Love at a Distance

How do you maintain your couple relationship when you are geographically separated.  How do you sustain connection, closeness and trust in a long-distance relationship?

You may be apart through work commitments or to look after an elderly relative. You may live in separate homes.  You may travel extensively for work and spend several nights or weeks apart. You may be a young couple attending different Universities. How do you remain close when you are apart?

The obvious potential problem with these long-distance relationships is the risk of one or other of you being unfaithful.  The less obvious potential is for you to become detached in more ways than just distance.  The opportunity for connectedness is limited due to the amount of time you can spend together.

When life is so tightly time-tabled, and life together is minimal then that time together becomes important and potentially pressurised.

The couple can feel the pressure to have a good time; pressure to sort out domestic arrangements; pressure to talk about difficult subjects which cannot be dealt with over the phone; pressure to please and pressure to be pleased; pressure to prove to each other that the relationship is working; pressure to have great sex; pressure to be OK, to not be ill and to be generally cheerful for the duration.

All this pressure can ruin the little time you do have together because there is no room to just 'be' together.

When the daily contact and physical closeness is absent for much of the week it takes time to reconnect in a shared space.  Soon Sunday comes round again and there follows the pressure and sadness of parting, the sense of separation and for some, the sense of abandonment.

Not much of your life is shared.  The pattern is of coming and going - of flux.

It may be that the most time you spend together is on holiday, away from domesticity and work responsibilities.  Holidays may work very well as time to reconnect and remember why you are a couple but this time away may equally be blighted by bottled-up emotions and unresolved issues unspoken for months because of lack of time.  The lack of time inevitably creates the need to hurry-up; to fit it all in; to make it work.

If this is a familiar pattern, and your relationship is suffering, it is time to re-evaluate your chosen life-style and ask yourself questions about how real is the necessity to live in this way. Is there another way to structure your lives? How can you maximise just 'being' and 'connecting' when you do have time together?

'Absence sharpens love,
 presence strengthens it' - Thomas Fuller