To achieve anything substantial in life you have to make sacrifices – this is true in both business and love. So while the chance to work abroad can bring many rewards, such as the opportunity to discover a different way of life, acquire new skills, gain valuable experience and perhaps even earn more money, it can throw up problems if you happen to be in a relationship. While many people won’t find a long distance relationship (LDR) ideal, these are 10 tips that can make it a little easier.
1. Make sure you’re actually ok with being in a long distance relationship
While some apprehension is natural, if you think making a move will kill your relationship you’ll need to have a long hard think about what you really want. Leaving your partner with things up in the air will inevitably make multiple areas of your life suffer. On the other hand, if you’re confident that you relationship is strong enough to endure the distance then you’ll end up a better couple because of it.
2. Be clear about what you expect of each other
You might not want to have this chat, but you really don’t want to find out that your partner didn’t think adultery counted if it happened in another country, so make absolutely sure you know what you expect of each other before saying your goodbyes.
3. Get to grips with the time difference
You might be under the impression that time is money – but for someone in a different time zone it might just be bed time. If necessary, get to grips with the time differences between you and your partner and a lot of these tips will be a lot more effective.
4. Communicate frequently
Today it’s easy and cheap to communicate almost wherever you are, so there’s no excuse for not regularly keeping in touch. You don’t need daily hour-long video calls, but sending an email, Facebook message or even a Tweet every day will let your partner know that you’re thinking of them. Also keep in mind when sending or receiving messages that it’s a lot harder to convey tone through text on a screen – so don’t let something innocent boil over into an argument.
5. Do things together
Shared experiences help to strengthen relationships, and with a little bit of creativity you can continue doing things together even when you’re miles apart. How about cooking an identical recipe and seeing how it turns out? Ok, so you won’t get to taste each other’s efforts, but it’ll be a novel experience that you could end up joking about in years to come at every dinner party you attend. Don’t let being apart prevent you from having special moments together.
6. But trust your partner to do things alone
It might be natural to worry about what your partner is getting up to but for the sake of your relationship it’s vital that you trust them enough to get on with their life and do their own thing – nobody likes a micromanager. Treating others the way you want to be treated is some of the oldest moral advice going, and it’s still as relevant as ever in the 21st century.
7. Make the most out of your situation
Remember how you always get dragged along to those predictable horror movies you can’t stand, or how football always ends up on the television on a Sunday afternoon despite your protests? Well great news – now you can pretty much do what you like again. Think of your circumstances as an opportunity rather than an obstacle and you’ll find it a lot easier to cope with not seeing your partner so often. Just don’t get too used to it.
8. Don’t listen to other people
A lot of people will have opinions about the step you’re about to take. Many of them will think you’re making a mistake and they might even tell you to your face, but you know your relationship better than the cynics and the naysayers. Ignore them and think back to tip number 1 – if you’re confident your LDR will work you can make it work. At the same time, be prepared to rely on other people for emotional support and to keep you occupied.
9. Visit each other often
As much as time and your budget permits you should try and see each other as much as possible, because as important as it is to keep in contact from afar there’s no substitute for being physically close. Whether you’re meeting in the middle, guiding your partner around your new life, or returning home, make sure to treasure the moments you spend together and you’ll be able to manage the pressures of an LDR.
10.Have an end in sight
Not knowing how big a task is can make it feel insurmountable and prove extremely stressful because for all you know you could be working on it forever, without ever completing it. The same principle works with LDRs; not knowing how long you’ll be apart for is like waiting for Godot. Having an end in sight or at least a date where you can reassess the situation will make your LDR much more manageable – and you and your partner much happier.
Written by Harry Peters, a hopeless romantic and travel writer for Just The Flight who offer flights to destinations worldwide.