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Long Distance Relationships

Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?

L’absence fait le coeur se développer plus affectueux “, said a young woman to me at a street side café in the port town of Marseille in the south of France.

long distance relationship

For those linguistically challenged in the language of love, she meant to state that absence makes the heart grow fonder, talking about her fiancé of two years, who worked in New York. Yes, she like many of us today, was in a long distance relationship.

Be it studies or career compulsions, a lot of us experience a phase when one has to be away from their spouse for period of time. More often than not, it’s a period when couples go through an array of emotions, and coping needs a lot more than a little effort.

  • Distance or Distress?

“Being away when in love has been one hell of a roller-coaster ride”, says 24 year old Ahana Mistry who studies in the UK, leaving her boyfriend of five months back in Bombay. And she comes from the school of thought that, contrary to what the young French girl feels, believes that if you’re out of sight, you’re out of mind.

Long distance relationships are interpreted differently by every individual depending on how they feel about separation, and which end of the distance spectrum they’re on. Whatever your perspective, the fact remains that you have to go into a long distance relationship with an open mind, as there will be many ups and downs.

  • Coping Strategies

As the separation starts, both individuals will go through emotional upheaval. More often that not, the one who leaves for another location initially gets carried away by the excitement and novelty of a new environment. But it soon starts to turn to loneliness as one feel the lack of a partner to share the emotional experience with.

While the one who stays back has the advantage of being in a familiar, comforting environment, s/he gets trapped in the monotony of going on with life all alone. As Ahana puts it, “Loneliness is the reason for all other blocks in our relationship”. It’s true, as all insecurity and conflict arises from the fact that both partners lack the comfort of each other’s closeness and company.

  • So how does one cope with separation?

The answer is simple, communication. Couples need to make sure that keeping in touch is their number one priority. From making the out-of-turn call to say how much you care, to sending small gifts of love, all work to close the distances.

Apart from the convenience of the mobile phone, there’s a lot one can do with the help of technology to make the gap even smaller. Features like pictures and video over the net can make your loved one feel close to you in all your important moments.

Most important of all is to make sure you look at the separation as a temporary phase and see the bigger picture. If you know you’re going to spend your life with your partner, the journey away will be that much easier. And know that absence can make the heart grow fonder only when you use the time to show your partner how much they mean to you.

How to keep a long-distance relationship in the pink of health

  • Dos:

1- Write letters. They are more personal then electronic communication.

2- Send notes of what you did together and your private jokes or sweet nothings along with images of the two of you

3- Go for cyber dates together online where the two of you visit sites of his choice and then yours.

4- Send care packages with soups, candies, a pictures of you, a love letter, a of his favorite songs to let him/her know that you care

5- Try making frequent trips at regular intervals to see each other. If your partner is very far or in another country then try seeing each other at a place that is half way between.

6- This is an excellent time to understand, learn and reflect on the relationship and whether it’s something that you really want. When we are physically with a person, our vision is often clouded and complacency sets in. Distance and space does help us think more clearly, and allows us to understand and realize the bigger picture.

7- Ensure that there’s a genuine effort from both sides to make the relationship work. A half-hearted or one-sided effort will soon see things fade out.

  • Don’ts:

1- Don’t let the suspicion bug bite you. So what if s/he didn’t answer your call the first time. Don’t panic and start questioning their loyalty towards the relationship.

2- Keep the lines of communication open. Don’t hang up if you have a fight. Talk it out and sort things out before anything else, for there is more room for misunderstanding in a long distance relationship if things are pushed under a carpet.

3- Don’t let the negative experiences of friends and experiences deter and discourage you from carrying on your long distance relationship. Every relationship is different.

4- This is an excellent opportunity to talk and get to know more about each other better as that’s the only thing you can do and make most of while he/she is away.

  • A long distance relationship isn’t for you if….

· You are an insecure person.
· You are suspicious of your mate all the time.
· You need constant physical attention and time from your mate.
· You can’t imagine a day without seeing him/her
· You are excited about the idea of a fling in another place when you are away from your mate
· You are afraid of commitment

  • What it really takes?

· Enormous patience
· Immense faith
· A lot of space
· Constant, Clear and Open communication
· Reassurance of love and feelings for each other
· Sacrifice of seeing your love physically present

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