Extra Long Distance Love: How To Make A Transcontinental Relationship Work

July 25, 2013  |  
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Anyone in a long distance relationship—no matter how long that distance is—experiences one identical issue: feeling left out of one another’s daily lives. But the longer the distance, the higher the deck gets stacked against your relationship. And when you’re dating someone who lives in a foreign country, there is too much opportunity for your love to get lost in translation…or in a bad Skype connection. Here’s how to feel in the zone with each other, even when you’re in totally different time zones.

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Learn what communication style works for you

Some couples prefer to keep communication to only a few times a week, but to make those conversations count, they’ll put aside an hour for Skype, twice a week, or plan a two-hour phone call once a week. Others feel more connected if they speak every day, but to keep from overwhelming one another, they keep those chats brief and light.

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Consider phone/video chat dates real dates

These are so easy to bail on because they don’t feel like real obligations, and because life will always find a way to get in the way. Stand firm by these “dates” and don’t mind your friends who tease you for skipping out on a party to stay home and chat with your long distance lover.

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Learn the value of sleeping on it

When you live in the same place, you can smooth over a fight just by holding each other the next day. But when you live thousands of miles apart, you don’t have that luxury. And arguments can sit with you for a long time—like, until you visit each other next. So pick your battles even more carefully than you normally would. If you’re hesitant about getting upset about something, hold your tongue, say good night and sleep on it: you’ll be amazed how often you just don’t care anymore in the morning.

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Send pictures

Don’t rely on Facebook or Instagram for visual connections. Take photos that only your partner sees. Email them or text them regularly. Those in-the-moment shots of you just getting ready for work not only help you feel connected, but remind you both how attracted you are to each other!

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Imitate a normal day when you visit

It’s tempting to just honeymoon when you’re together, laying in bed all day, planning site seeing tours, going to nice restaurants, drinking wine at lunch etc. etc. But you need a sense of what both of your normal lives look like to know if this relationship has a chance. When you visit your partner, ask that he treat your days together like any normal day. And you should do the same for him.

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Keep up with his local news

Pick a popular editorial from his region and read it daily or weekly. He’ll love that you care enough to do so, and being able to have engaging conversations about the going’s-on in his area makes the world feel a little smaller—you need that right now.

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Join a French/German/Spanish group

Whatever your partner’s nationality is, join a language or interest group dedicated to it. Again, this helps you feel closer to him by being close to his culture, and prevents you from being a totally clueless tourist when you visit him because the only way to really learn a culture is to become friends with the “locals”—even if they live in New York City currently.

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Send gifts

Physical contact is so important to a relationship, but during long periods of time when you can’t touch each other, a personal item can carry you through. Send a scarf sprayed with your perfume, or even a Hot pair of underwear you’ve worn…

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Do things “together”

Watch the same movie while on the phone, grocery shop together by being on FaceTime and showing each other what you’re buying. You don’t have to miss out on couple activities just because you’re far away.

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Manage the time zones

Find the time when you’re both relaxed and have no distractions so you can be focused on your conversations. This is hard enough when you’re two busy people living in the same time zone. So when you find that sweet spot for talking with your long distance beau, try to clear that time in your schedule.

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Know the travel laws

Before booking a flight to see your man, study up on the travel laws. It would be devastating to find out you can’t actually take your trip because your visa will take three months to come through, or because you didn’t know there was a vaccine you had to get.

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Know his country’s laws

Breaking a law there could mean being banned from the country! And that could mean the end of your relationship. A simple online search of “Common laws tourists break in fill in country here” could save you major heartache (and bail money).

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Take advantage of loyalty programs

Read up on the various loyalty programs available through the different airlines. The real money-saving methods might not be in travel budget booking sites, but directly through an airline.

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Put everything on your credit card

It’s time to become disciplined about paying off your credit card because if you do, you can earn serious travel points. If you treat your credit card like a debit card, putting every day expenses on there, you could have enough points to book your next visit to your man within a few months.

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