Long distance relationships have been the subject of movies,music and novels for a long time probably because they make for great romantic stories. Perhaps you've watched a movie before about lovers that had been separated by distance for a period of time. Maybe the scene in which they got to see each other again was a tear-jerking one for you. I love movies like that too but I kid you not, long distance relationships in real life can be very tough. Don't be fooled by the romantic lyrics and stories.
I got firsthand experience when I had a long distance courtship with my fiance for two and a half years. After 28 straight months of not seeing each other, I went back home to Nigeria and we eventually got married. Ours is a success story but not without its ups and downs. It takes a high level of trust, commitment and dedication to make it work.
It would not be very accurate to assume everyone thinks of long distance relationships as a cake walk though. There are people who have real fears of being in one. Such fears could be as a result of hearing sad tales of couples whose relationships ended badly. Every now and then, I get questions from women who are into a long distance relationship/marriage or those considering getting into one. They are concerned about whether it would work or not.They are bothered by the challenges it might bring and whether or not they are equipped to handle it. They have more questions than answers. Questions and concerns such as:
- Will it work?
- What if he loses interest in me?
- What if he starts dating some other lady he sees more often?
- Is it worth the risk?
- How often should we see each other to maintain a good relationship?
- What if he changes his mind and is no longer interested? What will I do?
I don't dismiss those fears because I used to have some of those myself. They are real and if you don't know how to tackle it, it can knock you out and leave you feeling emotionally fatigued. Let's discuss some of the problems that can arise.
Problem #1: Lack Of Trust
There are different factors that play into the chances of a long distance relationship being successful or not but for the most part, it hinges on T-R-U-S-T. If you have trust issues, it's probably best not to get started in a relationship in the first place – long distance or not. If you are the kind of person who wants to know the password to all your boyfriend's emails, and wants a leash on his neck any time he is away from you, you aren't ripe for a relationship yet. Now, if you are the kind of person that trusts him but find it hard to shake off the ugly thoughts that make you rethink your trust in him while he is away, here is what you must know.
Solution: Remember that you are not the only one who needs to have faith in someone else here. Your boyfriend needs to trust you as well. It's natural to feel vulnerable when the one you love is so far off but you need to redirect your energy towards building the relationship rather than having doubts about it.
Problem #2: Becoming Strangers
It is very easy to get occupied with the day to day living that you and your boyfriend might become strangers. Humans are ever-changing. We can get busy with school, work, family and just life in general and one day wonder to our self, "who is this guy on the other end of the phone? He is no more the man I know" .
Solution: If a relationship needs not just love, but time and dedication to grow, a long distance one needs twice as much commitment. If you value your relationship, don't leave it to chance. It is what we nourish that grows. Set apart time to have quality chats with your boyfriend. Both of you should have a plan as to how to make it work. My husband and I would exchange emails letting the other know when it would be a good time to call/chat. It was as important as keeping an appointment. That being said, make your talk time count. Give each other updates about what is going on in your life, about the books you are reading, the places you are going to and the new friends you are making. Celebrate accomplishments together. That way, you stay involved in each other's lives.
Problem #3: Not Having A Timeline
Having a long distance relationship without thinking of when you can possibly take the 'long distance' out of the equation might be setting you up to fail. Like Dani Johnson would say, "…nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific", you should have a pretty good idea of when the distance between you will be bridged. It can get really discouraging when there's nothing to look forward to.
Solution: Talk about when you can possibly be together. This is never an easy conversation to have. You both must bear in mind that for relationships and marriages to work, their has to be compromise on both sides.
Long distance relationships seem to take twice the time and effort to nurture, but it can be worthwhile when you give it your best and it works out.
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