Infidelity can be incredibly painful, whether you’ve been the one who was cheated on or the one who gave in to temptation. Watching a relationship that you built together come crashing down can induce several negative emotions. But all the people who cheat aren’t evil monsters with bad intentions; they are just humans who became vulnerable to their weaknesses. And it’s way more common than we think it is. The reality is—as much as we think, “I would never...” —our loyalties aren’t shatter-proof. When it comes to a long-distance relationship, sometimes, the temptation to have a tangible romantic experience can derail you from your goals.
Many of us know of couples who weren’t able to sustain their long-distance relationship (LDR) due to various reasons. That makes several people perceive LDRs through cynicism-tinted glasses. But some couples lived continents apart and found their happy ending. So what made them work? What made them remain faithful and connected irrespective of the geographical boundaries that separated them?
What are long-distance relationships?
Long-distance relationships comprise two individuals who are, traditionally speaking, separated by geographical distance. While we love to meet people we love, especially our romantic interests, LDRs leave you with fewer opportunities for the same.
Your partner and you may be in different cities, states or different countries or continents altogether. However, the pandemic made us realise that even being in the same city but faraway locations can make you feel like you are in a long-distance relationship. With lockdowns and curfews, you may not be able to meet often. With that, it’s safe to say that the definition of LDR has expanded.
Here’s how you can stay loyal and committed in a long-distance relationship.
Communicate effectively in a long-distance relationship
When you’re in the honeymoon phase of your romance, the initial inertia can make you go to great lengths to talk to them, in the most inconvenient of schedules. You may have a sleep debt that may seem more enormous than student loans. You may be surviving on caffeine, ditching your workouts, and possibly, even postponing hair wash day, just to talk to them a little more, at a time that suits them.
It’s sweet until the communication arrangement begins to give you more dark circles than support. That’s when resentment seeps in and you start feeling neglected and uncared for. Having an arrangement that helps you connect in a pleasant, quality way will make you feel happier and at peace, thus strengthening your relationship.
How do you communicate effectively in an LDR? Make sure you are both well-rested, productive in your individual lives and approaching relationship glitches with practicality and openness. It may require you to put more effort into staying connected but it’s worth it.
Keep jealousy in check and work on building trust instead
Jealousy and vengeance individually are vicious enough, but when clubbed together, can destroy your relationship with a colossal force. In a long-distance relationship, it’s natural to feel jealous of the women your partner hangs around with, weaving threads of irrational fears in your head. You want to be there with them but you are not, and they are. Don’t let that ruin the connection you have.
To that jealousy, when you add the feeling of wanting to get back at them, giving them more reasons to be insecure, it becomes lethal to your relationship. Before you know it, you can be out there flirting with a guy just because you assumed your partner is not being 100 per cent loyal to you. No matter what, there is no place for vengeance in love.
How to build trust in a long-distance relationship? If you feel insecure, communicate it to your partner, and don’t give in to dangerous tendencies. Keep things as transparent as you can and deal with each other’s insecurities with empathy and understanding.
Pick your battles wisely; you can’t hug it out
We think it is the big issues that break a relationship: infidelity, narcissistic abuse, violence, etc. While these are good enough reasons to break up, your connection depends on the little things. When you are seeing someone new, after a while, you realise that they have more habits that annoy you than you thought existed. So there you go, bickering over things that could be dealt with compassion.
The thing is that you cannot iron out the creases of little quarrels with an extra dose of affection in an LDR. When you fight with someone geographically close, you can meet them and hug it out. In their warm embrace, all those negative feelings just disappear. But if they are far away, all you have are GIFs and kiss emoticons. Pick your battles wisely so you don’t drift apart and seek solace elsewhere.
Talk about your needs and make memories even in a long-distance relationship
Not having your needs met doesn’t give you a free pass to cheat on your partner, but it does make you more vulnerable. We have needs, a few more important than the rest. We can’t find a partner, tailor-made to perfection for us. Realistically speaking, not all your needs will be met and that’s okay. But you should not feel completely neglected or starved of certain things in your relationship.
