with the situation instead of leaving you in the unknown.
In an LDR, couples think they need to know where their other half is every second of the day. Or, they panic if they haven’t received a message back after a couple minutes.
Distance can make trusting very difficult. But, smothering your partner and feeling constantly insecure is both unhealthy for you and the person on the receiving end.
If you keep asking them repetitive questions or freak out every time they pop to the shops, you are going to end up pushing them further away.
Fixing the problem
If you notice you are looking possessive or if your partner has said it to you, then have a little talk to yourself and figure out why you are feeling and acting this way. This might be a hard thing to do initially, so before you understand why you are like this, then the first thing you can do is act less controlling.
Is your partner leaving in you in the dark every single time he/she leaves the house? Are they never around when you want to talk to them?
Check with your partner if they are being accessible and reasonable to you, then work on something together that is making you feel so possessive. They might not even realise that they are not helping the situation by letting you know little details.
If you partner is smothering you, tell them. Don’t make it worse by ignoring them, just let them know gently and work on making them less anxious. Explain that you do not like the way they act possessive and how you would prefer to interact together.
This blog post was a hard one to write. As someone who is still going through an LDR, it brings to light the things you have had to overcome as a couple.
But, from the bottom of my heart, I am glad that me and my partner have had to deal with problems and fix them. Without those problems, we wouldn’t have learnt more about each other and we can now overcome any obstacle that comes in our way because we know how to communicate effectively with one another.
There is no hiding it, every relationship has problems. Whether you live on opposite sides of the world or next door to each other. You will need to face challenges and work together to overcome them.
To end on a positive note, here are my favourite reasons of being in a long distance relationships:
- I know my partner inside and out because of our constant communication
- I understand that I completely love him for who he is, it is more than just lust
- You will go through problems of trust that make you stronger individuals
- You can resolve conflict quickly
- When you are together, you appreciate every second
We all go through rough patches — they are normal and necessary. Don’t freak out with conflict, work on fixing the problem as a couple. Missing each other is the hardest part so continue to comfort each other and keep cheering each other on. Lastly, hold onto each other tightly whenever you get those precious moments together.
You will get through this.