Relationships

How to make your long-distance relationship last

©iStockphoto.com/Dean Mitchell Photography Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Dean Mitchell Photography

Relationships

How to make your long-distance relationship last

It takes a lot of work to achieve a sense of normalcy in a relationship when you and your partner are miles apart from each other. It may take only a few days of not communicating for you to feel like you barely know each other, but there are ways to stay connected despite the distance.

We asked Kasandra Monid, the owner and operator of ThinkLife Coaching in Toronto, for her tips on how to keep the long-distance spark alive.

"It takes commitment, a lot of trust, open communication, being mindful and really reinforcing the mutual love and respect for each other," she says.

Many of the long-distance relationship strategies Monid uses to coach her clients are ones she learned from personal experience -- she and her husband kept their relationship going strong from across the country for three years.

Here are her tips for maintaining a successful long-distance relationship.

1. Schedule time to talk every day
Whether you talk on the phone or via Skype or webcam, make it a routine to talk to your partner every day -- ideally at the same time. "It's important to structure this communication time, because sporadic communication only creates suspicion and emotional distance," says Monid.

When communication is sparse, it doesn't take long for you and your partner to become strangers. Talking every day eliminates the need to "catch up" after an accumulation of time. When you do talk, you should be speaking the way you would speak if you lived together or saw each other often, Monid explains. "Even if it might seem mundane, sharing each other's daily events will make you feel more a part of each other's life," she says.

2. Talk about the future
The miles that are currently between the two of you may make you both feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, but the time will come when you'll be together again. Looking forward to those times is a way to feel more connected.

"Dream together. Talk about your future. Share your plans," says Monid. "When you talk about the future it reinforces your commitment to each other." Getting excited about planning the next time you're together will affirm your loyalty to each other in an enjoyable way.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover three more great ways to make your long-distance relationship work on page 2 3. Be spontaneous
Being separated physically makes it difficult to keep the spark alive, but doing what you can to maintain excitement is an important factor in any healthy relationship. Keeping things fresh and exciting in a long-distance relationship is no different than doing it in a regular one -- spontaneity is key.

"Spontaneous romantic gestures reinforce the idea that you are thinking of the other person. It could come in the form of cards, notes, flowers or gifts. I don't mean e-cards, either -- a real handwritten card or note," says Monid.

You don't even have to be great writer to bring a smile to your partner's face when you send them a card. The very act of sending one is tangible confirmation that you're thinking of them. "It could even be one line -- 'I'm missing you' -- because it's the thought that counts," says Monid.

4. Don't play mind games
Trying to manipulate your partner's feelings is detrimental to any relationship. When face-to-face contact is limited and you're restricted to talking on the phone, the quality of communication isn't always ideal. So eliminate miscommunication and be honest about your feelings.

"Don't say things to deliberately provoke jealousy in the other person. This is a misguided attempt to keep the person interested," explains Monid. "It only creates bad feelings and mistrust, and it often ends up creating the opposite action of what you intended."

This type of behaviour will create unnecessary tension if one of you hangs up the phone overthinking something that was said.

5. Schedule reunions as frequently as possible
Plan visits with your partner as often as your schedule and budget will allow. Just like talking on the phone as regularly as possible, visiting each other frequently will keep your connection strong.

"Treat reunions as quality time together, not catch-up time. You want to think of them as romantic vacations," advises Monid. "Ideally, you'll meet in places other than where you live," she says. "Having that physical contact does help to establish a sense of normalcy in the relationship."

Long-distance relationships are challenging, but not impossible. That you and your partner have committed to be faithful to each other regardless of physical separation is a sign that the love is already strong in your relationship. To keep that connection alive, practise open communication every day, plan your future together and don't forget to add some romantic gestures into the mix.

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How to make your long-distance relationship last

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