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Seven Benefits Of Long Distance Love

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.”

– Rumi

Six years ago I watched the person I love pack all his belongings into a U-Haul truck and drive away from our hometown for his first “real job”. I wanted so badly to tear down the road – on foot – and jump in the truck with him. I was in the first year of my graduate degree program with a few more years in front of me. Little did I know on that day, it would not be the first time we would be States and coastlines apart to pursue our dreams and goals. In fact, we have been through periods of long distance for at least half of our relationship. Welcome to LDRs, Daily Love Readers – Long Distance Relationships.

When reading the “What’s In This Long Distance ” post from a Daily Share Reader a few weeks ago, the thoughts of that day entered my mind. I read the words of a person who knows intuitively that the person they love is worth riding out the negative aspects, but has moments of doubt, fear and loneliness. I want to share what is my area of expertise: how to deal when it comes to LDRs.

At one point I was feeling lonely and giving my mind permission to roam through the negatives … “why are we doing this?”…“what if he’s seeing someone else?”…“what if I’m not good enough for this person?”… all the crap that you know isn’t true. I turned to the web to try to find a community of support – other people going through the same emotions, self-imposed turmoil and lonely feelings that come with being miles and miles away from the one you love. I needed a TDL in 2005. Welcome to 2011 – you are incredibly blessed to have a site that encourages you to love you, love the people in your life and in the world on a daily basis.

Web resources on LDRs are …eh … not so great. Instead of wallowing in the sad & sappy LDR discussion boards I found online, I decided to put my psychology hat to use and revel in the GOOD that can come from the situation. You have time to focus on you and learn how you can be better in your relationship and other interpersonal relationships as a result of a long-distance love. Take these coaching cues and put them to use in your relationships, near or far.

1.) Stop comparing your relationships to other relationships: This is unhealthy, any way you slice it. You are a unique individual. You love people who a special combination of quirky, funny, sensitive, geeky and a million more possible attributes that combine to create the person you love. Relationships are about finding a flow and a rhythm that works between two people, not about trying to replicate what other people have.

2.) Near or far, you still need your space: You need time to get to know who you are. Instead of wishing you were spending time with that other person, get out of the house. Find what it is that you love and immerse yourself in that. Make connections and friendships with other people. You would do this if you were in the same town or city as your partner; do it from afar, too.

3.) Love, cherish and appreciate small things: An early morning “I love you” or a late night “Sweet Dreams” is so simple and such an easy way to express how you feel without having to launch into a 3 hour conversation on a daily basis. Be realistic about time constraints and value of simple, heartfelt words.

4.) Be Present. This one was a big challenge for me. You look forward to the next time you see your significant other within ten minutes of leaving them. There’s a balance between looking forward and being present. Having a social life where you are is critical to staying in the present. Try new things, explore, make friends – be the interesting person your partner loves.

5.) Communication skills, communication skills, communication skills: Due to schedules or time zone differences, you may only have an hour or less to communicate each day. Learn to convey the important things and how to communicate with your partner. Saying “he or she doesn’t like to talk” doesn’t cut it with the abundance of communication forms available.

6.) Improved trust and intuition. All relationships require openness, honesty and must be built on a foundation of trust. You and your partner should share events of the day or week, friendships being made and other important details about your lives. If your person doesn’t make you feel like a part of their day from afar, this won’t change when you are physically nearer to them.

7.) Tune-ups: Have honest discussions about where your relationship is before you decide to go-the-distance and create “check-ins” as needed. Many people wait until there are problems instead of addressing the little things that may be signals along the way. Approach everything from a place of love and respect.

When you and your partner decide to try the long-distance version of your relationship – whether brought on by an employment opportunity, military deployment, family responsibility or any other life event – create a support system where you are or find one where you land. Share below if you have been in a LDR and how you have coped with or are coping with the emotions you feel. Please leave any other questions you may have in the comments. You are loved, no matter where you may be in life.

Be Well,

Erin

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Erin Michelle is a wellness coach & consultant, visit her website here.

  • http://the-dame.com The Dame

    Im having a really hard time with our LDR.  He lives 5hrs away and we are still in the beginning of our relationship, just 3 months in.  We see eachother every two weeks, but I feel like the constant contact from him has waned and thats making me insecure.  Ive asked him to be in touch more often and I get in touch when I need to, which feels like more often than it should be, but I just feel this void growing and its scaring me.  We didnt have a lot of time together in the beginning to base our relationship off, we are making it up as we go along. 

