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1. Be clear on commitment levels and exclusiveness. Are you both allowed to go on dates with other people? Do you plan to settle down when you’re finally together? Make sure you’re both on the same page. Be sure you’re ready to commit to someone before wasting their time. One core reason why things go painfully wrong in relationships is when the goals of both parties are not in sync.
2. Support and encourage your partner’s new interests and commitments. Perhaps, she just joined a new book club, which means Thursday evenings aren’t open anymore. Instead of obsessing about her ‘wanting to spend time with people other than you’, respect the fact that she’s meeting with new people and improving on herself.
3. Don’t be afraid to bring up difficult topics. This is a common mistake with LDR couples: you don’t want to raise sensitive issues over the phone and when you visit, you don’t want to ruin that blissful time with an argument. Yet, everyone knows the toxic consequences of bottling up doubts and fears. Save each other the pain. Resolve conflicts instead of letting them build up inside you to a breaking point.
4. Communicate only as much as you need to. Understandably, you may want to hear your partner’s voice every minute of the day but you don’t have to. You probably already know about the importance of communication in every relationship – long distance or geographically close. However, being on the phone with each other for fifteen out of twenty four hours each day does not exactly mean you communicate well. Use some of that time to enjoy the company of friends and family around you instead.
5. Get creative with your communication. Give details in conversations. Instead of just ‘my day went well’, tell him/her what happened, who you met, that funny incident. Make them feel like they’re still a part of your day, even if not physically.
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6. Avoid putting your partner in a situation where they feel powerless and helpless. If you’ll be going somewhere you know they won’t be comfortable with, either let them know and reassure them or don’t go at all. You’ll not only be saving him/her the pain of uncertainty, you’ll also be avoiding getting yourself into what might end up as a compromising situation.
7. Don’t rely on social media. It’s tempting to stalk your partner online, liking and commenting on every post. This can also be a cute way of staying connected to each other’s lives. However, don’t get blinded and/or paranoid by what you see online. Don’t overanalyse every post or obsess about every single person they take a selfie with. Do I need to re-emphasize the importance of trust?
8. Don’t make the mistake of idealizing your partner. It’s easy to forget a person’s faults and imperfections when you don’t see them everyday and you’re really missing them. Don’t start fantasizing about your perfect man/woman waiting for you halfway across the country. Otherwise, when you’re eventually brought close together again, it’ll feel like a veil has fallen and the faults will seem even magnified.
9. Set an end date. You need to close the distance at some point. You need some hope you can both hold on to. It’s important to help the both of you revive the enthusiasm and as a vision to hold on to when doubts start to shake you (which they definitely will, at some point)
10. Be patient. This is where most people get it wrong – dropping out of school or selling properties and using the money to relocate, just to be closer to their loml. Don’t go making those wild ‘romantic’ decisions simply because you want to see your partner. Respect the reason why you’re apart (maybe work or schooling) and hold on to the hope that you’ll be reunited at the perfect time for both of you.
Long distance is not just a hurdle that many couples have scaled through together successfully, it’s also a factor that has strengthened the bond between some like never before. Yes, it’ll be tough. But if you both really want to make it work, it will.
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