5 essential elements to keep your long-distance relationship alive

Long-term relationships are work. Long-distance relationships are even more work.

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  • When I was 10-years-old, my father went to Korea. He moved us five children and Mom to Fulton, New York so Mom had family and friend support. She wrote letters daily to, and received an occasional phone call from, Dad.

  • When my doctor recommended we move to Florida or Arizona to ease the symptoms of Reynaud’s Disease, my husband was ecstatic. He wanted to move to Florida and here was his chance. We took vacation and went south. We decided to move to North Miami Beach where my sister and her husband lived. He lined up a job working for a Nissan dealer, went home, packed and left. I packed and sold the house. We used Instant Messenger, IM, to talk each evening for about three months. Times sure have changed with the Internet, web cam, cell phones offering free long distance and smart phones.

  • Long-term relationships are work. Long-distance relationships, LDR, are even more work. Whether you’re married, were together before the separation or met online, a LDR will work if both partners agree on what it takes to stay a couple.

  • Have a goal

  • Of long-distance relationships, 40 percent are likely to fall apart. Seventy-percent of those failed relationships didn’t have a plan. Set short-term and long-term goals to give your relationship a greater chance of survival.

  • Body language, holding hands, hugging, kissing and lovemaking are essential to any long-term relationship. Their absence in a LDR pressures the couple to move from promises to absolutes or ends the relationship when one or the other can't take the stress of the distance or finds solace in another's arms.

  • The most important goal is to end the separation. Set a date or time frame and include discussions of your future, marriage, children and where you will live. Short-term goals should include a vacation, meet-ups, instant messaging and Skype.

  • Communicate

  • Honest, truthful communication is important in any relationship and extremely important in a long-distance one. No matter how your relationship started, parameters need to be set. Communicate about future expectations. Are you dating? Seeing each other? Just friends? Engaged? Monogamous? Will you relocate if the relationship becomes serious?

  • Talk to each other about how you're handling the separation. Couples that began the relationship separated may find it easier than couples who did not. Be aware of your partner’s feelings. Send a text or email that lets him know you are thinking of him. Stay away from shorthand, dry and evasive language when using these forms of communication. Be honest, tell him about your day, ask about his, and don't forget to communicate your feelings.

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  • Drop her a line

  • People still enjoy receiving letters. Send your partner a card or letter at least once a week. Send a care package at least once a month and don't forget to slip in reminders, pictures of you, pictures of both of you, the favorite things you share, something she can hold when she's thinking of you, samples of your signature scent and plans for your next meet-up.

  • Today text, email, twitter and various forms of instant messaging contact your partner in real-time. I love you, I miss you, virtual hugs, ((( ))), virtual kisses, xxx, or both, xoxo, are quick and easy ways to let your partner know you're thinking of her.

  • Trust and jealousy

  • Trust and jealousy can kill a relationship. A long-distance relationship will only last when there's trust and the lack of jealousy. Inform your partner about your day and don't assume he's cheating if he doesn't answer calls or messages right away.

  • Friends are very important to any LDR. They help with the alone times and ease the emotional feelings of loss. Be happy for your partner when he goes out with friends. He needs them too. Don't assume he's cheating or going to cheat. Stop and remember why you're in this relationship. If you can't reason away these thoughts, talk to your partner. Communication is important to maintain trust and keep jealousy at bay. Never give a reason for your partner or others to assume you're cheating.

  • Long-distance things to do

  • Read a book together, watch the same movie, sit under the moon or star-gaze on the same night, go to museums, art shows and tell each other about your experiences and how nice it was to do it together.

  • Plan a meet-up — even if it's at your computer. Keep a monitor cleaning cloth nearby for monitor kisses. Here are “100 things for LDR couples to do.”

  • Be strong together, set goals you both can strive for and honestly talk about your feelings. You'll be together before you know it.

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Dennise Sleeper is a homeschooling mom of five and loves to teach, read and write. Her spare time is spent outside roaming South Florida with her husband, children and adopted dogs.

Website: http://dennisesleeper.blogspot.com/

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