    I love that the distance gives me space to get on with my own life and figure out who I am in a relationships, something Im not accustomed to being in, but I also hate that I need a lot of reassurance.

    • Bella

      Focusing on yourself is the best way to deal with those insecurities which are making your feel sort of crazy. I had been hurt so many times that if my current boyfriend was at his friends house for more than a few hours I instantly would feel my heart sink. If I knew he was going to hang out with friends and their girlfriends were there and I had to work or something, I would spend the whole time stressing that something else was going on. When we went from talking all day long through texts to barely at all, I really started to panic. But then one day I just decided I would focus on me and the things that I need, right down to the bare essentials. It’s hard for sure. Even making it a point not to text him while he is at work or I am at work. But the distance between us finally closed and even though we do not spend hours each day talking about the deeper meaning of life, the time we do get seems that much greater.  Especially in a new relationship, you have to take time to let things develop. 3 months is a very short time when you are looking for your soulmate. When do you get moments together, make the most of out of them. When you don’t, do not stress about them. At the end of the day, if this person is meant to be in your life, the distance is not going to matter. You should never feel like you are fighting for love. If someone doesn’t want to be with you, then let it go; there is bound to be something better from then Uni-verse waiting for you.

      P.S. My aunt and uncle were together for one year and then lived apart for 10 years before they got married. On opposite sides of the country. They saw each other, in person, TWICE per year during that whole time. They did not get to talk very often either because she was in medical school and in India for almost 2 years and he was a research scientists at one of the top universities in the country. Every day I look at their happy, healthy marriage and family as a testament to what love can be like if you just open your heart and trust that no distance can stop a real love.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you all for sharing your stories! Feeling humbled & blessed by the honesty. 

        • riya

          Hi, i am in a long distance relationship from last two years. We live in two separate continents…i m in india and he’s staying in US. I agree its difficult at times to be without that person but one thing i will say…love gives u enough courage to love someone despite of distance. I am completely in love with him and waiting to be with him for all my life.

      • Mary

        wow that’s an amazing story about your aunt and uncle, I admire that. I also was in a long distance relationship almost three years ago.  We lived in two different states and he was the one to come visit me.  We always talked and we agreed to be in a long distance relationship.  Although in the end he broke up with me. He was selfish and didn’t think of everything we ever talked about when he made his decisions. He tried plenty of times to get back with me once he realized what he lost was special. I gave him a second chance, but you know the second time is never the same. This time around my trust in him was gone, and it was very hard to love that person without thinking twice. The crazy thing about love is, how you can experience it and it can be something that makes you feel so high above everything, and it can also make you feel at your lowest ever. I’m glad that i experienced this part of my life, this experience has made me a stronger and wise person.  When i think of why this relationship had ended it would be not just for his mistakes, but also at the time i depended on someone so much and put all my trust in them, i didn’t have love and trust in myself, and that’s a huge problem because if you don’t have those you can’t give love and trust to someone without getting hurt. Communication is a huge part in a LDR if you don’t have that with the other person, you might as well just break up.

      • Jenapher Henslee

        I really love what you said about focusing on yourself. In my mind, that’s the only way to learn how to love yourself instead of always pining for that person. And it makes the distance so much more tolerable, because you aren’t always waiting for them to come and “complete” you. :)

  • Elora Lee

    My best friend and her boyfriend have been together for nearly six years now. The first four of those years were long distance, as they attended colleges that were hundreds of miles apart.
    What I have learned from watching their relationship develop is that it is not distance that handicaps a relationship, it’s doubt. They are constantly performing “tune-ups” as Erin calls them, that keep their relationship strong, open and growing. They do not allow doubts to get in their way. They are open and honest about everything in their lives. They are a great example of what love can look like and one day I hope to be blessed with a relationship as wonderful as theirs, long distance or not.

  • RG

    I’ve been in a LDR for over a year. We live a good 22 hour car and 3 hour plane ride away. At first it was difficult, but over time things got a lot better. We both decided to put forth the time and effort to make the relationship as strong as possible. By communicating through instant messaging, skype, and phone along with making the collective effort to see one another once a month. I couldn’t be happier, we understand when we are busy and if there are any problems we communicate them right away and resolve the issue immediately. LDR’s are difficult when you need an instant hug, or a hand to hold, a buddy to watch the latest romantic comedy with. But the feeling you get after seeing a loved one after a certain period of time is irreplaceable. If you are committed and willing to take the high’s with the lows any relationship is possible.

