Trying to learn how to save a long distance relationship can feel a lot like stuffing a genie back into a bottle. Only in this case, the genie can be a host of hurt feelings, misunderstandings, insecurities or doubts. There are no actual tangible tools that come into play when trying to save a long distance relationship; the (most likely) already present means of communication suffice. That being said, there is a five-step approach that can not only help you save your relationship, but also help you find out whether or not doing so is actually healthy.
- Take a break from your relationship for a week or month. Although it sounds counterproductive, both parties need to decide if they can truly re-commit to the match for the right reasons. The wrong reasons, such as the time already invested, are not a good enough reason to maintain a long distance relationship past its healthy stage. Taking a break and reflecting on the relationship also does away with the doubts about being a long distance romance to begin with.
- Meet in person to redefine the parameters of the relationship. Saving a long distance relationship means learning from past mistakes. For example, if the prior call schedule was too rigid and stifled much-needed spontaneity or oppressed one or both parties when trying to build healthy friendships outside the liaison, it is time to restructure times and points of contact.
- Re-commit to the basic parameters. If the relationship is to be exclusive, both parties must expressly agree to this term. In contrast, if the relationship is to be monogamous when together but casual when apart, both lovers must verbalize their agreement to this change if the relationship is to survive being long distance.
- Set goals as a couple. It is crucial to visualize and plan for a time beyond your geographic separation. Obsessing about the here and now will likely lead to a breakup when the stint of separation ends.
- Exchange a token of commitment. A ring, bracelet, love letter, poem or any other tangible token of affection, love and commitment will do. It helps to remind you of the strength of your bond.
Of course, even if you become a master at implementing all the steps needed to make the romance work, saving a long distance relationship still requires that both parties be on board.
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