How to make a long-distance relationship work

Go the extra mile for a faraway friend, relative or partner, says Sarah Neish


How to make a long-distance relationship work

Stay in synch

Do things together while you’re apart, says relationship psychologist Denise Knowles. ‘We bond through sharing experiences, so choose a film to watch at the same time, or send letters and agree to open them together.’ This simulates normality and helps you stay connected. Be creative to get round time differences.

Resolve conflict

Being apart lets you change the way you handle conflict, as you have time to consider your response, instead of leaping straight in. ‘Remove heat from disputes by agreeing to discuss them the next day, then take advantage of the space between you to decide what you want to say,’ says Knowles.

Be flexible

A study by Dr Gregory Guldner, author of 'Long Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide', found that 70 per cent of long-distance couples who didn’t establish guidelines broke up within six months. ‘Set parameters, such as how often you’d like to talk,’ says Knowles. ‘But stay flexible within these. While it’s good to make your expectations clear, appreciate that they can’t be met every time.’

Share the effort

If you always initiate contact, step back. ‘You’re encouraging the other person to be passive in communicating with you,’ says Knowles. ‘Resist the urge to send another text, and let them meet you half way.’ If you’re not usually the one who makes contact, a spontaneous phone call may mean more than you know.

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