  • Mona

    I was in a long distance relationship for over a year or so. It was my first relationship. He lived in France and I live here in Canada. We really felt a connection to one another and we phoned each other and skyped/chatted almost every day. But it was my first relationship and I had so much to learn. We both made a lot of mistakes and it ended rather badly. I still care for him and I think that it would have been so much better face to face, but I didn’t know anything about relationships and I really screwed up. I was supposed to meet him when he came to Canada, we planned a vacation together, but I chickened out and ended up not going and that ended the relationship. Thing is, I just succumbed to my fear and I ruined the entire thing. I regret it a lot because we don’t even talk now, although he offered that we could be friends still. I’m just really ashamed that I didn’t go through with it and I feel really weak. He ended up going alone and I can’t help but feel like I lost a relationship that could have had lots of potential, but I was really immature. Now I don’t really know what to do, we haven’t spoke much lately. His family became disappointed in me too and I lost some friends because of what happened (they don’t like what I did). Thing is, I found it really hard to accept what I did, I had a moment of weakness and it ruined everything. I still want to be his friend, but I’m not sure if I am over him completely…I wish I had read this article much sooner! :(

  • Love Across Continents

    I have been in a LDR for a year now (as of last week) and most of our relationship was spent while we were on different continents. We met in Los Angeles but he was from Austria. Weeks after I met him, he was to go and spend months in India. He invited me to join him and I was all for it then all my insecurities from past relationships hurts came back to haunt me. Truth is, it happened very fast for me and I didn’t know how to trust. I succumbed to my fears and told him I wasn’t coming and ended things. As the weeks passed, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and if I had made the right choice. I got up the courage to contact him again and try to talk. I also got up the courage to decide to go to India and meet him. At that point, he was not so excited to see me but agreed. I flew to India to spend 3.5 weeks there. The 3.5 weeks turned into over two months and was going to be longer but was cut short as my father had a heart attack and I left the next day to see him, not knowing when my LDR would resume face to face again. He joined me in LA for a couple of months before he left again for Austria. Now months later, I am here with him in Austria. I admit the highs and lows are too much for me at times and we have come very close to calling it quits multiple times, even after my arrival here. We are both not easy people but I know that I have grown as a person both emotionally and spiritually since I have met him. I pray that I can choose love over fear and follow my inner voice and that whatever comes of this is for the highest good of all concerned.  Thank you for this article during my time of need. If you have any advice for me I would love to hear it.  If not, please just keep us in your prayers.

    In Gratitude

    • Mona

      This is really similar to what has happened to me…I succumbed to my fears too (post is above). I didn’t get the courage to meet him. Don’t know what I should do now. Should I tell him I still want to be friends? Should I tell him no? We had a lot of ups and downs too…

      • Love Across Continents

        Life’s too short to not take a chance if you care about someone. The worse thing that can happen is they can say no but at least you won’t spend a lifetime wondering. Sometimes people come into your life for a reason, if you don’t know the reason for him, there is obviously still a yearning for you to find out.  If anything, this will help further you growth for your next relationship perhaps.

  • Jodes

    I just got out of a LDR with my boyfriend of almost two years. We only lived four hours apart, but you’d be surprised how it can still get in the way of seeing each other. In the beginning, and for the majorty of the relationship, things were great. Communication is definitely a huge factor. I always knew my then bf had plans to move to GA for film school once he had graduated state college. He once told me that he’d had thoughts of me coming with him etc etc. But I was always wary of this: when I was eighteen I moved out of my family home for a guy I’d only been dating a short while, and have always had fears of giving myself to someone like that again. Because of course, if something went south, I’d be the one screwed over in the scenario (again).

    I think he let the distance become a bigger issue than maybe what was really bothering him. I understand that the distance can suck, but he only had another year or two max of school left, and I thought it smarter to figure things out once he was completely finished and then we could settle somewhere together. He was on-the-fence about dating me initially due to the distance, so I backed off. But then, he chose me and our relationship.
    I kind of feel cheated. Why bother choosing to be with someone in a LDR only to break up because of the distance? The distance comes with the territory of a LDR. I spent last thanksgiving with his family. I felt we were really going somewhere after that. LD isn’t my ideal situation either, but I wasn’t going to just throw away my relationship because of it. I love this guy and had told him don’t think I would do this for anyone else.

