A. According to statistics, long-distance relationships (LDRs) used to have an expiration date of six months. But with tools available on the Internet, relationships that span even thousands of miles have a higher success rate than ever before.
The ingredients to the secret sauce for keeping an LDR flourishing are not hard to follow, but both partners need to follow the recipe.
1. Making a commitment to make the relationship work over the miles.
2. Establishing parameters and to find agreement about where the relationship is heading.
3. Staying in contact. With Skype or Google Hangouts, daily scheduled contact is free and easy, and there is an added bonus of the two of you enjoying video chats. Surprise one another with a love note on IM. Schedule things you can do together on the Internet, such as playing a game or watching a movie at the same time.
4. Seeing each other in real life, face-to-face. Having physical contact with your romantic partner is a necessity to sustain your relationship. A touch or kiss is impossible to replicate online. As a visit ends, begin planning the next one.
5. Nurturing each other’s security by having a crystal-clear understanding of where your relationship is at present and where you both want it to go. Establishing security occurs when the two of you make plans that are kept, such as visits to one another, communication times online, and talking about what comes next. The most important thing in nurturing security is agreeing that if either of you feel that the long-distance aspect of your relationship no longer works, you will tell your partner.
6. Trusting each other. This is the kingpin of all great relationships, including long-distance relationships. Insecurity passes, but trust keeps the relationship strong. See #9 below.
7. Treating your relationship with the respect it deserves. Many LDRs fail because one or both members of the couple dwell on the loneliness and pain of being separated. This poisons all communications. Be upbeat and thankful that you have found each other.
8. Establishing a time that the long-distance relationship ends and being together begins is vital to keeping your relationship going. Uncertainty about the next step breeds anxiety and stress in the relationship and that is toxic.
9. Having your own social life and not staying at home while your significant other is out with friends at a concert or a movie. See #6 above.
10. Ignoring well-meaning friends who tell you that you are nuts, that no meaningful relationship needs to be so hard, and that LDRs never work. Ignore them.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio. Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.