“Do you worry all the time about whether your long distance relationship can last?”
“Have you got frustrated with not being able to reach them when you really need them?”
“Do you get annoyed with the lack of sex and intimacy?”

“Are you having problems with trust and jealousy?”

“Do you often have miscommunications and misunderstandings?”

“Do you have times when you lose your enthusiasm for it all? and

“Have you thought about giving it all away because it’s all just too hard?”

Being involved in a long distance relationship can put a strain on any couple. It’s totally different from other types of relationships as you don’t get the constant physical contact or quality time that most other couples enjoy on a daily basis. Sure, they’re still in your life and you’re totally committed to them, but you also have the independence that typically comes with being single. It can be a very hard situation to balance.

This can lead to all sorts of problems. Communication can be a big issue because it’s limited by certain time zones and access to technology (e.g. Skype, phones, emails etc.) and often problems can’t be fully addressed. There’s a lack of intimacy and sex, you may start to interrogate and get suspicious with each other, and jealousy and resentment can grow. If there are children involved, the distance can create a lack of connection with them, and you may miss key family moments. There may also be no end date to this arrangement, and therefore you have to live in limbo and be uncertain about the future.

5 tips to making a long distance relationship work:

1) Set up rules for contact

This is absolutely vital for making this work. You need to be on the same page about time zones, expectations around frequency of contact, how you want to speak to each other (Skype, email, texts, phone etc.) and for how long each time. Get set up with all the right technology and calling plans so that it’s easy to do and it happens on a regular basis. Also, be clear about expectations around flirting, alcohol and drug use, and making contact after going out late on the town.

2) Communicate clearly and deal with issues immediately

Due to the fact that there are time and distance limitations, you need to make sure that all your communication is clear and easy to understand. You need to cut down on any chance of misinterpretations – so texts, emails and calls have to be black and white in content. As well, if there are any issues going on between the two of you, bring them up and manage them as they occur rather than sitting on them and suffering in silence. This will only create more distance if you dwell on things.

3) Have regular visits

Keeping a long distance relationship going needs frequent face to face time. It’s simply too hard to drag it out for long periods with no physical contact. So get out your calendar and set down regular visits together. This can include holidays away, romantic week-ends and Xmas and New Years plans. The more often these can occur, the more glue you have to make your relationship stick together. As well, remember – take it slow with the sex when you first meet up – as it can take a little while to re-connect. Go out for a lunch, dinner, a walk, or a coffee and spend a little time getting reacquainted before leaping back into bed together. Finally, when you are together make each other a priority over friends and other activities.

4) Remember important dates

Every couple has important calendar dates that mean a lot to them. It might be a birthday, wedding anniversary, child’s birthday or special milestone, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Xmas, Mother/ Father’s Day, a death of a family member in the past etc. Make sure that each of you has these dates firmly in your diaries and you always make an effort to remember and celebrate these occasions. It shows that you’re thinking of each other, and your relationship is a priority.

5) Have a clear plan for the future

Only go into a long distance relationship if you have an end date in mind. Get specific and be clear about when you’re going to be together again, and what your shared plans are for the next 6 months, 2 years and 5 years. This commitment and clarity will allow you to cope with the lonely times ahead.

For more advice and free relationship tips go to www.johnaikenadvice.com