    Of course, we’ve had to let things fizzle out. I had to respect his decision to not continue our relationship once he moves, which is hard. He has since graduated and is moving to GA soon. I don’t regret our time together (whether talking via phone or our trips to visit each other), I just wish he could have been more open about what he wanted, and communicated with me.

    LDR’s are not for everyone. Most of my friend’s say they could never do it. But it depends on the person you are and whom you’re with. For those of you in your LDR’s, communicate and be honest, no matter how hard it can be sometimes.

    Healing,
    J

  • Lauren

    I was in a long distance relationship for my entire freshman year of college. It wasn’t worth it to me, because I was trying to please the man I was with, but doing so wasn’t doing what made me happy. I did not discover TDL until after this relationship had ended. I wish I had, but it was a learning experience. I was having little to no trouble being away from my partner because I had so many other things to do as at college I didn’t spend time thinking of him or longing to be with him. I would do another long distance relationship if I had to. I proved to myself I was capable. With the advancement in technology we were able to communicate well even though we had little free time at the same time. Communication was important, but the most important issue was trust. He did not trust me with friends, male or female, and I had a few trust issues revolving around his drug use.  It works if you really have a strong loving connection with the other person.

  • http://twitter.com/HeatherSchultz ♥Heather Schultz♥

    Excellent post. I think a lot of these principals are great things to remember not only for long distance relationships but even if you’re in a relationship with someone within a 5 mile radius! Life can be challenging and fighting insecurities, making comparisons, communication, needing your own space, finding appreciation, and all that is something we all deal with and just as essential in nearby relationships. I think in the case in long distance relationships it’s taking working at all that to a whole ‘nother level.

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  • Lovely242

    I’ve schooled in France while my boyfriend has schooled in Jamaica, we’re really young…and were apart for 10 months – that’s 7 hours time difference and over 5,000 miles…I’m 19 and he’s 21 now, and we’ve been together for only 2 years…now, I’m schooling in Canada and he’s home in The Bahamas. 
    LDR is something that we’re very familiar with, we make the most of the time we actually do spend together which is during the summer…most of our relationship has been spent apart…literally – from the Start! Whether it be text messages throughout the day, random sweet emails, little facebook messages, skype or phone calls, we make the most out of them! We still manage to have social lives and make time for each other while I’m going to school and working and he’s working a job without a set shift. Things are hard but trust and communication has saved our relationship! 

  • Miesharoshawn

    I’ve been in a LDR for two years as of last Sunday. Initially I was in Seattle and him in New Orleans. Six months ago I relocated to Houston so we are only a five hour car ride from eachother. I never expected us to stay together this long so making things work has been an ongoing learning experience. We are in love. Hands down it is the best relationship I’ve ever been in. Due to his job and obligation to his 12 year old son I don’t expect him to leave New Orleans for Houston at least for another 4-5 years. I also have two girls 6 & 8 that I don’t plan to uproot again. I often wonder if we could survive that time apart? We are committed to making it work and merging our families eventually. Being 33 (tomorrow) and him 38 (in a couple weeks) we’ve had quite a few life experiences with relationships and what we have is worth fighting for! I’m encouraged by a few of the comments I read, thank you for sharing this!

  • Same Birthday Girl

    As someone who’s been in a long-distance relationship halfway around the world for a very, VERY long time, I can definitely relate to this story. We’ve just finished meeting up, and honestly we feel like a 15-20 day meet-up once a year is simply not enough. But employers are demanding, economies are going down and money is just scarce no matter where we are, so it’s making our situation a lot harder. All the same, all the good things you have mentioned are in our relationship, and that’s why both my partner and I would not trade anything for the world. ♥ Thank you for sharing this and bringing together many of us who are in the same boat.

    Also for the other commenters here who are in LDRs, I’ve found this really nice blog written by a couple who’ve made it work: http://www.practicalove.com. They’re just slow in updating but I hope it helps you as it has helped myself and my partner. Thanks! :)

  • Misuldo

    Oh LDRs….I often joke they’re my area of expertise. :D

    My first bf & I dated for 2.5 months in one place…then we’ve had another 8 months 10 000km apart. I ended it as I couldn’t bear it anymore…and I said I’d never ever get into a LDR again.
    Few years later on I began dating this moron – and whoa, again I had to go somewhere and here it was – a LDR, we were apart around 10 000km again and on different continents (as was the previous case). He broke up with me and I was clinging onto the idea of *him*, not wanting to let go, probably just enjoying my own suffering…and yes, I said no more LDRs.

