"Long distance relationships depend heavily on keeping something hopeful - an event or meeting on the near horizon - in the forefront of the relationship," advises Marty Babits, LCSW, BCD, author of The Power of the Middle Ground: A Couple's Guide to Renewing Your Relationship. Knowing when you can look forward to a relaxed or extended conversation can make a the difference between feeling that the connection is fading or being maintained; if possible, having set times when you know you will be in contact can help enormously.
Babits says programs like Skype can make a big difference but, again, partners that feel they can access their partner in times of distress, or at least reach them and get in touch with them in relatively short order, can go a long way toward 'shortening' the distance psychologically. Having a contingency plan to signal moments of exceptional need for contact can help; e.g., partners can set up understandings like: 'If you are facing a loss or threat of some kind that is extraordinarily difficult situation that you want to share with me or talk to me about, signal me with the term, 'code-blue' so I will know to get back to you as quickly as I possibly can.'
So how do you keep your LDR hot? We asked Elayne Savage, author of 'Breathing Room - Creating Space to Be a Couple. Elayne says with LDRs you can live the dream and you don't have to live the reality. Go with that ideal and make your relationship as hot as possible, despite the distance.
Sure, pheromones can't do their job during your separations, but hopefully there will be enough oxytocin, the 'bonding' hormone, to last between visits.
Long distance relationships can offer a unique opportunity to nourish your space and independence, and remain connected to someone you love. Remember, though, treat this relationship with as much nurturing and respect as you would a more geographically desirable relationship. And keep saving those frequent flyer miles…they can come in handy!
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