A period of separation in your marriage will inevitably show up in some shape or form. So how do we weather the storm and stay connected, whether it’s a business trip away, or a study abroad to Asia?
If there’s anything we learned from the pandemic, it’s that long-distance can work, but it takes the right advice and rhythm, and for two people to commit to the tango. Here are four helpful tips to level up your long-distance game plan.
Always have a reunion date to look forward to
Let’s face it- long distance is going to suck sometimes. It might be true that distance makes the heart grow fonder, but can it please hurt less, damnit?! There will be weeks where you’ll ugly-cry at work (no shame…we’ve all been there). That’s why you always need to know when the next reunion will be and there should never be a moment when you have no idea when you’ll be together again.
Have you ever been on the phone with customer service and waited minutes…hours… days… and eventually had absolutely no fucking idea when you were going to speak to a human being? Multiple that anxiety by a thousand, and that’s pretty much what it’s like to have ambiguity in a long-distance relationship.
It should be your priority to nail down a date for your next in-person meeting. Got that plane ticket booked for the long weekend? Start a shared countdown. It’s hard enough missing your partner, which is exactly why you need to establish a sense of predictability and safety. Otherwise, the looming cloud of uncertainty will suck your relationship dry quicker than Uncle Joe at the open bar of your wedding. So, go and circle that day on your calendar with a red marker. It’s your sparkly light at the end of the tunnel.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
The training wheels of communication come off when it becomes long distance.It’s time to put on your big kid pants and, in the words of Sublime, “love the one you got.”
With the lack of physical presence, make your words count. At the very least you should be on the same page about how often you’ll be connecting. Will you text, video chat, or call on the phone? How do you feel about saying good morning and good night? Do you know what each other’s insecurities are? Let’s get the basics down.
On another note, it’s completely normal to feel jealous, worried and sad. Sometimes, the stress of long distance will reawaken old skeletons of jealousy and abandonment that feel bigger than what you can discuss with your partner. In these situations, it will help to have a professional therapist or counsellor to confide in.
Close the gap with creative date nights
When the going gets tough, the tough gets creative! Unless you want to live in a century where all we had were pigeon carriers, it’s time to fully utilise what the generation of technology can offer us!
To replace movie nights, try a Netflix Party while chatting on the phone and snacking on your favorite popcorn.
Feeling hungry? Cook a homemade meal together and video chat while you eat!
Want to spice things up? Have surprise flowers, chocolates, or a beautiful handwritten card delivered right to their doorstep. You don’t need a reason other than to say, “I love you.”
Gadgets can also help you fill the space between you and your boo. Did you know that there’s a ton of gear designed just for long-distance couples? Some notable mentions include matching bracelets that vibrate when the other person touches theirs, as well as lamps and pillows that respond to each other.
One of my favourites is the Twig App that allows you to create an online memory scrapbook with you and your partner. Since we’re already addicted to our phones, might as well make it cute right?
For the kinkier folks, let’s not forget the oh-so-naughty memories you can make with remote control toys! From vibrating panties, to long-distance butt plugs, your bedroom can extend continent to continent.
Check out lastingthedistance.com for links to tech and gadgets.
Step up your self-care game
I know the idea of being away just floods you with dread, but sweetie, being away from your partner doesn’t mean retreating into hoodies and eating ice cream alone every week. It’s an opportunity to nurture your other relationships and focus on you. Now sounds like the perfect time to do the things that have been on your list forever. You were always complaining about how you never had enough “me time” when they were around anyway.
Haven’t you been rescheduling boardgame night with your college buddies for the last 6 months?
What happened to getting your real estate license after you binge-watched Selling Sunset?
Maybe it’s time to finally book that therapy session?
I’m just saying…
With an epic glow-up you’ll be able to return to the relationship as better versions of yourselves, and we already know how important self-care is to your marriage. Let’s do a toast to version 2.0 of yourself when you’re finally in each other’s arms again.
So, brave the distance, get that glow-up, and enjoy the crazy passionate sex when you reunite. And when it gets hard, just remember that you’re not alone. You’re joining the ranks of millions of couples who are cheering you on the other side of surviving long-distance too.
About Gloria Zhang, MA
Gloria is an ink-lovin’ Psychotherapist and Relationship Coach based out of Canada, and host of Top 100 show The Inner Child Podcast. Gloria helps High Achievers break the pattern of toxic relationships and create lasting love by healing the inner child. You can find out more about her at bygloriazhang.com and follow her on Instagram @bygloriazhang.