How to Make Long-Distance Relationships Work

How to Make Long-Distance Relationships Work

A while ago, I saw this tweet that went, “long-distance relationships can work if four of you are comfortable.” While it made me laugh, it set a troubling precedent that two people can’t be a committed relationship unless they’re five feet apart. That tweet and several others like it, give off the impression that when you have a partner whom you can’t see as often as you’d like; the relationship is doomed to fail, or you have to accept infidelity.

But that’s not the truth at all. Yes, the extra distance can complicate things, and I admit that people whose love language demands physical touch and quality time might consider it a no-go area. Still, if both of you are committed to making it work, you can.

Technology is your friend

When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, many governments installed lockdown measures which effectively threw everyone into a long-distance relationship with anyone they weren’t living with. While that was difficult, life went on, and at a point, zoom reported having 300 million calls daily. Now more than ever, communicating with someone on the other end of the world has never been easier. You need to find a platform that works for both of you to communicate regularly.  Also, don’t be afraid to get creative once in a while. ‘Good morning’ texts are great, but they can be monotonous. Flood each other with jpegs, send cute videos, and play games that help you get to know one another.

Enjoy your time apart

Sometimes couples feel like they have to spend more time talking to make up for the lack of proximity. While consistent communication is excellent, both of you might quickly get sick of each other when you speak for eight hours every day. Instead, see it as an opportunity to define yourself outside your relationship. You don’t have to give your significant other an update every five minutes when you go out with your friends. Don’t be that person who abandons their hommies because they’re dating someone, who will dry your tears if things go south? 

Deliver yourself from temptation

This tip is for those of you whose bodies used to touch, oya open your eyes. Do what your pastor says, and flee from temptation. Yes, long-distance can be a real bummer for the physical aspect of your relationship. But it’s not by force, and if you both agreed to an exclusive commitment, then anything less is disrespecting your partner. Don’t put yourself in situations that have the potential to escalate. You’re meeting up with that ex that’s been ‘checking up on you,’ in private? Or maybe that girl/guy from work you’ve been flirting with too often. What’s that saying, ‘na from clap, dance dey start.’

Engage in similar activities

Being apart doesn’t have to stop you from doing things together. Leverage on your shared interests to find fun activities both of you can enjoy. If both of you are into reading, recommend books to each other and talk about what you think as the story progresses. If books aren’t your thing, you can do the same with movies, music and games. It could be a real opportunity to understand how your partner processes information and how they see the world. It doesn’t have to be all fun and game, don’t miss out on the opportunity to hold each other accountable. You could learn a new language so that you can practice together. Check on each other to make sure you finish specific tasks or take on an internet challenge.

Set ground rules

Every relationship needs ground rules, even when you’re several meters apart. The last thing you want is to make your partner uncomfortable, so discuss what your expectations are. Do you want to be 100% exclusive? Are you allowed to date, or maybe even get physical with other people? I know it sounds contradictory from the introduction, but it’s different when your partner is aware, and you’re both comfortable with it. Ground rules don’t have to apply to only sex and dating. It could also be avoiding disrupting each other during work hours, or communicating on specific things.

Whatever arrangement you find yourself in, it’s always easier when you both agree, and you’re both committed to making it work.

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