For almost ten years I have been in relationships involving other countries. My first serious relationship lasted 8 years and was with a man living in the other part of Poland who subsequently moved to Germany. Although we were a good couple, the relation didn’t survive the distance and time. With my current partner we have three houses in three countries and each of us is doing best not to repeat past mistakes. How to enjoy and not suffer in such relationship? See my ten tips below.
Do long-term future plans at the beginning
In the distance relationships always at certain point one part needs to do a sacrifice and move to another city or another country resigning from everyday physical presence of his / her family and friends, often also resigning from the job. Many couples are moving difficult decisions forward to the future leaving the question open. After many years of distance relationship, when the partners at the end would like to start stable life together, conflict of interests may result in the end of the relationship.
Set up your joint priorities
Be clear at the beginning what do you expect from the relationship and check if it is coherent with the imagination of your partner about life with you. Check if you both want the same in terms of such important issues as marriage, children, carrier etc. Bear in mind that there are differences of cultures between countries. While in Poland it is normal to get marry after university, in the Mediterranean countries, for example, mentality of majority of people is more relaxed and less mature in this subject. Match in terms of values and priorities will prevent you from frustrations in the future.
Agree at the beginning how you are going to visit each other
People often start a distance relationship without thinking much how it should work in practice. Of course, you cannot fight with the sudden attack of love and passion… It is really worth, however, to agree some schedule and rules of visits at early stage of the relation. Depending on the situation, sometimes one partner is more travelling than the other one. Try to find the best solution to carry the “luggage” of distance together. If you really want to save the relationship, you will find the way to travel more often, for example finding more flexible job as freelancer or at least in partial home office regime.
Respect communication rules
Nowadays, emotional closeness being in a physical distance is really not so difficult. Having such tools as mobile internet, whatsapp, skype, facebook, you can be in touch at any moment of the day. Do your best to reply as fast as possible at messages of your partner. Do not disappear for whole days without a notice, because it is a show of ignorance. Keep your love up to date on your daily schedule, so he or she doesn’t need to waste the time on thinking what is happening with you. At the same time do not behave as a stalker. Leave the personal space for your partner. Try to reach the balance in the amount of communication suitable for you both. Lack of harmonic communication will destroy any distanced-relation.
Be understanding and patient
Distance relationship demands patience and lots of understanding. You cannot control your partner when he is away. You have to deal with another culture or religion that is in opposition to your traditions, habits and beliefs. All the time you have to search for compromises and solutions the best for everyone: you, your partner, your family and his family. Put effort to balance sacrifices on both sides. If you are spending Christmas together with your family, go for Easter to his / her relatives. Don’t build the impression that your traditions or family are more important than his / her.
Study the culture and language of your partner
Although it seems to be obvious, not everyone shows the right attitude about other cultures. Often one of partners is passive and do not study even basics in the language of his fiancé. It is nice when you try to integrate with family and fiends of your second half. Interest in local traditions and culture is your gate to be accepted by his or her family. At least in Poland everyone is melting hearing a foreigner trying to speak Polish. It is a gesture of respect.
Study how to solve disputes and conflicts from the distance
When you are together all the time, you can explode your madness in the moment of conflict avoiding keeping inside the madness. The situation is much more complicated when you are in the distance. Majority of trials to clarify or explain something through communicators results in numerous misunderstandings and escalation of a conflict. After few days the madness disappears itself without solving problem through talk. When finally you see each other, you don’t want to waste your time for difficult discussions. End of the end the relationship is full of unspoken problems and misunderstandings poisoning each of you from inside. Remember don’t leave unsolved problems for later. Connect and talk through the camera every time you feel, something is wrong.
Work on loyalty and trust
There is one nice rule that is worth to be applied in the distance relationship: “Do not do things you wouldn’t like someone to do to you”. It is much more difficult to deal with jealousy, when you are far away from your boyfriend or girlfriend and your imagination is making constant movies. Before you organize a coffee with your ex, think twice how you would feel if the same situation was on the other side. Watch from the distance, how would you feel in this or another situation. Remember, if you give reasons to your partner for jealousy, you will put yourself to the cage of constant suspicions and often ridiculous accusations. At the same time do not interrogate your partner each time, when was out without you if is not giving you the reasons for being jealous. Don’t force him or she to tell the lies just to avoid hundred questions from your side.
Study how to deal with loneliness
Distance relationships are not for those, who cannot be alone. You must be a person who is able to organize the life without unnecessary frustrations and constant reproaches. You need to study how to live with lack of everyday physical closeness, empty bad in the morning or eating single person meals without a companionship. Bear in mind, however, that feeling of loneliness cannot dominate your life. In such situation it means that maybe you did wrong calculations organizing your “joint” life and you should see each other more often. Connecting skype, you can do many things together, wherever you are in the globe.
Be consequent in what you agreed at the beginning
Last, but the most important. Once you agreed the future, priorities, way of visits etc, fulfill consequent all your principles and rules. There is nothing worse than deluding somebody with empty promises.