However, in a healthy connection, your partner will be keen on making you feel secure and fulfilled. This is why you both should open doors of free communication and compassion for each other.
A couple needs shared memories to bond and if it is not happening yet, it’s important to have a conversation about it. You may find the conversation uncomfortable initially, but later you will be happy you had it. In an LDR, your biggest strength is the quality of conversations you can have. So cash on it and make sure you dedicate uninterrupted time to your partner.
Open your heart, share your deepest secrets and fond memories. When you happen to go somewhere you miss them, video call them or send them a video of you showing them the same. Ensure that you spend some quality time with them virtually on special occasions as well. You will have a bunch of fond memories, even if you are miles apart.
If you have to hide something from them, ask yourself why
When you have a platonic connection with someone, you will feel completely at ease sharing it with your partner. But if you find yourself not mentioning the part of your day that involves your interaction with this individual, it calls for introspection. It could be because you are just afraid it might make your partner jealous or the reason could be that you are attracted to them.
Either way, it means you need to not only analyse your connection with them but also find the courage to be more honest with your partner. Normalising secrets in your long-distance relationship can make you both feel disconnected. Instead, communicate with them, and mutually define your boundaries.
Don’t let distance skim your affection and intimacy
Touch starvation is real and the pandemic has convinced the world of that. As people became more socially distant, we missed out on hugs and warmth from other humans. That can lead to stress and anxiety, several researchers have pointed out. In a long-distance relationship, it’s easy to feel touch deprivation but that shouldn’t drive you into the arms of someone else.
Fortunately, research also says that the intimacy in a long-distance relationship isn’t quite different from that in a geographically close one. All you need to do is make the most of the virtual platforms we are blessed to have today. Showering affection on them, even from miles away can make you feel closer. Visualising physical intimacy with them may serve the purpose too.
Keep your eyes on the end goal
Instant gratification is fine, but have you ever waited for something patiently and felt enormous joy when you finally got it? When you really love them and are looking forward to a future with them, you wouldn’t want to risk it all for a passing feeling of loneliness. That is motivation enough to make you want to vehemently hold on to your fidelity.
Keep in mind that whether they find out or they don’t, infidelity can cause damage to your relationship in sneaky little ways.
Go on virtual dates with your bae
Without dates, our romantic lives can be at the risk of becoming monotonous and even a loving relationship may lose the spark. Unfortunately, with your partner being miles away, an in-person date may be a rare phenomenon, but virtual dates are here to save you!
Here are a few virtual date ideas you may love:
· Have a movie marathon with your bae from miles away. You can use Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) to synchronise your video playback. This works on Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar.
· Order the same dish and pretend you’re together.
· Have a games night.
· Take an online workshop together.
Dos of a long-distance relationship
1) Communicate effectively and consistently.
2) Maintain transparency and share about your daily schedules.
3) Go on virtual dates.
4) Celebrate occasions together, virtually.
5) Make them feel special by sending across surprises.
6) Express your love every day (verbal expression is all you have!)
Don’ts of a long-distance relationship
1) Do not hide things from them.
2) Don’t flirt with someone else out of vengeance or anger during a fight.
3) Don’t give up, even when the distance seems hard.
4) Don’t sacrifice your own productivity to talk to them. Instead, schedule a mutually convenient time.
5) Don’t let your insecurity ruin your relationship.
So how do you not let distance get the better of your healthy and loving relationship?
Sometimes, people cheat because they feel disconnected from their partners. Sometimes, they are craving a cuddle. Sometimes, temptation comes in the form of another person who is physically present around you. How do you stay loyal to your love who lives miles away and may or may not meet you anytime soon? How do you not allow instant gratification to drive you away from something meaningful? How do you not let the distance dim your spark?
The solution isn’t quite simple; and sometimes, it is outright tedious. But with love in your heart and dreams of a future in your eyes, it becomes easier. That or you find the willpower to let the show go on, despite hiccups.
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