Communication in long distance relationships isn’t that important…
SAID NO ONE EVER!
It’s imperative for any relationship to succeed and to be blunt, for long distance relationships, it’s an understatement.
“But why exactly…?”
Well, our friend Will from Long Distance Fun is here to help!
Like us, Will and his girlfriend survived an international and multi-lingual LDR.
When it comes to LDR communication he’s the hero we need (cape not included).
While separated by distance (France to China) for three years, they looked at their own and other LDR couples relationships at varying stages, and figured out a simple six step plan.
It was pivotal in strengthening their relationship and ultimately helped them to last the distance!
But don’t take our word for it. We’ll let Will show you how easy it can be to implement into your LDR, step by step.
While also adding our own experiences. Enjoy!
- Continual Communication is Key
- Be Spontaneous & Unpredictable
- Be Honest With Each Other
- Constantly Learn More About Each Other
- Discuss Even What Might Upset You
- Give Love & Compliments
- Listening is a Communication Super Power
- Our Final Thoughts
- Now It’s Your Turn!
Depending on the distance, many couples are only able to see one another on a weekly, monthly or even yearly basis. That’s a lot of time you have to spend by yourself.
Learning how to communicate will not only help you close the distance, but it will also benefit you greatly once you and your long distance lover are finally reunited for good.
But first, you have to understand that communication is even more precious in a long distance relationship. Simply because in a LDR…
Your Communication = Your Relationship
- If it suffers, your couple will suffer too.
- If it shines, your couple will shine too.
That’s why, today, I will not start talking about the theoretical aspects, but give you the specific keys you need to improve your communication and strengthen your long distance relationship.
Everybody repeats the same clichés over and over again when talking about communication in a LDR or traditional relationship, such as “communication is the key to success”.
But, how does it work? What is it all about? What is “communication”, in the end?
Glad you asked.
Communication is more than just talking; it is being able to CONNECT on a deeper level of understanding. Talking is one part, but there is a lot of other stuff needed to hold it all together.
Without the foundation of communication, what is your LDR really sitting on?
So, is there a secret formula to apply?
Well, not really…
As a matter of fact, the communication style can greatly vary from one couple to another, and it would not be good to generalize everything.
However, while observing couples that keep their love strong and blooming despite living apart, I noticed certain patterns that were absent when observing the LDR couples near to break up.
This may let us think that YES, there are several rules to follow in order to have a prospering and successful long distance relationship.
So, if you’re ready to discover them, let’s take a closer look at the things that do WORK for better LDR communication.
1. Continual Communication is Key
…at least, as long as it is reasonable.
Don’t call your dear to describe to him or her why you were hesitating between to two types of tomato sauce when you were shopping this morning. (Except if your partner loves tomato sauce.)
Here, Communication is a synonym of Connection.
So the more you will deepen the communication (both in width and intensity), the deeper your connection will be.
Try first to communicate as much as possible and in many different ways (texts, apps, video calls, phone calls, games, pictures, emails, letters, etc.) to be connected to your partner as if there was no distance between the both of you.
This can seem disproportional if you’re not used to that and I understand this, but please, be aware that in long distance relationships you have to compensate, see overcompensate, the absence of physical proximity.
If you and your partner were in the same city, you would no doubt be spending most of your time together, talking about everything. Right?
So, why would a long distance relationship be any different?
Constantly communicating in a LDR is crucial to the success of the relationship.Will, LongDistanceFun
Lolo & Nate’s take on continual communication
Initially parting ways after college was tough and we knew it would be.
To try and make it easier we vowed to stay in contact as much as possible. Wether it be through email, Skype or Facebook, we made sure to continue to be a part of each others lives no matter how far apart we were.
The best part about this was we were both ‘all in’ which meant that getting in contact never felt like a chore because we were willing to do whatever it took.
2. Be Spontaneous & Unpredictable
Don’t get trapped by routine while you communicate with your partner.
Obviously, this may seem relatively complicated when both of you are busy most of the time.
But as in all kinds of relationships, when the communication and interactions become so predictable, the couple suffers.
