Top 5 Ways of Spicing up long-distance marriage relationships
Dr. Nithin Kondapuram, Consultant Psychiatrist, Aster Prime Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Long-distance relationships are easily romanticized. Who doesn't enjoy a story about star-crossed lovers? Unfortunately, the reality of them can be less glamorous. Time difference, missed calls, buffering videos, pricey plane fare, visa restrictions can get in the way of a relationship. Add a pandemic, and the odds of surviving as a couple can feel insurmountable.
Humans are social beings, and for them, relationships are significant. The relationships we form, especially with our partner, is vital for our mental and emotional wellbeing. Every relationship consists of physical, emotional, and psychological connections that are unique and need to be nurtured by both partners in the fast-moving world. Many people are forced to migrate for better opportunities and a better future. This is leading to a dramatic increase in the number of long-distance relationships the couples are having. Being geographically separated from one another puts stress on the relationship because it needs enormous trust, dedication, and energy. At times, it feels not so good to keep the connection with the person who was right beside you.
Like there are two sides to a coin, there are advantages and disadvantages to every relationship. There are many benefits of a long-distance relationship and also challenges. Long-distance relationships are precious because they create the opportunity for partners to test the authenticity of their love, commitment, sacrifice. Other good things about long-distance relationships are that they help partners improve communication skills and strengthen their confidence in each other.
The challenges in long-distance relationships are, indeed, extremely tough. While most couples around you are enjoying next to each other, someone has to bear the pain of separation without harming the relationship. Being separated from your loved ones, who are a pillar of your support, is hard and impossible to describe in words. It takes an emotional, physical toll on both the partners, in addition to the usual ups and downs of being in a relationship. It can terrify by creating an imbalance in the relationship. A few of the critical problems couples in long-distance relationships face and are discussed with a mental health professional are as follows:
Connecting and communicating are an elemental part of every relationship. It matters when couples are in a long-distance relationship to grow their bond by showing their feelings. When we can see the person communicating with us, we can cue nonverbal communication and interpret what the partners want to share. But in indirect communication using text messages or WhatsApp, the nonverbal cues are missing, which leads to a higher probability of misreading what the other person wants to say. Before you know it, it can take a serious turn and might end up into a full-blown argument, leading to emotional trauma, which might start the cracks in a relationship.
If you wish to avoid them, the fundamental principle is simple, whenever possible, use video call. The ability to see body language and facial expressions lowers the potential for miscommunication. When you're having a great day, your partner might be having a terrible one, so make a point to ask about how he's doing, honestly. And most important, don't assume feelings. If you're angry, express the same to your partner clearly and calmly and if you think your partner might be angry, ask instead of guessing.
- Loneliness and Growing Apart
Loneliness is a prevalent thing to feel in a long-distance relationship because your loved one is far from you. If you look at the other side, you may be feeling lonely as you miss the love and care your partner gave you when you both were together. The most common explanations for this are living in different time zones and busy work schedules because even if you two are in a relationship, you are still two different people with varying schedules of work. And this can start the snow ball drifting apart. At first, it begins with overthinking due to loneliness, and then it rolls down into one giant snowball ready to trash any relationship in its way.
The cure for loneliness is to be in regular touch and keep reminding your partner of gifts or cards or treats so you don't feel that they miss you. And make your partner that the distance is just physical but not psychological. Make them feel your love through the souvenirs and gifts. This way, along with making your partner feel comfortable, you will also make the relationship more robust than before. You can also follow these tips for married bachelors to de-stress yourself
- Jealousy, Possessiveness, and Insecurity
It is entirely normal to feel jealous when one is in a long-distance relationship. There are no boundaries for our minds to think. Your partner might go for a small tea break while at work with a colleague, and that is enough to light the fire of overthinking, leading to feeling jealous about your partner. We often think that they are enjoying life while you are suffering here without them. This might trigger the insecure part of the relationship and make you talk rudely with your partner to create rules that show your partner's possessiveness, which can suffocate your partner unknowingly.
The overthinking can feed jealousy, which can force you to do irrational things, like calling your partner every hour or controlling them what to do and not to do. The best solution for this is to trust your partner! Try not to think about made-up issues in your mind. Don't ask a question that commences with "Why" in your mind as it can lead to numerous answers that we can never find a satisfying answer like "Why is he going out with her?" "Why is she doing a project with XYZ person". Instead, ask questions that start with what can give you a finite answer that won't feed the jealousy monster inside you.
