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Falling in love (in this case, a person and not a place) can be one of the many great side effects of a language study trip abroad. But when you return, it is sometimes difficult not to transform physical distance into emotional distance. You will need to be determined and optimistic and work hard to turn the temporary long-distance into a long-term love story.
However, nothing is impossible, and these tips should allow your romance to flourish, no matter how many kilometers separate you. Be sure to act pro from the distance: some efforts really go a long way.
1. Find the best time to communicate (regularly)
Although you can always send text and emails 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, sometimes you just need to speak and get immediate feedback. Depending on the distance, it may take a while to find the most convenient time for conversations, but it is by forging that you become a blacksmith and humorous voice messages sometimes compensate for missed connections and synchronization problems. It doesn’t matter that you can only call on Sunday morning – the main thing is to find a time to share with your loved one.
2. Find the best channels to stay in touch
Once you have resolved the timing issues, it will be just as important to find the ideal channels. Luckily, staying in touch with the world has never been easier or more affordable. A Wi-Fi connection is usually all you need to communicate through Skype, chat, or text. Make sure that your main communication tool is easily accessible to both of you and remember that having different channels will make your communications much more interesting.
3. Be creative
Record an audio message overnight, write a letter, send a postcard, or make a surprise package or a cassette of your favorite songs. Use your imagination and find new and innovative ways to show attention to your partner. You don’t have to empty your bank account – instead of renting a plane to transport poems across the sky, why not hide a few sweet notes in the apartment during your next visit?
4. Do not try to avoid conflicts
If you only meet every few weeks or months, and you speak a different language, it’s easy to ignore problems or concerns. You have no time to waste in arguments when you only have 48 hours to spend together. Avoiding conflicts and staying away from any discussion can be damaging in the long term. The more you talk about the angry subjects before they turn into insurmountable obstacles in your relationship, the better. However, don’t argue over text or e-mail (too hard to read between the lines), try to discuss the problem face to face or over the phone as soon as possible. That being said…
Always try to be open and honest about your feelings. Ignoring where your loved one is, at all times, or with whom he or she is spending Saturday night can lead to unnecessary thinking and panic. The fact that social media makes it easy to see (or imagine) the good times experienced by your spouse does not help much. It is important to trust each other enough to share your thoughts and feelings. You will be able to overcome, together, jealousy, anxiety or doubts.
6. See the glass half full
Living your daily routine, while having a long distance relationship, can be both a blessing and a curse. You may feel like you are missing something because it is much more difficult to have “normal couple” activities, such as picking up your partner at work or going out for lunch. However, it can also be a huge personal benefit. Indeed, if you have to spend long hours studying or working, you will not have to cancel your dinner plans or your movie evenings, for example, and thus disappoint your spouse.
7. Do boring tasks together
When two lovers only see each other a few times a year, living together is like a vacation. And, after all, it will likely be a vacation, since you will no longer be going to work or school. There is nothing wrong with having a good time, sleeping in the morning, having a good brunch and sightseeing, but it is also important to carry out some boring everyday tasks, such as doing laundry, shopping, or mow the lawn. And, trying to do these mundane activities together to make them fun and exciting is a real test for your relationship, isn’t it?
8. Set the date you will meet again
Depending on the time and money required to organize a meeting, being together can become a complex operation. Not knowing the date of your next meeting only complicates your feelings and your life plans in the broad sense. It is, therefore, best to try to set a new date as soon as possible, as soon as you return home. So you can both plan ahead and take advantage of discounted tickets and special offers, not to mention having a goal! (The surprise tours are also great, of course, so take them into consideration, if you can.)
9. Share activities
The moments of hopelessness must be compensated for by creative ways of spending time together. Without necessarily being together in the same place, you can always share some activities. Thank you, the functions of video calling! Nowadays, you don’t really have any excuses not to share the screen to cook, share a meal, go shopping or go for a walk together via video chat. Remember that you can also watch the same movie while chatting.
10. Keep a souvenir gift
Sometimes, no call or text message compensates for the absence of your loved one, that’s when wearing your favorite shirt or drinking from your favorite mug could help. Souvenir gifts may seem cheesy, but they are certainly very effective. A sample of his favorite laundry or perfume can be enough to make time zones disappear for a moment – have no problem going that route, when you desperately feel the absence of your loved one.
11. Meet people and visit places
The more you chat and get to know yourself, the more you mention places or people that the other person may not know. Whenever you have the opportunity, let your loved one discover – by means of a photo or a real visit – the places you frequent most and the people you meet or mention the most often. Daily conversations will become much more meaningful and make you feel like part of your life, despite the distance.
Hope that those tips can help to maintain your long-distance relationship. With a good commitment from both sides, there’s no possibility that the relationship can lasting in a longer term.