Touch Of Thoughts | 16 October 2011 04:25 CET

Never mind the distance, make it work

By Kemi Lawal

Relationships are tough, especially at a distance. However, there are some ways to make it work for you. Being separated by distance should not make you stop loving your partner or renege on the love you had professed. What could be done in keeping the flame alive in this kind of relationship?

- Ask the important questions at the outset:

Set parameters and be sure you are both clear on them. Define your relationship — are you dating? Or just seeing each other? Are you just boyfriend-girlfriend? Or you are engaged? Though these could be difficult and awkward questions to ask go ahead and save yourself the future heartache of not asking.

- Consider text messaging, phone calls and emails daily. It is important to maintain contact and to be in each other's daily lives as much as possible. Employing e-mail is a great idea, especially if long-distance phone calls put a strain on your budget. Ensure the e-mails are substantive and detailed.

- Defy the distance and do things together. As a long distance couple, it's important to do other things together besides the usual phone call. Interaction over the phone could become dull in the long run, so try other methods. It's amusing to know that couples in short-distance relationships do not spend the majority of their time talking. Rather, they do things with each other. Try to replicate this by watching a television shows or movies simultaneously.

- Establish and maintain an emotional connection. These don't always have to be long, in-depth conversations. Tell each other about your little triumphs and tragedies.

- Take advantage of the benefits a long distance relationship offers — more time with friends and/or family, no arguments over anything, the pleasure of seeing each other again after a long absence, time to mull your options (rather than snapping at your partner impulsively) before you respond to that email he wrote that seemed so rude the first time you read it.

- Pursue common interests, even if it means pursuing them apart — Read a certain book at the same time, set your watches to go off at the same time every day, and synchronise your alarm with that of your partner. Make it a point to think of each other when your watch goes off, and - Talk about your future together. Assuming that ultimately you'd want to get married, discussing how you're going to get to that point is a boost.

- Time spent together is important, so try to make visiting time as often as possible or as often as your budget permits you to. A relationship cannot thrive if the only thing you have is the phone call. Get up close and personal at every chance.

- One of the easiest ways to destroy a perfectly healthy relationship is to poison it with jealousy and drama. When you start a long distance relationship, you must be realistic of the difficulties ahead. Don't fall in the trap of interrogating your partner every time he/she decides to go out for a drink with people you haven't met or he/she didn't get back to you right away when you called and left a message.

- Staying positive by utilising the opportunity of personal time to pursue your interests and hobbies as well as your career objectives.

- Let him/her have a personal object of to hold on to when lonely. It provides comfort, happiness, and the thought of being with you.

- Remember that you're still in a relationship, so be there for your partner. If your partner is ever in trouble, or hurt, you have to be there for them. Make sure you are available to them so that they can reach you if they need you. If they end up dealing with everything alone, they will eventually not need you.

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