Are you in a long distance relationship or considering being in one? Let me be one of many people to tell you it’s not easy. Relationships themselves can already be difficult, especially if you’re taking the time to really get to know your significant other, all the while trying to figure out who you are. I’m currently in a long-distance relationship. There’s nothing like being in the arms of someone you love, knowing they love you back! Most days I am fine, but then there are those days where I really just want to be held in his arms. In order to get through these days of being away from my man, I listed six characteristics that we use to make a long distance relationship work. For this to be effective, both people have to give one-hundred percent.
- Anyone can communicate, but is it effective? Effective communication is being able to listen, understand and apply the information that was said, not just listening to have a response. To communicate effectively both people need to be aware of each other’s feelings. When speaking to one another, one person talks as the other listens. Instead of interrupting when you may disagree with something he/she said, write it down. Then when it is your turn to talk, you can respond. Take time out of your day to send a quick text message or call to let your significant other know you are alright or that you’ll be busy. By letting your significant other know this ahead of time, you’ll save them a headache from worrying about why they haven’t heard from you. Being detailed and specific can help, but if one is too busy to say so, then a simple, “Busy. Will explain later” will always be better than not saying anything at all.
- Being committed shows one another that you care enough to compromise and sacrifice the things you said or did when you were single. Committing to someone means that you are being honest in all situations, and dedicated to your relationship. Being committed in a long distance relationship would look like letting someone know you are in a relationship if they are flirting with you. You do not want to give someone else an opportunity to emotionally replace your significant other for not being there physically. An effort has to be given on both ends.
- Ever have so much to do that it overwhelms you, so you end up not getting anything done at all? This is where balance comes to play. Both you and your significant other have a life and sometimes one may be busier than the other or maybe you both are busy. The purpose is to make time for one another. Agree to a set time where you’ll be free to talk, and how much time will be given. Knowing each other’s schedule can create balance within the relationship because you’ll know why they haven’t responded if you reached out to them.
- Sometimes your significant other may be busier than expected. This doesn’t mean you have a right to get an attitude but instead, choose to be supportive of whatever they are doing. To show understanding is to put yourself in their shoes, while realizing your significant other has a life too, therefore everything cannot be about you. Your own feelings must be put aside and take the initiative that they’re human as well.
- My boyfriend and I struggle with this one because we like to be in each other’s presence all the time…to the point where we’d chill in the bathroom with each other while the other was on the toilet. Although we are close, privacy is still important. “Finding boundaries that are strong enough to protect us but flexible enough to allow us healthy connections to others is key to psychological and emotional health.” Setting boundaries can help prevent behaviors such as jealousy, insecurity, and disrespect. In a long distance relationship, your significant other may not answer the phone the first time you called. That doesn’t mean keep calling back to back, rather send a text message letting them know you called, thus giving them a chance to respond.
- To love someone unconditionally means to literally have no conditions of love. No matter how many times they have messed up or made the same mistake over and over, forgive and move on. The best way to understand unconditional love is to read 1 Corinthians 13:4; “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails…”
Applying these six steps can be difficult and time-consuming but the purpose is that you and your significant other try to make y’all long distance relationship work. No matter how difficult it gets, remember why you wanted to try long distance in the first place. Gently remind each other of the steps and be patient with one another. Not everyone gets it the first time. -KNH