Long Distance Relationship Advice

Mediate2go.com: Long Distance Relationship Advice
 Most of us have some familiarity with long-distance relationships. For context here, I don't just mean romantic ones, since any meaningful relationship you have with anyone can potentially become one of distance. Sometimes it is the surmounting of periods of distance that cements relationships, sometimes it is the failure to adapt to them that leads to their demise. With this post I hope to point to ways that lead to the former, and also offer some insight for those who may be worried about their relationship, in the future, succumbing to the latter.

One piece of advice: Talk. Seriously. And... talk seriously.

Forgive me in advance if you're the type of person who is constantly calling and talking to everyone, but I assume many of us are not. Knowing how and when to have conversation is a skill appropriate in all cases where you and the other person have a solid foundation - probably romantic, family, or as close friends. I offer this suggestion against the paradoxical background of how, in this day and age, it is stupendously easy to have a live audio or video conversation with someone half the world away - and yet it is remarkable how many years can seem to pass suddenly without you having spoken to a (once?) great friend, or a month might slip away without speaking to your parents. It's easy enough to take your buddies' Facebook posts as gospel and tell yourself you know what they're up to, but this is a poor proxy for really knowing who they are, how they feel about life, how they feel about your friendship or relationship.

The level of dedication to this step clearly needs to be higher in relationships that you really intend to keep going for the long term, the family and romantic ones. Particularly for these types, semi-regular or frequent communication can be wonderful and can lead to thriving rather than boring or faltering relationships.  If you setup communication "dates", keep them, but I'd also recommend working in unexpected conversations.  Trust is fostered better when both parties feel this way, and it's totally acceptable to point this out and discuss it with your partner (or brother, or BFF). It should feel natural to talk to those you care about. Try to stop yourself from viewing scheduled chats as chores, and there may be larger communication or emotional troubles if you are feeling this way.

Which brings us to the second component, which is what I mean by "talk seriously". My above emphasis on being natural and casual even over distance is based on the fact that it would be fully expected to have routine and natural conversations with someone face-to-face (i.e. "short" distance relationships). But it is equally important to have serious talks, even if they have to be over Skype or the phone. Text-based communication is acceptable, too, but I think it is more honest and human to be able to detect the tonality or view the facial expressions of someone you care about. Both of these are elements of successful communication.

Mediate2go.com: Long Distance Relationship Advice
The fact that it is even harder to have a tough or important discussion over distance, I believe, is the very reason it helps to engage in them. The airing of grievances, talking about feelings, tough decisions, or even mundane but detailed problems (e.g. logistics of a visit) can totally be addressed, effectively, over distance. Making it a habit of being truthful with your loved ones or close friends, even when things aren't going well, helps foster trust. For long-distance relationships, I find that it also has a bonus effect of limiting the degree of intensity or pressure that you might feel when close to the other party, be it your partner or family.  If you routinely have honest check-ins about the status of your relationship, there will be much less bottled up to discuss during the presumably infrequent times you actually get to spend together. Likewise, staying in touch with relatives can do a lot to reduce the chances of blow-ups when you come home for the holidays.

We also recommend that you read our blog on Defining Trust and Fixing a Relationship.


Author

Dan Lawlor is a Mediate2go Blogger focused on estates and commercial dispute resolution. Dan is a graduate of McGill University's Faculty of Law with interests in conflict resolution, business law and writing. He played an important role as a director with Mediation at McGill, building connections with the community to improve outreach. Currently he is a student-at-law with Campbell Mihailovich Uggenti LLP in Hamilton, Ontario. Dan loves team sports, reading, and traveling.

Search #long-distance-relationship-advice, #dating-advice.


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