Try, for example, to change the time when you call, the place from where you call, the nature of your calls, the content of your calls or the format of the message, for no other reason than surprising your partner and surprising… yourself!
If you can be spontaneous and unpredictable in your approaches, you will make the most of every given opportunity to communicate with your lover.
If you can’t, your interactions won’t be much more than secondary tasks on your to-do list. Boring and unpleasant chores.
Lolo & Nate’s Take On Being Spontaneous & Unpredictable
This is one area we butt heads with Will! (slightly)
While we were never trapped by our ‘routine’ it did allow for us to set up a bit of structure, which we thought was very important.
That being said, there were many times where we had spontaneous video calls or messages. The surprises were always fun! Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to get a call or text out of the blue from their loved ones!?
It even went further, sometimes getting gifts, whether digital or physical it was amazing to receive them knowing the time and effort we’d put into making it happen.
3. Be Honest With Each Other
Fully express what you think and don’t play any games.
Sure, it is important to stay attractive in the eyes of your partner and be careful about the words you use, but the time of playing around has passed and you should show yourself in full.
You need to be transparent and be able to explain how you are feeling and why. This can be a little tougher for the men involved, but it’s something that you should work on together.
Communicating feelings is imperative and it actually might be easier in a LDR since you probably won’t be doing it face to face.
Learn how to read your partner to try and pick up on what their feelings are and find a mature way to ask about them.
If you feel the need to share your feelings, make sure you think about how you will convey them and try to leave the emotion out of it. Drama is not necessary here.
So, I invite you to talk about your personal problems, your doubts and your fears about this relationship as soon as you can and as much as you need, in order to create trust in your LDR and defuse any tension.
Your partner will thank you for this and you will feel better than if you have kept all this inside.
Lolo & Nate’s Take On Being Honest With Each Other
Everyone knows the quote “honest is the best policy”.
There have been many times when we’ve held back from telling each other how we truly feel. Whether it was because we didn’t know the reaction we would get or because we built it up into something much bigger than it really was!
No matter the scenario, every time we were able to finally let go and be honest we were a better couple because of it and that’s because we support each other through thick and thin.
This is definitely something we (and no doubt most couples) continually need to work on. But we’re definitely getting better at it!
4. Constantly Learn More About Each Other
There will ALWAYS be things to learn about each other. Some things you will like, some you will not.
For example, talk about your passions, your preferences, your dreams, your past experiences, your projects, your values and the sense of absolute and mutual trust will grow in your couple.
Share what makes who you are. And learn to accept and love each other’s differences.
Share your needs and desires, and listen attentively to what your partner has to say in order to find new common points and plan new projects.
Lolo & Nate’s Take On Constantly Learning More About Each Other
Coming from completely different backgrounds meant that there was always something new to learn. Even to this day we’re still learning more about each other, whether it be about our background or personal things.
Continually being able to talk about our likes, dislikes etc have shown where our common interests are and we’ve been able to work on them together.
Without a doubt, this makes us grow closer everyday.
TIP: This ‘might’ be similar to an integral part of our 7 Day LDR Challenge! 😉
5. Discuss Even What Might Upset You
Talk about EVERYTHING, even about the topics that are serious, private, those that may upset.
Being far from each other does not mean that you should focus only on superficial and easy topics.
Talking about the weather is nice, but you don’t build a relationship on that.
Dare to start a conversation calmly about topics such as money, family, religion, politics or your future together. Why? Because, in the end, you need to know these anyway. You need to know your partner.
Meanwhile, avoid stirring the knife into the wound if it hurts, because the distance will only amplify the effect. If you can’t go any further now, accept it and talk about it later, when you can see each other face to face.
Truth is, couples who have strong communication skills are able to withstand conflicts better than couples who don’t know how to communicate.
Regarding potential arguments, if you are questioning something that your partner has said or done, instead of jumping to your own conclusions and getting worked up over nothing, a good communicator will simply ask them what they really meant. Don’t assume things.
If you screw up in your communication at some point, be responsible, admit your guilt, apologize, tell your partner how you should have done things, and move on. Admitting to being wrong is essential if you want to deal with conflicts the right way.
