“Yeah, it is.”
“How can you trust her?”
These comments and my reply plays out the same way each time I tell someone I’m in a long distance relationship (and have been for the greater half of my three-year relationship). The pros and cons of a LDR have been rehashed numerously in various articles, yet try as we might to find the secret to making it work easily, the truth of the matter is there is no secret.
Just like a normal-distance relationship, it’s a trial and error process for what works and what doesn’t. Many people in LDR agree that having an “end date” or long-term vision helps. But what if you don’t know what your futures are long-term? More often than not, life does not present perfect job relocation opportunities. And aside from your job, family and friends often root you to a region.
So we are left to tackle the day-to-day feeling of being in a committed relationship, yet feeling like we are floating in an alternate universes where your partner only exists in your mind.
With my LDR now, what we have found works is keeping ourselves busy, passionately immersed in our respective careers, and active in our social engagements. This does not mean we neglect our relationship, but rather, we support and grow alongside each other. We stay connected and communicative. We acknowledge that our distant future is unknown, yet rather than fear it, we let it be, and work towards becoming the best version of ourselves.
When it comes to trust, I have found that introspection and true self-love actually helps you develop and nurture trust in your partner. It’s natural and human to feel doubt and insecurity every once in awhile, but if you enter the LDR with overall distrust, this undercurrent of negativity will set the tone for how the relationship plays out. Especially since the physical distance makes it difficult, even impossible, to clear up certain misunderstandings. Quite commonly, at least one person has been cheated on in past relationships and carries the scars of distrust into the new relationship so it’s important for both parties to be self-aware, patient and understanding. Yet at the end of the day the greatest healing can only be done by yourself. Having a deeply grounded self-identity makes it easier to quiet irrational thoughts, open your heart, and trust your partner.
In the day-to-day, approaching the LDR with a sense of open-mindedness, rather than rules and schedules, makes the relationship feel less restrictive. We always find time to chat a bit daily and catch up more on the weekends via video-chat, but we are also flexible and understanding to things that may crop up last minute. We free-flow with the curve of the river and try not to let trivialities bog us down.
I believe that LDRs work best when each person is at a similar place in their life, and there’s a mutual understanding and respect for each other’s priorities and responsibilities. With emotional maturity and reasonable expectations, you might be surprised by how much you learn and grow from the experience. And you open yourself up to dating someone you never would have met otherwise. That alone may be worthy contemplation.
Akori is a Pink Lobster Matchmaking Events Host, Matchmaking Headhunter in California and a successful artist and handbag designer.