The 7 Stages of Long Distance Relationship (#3 is the Worse)
Loving someone and being loved is one of the best feelings in the world. Even the best of us can look and do stupid things in the name of love.
It can fill even the deep crevices with your body that can overflow to other people around you. The “love glow” makes you look 90x better than you were before. As the old cliche goes, “Love can turn your world around.”
But, what if the world itself turns against you and try to set separate you from the one you love? What will become of love then?
Relationships that transcended different storms from breaking apart are the ones that stay intact for a long time, even for a lifetime.
Winds may shake relationships, but when two souls work hand in hand with each other, they can brace any hurricane or any tsunami that may come their way. But, what if the other hand is miles apart from you.
Will that anchor holds despite the strong wind?
When the person you love needs to leave and stay miles away from you, facing challenges by yourself can be really difficult. You seem to lose one sail that keeps you afloat to the right destination.
But, there are circumstances that can never be controlled. Especially if your partner work requires them to be dispatched in a far-away place, that leaves you with no choice but to deal with the situation in the best way you can.
A long-distance relationship is a norm nowadays. From high school sweethearts who had to separate because the other one is attending college in a different town or city to military wives who have to deal with the fact that their husbands are dispatch in a different state or country to defend the country.
With the advent of technology bringing in online dating sites, couples from across the globe meet for the first time and fall in love through the world wide web.
However, be warned that It’s not everyone. Not for the fainthearted, clingy and stay-safe type kind of lovers.
You would not want your partner to go nuts explaining every single detail to you or running a thousand miles to look after someone who just suffered from an anxiety attack because of a single picture or misinterpreted text message.
Despite distance and time, love is powerful enough to sustain and keep those relationships going. If properly managed, long distance relationships can prove to be stronger than those where their partners are with them all the time.
Here are the 7 stages of a long distance relationship explained and how you should deal with it to foster a stronger relationship.
1. Dreadful Anticipation
Anticipating an incoming storm requires preparation. But, you can never remove the anxiety that it brings you.
How many people do you know who had to move to another town or city to attend a new college or to take on another job, leaving their loved ones behind? It is a common sight. You still feel those ants in your pants that it brings.
Admittedly, a long-distance relationship is never ideal, especially for new connections. Seeing couples eventually parting ways after being separated for so long does not offer any solace either. These are the very reason why the thought of someone leaving is frightening in itself.
There is no guarantee of what is to come. That is why both parties must reach an agreement. If possible, you can have you and your partner visit the location where you are moving to give them peace of mind.
If not, giving them your contact details — phone numbers, name of guardian or housemate, and address — so they can communicate with you anytime. Be creative in dealing with this anticipated separation, give gifts such as “Open when you are…” letters that can make them feel your presence wherever you are.
Give these letters at the airport, or you can leave them in their room or house and surprise them when they get home.
2. Honeymoon Stage
When both of you have settled in and parted ways with the assurance that you can beat the odds, hope is what bonds you together to stay stronger.
At this stage, sharing your new adventures such as new restaurants to visit or new friends that you met can pique the interest of both parties. Traveling to unfamiliar places does bring out the youthful vibe that perhaps you once lost in the old town.
Sharing those experiences with your love is like dusting some sprinkles on a vanilla ice cream you both love.
Hold this feeling as long as you can. In any relationship, the honeymoon stage does not stay long. This is something most married people can attest to. Soon enough, you will both be accustomed to the distance and “freedom” from each other that can lead to disengagement.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Use this opportunity to “miss” each other from time to time. Set regular schedules or commitments where you will have that you-and-me time whether it be via chat, call, or video chat.
Stick to these schedules like a pro to make the other person feel they are cared for. Surprise each other from time to time as to who goes first.
3. Feeling of Desolation
When the excitement subsides, bouts of emptiness will come into play. When you notice that empty chair sitting in front of you or the non-existent car that picks you up after school or office, the vacuum sips in.
The physical contact — smile, whispers, and touches — that sends butterflies in your tummy is no longer there. Seeing couples walking hand in hand and even lovebirds can double the heighten the loneliness you feel.
Especially when you start seeing pictures of your partner having time on the other end of the globe while you are alone can put you into a self-pity mode. Don’t fret as this is a normal reaction for anyone who has been used to someone by their side.
