No one said long-distance relationships were easy. Still contrary to popular belief, they can be just as satisfying as relationships in close proximity — after all, you’re forced to improve your communication skills, you always have visits with your boo to look forward to, and you learn to appreciate every single moment together rather than take your partner’s presence for granted. There’s always room for improvement, however. And since the start of a new year presents the perfect opportunity to re-assess how you both could up your game, it might be time to consider some new year’s resolutions for long-distance couples, to rev up the romance.
The whole idea behind a new year’s resolution is to give up something bad or start doing something good — something that will improve your quality of life, typically. Making these resolutions together means you’re more likely to stick with them because you can hold each other accountable and continually check in on how you’re doing in your efforts. Of course, the more effort you put in, the greater the benefits you’ll experience in regards to your bond.
So, ready to rev up the romance? Try making any of these joint new year’s resolutions and get ready to watch your LDR thrive.
Start a date schedule — and stick to it.
It doesn’t matter how spontaneous you are — the fact is, you can’t really “wing it” with communication in an LDR. Knowing when you’ll talk to your SO again or see them again is key, not only because it gives you something to look forward to, but also because it gives you a sense of stability and comfort in your situation (which comes with a lot of challenges and unknowns). So this year, make it a point to draw up a schedule for how often and when you’ll communicate, as well as visit each other.
Scheduling those phone dates may not sound super romantic, but having a plan will give you both some reassurance, and help build up some trust across the distance. And knowing about how much time you have until your next reunion will take a bit of the edge off those brutal goodbyes. Plus, then you can have a cute little countdown together (which could turn into a daily text with “T minus X days!”)
Take a look at both of your schedules and discuss what’s realistic in terms of the frequency of your catch-up sessions, as well as which days or nights work best for both of you. That doesn’t mean you can’t text or call in between, of course (or reschedule when you’re swamped with work), but at least you’ll know when you’re going to be able to tell them about that crazy thing that happened on the subway or ask for their advice about your boss.
Experiment with new communication channels.
It goes without saying that communication plays a key role in the success of any relationship. But in an LDR, it’s on another level. Since you’re not getting as much time face to face, you’ll need to find new, creative ways to express your love and affection. Luckily, there’s no shortage of tools to use to get in touch with your boo these days.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a rut with daily texts or FaceTime seshes, then consider shaking things up a bit in 2019, and taking advantage of WhatsApp or Google Hangouts to connect with bae throughout the week. Apps like Between and Avocado allow you to have your own private social network as a couple, where you can share photos, videos, calendar events, and lists as well as message each other.
Keep experimenting. When you’re tempted to text your SO about that amazing meal you just whipped up, send a Snapchat video of the cooking process and the final masterpiece. Instead of leaving a voicemail when you realize your boo has already gone to bed (darn you, time zones) send them a video to watch when they first wake up in the morning. Better yet, write an old-fashioned letter to send in the mail. That’s a move that’s sure to stand out, and bae is bound to pull it out once in a while when they’re missing you.
Don’t resolve conflicts over text.
It goes a little something like this. Bae neglects your standing hump day phone date, or “likes” some other woman’s photo on Instagram, or takes forever to text you back, and you’re fuming. Sure, it can be tempting to fire off a few furious texts, but before you do that, take a deep breath and consider the consequences. Arguments can get pretty messy over text because there’s no tone of voice or facial expressions to go along with your words. That means misunderstandings are extremely common, and things that escalate very quickly and unnecessarily. In fact, a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University actually found that trying to resolve arguments via text was associated with lower overall happiness in relationships.
So this year, make a pact to resolve your issues face-to-face. It may not be realistic to wait until you’re together again (for example, if your next reunion is a month away), but even hashing it out over FaceTime is far better than confronting your boo over text. You can shoot bae a message to let them know that you’d love to schedule a Skype sesh or even a phone call, but don’t get into the deets over text. Naturally, if you still feel there’s something to resolve in person, you can continue the convo on your next reunion. But getting it out in the open ASAP — and not over text — means you’re less likely to build up resentment about an issue, and thus, can better enjoy your time together.
Do things together — from a distance.
One of my best girlfriends was in an LDR for nearly two years — while she was in Boston, her partner lived all the way on the opposite coast, in Portland. In observing how they made it work, one thing struck me the most: They didn’t let distance get in the way of them doing awesome things together and making new memories. In fact, they found a way to experience all kinds of things as a couple from thousands of miles away.
So in 2019, make an effort to redefine long-distance date night. Sit down to eat a romantic meal with each other over FaceTime. Or, plan a movie night via Skype so you can snuggle up and watch the same flick from each of your couches together. Pick up two copies of the same book and read it in increments so you’ll have something more to discuss together on your next call. Play an online game together, or start a Pinterest board with new recipes to each try making together from your respective kitchens.
The bottom line? Just because you’re in different zip codes doesn’t mean you can’t have fun together.
The funny thing about LDRs is that the more effort you put in, the more effortless and easy breezy your relationship will likely feel. As the new year approaches, there’s never been a better time to hone in on how to make your LDR more exciting and fulfilling for both of you. The jury may still be out on whether absence actually makes the heart grow fonder, but one thing’s for sure — dedication makes your bond stronger, and making these resolutions as a couple shows your mutual commitment to continually growing closer despite the physical distance.
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