Being in a long distance relationship places, what may seem to be, an unnatural strain on communication. This is, in addition to, the urgency which naturally comes with relationships – that is the urgency to be with your partner. After all, you have chosen this person to be the most significant thing in your life and the desire to be with and speak to them is stronger than with any friend or relation. But being in a relationship where that person is not readily available puts extra importance on communication because you don’t have their physical presence to break the tension – you can’t be moved by their tone of voice through a text, you can’t smile at their expression through the phone, and even with Skype, as someone told me, “you can’t look into each other’s eyes through a webcam.” Included in the fuss of reading too much into specific words or what they mean by certain Facebook statuses, there are also the difficulties of time differences, different languages, costs of long distance calls, and finding the time to fit in a phone or Skype call.
In spite of this, being in a long distance relationship also has its priceless benefits, which one could perhaps never get otherwise. Since communication is all one has in a long distance relationship, it’s a skill – maybe one of the most important ones in a relationship – that you are bettering and practising whenever you speak to each other. Then one day, when you are together, you know the effect of certain words on your partner, you know how to speak to them when they are in a particular mood, you know what questions to ask when they are unhappy, so that you do not have to keep repeating those silly fights you had in the beginning; and if you look at your friends’ relationships where they are living in the same city, you will see that these fights are not because of Whatsapp or Facebook or Skype, they are because of poor communication. Another benefit when you are finally together is that every single moment and movement and look and touch and smile all mean exponentially more than if you had started out living in the same place.
In the meantime however, you are incredibly fond of the person you are with; otherwise you would not be in this situation, so there are some ways to put in a little more effort and make communicating a little more fun. If you are able to Skype one another, take a night or two every week and make it a date night (or day if you are in different time zones), after all you would do this is you were living in the same city. It’s a nice time to just speak with no time constraints. Do something special in this time; have a meal together, or cook together, perhaps cook the same meal together, try a dish from each other’s countries and watch how they do it while you’re trying it for the first time. Baking is also a lot of fun. You can also have a movie night where you watch the same film together – make popcorn. You could watch films in each other’s languages. Even with subtitles, it’s good practice. It’s also great if you’re shopping and you send pictures of what you’re considering and ask for your partner’s opinion. If you’re going out, send a picture of what you’re wearing, or if you cook something that looks really good, send a picture of that. Although receiving a letter in the post can take aeons, it’s something wonderfully personal to receive a handwritten letter. You could also write it in each other’s languages, which is also great practice!
Do you need LDR help, or more specific advice? Or do you want to share your own LDR experiences? Just leave us a comment!