Lolo & Nate’s Take On Discussing Even What Might Upset You
Something that really struck a chord was ‘don’t assume things’.
We can all remember a time when we’ve sent a message to our partner about a touchy subject and haven’t received an immediate reply.
The mind races thinking of a million different scenarios about what our partner is thinking and 99.99% of the time we’re completely wrong and have blown it out or proportion!
We’ve made a conscious effort to ‘not sweat the small stuff’ and if there is ever a time where we’ve started to assume, we’ve done our best to ASK so we can move on.
Again this is always a work in progress area but once you’re able to get through it, you always wonder why it took so long to get to this point!
6. Give Love & Compliments
Don’t forget this last point. Express your affection spontaneously (see above) to each other with sweet words, compliments, and even sometimes true declarations of love.
We can forget how much someone loves us when we’re so far apart.
A small message or a call to remind someone the reason you’re staying strong for this LDR may brighten their day.
LDRs are pretty challenging, so if you have something to be proud of, celebrate your progress together!
Lolo & Nate’s Take On Giving Love & Complements
There isn’t much to say here. Being able to express your affection for one another is the reason you’re in a relationship in the first place!
You have feelings for each other, you want to be together, in what world wouldn’t you want to show that!?
Sometimes it can be hard to put those feelings into action. Whether it’s continually telling your partner how you feel about them or purchasing a gift or making them something. What matters is that it’s genuine and from the heart.
Do this and you can never go wrong!
7. Listening well is a stealthy superpower
Asking good questions is one half of the superpower skill set (the one I can help you out with.) The other half—listening well—is just as important, maybe more, and it’s totally up to you.
Think about the last time someone gave you his or her full and undivided attention. Perhaps they turned to face you, looked at you, waited patiently for you to answer, and then let you know they understood what you were trying to say. How did it make you feel?
Really listening to others is often not easy. Our minds tend to think three to four times faster than a person can speak. It can be difficult to stay focused on what someone is saying rather than “multi-tasking in your mind.” In addition, what happens the minute we sense conflict or a difference of opinion? Often the first thing we do in these situations is to stop listening and start concentrating advancing or defending our own viewpoint.
Think about it the last time your friend or partner pushed your buttons. Did you focus on listening and understanding them, or was half your mind busy figuring out what you wanted to say?
I love the story wrapped up in the Chinese character for listen. It’s comprised of six different word characters.
- Heart, and
Separately, each word character has it’s own definition and use. But they are all placed together to become the single Chinese word for listen.
Lolo & Nate’s Take On Listening
Listening isn’t just a superpower skill because it’s much harder than it looks. It’s a superpower skill because good listening pays off big time. Here are just a couple of the benefits of listening well:
- It helps you understand (and remember!) what someone else is trying to say. Think about how many hurt feelings and fights stem from lack of information, misinformation, or miscommunication. Good listening can allow you to identify and correct some of these “information gaps” and therefore short-circuit a variety of potential conflicts.
- It will help the other person feel understood, valued, and respected. In day-to-day life, attentive listening in a relationship builds trust and affection. And what about when seas are stormy? Attentive listening is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal to calm and resolve conflict. If someone you are at odds with feels that you have listened well and really understand their position, they will feel more respected and be less defensive and combative.
- It calms and orients you. When you focus whole-heartedly on listening to someone, it often reduces your blood pressure.
If you practice listening well and paraphrasing what people are saying back to them, you’ll be surprised at how far this skill gets you in life and love.
Final Thoughts on Effective Communication in Long Distance Relationships
Communication does not have anything to do with magic or rocket science. But it is also far from just chatting casually from time to time.
It is about talking about the things that really matter to your couple and about listening attentively to your lover. It’s about Connection.
It is possible to say a lot even without pronouncing a single word, so, pay attention to this!
And also, never forget that when you’re in doubt, you have to let it out. That’s how you go from a ‘meh…’ LDR to the best and most fulfilling relationship of your life.
Now It’s Your Turn!
Will’s tactics are invaluable when it comes to maintaining a strong LDR.
Join us and an amazing like-minded community in our LDR Support Group and let us know how you communicate with your long distance partner and if you have any specific things you that have helped along the way.