5 Things To Learn While In A Long-Distance Relationship
Before we begin, take a moment to think about what the 5 things you’ve learned while being in a long-distance relationship and compare them to the list we’ve made below. Are they similar or completely different?
3) Insecurities – vulnerability
4) Time zones
As mentioned in previous blogs, communication is fundamental to any relationship, regardless of the distance. However, a unique characteristic of a long-distance relationship is how the various forms of communication are significantly limited and anything with physical touch is impossible. As such, situations that could have been solved with a simple hug or a kiss, now require new and innovative ways to tell your partner you are okay without holding their hand or providing your physical reassurance.
As humans, we use more than words to communicate how we feel, and those same signals allow us to understand our partner’s current sentiments. Several different communication cues provide us with a further understanding of how to react to certain situations. For instance, when someone says ‘they are fine’ but their body language includes: crossed arms, stiff and or awkward posture, and their overall energy, from intonation to tone of voice, indicate that they are most likely not okay. Therefore, some words require more than just verbal cues to understand.
People are not always ready to reveal how they truly feel, which makes it especially difficult for the person that is trying to interpret their answers to know how to respond. In a long-distance relationship, you learn to overcome and improve your communication skills as both the recipient and the giver of verbal and non-verbal cues.
A fundamental aspect of learning a new skill is to have the patience and determination to keep working on it even when it becomes difficult and challenging. For example, learning to communicate with your partner in new and innovative ways can be both time-consuming and overwhelming. You may find yourself in a position where you believe that learning this skill is important to your relationship, however, you have moments of doubt if learning all of this is even worth it.
Patience extends beyond simply trying something new and not giving up, it is being able to stay calm with your partner as you realize that they are struggling with one or more elements of your relationship. Things that annoy you or certain actions that upset you, require patience from both you and your significant other in order to come to an understanding and to find a middle ground. Patience further extends to how you treat yourself in a long-distance relationship.
Having periods of self-growth and development can enable you to find the patience that you have yet to give to yourself. Whether you are learning a new language in order to communicate better with your partner; or you’re struggling with different insecurities and doubts, being in a long-distance relationship can provide you the space and time needed to improve your inner patience which inevitability will improve how you view and treat your relationship.
What are they doing? Who are they going out with? Are they cheating on me?
If your significant other, has not given you a reason to doubt them, can you still trust in their words wholeheartedly? For many people, they would automatically say yes, however, before you dive deep into that thought process, let’s take a moment to think why it's still possible. Insecurities, such as trust issues, can form from a variety of sources. It can stem from mistakes made in previous relationships, to witnessed behaviours from your own parents. It can also stem from different insecurities that combine together and have left you with more insecurities than you may have previously realized, or in general, you just may have small doubts.
It can be a natural thing, especially with distance and time zone differences involved. These two factors can make your relationship seem that much harder and can bring certain insecurities and doubts to the forefront. This can be anything from trust issues and or feelings of inadequacy for your partner (not feeling good enough either physically or emotionally for your relationship).
This is, however, an opportunity to work on not only your insecurities and or self-doubts but to open-up and become vulnerable with yourself and your partner. Many people do not realize that they hide or try to run from the truth even in the safety of their own mind. For example, the thought ‘Is my partner cheating on me…” starts to enter your mind and before it gets any further you shut it down. Telling your mind “No” and trying to move onto a different thought.
This may work for some people, but for other’s you sometimes have to face that thought and start asking yourself questions such as ‘why am I thinking this?’ and or ‘how am I able to remove this thought entirely from my mind?’ in order to truly move forward. The mind is a powerful place, things that we try to ignore can leap and step into the forefront of our thinking when we least want it.
Instead of running from your mind, try to work with and understand it. No one else is in there except you, being vulnerable with yourself can then allow you to become vulnerable with your partner. Some people are able to go through this process by themselves, others may require help. We want you to feel empowered to seek help if you need it.
When you wake up, I’m supposed to be sleeping. When you are supposed to be sleeping, I’m up.
Time zone differences can be both a blessing and a curse. At times they can be extremely useful, for example, your morning is a few hours later than your partner’s. This allows them to have their morning’s free to do whatever they need to do. On the other hand, because their mornings are earlier than yours, so are their evenings. Therefore, you would have more time at night when your partner is sleeping. In the middle of the day is when you both can come together and talk, but outside of those times, gives you and your significant other the chance to think and work on yourselves outside of the relationship.
Although, that can be very beneficial, there are many downsides to a large time zone difference. This includes, if you’re in the middle of an argument but your partner needs to go to bed because it's already late at night for them. They go to bed upset and or hang up the phone and can’t fall asleep because they are thinking about the situation. On the other side of the country or world, you stay up and think about your frustrations, which can make you even more frustrated because you have more time to dwell on that feeling as it’s happening.
This can happen with both the good and the bad. Even if you and your significant other are going through a celebratory occasion, if one of you has to go to bed then regardless of the amazing moment, it has to end. Being in the same time zone allows you both to move simultaneously through a moment without being interrupted by different sleeping or waking schedules. Although, it is challenging to become consciously aware of time throughout your relationship, by improving your communication this can not only help your relationship but also several different areas of your life that you may not have thought of previously.
Although, long-distance relationships come with a variety of challenges, something unique and remarkable is the potential independence that both parties can gain. Due to the overall distance from your significant other, as mentioned earlier in this blog, this can free up a lot of time for personal development and growth. From developing your skills to improving on your hobbies and interests, personal development and growth can be significantly improved while in a long-distance relationship.
This can create an in-person relationship where both parties know what they like and can sufficiently work towards their own goals without being dependent on their partner to get things accomplished. This may or may not work out for your relationship, however, it can be an amazing opportunity to individual grow into a stronger couple.
Independence can also enable a stronger emotional awareness and emotional intelligence, the ability to positively understand and work through your emotions even in times of stress, as you improve your self-growth. If both you and your partner are able to communicate better, develop strong patience, work through your insecurities and doubts, while also becoming cognitively aware of time and to use it to your advantage, a healthier and stronger relationship is most likely to arise.
Each relationship is different and requires different methods in order for it to improve and or maintain its current state. However, regardless of what you need to learn in your long-distance relationship, having an open mind and taking the first step is always a part of the equation. As the months turn into years and time together has both its ups and downs, we hope you learn and grow during this period of your life at both the individual and relationship level.
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