Long-distance relationships are a little bit easier to navigate now a days with the blessing of high-speed internet and mobile phones. There is no need to be throwing away money on expensive calls or waiting weeks for a letter. With this in mind-long-distance relationship quality does not have to be significantly different from ones close by.
However, in reality, relationships take work, and with the strain of long-distance, that stress can be amplified. The inability to have date nights, days out or physical touch can be incredibly hard. In this article I have some tips on how you can maintain the spark even from a distance.
Let yourself trust.
Trust is a necessity to any healthy relationship. Anytime we treat someone as if they don’t matter, they are going to feel some kind of betrayal. Trust, not mistrust, is our default mode as individuals. It’s our experiences that impact our faith in others. When entering into, or maintaining a long-distant relationship, issues around trust can be enlarged. Therefore, it’s important to reflect back on your previous experiences with trust. Intimate, friendships and parental relationships can have impacted your belief in others. First and foremost, when you experience a pang of distrust, ask yourself; ‘is this true?’ Now, I know what you may be thinking-that it FEELS true- but that doesn’t mean it really is. Sometimes it’s past experiences or traumas coming back to haunt us. This is called projections. The displacement of past experiences on the present and individuals in it. Try to decipher whether they’re historical feelings bubbling up, or actually you have legitimate reasons to be concerned. Which leads me to my next paragraph on communication.
Communication is crucial. Listening to your partner with the intent to understand rather than to reply is of upmost importance. My first point with regards to that is KEEP TALKING. Open and honest communication is vital so as to maintain an understanding of what is happening for you as individuals. Long-distance means having to work even harder. More often than not, non-verbal ques and body language can be hard to gage and that is then increased though text; tone and manner can be misunderstood. Attempting to engage in effective communication is a great way to keep things clear. Effective communication means; wearing your heart on your sleeve (no head games!), articulating your needs and being specific about them, eradicating blame (try using ‘I’ statements) and finally being assertive. Don’t let resentment build up; be honest and open.
Celebrating milestones is a lovely way to be positive in your relationship. Revelling in each other’s achievements; from personal ones -like getting a new job, to collective ones-like monthly anniversaries, keeps the positive energy flowing. Being in a long-distance relationship can be a slog, so drawing on positive aspects can ease the tension. They can be an incredibly meaningful boost. It can remind your partner that they are a priority while also showing that you remember what is important to them. Another great aspect is that it brings you together. I constantly try to get couples to ‘turn towards’ each other. That means coming together as a team and building on the resilience you already have. Celebration can help booster just that!
Spice up your sex life with technology.
I have already touched on how technology has improved long-distance communication, but what about sex? There are lots of ways that you can have a healthy sex life through long-distance relationships, without it feeling detached. There are many toys that can be used to help keep it spicy, intimate and personal. Firstly, you can actually make a replica of your penis, or that of your partners in silicone and even have it vibrating! So, you can have a personal dildo! Alternatively, you can make a replica of you or your partners vulva. Which is a fun way to demonstrate where one of you is touching. You can find these on the Adult Empire website.
Secondly there are remote controlled vibrators out there, including ones for anal play. With these toys you can sync them up through Bluetooth! Have a look at Lovense for these.
Finally, there is also Vibease, which is an app-and-toy-and-audio book combination. It is a great way to connect on a different level as the audio book adjusts the vibrations at different parts. What I will say is that this app has only a handful of Gay, Lesbian or Queer books and I didn’t see any Trans audio books at all. There are hundreds of books, so I could be wrong but this needs to be massively improved.
Long distance relationships are tough, let’s not diminish that. However, with good communication, the ability to think outside the box and a strong sense of self, long-distance relationships should flourish!
Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist at Drurytherapy