Along with this, have patience and listen to what your partner has to say, and let them reassure you if nothing is happening. If you have a feeling that you cannot trust your partner, have a quick video call or a phone call and communicate the feeling properly you are going through but without hampering their work time. Trust and proper communication can ward off jealousy, insecurity in your relationship.
- Trust issues
It is widespread to feel paranoid about your partner when one cannot physically see what their partner is doing. The lack of connections, overthinking, and the growing miscommunication between two people can lead to mistrust.
The only way to come out of this is to leap of faith. Love is a gamble, and one must roll the dice. There is no specific way to know if one can trust anyone. Do not hound your partner all the time. Give them the personal space needed because the last thing you want to make them feel is a trapped animal. The only thing or reminder that one needs to tell themself is that you believe in the affection/love you experience with your partner, which is enough for you to trust them.
As one gets busy with work and being away from your partner, we tend to spend more time on work to divert our minds, reducing the time we spend with our loved ones. People in a long-distance relationship are held up in their daily chores that they often forget to spend time with their partners. Your partner can argue that they are working for your better future but at the expense of the present. This can lead to all four points discussed above. Not giving time can start a vicious circle of loneliness, overthinking, jealousy, anger, etc., which can trigger a landslide in the relationship, which can be hard to control once started.
The best way to come out of this is to keep your partner informed about your schedule well ahead so that they know when is the right time to spend some time virtually with you. This may sound boring because you feel that your partner is being controlled, but trust me, it becomes normal, and can do wonders. While informing the practice, you give them a chance to see in various perfect time slots to call you that can be your stress buster. A 2-3 minutes' video call during your tea break can improve your mood, which can be beneficial for your work after the break. Sometimes, having a video call during lunchtime wherein both of you are on a virtual lunch can make your partner feel comfortable and make you feel relaxed. Time is the investment you make while in a long-distance relationship, giving you back excellent returns that you can never imagine.
Extra tips to spice up long-distance relationships :
- Becoming an alarm for your partner. If your loved one needs to get up early in the morning, instead of alarm, you call him via video call. This can brighten your partner's day, and since talking to you was the first thing they did, it will linger in mind making them feel good throughout the day.
- Converting your "me time" into "we time" will give you more things to discuss. You can choose a book, a serial, or a series. Replay a movie you both watched and create an atmosphere of a movie date. You can play a virtual game together and this way you can spend hours together without getting bored and this can create more understandings between you two
- When your partner is feeling low, walk down the memory lane. Recall all those perfect moments by sharing pics on WhatsApp and remind each other of what brought you together. Just console them that how much you both have grown and evolved in this relationship. Share old photographs and relive old memories. Make an imaginary world that can bring a smile to your partner's face.
- Do exercise together. Keep yourself connected with your partner on the phone and go for a run. Having a similar goal and taking up a fitness challenge can drive both of you and keep the thought of separation due to the physical distance of your mind for a while. You need to inspire them or take inspiration from them so that it bonds you both much better.
- Compliment each other often. A small text of "you look great today" might light up your partner's mood, and that can make their day go smooth. This indirectly shows your unconditional love and noticing the small detail of your partner and appreciating them can reassure them that you are observant of their positive changes and efforts to become a better person.
- Gift your loved ones an inexpensive gift often. It can be a pizza or a pen. It reminds you that they are always in your thoughts and mind, and the distance is just physical. This can make you also feel happy as this makes you think a lot about your partner at the time of purchasing, and when they compliment you back, the feeling is something that words cannot express. Small things can bring a lot of joy to both of you.
- And finally, surprise your partner with a vacation or a visit. You need to ensure that you do not embarrass them while updating yourself about her work schedule. Occasional, surprise visits spice up the mood, which can increase the emotional bond in you both
Long Distance Relationships can be emotionally challenging due to work commitments. But this sweet pain will be rewarded with better outcomes if both the partners focus on sustaining or maintaining it and enhancing and cherishing it with a positive mindset. Just think out of the box and remember that your partner doesn't need one big thing occasionally, but few small things regularly can-do wonders. It won't be easy initially, but these ideas come naturally with time and can help you get more involved with your partner.