As a guy who travels a lot, Besski Livius a lot about how to screw up a long-distance relationship… and how to make them thrive.
When I had my first long distance relationship, seven years ago, I was scared, worried and confused about how was this relationship supposed to work?
All I knew about making relationships work went out the window, there was no more time spent together, no more hand holding and smiling while looking into each other’s eyes, no more dates, sex, parties, movies… none of these.
There was only a PC and an old phone. How was I supposed to make a relationship work through a PC and an old phone, I was asking myself?
But, fast forward seven years later, and I’ve lived in five different countries and every time I moved to another country I’d leave a girlfriend behind, we’d try a long distance relationship until I’d lose interest and attraction for the girl.
Overall six long distance relationships in seven years. But here’s the good news, 3 years ago I met a lovely girl while traveling, and that moment was the beginning of a my last long distance relationship, which has recently ended with her coming to Denmark and us living together in a cozy apartment in a little Danish city.
So if you do the math, you realize that 5 relationships didn’t last, one did… what was the secret?
And I’d tell you: seven years of experience with long distance dating, and about 5 years of passionately studying the topic of seduction and relationships… when put together resulted in the most successful and fulfilling relationship that I’ve ever had or seen anyone else have.
If at this moment you have a long distance relationship, chances are that you’re finding it quite challenging, that’s why bellow I’d like to share with you some of the lessons that come form my experience and education on the topic, which might as well help you make your long distance relationship work like a charm, bypassing the steep learning curve that I went through.
1. The First Lesson Is About Time
The first thing that I’ve realized is that it’s not the distance that’s the enemy in a long distance relationship but the TIME. Yes, time. I mean, it’s the whole time we have to wait until we see each other again that makes a long distance relationship hard and painful.
This long time makes us suffer, discourages us and sometimes makes us give up. And understanding that “time” is the number one problem helped me a lot in keeping my LDR alive, successful and enjoyable.
The reason is that while you cannot really manipulate the physical distance, you can manipulate the perception time.
From that point on, I looked differently at my relationship… I didn’t think “Ohh, we’re so far away so far away from each other and there’s nothing I can do about it…” But I started thinking “Hmm, I have to wait 6 months until I see her again… How can I make this period shorter?” Or how can I make this period at least “feel shorter” for me and for her. Or how can I make this whole period more enjoyable? Or how can I make use of this time being apart for the benefit of our relationship, and also for my own personal life?
So it changed my thinking from a problem-oriented and helpless attitude to a solution-oriented and proactive attitude. From there on I looked for any possibilities to visit my girlfriend as soon as possible.
And guess what? If you look for solutions – you find them. It took me 2 months to figure out a way to visit her sooner than 6 months.
However, when there was no way to visit her sooner, I looked for ways to keep myself busy, involved myself in various projects, become a volunteer, started personal projects and so I took my mind off the painful missing of her.
As the saying goes “Time seems to appear longer when one notices it.”
Being far from her gave me a lot of time to focus on my own life, thus focusing on my own evolution and career as a love coach. I actually find long distance relationships very beneficial for my productivity.
2. The Second Lesson is About Equality
The second thing that I learned was the principle of equality in a relationship. And here I mean that if I want to have a healthy and successful relationship, there should be equality between her and me on three levels: feelings, attention and favors.
Feelings: Love needs to be a two way feeling. We have to both love each other and do our best to keep love alive. It’s very common that one partner loves less than the other and then behaves accordingly… makes the other partner jealous, disrespects, lies, starts fights all the time etc. And because the feelings are not equal one partner becomes indifferent and the other more needy.
The idea is that as long as there’s no equal love, then you better let your partner go, or they let you go. It’s true that you might suffer a lot, but it’s better to suffer a few months for losing them than suffer a few months while being with them and then a few more months for losing them.
“Love is a team game, if one player stops playing well enough, the team loses!”
Attention: When it comes to relationships, when we love our partners we tend to become needy and thus suffocate our significant other with our attention. And if we do that, what happens is that they lose attraction for us, because they KNOW that they have us by the balls, so they are not challenged anymore, they are not excited to be in this relationship and thus end up taking us for granted.
The idea is that we want to give our partner as much attention as she/he gives us. We don’t want to shower them with text messages and phone calls. We want to keep things equal. I call it the reciprocity rule.
Favors: We humans, we hate being refused. Thus we hate when we ask our partners to do something for us and they refuse to do it.
As a result, if you’re anything like me, you’d start arguing with your partner about why she doesn’t want to do it.
That’s a very common problem that I hear a lot of people complaining about: she/he doesn’t want to undress in from the camera, or he/she doesn’t want to write me a post letter, or he/she doesn’t want to sent me more text messages, or he/she doesn’t call me as much as I’d like…. etc.