Feel the feeling but do not linger. Hanging on to the emotion will do no good on you. And for sure, this is the last thing your partner would want from you. Those sweet moments of isolation, look up in the sky.
Be like John and Savannah, in Dear John, who measures the moon with their thumb reminding each other you are still looking at the same moon.
Use this time to have the “me” first moments. Fill that emptiness with love for yourself and other people around you. Instead, find something you can be occupied with such as a new skill or a new hobby.
In place of his absence, use this time to catch up with old classmates or friends finally, you have not seen for a while. A great support system can bring wonders to your soul and heart.
4. Terror Attack
After loneliness comes anxiety, when you are alone and feeling lonely, myriads of emotions can start creeping in your system. Often, you can end up envisioning the strangest and worst thing that could happen.
Imagine how wives of seaman or military men whenever they part ways of not knowing their destination. Or, just seeing a picture or video on social media can spark a million questions in your mind that can lead to suspicion and distrust. Don’t go booking that next flight or train to your partner’s place.
Our remedy — Trust and don’t jump to conclusions. Even physical contacts can have wrong interpretations, more so, looking at pictures or videos that you did not witness with your own eyes.
When your miles apart, having to explain via text or call is never easy. Remember, one step backward is five steps forward. A moment of silence and reflection can give you a different perspective on things.
Allowing the partner to explain before you barge in would give them much confidence that you trust and respect them as individuals.
Use technology to your advantage not to find faults from the other party. Plan your date nights together, and be creative. Do things together, such as eating together via video chat or watching a movie at the same time can spark cute moments from miles apart.
Even after a hard day’s work, there is something that both of you can look forward to.
5. Communication centered stage
In any relationship, communication is the key. Especially in long-distance relationships where non-verbal communication may be lacking, talking it out with your partner is essential.
There is something sweet with doing things the old way, such as letters. Letters and cards are for keeps, and something that can spark thousands of emotions more than text messages or email does.
Also, you can follow simple rules while communicating:
- When you have arguments, instead of texting, call each other. Text can be misinterpreted a million ways so talking on the phone is the best way to go.
- Give each other time to talk.
- Don’t overtalk.
- Do not go to sleep without resolving your issues or problems
- Discuss how often should you call or text each other so it wouldn’t be overbearing.
- Avoid distractions while on the phone with your partner. Do not multitask. Give 100% of your attention to them.
6. Conviction Stage
At any point in the relationship, establishing your faith in each other is essential. Your commitment to whether to pursue or let go is something you and your partner should both discuss.
Be honest with each other to understand where you both stand in the relationship. But, before any of you decide to let go. Try to stop and think as to what triggered your exhaustion.
Is it due to a petty fight? Or, is it both dragging you down to an endless pit of senseless expectations? Is the relationship worth fighting for?
Learning to trust and let go is never easy. Not being with each other physically all the time can lead to one of you to drift away. Know when to pull the plug. But before you do, make sure that you have given the relationship a fight.
You wouldn’t want to end up regretting the rest of yourself for not giving it your best shot or fighting hard enough. And if you do remain victorious despite the distance and time, then your relationship is for keeps.
7. Reunion stage
Long-distance relationships should always have an end to it. This is the much-awaited stage in the relationship when you finally get the chance to see, touch, and smell each other.
Nothing can ever compare to the feeling of hugging the one you love after weeks or months of being away. Make the most out of this reunion and avoid any distractions. Turn off those phones or laptops.
Your partner deserves 101% of your attention for bearing the distance all this time. Make your friends and families aware that this particular time is just for the two of you.
With all these stages in a long-distance relationship, it’s easy to go wary. Here are some tips that you can take away from keeping the love alive across miles:
- Let go and let love.
- Be honest with each other’s feelings.
- Set date nights like movie watching night or reading the same book together.
- Send surprise gifts to each other.
- Be creative in expressing yourself. Give “Open when you are…” letter.
- Set short and long term goals with your partner.
- Plan a vacation together to rekindle the passion.
- Share your schedule via google calendar or shared app.
- Be the best version of yourself. Find a new hobby or skill.
- Catch up with your family members and friends.
- Turn off those phones when you are with your partner.
- Let them know you are the first and the last thing on your mind. Send those cute messages.
- Exchange a personal item with each other that you treasure. It is like giving a piece of yourself to each other.
Wherever you may be, we trust that love will bring you together. Time and distance are mere tests of a beautiful relationship that is founded by love and trust.