Marriage for many is a second phase of their lives, and like relationships in general, it isn’t a cakewalk. Long distance only serves to make things worse, to an extent. But since you’re reading this article, those annoying practicalities probably haven’t been able to stop you in your tracks. The only direction you can afford to look at anymore is forward, and that’s where I come in.
Here are 12 basic yet extremely crucial rules that one could follow to make long distances work and make them much more tolerable than they tend to be:
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1. Give each other some space
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Probably the first and most important piece of advice anyone can give is to not give your significant other the impression that you’re ‘clingy’. The more you suffocate them, the more you distance them further than the physical thousands of miles between you two. Sometimes, it will get difficult for you, and you might lash out and do something you regret later. The best advice here is, don’t. You should know what you signed up for, and relationships/marriages let alone long distance marriages can be excruciatingly difficult to keep up with as more time passes. Be rational, and do not unintentionally squander all you’ve built for the last few years with the one person who matters most to you.
2. Treat it like a challenge
The best thing you can do for yourself in practically any sphere of life is having a healthy mindset, one that helps you accomplish your goals more efficiently and with less suffering. Treat this as a test of your love, and it will shoot right above your list of priorities. It’s a psychologically proven fact that if you have a concrete goal in mind, and have things planned out before-hand, it’s easier to accomplish said goal with more efficiency and less of the feeling of being emotionally ‘lost’. Manage your emotions and expectations accordingly, and try to underestimate happy circumstances to the best of your abilities. You’ll be at a constant war with your mind and your hormones, so it’s more a question of grit than anything else.
3. Managing expectations
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This is an expansion of #2, and psychological factors like these will probably be the first to crush you if you’re not careful enough. Do not expect everything to go swimmingly; long distance marriages have their own fair share of problems and they’re nothing if not chock full of countless hurdles. But, since you’ve already chosen to commit to something like this as you may have your own reasons, you must be ready for any general or out of the blue nonsense your commitment throws at you. Many have endured, and many have succeeded, and we’re all only your average men and women. Do not expect anything remotely unreasonable of your partner, if you don’t want to slowly add up on the toxic counter of perpetual resentment. Empathy is key, and so is a certain degree of tolerance, all the more when one’s dealing with a long distance marriage.
4. Track schedules
While being clingy can be quite harmful, asking your partner their schedule and sharing your own is a very healthy way to be ‘in sync’ with someone else thousands of miles away. After a few days or a week, it’ll just be like you’re living with them but you’re just buried with work and personal activities. Tricking your mind helps a fair deal, and distance won’t seem like a mitigator of emotions anymore.
5. Spread yourself thin
Involve yourself in more activities, and try to bury yourself with work. The last thing you want to do is be really emotionally dependent on your partner; nobody wants that. Do things that interest you a lot, and make a list of activities that are bound to lift your mood up. If you don’t have any, try something new and set yourself a challenge for a day. Maintain a daily to-do list, and by the end the productivity alone should make you smile for a split-second. Do not, even for a second, give your mind the impression that you’re ‘biding time’ for your partner to come back. It’s your time, and you’re using it to develop yourself both physically and emotionally.
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6. Plan for similar activities together, but don’t overdo it
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Communication these days is so easy and simple that we almost always take it for granted, but most of us don’t seem to make the most of it. Plan for weekly (or monthly, it doesn’t matter too much) activities with your partner, like a walk in the nearby walk, all the while talking to them with something like a Bluetooth hands-free, and try to enjoy the moment to the best of your abilities. This will keep you from ‘losing touch’ with each other, and neither of you will feel like you’re suffocating the other.
7. No unnecessary surprises
Distances make things a lot harder, and a certain degree of misunderstanding can undo everything you’ve worked for. If you’re going out with your friends somewhere like a club in the dead of the night, do your partner the courtesy of letting them know. Yes, in an ideal world we’d all be understanding and not assume the worst about each other’s partners and succeed in keeping a healthy mindset, but we don’t live in an ideal world. When ideals don’t work, look for the nearest practical solution. Making a long distance marriage work without suffering requires quite a bit of work, and understanding these little subtleties.
8. Be honest
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It’s not surprising that couples who are honest with each other, long distance or no, tend to last longer. If you’ve got any pent-up feelings that you feel is worth talking about, talk about them. You won’t get your way through life with your partner if you don’t trust them enough to talk about your problems with them, and at the end of the day being overly stoic only makes matters much worse. If your partner is the right person, they’ll accommodate your problems as their own and work towards solving them. You need not be lonely, and that’s the entire point of any relationship.
9. Be fairly connected on social media
Keep track of your partner’s activities and like/share/comment on their latest posts. It sounds incredibly stupid, and quite juvenile to an extent, but it honestly helps getting that feeling of ‘being in touch’. After a while, they’ll reciprocate the same. Don’t be afraid to flaunt all over social media that you’re a couple, what you have is something beautiful and the fact that the both of you are working towards the same end makes it all the more important. The chat boxes have their own fair share of emojis ranging from the overly annoying to mildly adorable, so don’t hold back on spamming your partner’s chat with them. Social media is a new era of communication, and it’d be really sad if we didn’t use it to its fullest.
10. Give them something to remember you by
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Before either of you leave, give your partner something to remember you buy. It could be something extremely inconsequential like a key-chain, but has an abundance of sentimental. Mementos work great as constant reminders of something far off in the future, because our minds have a way of toning down the intensity of emotions after a while. Such mementos act like fairly good emotional resets, and in the future if you do make it work, it’ll stay with the both of you as a reminder that you can get through the worst of times if you’re together.
11. Surround yourself with people you love
Focus on bonds other than your primary relationship, like friendships and familial ties. The best advice anybody can give you is to lean shamelessly on your family and your tiny circle of trustworthy friends, it tends to ease everything to a great degree. We humans are social creatures, and it turns out that just the right dose of socializing with the right people can alleviate many of the problems that trouble us. Take your parents and your friends out for lunch, and give your mind the luxury of other sources of happiness. Slowly yet surely, if you haven’t already, you will come to appreciate the importance of people around you who genuinely care for you.
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12. Be positive
Do not lose hope. You’ve done well so far, and you’ve done better than many. Many, inclusive of myself, are legitimately scared of anything close to a committed relationship. You’ve crossed that barrier, and you’re already a winner in my eyes. You’ve found someone to spend your life with, and that’s more than many of us can say. Now, it falls on you and your partner to see this through to the end, and with a little effort and dedication, I feel it won’t be all too difficult. Be yourself, and most importantly, try to have fun.
You will have your moments when you feel like you’re breaking down, and that’s normal. What’s important here is, you can’t let them have a permanent effect on your goals and your long distance marriage. Yes, impulsive desires and emotions usually tend to get the better of us than well thought out plans, but keep reminding yourself of what’s really at stake here. With that said, I wish you all the luck, and a long and healthy married life.
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