There’s a lot to be said about committing to a long-distance relationship with someone; despite the LDR-friendly apps and technology that can make the miles seem smaller, living away from your partner is still really hard. That’s why when you’re finally (re)united, things can get a little out of whack as you transition toward a more typical life together. Jenn Kennedy, a marriage and family therapist based in California, has noticed three challenges that couples in this situation face — and has tips for overcoming them.
1. Adjust to less personal space and alone time. Even if you were sharing space with roommates or had tons of friends while living away from your S.O., being so near to them will eat into your time alone. After missing your partner for so long, this might feel like a good thing, but Kennedy reminds you to keep firm boundaries in order to maintain your routine. In these cases, she recommends negotiating the amount of time you spend together. Additionally, it’s important to continue the activities that you did without each other, such as exercise, seeing friends, or going to work functions.
2. Figure out a nighttime routine. As silly as it sounds, sleeping together can make a big difference in this new phase of your relationship. Since your routine before bed can be pretty ingrained, adding a new person to the mix can cause some dissonance. The best way to handle this new change is to talk about it beforehand, especially if you plan on living with your partner. If your bedtime habits differ, negotiate things beforehand — for example, if only one of you likes to read with the lights on before bed, it’s probably best for both of you for that reading to happen in another room.
3. Notice your attraction. “Attraction is a funny thing — often people fantasize about their partner and what they would do, how romantic or hot their connection would be if they were together,” Kennedy shares. “When they are reunited, rubber meets the road, and their fantasy may not match. The couple has to make efforts at how to approach the other and allow intimacy to happen however it occurs.” It’s okay to feel weird around each other, especially when it comes to attraction. The best way to dispel these feelings is to not force anything. Do what feels best for you and your partner, and be authentic to what you’re feeling. Chances are, your partner is feeling the same way!
The excitement of finally being together probably overshadows all the problems that can arise from a long-distance relationship — and by holding on to that infatuation and excitement, you’ll be in great shape for turning your LDR into, simply, a R.
What tips do you have for transitioning a long-distance relationship to a local one? Let us know @BritandCo!
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