Johannesburg - As you may or may not know my partner and I do not live together, and we’ve been together for over 21 years and still going strong. In the early days we thought it would be a good idea to live under the same roof, but it wasn’t – so he now lives in his house and I live in mine, but we see each other every weekend.
Recently I’ve been working in the North West, so we are even further apart geographically but not emotionally. I got to thinking that things may change if we were on different continents. Is it the number of miles that makes the difference?
I know we see each other every weekend, but would we be able to maintain a long-distance relationship that allowed us to see each other every 6 months or less?
I think we’d be fine because we have already set the tone and rules.
Long-distance relationships require a lot of the same things for an optimal relationship, long-distance ones, however, require a bit more conscious thought.
Trust is the first and perhaps most important predictor of long-term relational success. Without trust, nothing else matters. This is true for any relationship but especially when you are far apart.
After trust, communication, compromise, connection, and commitment – otherwise know as the four Cs are important.
Communication is going to be important – are you talking daily, weekly or will it depend on signal. If you’re in the middle of the desert it may be difficult to communicate with any kind of frequency. These expectations should be set out and discussed very early on. Saying you are going to chat every day and then not calling for several days will lead to frustration and resentment.
With today’s technology communication is much easier and less expensive than it used to be. WhatsApp, Facetime, Facebook, Zoom, Skype and Teams have made video calling so much easier. It’s lovely to see someone so far away. Remember we get cues from body language and facial expressions.
My partner and I chat almost every evening. It’s not cast in stone and sometimes we miss a call but it’s comforting to know when I’m going to hear from him next. Sometimes he will say he is grumpy and will catch up with me the following day. Sometimes I am grumpy and then it’s best to wait. We never take the skipped call or delayed call personally.
An occasional, spontaneous, “thinking of you” phone call can be a nice surprise, but scheduling longer conversations can help you connect when you’re both at your best. Switch up your communication tools. Text, call, video call and what about a surprise parcel!
As you think of things to share throughout the day, jot them down so you remember them later. If you have something on your mind, talk about it instead of letting it go unsaid. It doesn’t all have to be exciting, most of us live very mundane lives, you’d share it if you were in the same house.
You will have to compromise but make sure that it’s not just one sided. If it is resentment will creep. In. I know it’s extremely difficult to get the balance right, if you’re feeling hard done by or frustrated, talk about it. Avoiding it will only lead to it festering and before you know it you won’t be able to fix it.
Maintain your intimate connection. This too has been made so much easier with technology.
Maintaining sexual intimacy can be a challenge in many long-distance relationships. If you and your partner enjoy regular sex, you might struggle with the lack of intimate contact during your weeks (or months) apart. Luckily there are a couple of tricks you can try and several adult toys that are App enabled and make your sexy play even on different continents MUCH more fun.
To keep things interesting, try:
– Swapping sexy photos (just make sure your messaging app is secure)
– Talking about sex and things you’d like to try
– Phone sex
– Mutual masturbation during a video chat
– Sending erotic emails, letters, or texts
Just keep in mind not everyone feels comfortable with digital intimacy, so always discuss individual boundaries around photos, phone sex, or webcam use.
It’s normal to feel a little shy at first, but don’t hesitate to bring up these feelings. After all, sharing awkward moments can often help you build more intimacy.
Check out the following toys to keep the passion heated Adrien Lastic Pan-T Vibe, Jive We Vibe Remote Egg, Lovense Calor, Lovense Domi 2, We Vibe Sync
You also need commitment to each other, to the relationship and to the hard times that may come. Don’t walk away when the first bump comes along.
When I was married, we undertook not to walk away for a period of 5 years. That meant that no matter how hard it got neither of us could leave the relationship until the end of the 5 years. We got through two stints and then called it. Today we are still best friends.
Spend time together when possible. Time, money, and work commitments can all make it difficult to visit your partner often as you’d like.
Consider doing some advanced planning to get a good deal on plane tickets or look into alternative transportation options. In South Africa it is limiting but you may be able to get a lift, share petrol etc.
All of this is easier for the person at home if you maintain your independence. Keep your job, have your own friends, keep close social ties with your family and support system because believe me the geyser will burst and the gate will stop working the minute your partner leaves!
Physical distance doesn’t mean you can’t do things together, especially with modern technology. It just requires a little more creativity.
Watch a movie together. Thanks to the rise of streaming, you can watch movies or TV shows on opposite sides of the world. You can synchronize the start moment.
Go for a walk. Walking and video chatting at the same time may not be the safest option, so find a favourite park or other quiet spot to have a short video call.
Cook and eat a meal together. If you and your partner like to cook together, keep the tradition going even when you’re apart. Try making the same dish and see if they turn out the same.
Plan a date night. Maybe you can’t go on a date in person, but you can still create a romantic atmosphere at home. Put on music and have a drink together. Light the candles have a sex bath, get out the toys I mentioned earlier.
It’s not easy but you can do this. Be considerate and whenever possible include your partner.
There are things you should avoid. Like any kind of relationship, long-distance bonds aren’t a one-size-fits-all situation. What works for one couple might not do much for another.
Long-distance relationships require you trust each other to maintain the boundaries of your relationship. Checking up on your partner can be damaging.
It’s normal to worry when your partner’s behaviour seems unusual. Maybe they miss a goodnight call, talk a lot about new friends, or seem less responsive to texts for a few days.
When this happens, communicate your concerns instead of letting worries tempt you into asking for proof of where they were or photos of them in bed each night.
Don’t treat every visit like a vacation. You’ll both forget how hard real life is. Children need to be fed, work has to be done and gates need to be repaired. Life continues.
Don’t forget the little things. When you see each other in person, make an effort to include everyday moments in your time together, like getting up to make coffee or breakfast. Helping each other with chores, clean the pool, fall asleep on the couch.
This quiet intimacy can help you feel more connected than rushing from activity to activity.
Perfection is no small feat, but it can be found in the small things. Good luck.