As far as the eyes could see!
“How can i survive it ZeeZee? As i’m steady loosing my mind each passing day I find myself living in what seems like the loneliest existence any one could possibly live in. I am married, yet i don’t see my husband/wife and can’t even tell what they are up to! Is this really a marriage?”
I constantly hear statements like these from couples looking for answers on how to survive being away from their loved one. They find that the longer they are apart, the more tense they are around each other as they feel like they are interacting with a total stranger – a spouse that doesn’t really fit into their life anymore.
Long distance relationships are so difficult, yet a necessary evil for many couples around the world. It surely isn’t easy peasy to live away from your spouse and practically, based on what a few couples i’ve polled divulged – there are many viable reasons why couples might have to live apart. For:
- Economic reasons – One partner has to leave to a different location to get a better job OR stay to keep a job that is paying the bills.
- Health reasons – Either partner could be away to take care of their health or that of a family member.
- Education – One partner seeks a better education in order to enhance their lives.
And the list goes on…
Since these are quite reasonable reasons to be apart from each other, my first counsel to the couples is to make sure they do not remain living in a long distance relationship forever. They need to:
- Have a plan – “What is the main reason we are living apart? How long will we have to live apart? What is our transition plan to close the distance between us?” Having a plan is what gives some level of confidence to your partner that this arrangement isn’t forever. While you may not be able to see circumstances that might occur in the future, it’s still best to put some sort of sketch together to ensure the both of you are clear on what your objectives are.
- Talk! Talk!! Talk!!! – The both of you should be in consistent contact with each other throughout the course of the day. Set a fixed time to have a chat (phone or better still – video) and treat that time as sacred. Nothing else should take it’s place and if in fact something comes up, contact them to let them know they’ll be slight changes. Texting them (which shouldn’t take the place of hearing their voice or seeing them via video chat) during the course of the day will be a great way to keep in touch and show them that you are thinking about them.
- Make their spouse a priority – As much as you are able, travel to visit them as often as you can, send them gifts. Show up as a surprise (not with the intent to “check in” on their loyalty) but to show them that you love them enough to make seeing them a priority.
- Arrange a support system – This is especially important if you both have children. If they have always been dependent on you being around to help out with the kids, it becomes even more stressful for them when you are away. If you can’t afford hired help, see if there is someone who could check in and help out with laundry, watching the kids so your partner could have a day off, taking them to activities etc. This is one area you find that hurts most marriages in this situation. It is imperative to have a plan for support.
- Keep focused on the plan – As time goes by it becomes harder to stay focused on the future plans you have made with your spouse, so you begin to get nervous as you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. At times like this, you have to refocus your attention…by distracting yourself. Sitting depressed at the fact that you aren’t in the same place with your spouse, just doesn’t help matters much. Find a job, volunteer in your community (this helps give you perspective that you aren’t “suffering”), start a hobby you enjoy. In essence, just do something (legal of course ;)) that’ll help your mind to not focus on the loneliness it feels, and you’ll find that the time passes quickly towards your main goal of reuniting with your spouse.
There! A few ways to make your long distance relationship not suffer due to the absence of each other. In times when Ladi and I have lived apart for one reason or the other (Yes! We’ve had to deal with distance too), these are the steps that kept us together… as though we were in the same room.
Hope this brings some light to your situation!
ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.