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What Kills Long-Distance Relationships?

by Danielle Wright & Lisa K. Stephenson, Relationship Coach & Author

Long-distance relationships are intimate connections between partners who are geographically separated from each other.

Image Credit: olikin / Getty Images


While these relationships are not common, they have become a topic of conversation, with some couples choosing to date outside of their state or with partners whose jobs require a lot of traveling—like trucking or being a flight attendant. Either way, a long-distance relationship can be challenging to navigate if you’re not aware of the various things that can harm or strain your relationship. So, let’s dive in:


INTENTIONAL VISITS

Here’s the thing—long-distance relationships can feel just like any other relationship when you make the time you spend together memorable and intentional. Both men and women have a role to play in ensuring that each partner feels loved and appreciated. It takes time, effort, and money to travel to see someone. So, when your partner is arriving, be sure to greet them with a warm smile, a big hug, and lots of kisses! Whether your partner is flying or driving, the journey can feel tiresome, so it helps to know that the person they’re going to see has made plans for their stay and is determined to make the most out of their time together.


Your intention matters—don’t be on the phone; don’t appear disinterested or bored. This is energy being transferred, and your partner can feel that. Negative energy will make for an unpleasant experience. Even if something happened during your commute, don’t take it out on your partner. Leave those negative feelings at the airport, terminal, or in the car. Your time together should feel magical, as though you’re both in a world of your own. Visiting your partner and pouting or appearing disinterested can harm your long-distance relationship.

EXPECTATIONS

This is very important because, while it’s not impossible for long-distance couples to be monogamous, it does require an agreement on both sides. You want to establish your expectations early on so that both parties can be held accountable should something change in your behavior or theirs.

Next, you want to share your expectations regarding communication. If one party is not communicating or speaking the love language of the other, then it's safe to say that there’s a lapse in communication. Expecting someone to know what you’re thinking or feeling can be detrimental, especially in a long-distance relationship. Act accordingly and treat your partner with the same respect you would want for yourself. Your long-distance relationship will not survive if both of you are not on the same page or are not willing to express your wants and needs, fearing it may push the other person away.


EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY

Facetime calls are a must! For most women, it’s easy to think that because your relationship is long distance, you can let yourself go—skip hair appointments, forget to exercise, or worse, decide not to update your wardrobe or wear lingerie when speaking to your significant other. When your partner is away, he will rely on visual stimulation—your voice is great—but men are physical by nature; they want to see you and imagine themselves in your warm embrace.


This can make their heart grow fonder of you, but only if you keep up your appearance. One of the pros of a long-distance relationship is that it gives you both time to miss each other. During this time, you can prioritize your self-care, ensuring that you look and feel your best with little to no distractions, worrying about whether or not he will need to see you on a daily basis. Ever heard of ‘boyfriend air’? It’s a phenomenon of sorts, that when a woman spends enough time with her boyfriend, particularly on a daily basis, she will eventually begin wearing his clothes, wearing less makeup, and simply neglecting herself.


RESPECT

The reason behind your long-distance is paramount to understanding the dynamic of your relationship. If your husband/partner is a provider and they have to be away for work, then it’s up to you to keep things spicy and to keep the relationship on its toes. The same goes for men; if you and your partner share the monetary responsibilities equally and she has to work out of town for extended periods of time, then it's your responsibility to call her, surprise her, and keep the spark in the relationship. If either party loses sight of the reason for the long-distance, it may create turmoil and an imbalance in the relationship.


Decide how you want to structure your relationship and then create a plan of action and follow it through. Long-distance is not forever; it should only be temporary. So, until the time comes where you both decide where you want to be in your lives, take a moment to practice these tips to avoid losing your relationship. It’s not worth it to lose the one you love if the solutions are available at your disposal.


TRUST

Relationships are built on trust. Arguing, nagging, or showing signs of insecurity are surefire ways to kill any relationship, especially a long-distance one. Have open communication, and if you find that the relationship is no longer serving you, then be woman or man enough to end it amicably.

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