Expert Tips For Long-distance Relationships: Valentine’s Day edition
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, it seems like there’s no bigger challenge for a long-distance relationship than being apart on the most romantic holiday of the year. Still, studies show that being apart can be a positive experience for many couples. According to the 2018 survey conducted by KIIROO, long-distance relationships have a 58% success rate. Moreover, 55% of the respondents said that time spent apart made them feel closer, and 81% agreed that it made moments together more intimate. We turned to an expert for recommendations on how to strengthen emotional connection while being apart from your significant other.
Therapist’s advice for maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship
Munich-based love coach and couples therapist Dr. Sharon Brehm shares her tips on keeping the spark alive even when you’re kilometers apart.
1. Focus on quality communication
When you can’t see your significant other, it’s crucial to have communication that is both consistent and balanced. Shared rituals, like good-night messages and regular phone calls, help foster the feeling of closeness. Yet, there are days when there’s nothing exciting to tell your partner. Dr.Brehm advises to reestablish the invisible connection by sharing the same experiences. “Read a book or watch a film at the same time, start an online course together or play a computer game – anything that makes you closer is allowed."
2. Plan visits ahead
How often a couple must meet depends a lot on factors like distance, time and financial resources. Without a doubt, it’s good when a couple can meet regularly. “But if it’s not causing a lot of stress, a relationship can sometimes go through longer ‘thirst phases’”, suggests Dr.Brehm. “I also advise that visits from both sides are balanced and fair.” An intercity bus is a convenient and affordable way to travel to your loved ones, whenever the need may be.
3. Enjoy your time together the way you want
Many couples try to experience as much as possible in their precious time together. However, you visit your partner not to be entertained, but because you love them for who they are. “This thought has already helped many couples to stay themselves while enjoying time together”, explains Dr.Brehm, “It’s all about being able to spend time together authentically - whether in a bed, with friends at a party or on a trip in the mountains.”
4. Be realistic about your expectations
A reunion is often associated with high expectations which inevitably leads to added pressure. It’s important to anticipate possible challenges from the start because, to be successful, long-distance relationships require more patience, honesty and trust from both partners, says Dr.Brehm. Before a reunion, couples can discuss their needs and desires to make sure they are on the same page.
5. Live in the moment
Make sure you’re making the most of the life you have in the here and now. “Your partner shouldn’t be your only source of happiness, and this rule applies to regular couples as well”, says Dr.Brehm. Wherever you are – having a relaxing evening at home or heading to your partner on a FlixBus or FlixTrain - there’s no wrong time or place to enjoy the moment. “A bus trip offers time for self-love: listen to an audiobook, record thoughts in a bullet journal or just look out the window and think about nothing for once.”
6. Create a long-term plan for merging your worlds
A very effective way to make farewells easier is to be able to put an end to them. It doesn't have to be an exact date but making concrete plans takes some of the pressure off. “In long-distance relationships, it’s important to know that the distance is only temporary. Otherwise, frustration and loneliness will increase”, explains Dr. Brehm.
Long-distance Valentine’s Day ideas
Physical distance doesn’t mean you cannot celebrate your love and surprise each other. Try using some of the ideas below.
- Go old-school and mail a letter (with your photos or lipstick kiss marks inside)
- Order them their favorite meal or a flower delivery
- Plan a dinner date via Skype
- Set up a Valentine’s Day themed scavenger hunt
- Make a surprise trip or buy your partner a FlixBus or FlixTrain ticket for your next travel together