The idea here is that you want to agree with your partner to accept each other’s requests. If you ask them to do something – they have to do it, and also if they ask you to do something – you have to do it. This agreement will keep you both be satisfied.
Of course you have to be reasonable about it, and not ask them to do crazy stuff for you, but as a general rule, you want to make a habit of fulfilling each other’s requests.
So as long as you have equal feelings for each other, you give each other equal attention and you respect and fulfill each other’s requests, then I can say that there’s a healthy relationship going on where both partners can be happy.
3. The Third Lesson Is About Predictability
It’s very easy to fall in the predictability trap when being in a long distance relationship. You start talking at the same time of the day, about the same topics and over time it all becomes a routine. Your partner can easily predict what your relationship will look and feel like in 3 months – at what time you’ll be talking and what you’ll be talking about.
Predictability means No Fun and No Excitement, and any relationship needs excitement to stay alive. You want to be unique and unpredictable. You want to be creative and spice things up from time to time.
My suggestion is that you think about your relationship “daily routines” and try to change them a little, do the same things in a different way, talk at different times of the day, send them different types of text messages (sexy ones, jokes, love texts, updates about your day etc.) make them curious more often, talk about new subjects when chatting on Skype etc. YOU WANT TO KEEP THNIGS FRESH!
4. The Forth Lesson is About Sexuality
We humans are sexual beings. Sex is an important part of our lives, and in our young years especially, we’re spending a lot of time and energy on satisfying our sexual needs. In a LDR, sexuality is as important as it is in a classic relationship, that’s why you have to satisfy each other’s sexual needs even from afar.
In my experience sexing things up at least once a week will make a relationship more fun, fulfilling and stronger overall. So what you can do is to talk about sex, maybe tell her some sexy stories, or tell her what you’d do to her if you were together in that moment, or have online sex, dance striptease for each other, play some sexy games and so on, about once a week. This way you’ll keep that sexual spark between you alive.
You can’t afford to ignore your sexuality just because you’re far away from each other and cannot have real sex, because if you do so, two things are most likely to happen: one is that your relationship will start to seem and feel more like a platonic friendship than a romantic love story, and second, is that your partner will tend to look for other sources of sexual attention.
5. The Fifth Lesson Is About Purpose
We humans need to look forward to something in order to be motivated to fight for it. In a LDR, we need to look forward to our next meeting, or to the FUN things that we’re going to do when we meet next time.
So you want to make sure to give your partner NICE stuff to look forward to. As long as they know that in 3 months you’ll see each other again and that you’ll close yourself up for 3 days in an apartment and have sex until your knees hurt, and you’ve described to them in great detail what you’re going to do to each other… they’ll be excited about it, and they’ll make sure to be a “loving partner” for the 3 months before your grand meeting.
6. And The Sixth Lesson is About Freedom of Choice
You cannot stop your partner from cheating on you, or you cannot stop them from going out too often, so you can’t control their faithfulness to you. What you can do, however, is to give them the freedom to do whatever they feel like, as long as they take responsibility for it. As counterintuitive this sounds, as effective it actually is.
The way I often put it is: “Listen, if you like a guy and want to have sex with him, you are free to do it, as long you take responsibility for the fact that our relationship will end in that exact moment, even if I will suffer a lot. And don’t think that I won’t find out, because I will sure enough feel it in your behavior. I DO want you to be with me and be a faithful girlfriend, and I trust that you WILL be, because you’re not like many other easy girls out there, but just so you know I am not forcing you to stay faithful, and it’s all up to you as long as you take responsibility for the fact that you’ll lose me forever.”
In this case it’s not you who is stopping them from cheating, but it’s themselves that decide not to do so because they want to be with you.
People tend to do what they are told not to. And cheating is a very sensitive subject because the temptation is high most of the times and only realizing that “you’ll lose forever the person you value most if you do it” will most of the times stop you from cheating.
Besides, this is an effective attitude on so many other more subtle levels: it shows that you are not needy, which increases attraction; it eliminates the “forbidden fruit” issue, which lowers their temptation and it shows that you trust them, which enforces the law of expectations.
One Last Thought
These were just a few of the key elements necessary to make a long distance relationship work.
But if there is one thing that will contribute most to keeping a long distance relationship alive, it would be this one: Replacing Fear with Curiosity.
Which means that in those moments when you feel like it’s all a waste of time, and you can’t see a potential future together, even though you love your partner so much, and you’re so confused that you’re ready to give it all up, remember this word – “curiosity” and instead of being afraid of an uncertain future… chose to be curious about what the future is holding for you!
Because fear freezes you, makes you stressed and pessimistic, while curiosity empowers you and gives you hope and motivation to fight.
Originally appeared at The Loveumentary
Besski Livius is the founder of Long-Distance-Lover.com, an online platform for long distance relationship advice for men.