When people think about long-distance relationships, they often think of soul mates separated by careers or oceans. While these dramatic situations can require creative long distance relationship ideas, smart long-distance apps or even super high-tech pillows to get through, there’s another brand of LDR that isn’t talked about as much. Calling for its own tips and tricks to survive, short-term long distance often manifests itself as college students go on summer break or study abroad, or even as adults separate temporarily for jobs. Relationship expert Ty Tashiro offers five tips for how to conquer temporary distance between you and your S.O., and come back together stronger than ever.
1. Know that you’re going to be attracted to other people. Ty urges those experiencing temporary separation — especially college students who are studying abroad or are away for the summer — to acknowledge that they will meet other people they find attractive. Most people in relationships actually have a physiological response to meeting attractive people: A study found that they subconsciously avert their eyes as a protective mechanism. Ty says the bottom line is to recognize these temptations, while also resisting the urge to give into them.
2. Find a mode of communication and cadence that works best for both of you. Whether it’s FaceTime, emails or romantic handwritten letters, agreeing on a medium of communication will help you and your partner to keep in touch consistently. Since many college students are used to seeing each other on the daily, Ty suggests couples agree on regular communication (even schedule it if you need to) in order to maintain some semblance of a routine. “Being able to have regular conversations keeps you and your partner in sync and cadence,” he says. “It allows you to be involved in each others’ lives.”
3. Try (pretty hard) to see each other. Travel can be financially and logistically difficult, especially if you’re in the first few years of your career and are less likely to have a flexible vacay sitch, or you’re in college and off on a fantastic summer break adventure. However, if it’s a possibility, Ty says that visiting your S.O. is money and time well spent. And while actually BEING with your boo is awesome, the anticipation of seeing them might actually be even better for your spirits and your relationship. “It’s such a great emotion because it motivates and focuses you,” he says. If you absolutely can’t meet in person, get creative in order to keep the sexual tension alive.
4. Consider what your partner means to you. Being apart can give you productive time to step back and think about your relationship. Even when it’s hard to be apart, taking the time to appreciate your partner and the relationship you’re in can give you comfort that the temporary long distance is worth it. On those tough days, write down a list of everything you love about your boo, or write them a love letter expressing your devotion for them. On the other hand, you may realize that you’ve gotten attached to being IN a relationship, but don’t necessarily want to be with your current fling. That’s totally okay too.
5. Learn to be okay on your own. The old adage “distance makes the heart grow fonder” is only partially true, Ty says. While people who are routine-oriented might not thrive in temporary long-distance situations, people who are independent and novelty-seeking often do. This is because being away from your S.O. should push you to learn who you are without your relationship — and (bonus!) will make things fresh and new when you’re back together again. Really focus on being in the present when you’re hanging with friends or family (or yourself), instead of missing your boo or texting with them.
Have more tips and tricks for getting through short-term long distance? Let us know @BritandCo!
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