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How to sustain a long-distance relationship

SPARK: Long distance relationships aren’t destined to be a failure, as our case study has shown

ONE OF THE biggest questions faced by anyone who starts a long distance relationship is, ‘Will it work?’

A lot of people these days just don’t believe in the idea ‘soulmates’ and having ‘true love’ will conquer everything.

Given the stories about relationship break up that you often see in the media about couples breaking up and statistics showing that divorce is on the rise, starry eyed talk about forever and for always seems to be something for fairy tale books rather than real life.

Fortunately, those in long distance relationships can take a deep breath and smile, because they do work.

Take Kingsley and Matilda, from east London, who married six months after meeting when they both lived in Ghana.

When Kingsley decided to come to the UK for better opportunities, he left his wife behind with their three young children. The couple had been married for seven years before Kingsley’s decision. After his arrival they were apart for six years while he worked on setting up a home and organising visas for the family.

Initially, Matilda was reluctant to make the move to England, but did so for her husband’s sake.

“You have to follow your husband and keep your family together,” she said.

The 55-year-old said she coped well with the time apart because their children kept her busy, along with her dressmaking business.

The couple have now been married for 26 years – and Matilda she says they became closer and their relationship was stronger than ever.

Long distance relationships are not easy to handle. Apart from the big issue of miles or oceans apart, there are other factors that add to its difficulty such as, pressure of when you’d actually be together, not being able to immediately share the happiness or sadness of each other’s day, or a simple miscommunication that can lead to big hole in the relationship, and a lot more.

So how does one cope with a long distance relationship? Here are some tips that may help lighten that load…

1. Lay down a set of rules.
It’s always important to settle on how often you’d see each other, including who is going to visit whom and how much communication you’ll have during the time between visits.

2. Have an ending in mind.
With all long distance relationships, looking at a light at the end of the tunnel will balance the frustration of being apart. Some couples talk about and decide on who is going to relocate and when, this takes the pressure off the subject and places some sort of deadline for the ‘long-term togetherness’.

3. Share as much with each other as possible.
Today’s advance communication technology has bridged gaps of distances, making staying in touch easy. Prioritise keeping in close touch with each other. This eliminates the doubts and the ‘little green monster’ that’s just waiting to be released. Try to build the same intimate understanding that ‘normal’ couples do.

4. Last but not least, trust each other.
There is no room for jealousy or possessiveness in long distance relationships, never allow yourself to think the negative way about your partner and trust that he or she is living up to the agreement.

However remember that no matter what kind of relationship you are in, whether conventional or long distance, it’s all about putting the essential attention and effort and being confident that your relationship will work.

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