Long Distant Relationships – How do You Make them Work?
This is such a personal topic but one that gets a lot of discussion in the expat community.
Personal, meaning that everyone is different. We all have our own unique ideas about love and what it means to us. We also have our own distinct values and differences in how we show up in our relationships. So with that said, I feel it's more about evaluating your own personal relationship, not only with your significant other but with yourself. Are you truly up for the challenge of a long distant relationship?
Of course it depends on how long you have been dating before the distance became a factor, or not. Were you both living in the same city or did you meet while you were both already living in different countries? Of course, these factors play a huge role into making such a decision.
Some questions you might want to ask yourself;
What values do you hold around the relationship?
Does your partner hold the same (kinda) values or are they totally different?
What's important to you in a relationship?
Are you currently receiving that from your partner?
Do you really want to stay together?Is there trust between the two of you?
And most importantly...
What is your intuition telling you?
These are the questions I encourage you to sit with, whether you're distant already or not. It's always helpful to re-evaluate your true and honest feelings especially if your relationship is struggling. I really emphasize honesty. Going along with what you think is right, or what other people are telling you to do, or even worse, because you don't want to hurt your partner's feelings, will only jade your sense of clarity and ultimately your happiness. You really have to be honest with yourself here. Get in tune with your gut/intuition and stay grounded at all costs.
How do you stay grounded?
Again, that's up to you and what your beliefs are. Whether you meditate, pray or neither, allow yourself to stay centered around these questions. Try to listen to the messages being sent to you. Give yourself the patience to receive these messages because they will show up for you.
Writing down your feelings and expressing yourself on paper can help you come to some clarity. You can journal or write a letter to your partner expressing your true self (you don't have to actually send it!) This exercise can not only bring you clarity but it can help ease any anxiety around the subject. It will bring you into peace of mind.
Talking to someone who is unbiased to the relationship can also help you find some clarity if you can't seem to figure things out on your own. Sometimes we need a gentle guidance to help us see the answers we hold inside so that we can uncover our true self. There's no shame in reaching out for this kind of support, around any difficult period in life, it simply shows how important it is to you and that you're willing to do what it takes to create your best self.
Communicate your feelings and share your answers with your partner! Let them know your concerns and be mindful to theirs. Work together on how things will look for the both of you. Figure out a plan that works best on both sides, this could be regarding phone calls, visits, work schedules, time differences, are there kids involved? You might also want to communicate about the feelings that will show up later as well. The ugly green monster especially, loneliness, etc... How do you both want to address them when they show up? Because they WILL!
It can be very easy to fall into assumptions and blame in a long distant relationship. You definitely want to stay away from those unnerving thoughts that will only drive you crazy and lead you both in the wrong direction. Take it from me! You don't wanna go there, especially if you don't want to jeopardize the relationship
You have to be able to own your demons (jealousy, blame, control, expectations, etc...) and take responsibility to what you bring to the dynamic. We all have them! This is not easy, it takes courage to do the inner work but it's essential for making ANY relationship work. You don't want to continue in that vicious circle of self sabotage. You must acknowledge your demons, face yourself and do the work! You have to love yourself first.
A guiding light might be needed on this one. As I said, it's not easy to confront yourself on these issues so having someone by your side to help you through it and keep you moving towards your desired outcome is important and beneficial in so many ways.
My Lost Baggage
When I first decided to face my demons, over a decade ago and after my divorce, I was scared shitless and constantly crying in my shame and hurt. But at the same time I knew that it was something I had to do for myself and not just for the next relationship to come along.
The hardest demon for me was my jealousy. It was holding me back BIG time! It was so ugly. Learning how to bury that monster was a journey indeed but I got there. Not to say that it still doesn't try to show up at times but now I have the consciousness to know how to push him back down into his little creepy hole.
My own experience with long distance relationships have been 50/50. The first one crashed and burned (I was 18 yrs old then). The second one, well, we ended up getting married! However, we worked together through some difficult periods in the beginning. It's hard work throughout but if the love is there, and true, you will find your happy ending.
May you find ease in love and harmony
With Gratitude x