6 expert tips for long-distance relationships: FlixBus reveals how to find comfort in the distance for Valentine's Day
For many couples, it's the most romantic day of the year: Valentine's Day. Spending time with your partner, experiencing beautiful moments and creating memories – it’s a holiday that celebrates being together. However, couples traveling in the mission of love aren’t just traveling in mid-February. According to a study by onlinedoctor.superdrug.com, 91% of people living in Europe and the US have been in a long distance relationship. In 2022, this number grew even higher, as the pandemic has shifted almost every relationship into a long-distance relationship for a certain period. In addition, couples pursuing relationships across countries saw each other even less frequently than in the years before the pandemic.
Together with renowned couples therapist Dr. Sharon Brehm, FlixBus reveals some tips for couples in a long-distance relationship...
Couples know it too well: long-distance love is certainly not easy. Dr. Sharon Brehm, a doctorate in couples therapy from Munich, however, gives the all-clear: "In long-distance relationships there are often the same issues as in other relationships." Moreover, many long-distance relationships experience the beautiful moments with greater intensity. "Realizing that intensity is part of a long-distance relationship and there is more patience, honesty and trust needed is an important step for its success."
1. Intimacy in everyday life from a distance: Everything is allowed
People in a long-distance relationship say that missing their partner hurts. So, what to do when loneliness hits once again? Relationship expert Dr. Sharon Brehm sees a few possible solutions. "The easiest way to create intimacy in such moments is, of course, to reach for your cell phone. Whether video chatting, talking on the phone, or sending each other pictures, all of these make us feel closer to our partner." This feeling can be reinforced by shared rituals. "Rituals are very important to not lose intimacy in everyday life or during difficult periods..."
But there are also days when there is simply nothing exciting to tell. "These days can put a strain on long-distance relationships due to the fear of losing touch. Instead of doubting the relationship, I advise reading to each other or watching a movie together. Anything that makes you and your partner feel better is allowed."
2. Use travel time wisely: It gives the opportunity to recharge one's battery
When the opportunity presents itself, many people in long-distance relationships will visit their partner for a few days. However, these "few days" usually begin and end with several hours of travel time. Around 49% of the people cover the distance by car. 10,5% travel by train as a convenient and sustainable alternative to the car. Dr. Brehm recommends, "The time can be excellently used to unwind and have a clear head for spending time with your partner." The trip also provides time for a little self-love: "Listening to music, reading a book, or just looking out the window and daydreaming. If you give yourself a bit of time, you'll recharge your own battery and have more energy for the time with your partner."
3. The long-desired reunion: Rediscovering each other with patience and curiosity
As long awaited the reunion may be, the unfortunate reality is that it often results in arguments. In many cases, this is due to the high expectations that are connected to this special moment. To prevent arguments, Dr. Brehm advises: "Before actually meeting, couples can talk about what they expect from the reunion and to what extent these expectations overlap." This creates a realistic picture, and the moment can be enjoyed in a relaxed way. In addition, try to avoid comparisons with other couples or a previous stage of the relationship. "You are not in a competitive situation or need to catch up, you can rediscover each other with patience and curiosity," emphasizes Dr. Brehm.
4. Finally together: Enjoying the time authentically
Many couples fall into a mad rush of doing activities during their few days together. The pressure to have a great time, even though you don't always feel good, is one of the biggest drawbacks of a long-distance relationship. Yet there is no right or wrong strategy for the right level of activity, Dr. Brehm says. "After all, you don't visit your partner because they're an entertainer, but because you like them exactly the way they are."
Incidentally, more than half of the participants say that the intensity of time together is also one of the biggest benefits of a long-distance relationship - no matter what you do, "It's about enjoying the time together authentically."
5. Saying goodbye is always hard: Focus on the bright side of the relationship
Every reunion is wonderful, but every goodbye hurts. Again, Dr. Brehm recommends certain rituals that make these moments seem less heart-breaking. "Goodbye rituals help to focus on the positive aspects of the relationship. For instance, you can tell each other what you're grateful for." This can at least be a start to make goodbyes more bearable. Yet, there is another effective way to make goodbyes easier: Putting an end to the whole goodbye process. "It doesn't have to be an exact date but knowing that there will be an end to the long-distance and making it as concrete as possible takes the pressure off."
6. Traveling together: Long-distance couples are used to adventures
Traveling together is good for a relationship. Many couples in long-distance relationships use their experience of distance to satisfy their desire to travel. In doing so, they actually have an advantage: "They are used to finding their way in a new city, constantly discovering new things and having adventures," says Dr. Brehm. So, when the next opportunity arises, just take the initiative, and explore a new place together. FlixBus, for example, allows you to reach over 2,500 destinations with affordable pricing that makes multiple travel plans possible throughout the year.