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Going The Distance
February 07, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Going The Distance
By Arti Jain
 
 
Norma and Amnish fell in love when they met at a university abroad. Confident of their relationship, they decided to get married. No sooner had they tied the knot that fate intervened. The software bubble burst and suddenly Amnish who was sure of getting a job right away wasn't so confident anymore. He found a job several thousand miles away and couldn't afford to say no. Norma, however, had to stay back to finish her internship and submit her thesis. They had barely been married for four months and now they were going to be away from each other for at least a year or two.

In the world we live in today, long distance relationships aren't so rare anymore. Jobs, education, family and sometimes even
health can keep couples apart from each other. The decision may be necessary, but it certainly isn't easy. Fortunately, we live in a technology advanced age where we have mobile phones, emails, Skype and calling cards. But then there are also time differences, busy schedules and of course, questions of loyalty and trust. Since there is no getting away from long distance relationships in the modern world, it is best to find ways to make sure that being physically apart makes doesn't make you grow emotionally distant too.

The most important step is making sure you schedule actual together time. For instance, Norma and Amnish knew that they could be together when Norma had winter, spring and summer breaks at the university. They booked tickets in advance and planned their vacations together. Having a definite date and elaborate plans to look forward to added excitement and anticipation to their times apart.

One advice that goes without saying is tostay connected and use modern technology to your advantage. Email each other every day, pick up the phone and call every hour if you will and video chat every evening by all means. There is however a catch. Do it because it makes you and your partner happy. Don't let technology become the mouthpiece for your insecurities. Respect time differences, work schedules, and even the social life of your partner. Surprisingly, it can be easy to overcompensate for being physically apart. Giving each other a chance to have a content and peaceful time even when apart will benefit the relationship in the long run.

Work on your communication skillsso that there are no misunderstandings or ambiguity of feelings. As the Bee Gees rightly crooned, Words are all I have to take your heart away. When together, couples can communicate with a look, a pat, a hug, a shrug or even a flick of the head or wrist. When far from your loved one, make sure you choose your words with plenty of care. What a beloved says plays back in a loop in the head of the other person. You surely want it to sound right.

Lay down the ground rules.
The key to making a marriage work is to have no place for distrust. Even more so in a long-distance marriage. Make sure you both sit down and talk about what your expectations from each other are. Know that there will be other people closer who may seem more attractive at some point. That you will pine for physical company and warmth. And that there will be arguments between you two as there are with couples who live together. Decide on how you will deal it all. Also, different people may have different understandings or gradations of what a monogamous relationship should be. Airing all doubts and making a clear guide map to your relationship will help you stay on course.

Do stuff together and for each other.
This is something 'regular' couples take for granted but not you. Rent the same movie and watch it 'together'. Share a grocery list and make suggestions to the other person on what he or she can make for dinner. If you know your partner has their plate full, offer to do their errands online like paying bills, getting air tickets, et cetera. Keep an ear out for what your partner might need and try to send it to them, whether a new coat for the winter or a T-shirt for the gym. The possibilities of online shopping (and thoughtful surprises) are limitless. Start 'future projects' together, which could be something simple like what your home together would look like or research on a part of the world you'd travel to together. Be earnest about your plans and set a date by when you will actualise them.

Know that when it works, it really works!
When people hear of your long-distance relationship, there will be a lot of naysayers. Common belief is that long-distance marriages are doomed from the start. Trust yourself and your partner to prove everyone wrong. A long-distance relationship can be a more 'mindful' way of connecting and staying together. Sample this: as your partner and you thrive in your individual lives, you will find that your time together is richer with anecdotes and experiences you two can share – so when you are actually together, your conversations never run dry and even going down the road to buy milk can be thrilling – like being on a first date!
 
 
 
 
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