You’ve met the partner of your dreams. You’re happy and in love. The only problem is that he or she has to leave for work abroad for a year. What are the options? Either you guys decide to call it quits, or you make the difficult decision to have a long distance relationship.

The idea of a long distance relationship seems ridiculous to some and quite possible to others. Long distance relationships depend on the couple’s situation – and there are many factors to consider. How far apart will you be, and for how long… These all impact on the decision.

Long distance relationships can survive and even flourish if the partners have a common goal, which is to stay together no matter the odds. In fact, recent studies have indicated that people with a strong emotional bond with their partner and are in a long distance relationship have stronger relationships than those who see each other every day.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and this can be true for long distance relationships. Darren studies in Cape Town and his girlfriend lives in Namibia. Darren said, “It’s challenging more than anything, but also very rewarding. I’ve found that once you’re able to build that trust between each other, the relationship stays fresh.”

Research conducted in 2013, from Cornell University and the City University of Hong Kong, found that people who are apart for long periods of time tend to think and appreciate each other a lot more than people who see each other on a regular basis.

In long distance relationships there’s no physical intimacy because the person is so far away. But once you and your partner see each other, the sparks will surely fly, and it’ll be a memory that will last for a long time because it was incredibly special. One tends to savour and remember more when you and partner only have a limited amount of time together. Darren says that, “When you finally get to see the person again, it feels like the first time.”

The hardest part could be when something tragic happens and your partner cannot physically be there to support you. This is something that one has to accept and understand even though it’s difficult.

Key points to remember

It’s really important to remember that you shouldn’t spend all your free time talking to your partner. You had a life before them and so should continue living as you have. Spend time with your family or go out with your friends; don’t be attached to your phone all day, every day.

The positive aspects of a long distance relationship include personal growth. You have more time for yourself and have more time to think about your life and your goals. It’s better to count the days until you see your partner instead of counting the days you’ve been apart. This creates positive thoughts and leads to a happier relationship.

In fact, from a psychological stand point, your mind-set influences not only your relationship, but also your everyday life. Any relationship is hard – you just have to find a balance when it comes to a long distance relationship.

Trust in any relationship is important and is even more so in long distance relationships. When things need to be discussed, then it would be best to bring up the subject and talk it out as soon as possible. Don’t avoid anything because this could lead to assumptions, and sometimes assumptions can lead to trouble..!

Sharing photos, videos or voice messages builds intimacy in any relationship. So remember to snap away because it shows your partner what’s happening throughout your day. Platforms such as Skype can really bring the relationship alive. It’s more personal and is in real time so it’s more special. Darren says, “You always have to find creative ways to spend time together.”

Many people believe that long distance relationships are difficult and frustrating. This is true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the end for the relationship. With patience and understanding, couples can get through it.


Tell us: Have you ever been in a long distance relationship and how has it worked out for you? What more advice have you got?