    A year after I healed and was certain of no more LDRs…I met up with my current boyfriend, and we’ve started to date ONE DAY before I was to go study to a city 450km away in the neighboirhooding state. We’ve been together for 3yrs+ (with one break-up in between) and we’re together after I came back as well, though I do have some thoughts on the relationship… I think I lacked the Self-Love I needed and I was giving way too much, not fighting for what’s right. An example – every week I’d commute to see him and then back – it was 8 hrs in train and 30 Euro and I’d be very tired. He came to see me ONCE in all those two years…saying he doesn’t like to travel – and I accepted it. 

    I’m now quite uncertain about what to do about us – but I’ve promised myself that out of respect & love to myself, should I ever study abroad again or work somewhere else, I must go there with a clean slate – and sadly, end this. I’ve been to 3 LDRs already and as I’m very prone to working a lot on it and forgetting to see if the other one is also making an effort, it’s not healthy…and I know it. 

    Should you any awesome ladies & gentlemen here ever get into a LDR, please watch only one thing: your wellbeing. If you’re happy, he/she’ll be happy for you too. 

    In Gratitude,
    M

  • Jenapher Henslee

    I’m in a LDR and was very excited to see that this was the subject of your blog. :) I have become ME by virtue of my LDR, which never would have happened if I had a significant other that lived nearby. I used to become absorbed in the other person, and I was, I’m ashamed to say, codependent. But I have a relationship now with the most wonderful person, and even though he is six states away, I have learned how to cultivate my own life, making me and my inner life the most important thing, instead of making him my end all and be all. It was very, very, difficult until I realized that this was a gift from the Uni-verse and now I love myself enough that even if our relationship were to end, I’d be sad, but I’d live through it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VFGXL7PQVU5CY6FDEQ4FL6BXHU Iris Louise

    That 7 coaching issues works! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashley.a.alvarado Ashley Ann Alvarado

    Excellent Erin. ;) Enough said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/samanthahoneyp Samantha Honey-Pollock

    you’ve nailed it Erin, I wish I read this 3 years ago in my LDR, but like lots of things (and lots of us!), I’ve learned from trial and error; this advice is spot on.  one more thing- I believe we as women have to “own” the LDR/ LDM (long-distance marriage) asking our men (who really do love us and do want to make us happy) to remember to call daily, check in with what’s good, and ask for the time off that’s important for us to have them be at home.  Love to you!

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  • JenapherHenslee

    This really is helpful and fantastically written. :)

  • S.B

    I have finally found a site which highlights some of the positives of LDR.  I am in New Zealand and my partners in the UK.  I am finding it very hard at the moment as he has just lost his brother..I just want to give him a hug but we’re as long distance as we can possibly get!!! I know this situation isn’t forever, he is joining me at the end of year, though I can imagine he’ll be quite torn now, leaving his family after a sudden tragic death of his brother.  Hopefully the rocky ride will smooth out. Good luck to everyone xx

  • anonymous19

    reading blogs really helped me :) so thank you for advice. Another one I really liked is http://longdistancegirl.blog.com/

  • JLucero123

    I am currently in a long distance relationship. We began talking about a year ago & it immediately became serious. We met online & realized we had a lot in common. I spontaneously drove 8 hours one evening to see him & meet him & it was great. We talk everyday via text, skype when possible & he calls me every night before i fall asleep. We share a better connection & relationship than the prior relationship I had for 5 years with a guy who I physically saw everyday. Although I learned a lot from my prior relationship, I seem to uncover something new whether it be about love or the person I am everyday with this current relationship. We both put in a whole lot of effort whether it be by just calling one another, expressing our feelings towards a situation or taking the time to go see each other. I believe a long distance relationship just takes a whole lot of effort & love. You build on everything else after. I love my relationship more than anything.

  • thomas

    It’s
    really very informative that I wanted ever, thanks for this.

  • Jeff

    I want to thank you for writing this post. I’m in a two and a bit LDR and we are stuggling. I have great hopes, but the devil inside is playing hard. I’m going to share this page with her and see if we can work through these concerns that I have hoping it will bring a meaningful discussion and healing. Thank you again for the positive message of hope. Jeff