Graduated psychologist Lauren Gerber shares her professional opinion on how to be happy in a long distance relationship.
You only need to watch the movie: “Dear John”, with the famous Channing Tatum, to see how romantic and fulfilling a long distance relationship can be. In the movie Channing Tatum goes off to fight in the war, while he and his girlfriend stay happy in a long distance relationship by writing each other a series of letters.
Yes this is Hollywood and they do have a tendency to over glamorize everything, including long distance relationships, but this movie does a great job in depicting a perfect long distance relationship with a happy ending.
The truth is that you can be happy in a long distance relationship. No it won’t be easy and it will require both parties to put in a lot of effort and work. It is possible to have a long distance relationship that ends up being a story to tell your grandkids one day.
What does it mean to be happy in a relationship?
Being happy in a relationship is very different to being comfortable. Being truly happy in a relationship means both partners having a genuine willingness to grow.
A happy relationship is usually a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship gives you trust, communication, honesty, respect, loyalty and of course compromise. When a relationship is healthy the chances are much higher of both partners being happy.
Long Distance Relationship Advice
Avoid excessive communication
It is a real misconception to think that because you are in a long distance relationship, that you need to over communicate. One of the tricks to staying happy in a long term relationship is to actually avoid excessive communication. This is actually a psychological theory that works on the premises that “less is more”. Rather have more meaningful quality communication as opposed to meaningless quantity communication.
Set some realistic ground rules
It is extremely important to set ground rules in order to manage your expectations. For example, you should determine what is and isn’t appropriate when going out with your friends. An example of a ground rule is to let people know from the start that you are in a relationship.
There is no need to diminish a relationship simply because it is long distance. If there was a love hierarchy of some kind, long distance relationships wouldn’t be lower on the scale than any standard relationship.
To be clear, there is no hierarchy of relationships, only Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.
Respect the reasoning why you are are apart
It is important for both partners to truly respect the reasons why you are a part. If for example one partner is making money in another country, try to understand that this will only benefit the relationship in the long run.
Try to look at the long term benefits as opposed to the short term frustrations. This is a key ingredient in remaining happy in a long term relationship. Strive to see the bigger picture and hang in there when times get tough, it will only make you stronger as a couple.
Just because you are in a long distance relationship, this does not mean that you shouldn’t celebrate things. In fact, it is even more important to celebrate milestones in a long distance relationship.
You can find creative ways to spend significant days together. For birthdays you could both eat cake and spend time together via Skype. One of the tricks to being happy in a long distance relationship is to try and celebrate everything.
The secret sauce of staying happy in a long distance relationship is to become creative. Find meaningful ways of showing your love and appreciation for your partner. Surprise your partner with gifts in the mail.
Something small in a long distance relationship can be that much more meaningful. Create special social media posts, send cute texts to your partner and find fun and exciting ways to keep the relationship alive.
Be prepared to put in some hard work
If you truly want to be happy in a long distance relationship, it is imperative that you are prepared to put in some hard work. You will need to be willing to sacrifice, compromise, and put in lots of effort, but in the end it will all be worthwhile.
Put things in perspective
It is important to see the bigger picture and to work towards the end goal. Although it may be extremely difficult right now, you need to remind yourself that it will not always be this way. It may be beneficial to keep reminding yourself that one day it will all be worth it.
Everything that is worth it in life usually requires hard work and a long distance relationship is exactly the same. In fact, there are benefits to being in a long distance relationship.
Romantic Ideas for Long Distance Relationships
Here are a few top tips for keeping the romance alive in a long distance relationship:
- Send each other good morning and good night texts.
- Plan virtual date nights.
- Send photos of your day.
- Send surprise gifts when they least expect it.
- Play games Games like 100 questions are a great way to get to know more about your partner.
- Make use of a free countdown app that you can share.
- Send them something physical of yours like a t-shirt you wore.
Long distance Relationship Break Up
Should you consider breaking up or not? This is a personal decision that you will need to make. It is not a decision to make lightly. It is also not a decision that anyone else can end up making for you.
At the end of the day it may be best for your psychological well-being and emotional health to cut the cord. If the possibilities of you ever being together in person are unrealistic, then it may be best to consider breaking up. After all, you don’t want to waste years of your life, or your partner’s.
On the other hand, if you have all the ingredients for a great life partner; trust, respect, commitment and more, it may be unwise to simply let that go because of the distance. In this case, make sure you try and put all the hard work in first, and see what comes out.
If you really love your partner, don’t let the long distance get you down. After all “absence does make the heart grow fonder.”
“I know we loved each other, but distance can do strange things to people and before I was willing to tell you about it, I wanted to be certain that it would last” – Nicholas Sparks
Lauren Gerber is a graduated psychologist with a diploma in social media marketing. She's got over ten years of experience under her digital marketing belt, both national and international. Besides helping our readers with relationships issues, she's also a fan of reality TV series, owns actual bunnies, and eats a lot of sushi!