HOW TO SHOW LOVE IN A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP
“Long-distance relationship” has become a word that makes many couples “fearful.” But first, the good news we want to tell long-distance couples is that, from the results of psychological research, long-distance relationships are no more difficult to maintain than close relationships.
Research shows that in terms of relationship satisfaction, intimacy, trust, and relationship progress data, surveys show no difference between long-distance and close relationships (Guldner & Swensen, 1995).
Moreover, long-distance relationships do not have a higher breakup rate than close relationships.
In a study conducted by Purdue University, the breakup rates of long-distance relationships and non-long-distance relationships were 27% and 30%. Even the breakup rate of long-distance relationships is slightly lower.
The researchers also found that people in long-distance relationships are not more likely to cheat than close relationships-people who would have cheated will not stop doing so just because they are close.
However, in a long-distance relationship, always suspecting and worrying about your partner’s cheating may lead to a breakdown in the relationship because trust is critical in a long-distance relationship.
So how to show love and provide care to your significant other so that he can feel that he is truly understood and loved?
Do you really know how to care about your partner in a long distance relationship?
4 Common Methods When Something Unpleasant Happens
When something unpleasant happens, the following are 4 common methods girls use:
Method 1: “Hey, it’s awful/terrible to hear you say that. However, you still have xxx, at least. Many people may not even have these. So for you, life is not too bad.”
Method 2: “I have encountered the same situation as you before. I have also experienced these pains. I have experienced your feelings. Everything will be fine. Trust me.”
Method 3: “It’s useless to be unhappy. I think the situation you are encountering now belongs to…, you can do this: first,…; second,…; then…”, “you should think so…, then, It should be handled like this…”
Method 4: “I can imagine these things you are experiencing now, and also the painful feelings you experience during these times. Did you encounter…, do you feel…? What do you need me to do?”
Which of these four methods is the best way to comfort your partner?
These four ways of caring about others are considered entirely different (Burton, 2015; Stern & Divecha, 2016).
Among them: Method one is called “pity,” which expresses an acknowledgment of what happened to the other party (acknowledge), that is, “I admit that your current situation is bad, and I feel sorry for this.” This kind of concern can easily make the other person feel “condescending” and “stands and speaks without a backache.”
The second method is a kind of “sympathy.” Its starting point is, “I have had similar experiences, so I fully understand your feelings.” However, in many cases, this is a kind of “excessive self-substitution.” This kind of substitution will make the person who expresses concern recall his pain again and become an obstacle to understanding the other person’s feelings. When people encounter similar experiences, their feelings may be completely different. Besides, he may completely lose the will to continue expressing because this dialogue seems to matter you.
The third method is “compassion.” People who sympathize with others always want to help each other with enthusiasm, and sometimes they don’t even figure out whether the other person really needs help and what help is needed.
Between lovers, when one is in a “bad mood,” and the other always gives practical advice, the latter’s concern is a kind of “sympathy.” Simultaneously, the former often feel that the other party does not understand his needs and does not really care about him.
The fourth method is “empathy”; what it expresses is, “Regardless of whether I have experienced it or not, I will imagine your encounter and your feelings from your perspective. I will not rashly give help. But I am willing to understand your needs and try my best to give you the support you need”.
Therefore, the fourth method is considered the best way to express concern for others to feel understood and loved. It is also the basis for establishing a trusting relationship between the two lovers.
How can we better show love in a long distance relationship?
1. Keep your emotional boundaries
It is essential to learn to distinguish between your own emotions and your partner’s emotions.
Studies have found that improving our perception of ourselves (interception) can help us better maintain emotional boundaries and distinguish our emotions from others (Shah, Catmur, & Bird, 2017).
And we can improve our inner sensibility through some mindfulness exercises: find a quiet and comfortable space to quietly listen to your heartbeat and count your heartbeat from 1.
If you are counting, you are aware. When some other thoughts appear in your heart, the number will return to zero, and you will start counting your heartbeat again.
Besides, like maintaining personal boundaries, you need to be self-reliant to maintain your emotional boundaries, not too much responsibility for your partner’s emotions.
If your significant other always comes to you when you are unhappy, you need to consciously prevent yourself from getting too involved in the other person’s life and emotional state (Lucas, 2010).
2. Imagine that you are experiencing each other’s encounters
Studies have found that when we imagine that we are experiencing each other’s encounters, our brain’s areas related to our own pain will be activated. Not only that, but our body will also have a series of stress responses, such as accelerated heartbeat and higher blood pressure.
For this reason, when we empathize with each other cognitively, we need to change from imagining ourselves to imagining each other (from “imagine-self-perspective” to “imagine-other-perspective”) when we put ourselves in consideration for each other.
We need to consciously ask ourselves, “what kind of person is my partner, his personality, and his strengths and weaknesses; then, what kind of thoughts and feelings will he have when things happen?”.
These problems can prevent us from unconsciously substituting ourselves into each other’s painful experiences in time.
3. Stop overpaying
Some people will stay on the phone 12 hours a day because they are afraid of feeling weak. However, we must also control our lives.
Sometimes Less is more. Excessive communication can make you all feel exhausted.
When you are clearly aware that you are overpaying, you must also press the “stop button” firmly enough for it, although this is a matter of willpower.
In fact, you can arrange a fixed weekly call time in advance instead of contacting each other only when you think of it.
In this way, the expectation of the date will be exciting, and you will not have to complain about each other because one of you has not contacted the other.
To schedule appointments effectively, you can share the schedule and don’t bother each other when they have important things and arrangements at hand.
Arrange video chats, phone calls, and other activities at a convenient time. This is especially important if you are in different time zones.
More Tips For A Long Distance Relationship
1. Share new things about yourself with your partner in time and do the same things
What impressive show have you discovered recently?
Which novel did you read that impressed you?
Which new sport did you fall in love with? What kind of new friend did you make?
Sharing each other’s lives in time will bring you closer together, and you won’t feel further away from each other’s lives because of the long distance.
2. When sharing your trivial life matters, don’t just complete a task-like sentence or two, but better material that can concretize your description, such as photos, voices, and small videos.
They can be straightforward: “I met a cute stray cat in the community today,” showing him a photo of that cat.
Sharing these daily moments with the other person can also make the other person feel your love and intentions and become closer.
3. Do some activities that can be carried out together.
This can help maintain a sense of interaction between two people.
For example, watching the same TV series, discussing the plots together, applying for the same online course, etc.
4. Carefully plan and manage the future together
Both of you should tell each other what you want from each other in this relationship, especially when your expectations are related to the two people’s future. That is to say, this kind of communication is critical when you both seriously want a shared future life.
Research has also shown that two people seriously envision their future life together-where they will live in the future, and how they will share housework at home in the future, will bring more positive emotions and a sense of hope to the relationship.
5. Aways convey encouraging messages to each other and yourselves
For example, you can say: “I value this relationship very much, and the distance between us is only temporary. I will work harder to pass through time and space to embrace the day again.”
If the length of time between you in different places is clear, you also need to tell each other clearly. This is related to the sense of commitment between you. The reason why many long-distance relationships cannot survive is also inseparable from the uncertainty in the relationship.
A survey by Katheryn Maguire, a scholar who studies intimacy and long-distance communication, shows that in long-distance relationships, those who determine the specific time when they can reunite with their partner are more satisfied with the relationship, and it is not easy to feel depressed for them.
May your love be felt and cherished, and you get the love and care you want in your long distance relationship.
This post was all about how to show love in a long distance relationship.