They are lessons that every couple could benefit from, whether they’re apart for a year, a month, a week, a day or are never apart at all, for better lives as both individuals and in a relationship. No matter how far apart both of you are from each other, learning how to stay connected and keeping your relationship alive makes every step along your road a pleasant one for not only yourself but for your partner.
1 Allow yourselves time to explore your own individual interests. After being used to spending your time together as a couple, it may seem strange that a large segment of your week is now spent as an individual as opposed to as a pair. The choices you make in terms of how you spend your time differ so greatly when alone. There’s nothing like going through life as a team, having a support system with someone by your side, but this is not to say you should not take advantage of your time as an individual.Although you are not truly separating your lives when you are apart, and it is quite important for your relationship that this is not the case, you are in a situation where the choices you make are now completely free from compromise.
2 Discover more ways to connect and communicate. How do you communicate with your partner when you are apart? As a couple, a quick “do you need anything from the shop?” or “I’ll be there in five minutes” is important because nine times out of ten, it’s easier to send a quick text. When you are apart, you would have some of your most heartfelt and soul-searching conversations over the phone and you are closer for it. This is purely due to the fact that not only do you miss each other but, by definition, talking on the phone is also time for talking and nothing else. Just because we are in the age of technology does not mean you should abandon the first and possibly one of the most romantic forms of communication: the love letter. It can be heartfelt words of love or simply wishing your partner a good week. In an age of instant communication, a letter is always an unexpected and romantic gesture.
3 Be appreciative of your partner. This seems like such obvious advice, but it’s strange how often we forget these simple things. As a couple spending time together, you can often indirectly start to annoy each other, or little character traits appear that you never seemed to notice before. You unintentionally start taking the other for granted, and the things you found so special and so attractive are pushed to the back of your brain. But absence really does make the heart grow fonder. When you are forced to spend time apart from your partner, the times you reconnect are like revisiting your ‘honeymoon period.
5 Show an interest in each other’s daily lives. It is strange how much more you are inclined to ask questions and inquire about your partner’s daily life after being apart five or more days at a time, even the little things like their daily commute or what they had for lunch.When you spend every moment together, you often neglect to ask about the smaller things in your partner’s daily life because you feel like a part of it. But, just as we have learnt to embrace our own individuality in a relationship, it is important to respect and show interest in your partner’s individual life as well. You may instinctively rely on your partner to tell you the highlights of their day, but there’s nothing like the feeling of a loved one inquiring about these simple things before you even think to tell them.
8 Plan for the future. So, moving in together and settling down may have to be put on hold. There is no reason to lose sight of what you want from the future and what you want as a couple. Use the time to really decide on what you both want. Plan and compromise now and when the time comes, it will save time, decision making and arguments. In any relationship, it is important to plan ahead. There is always a brighter future waiting for you and planning towards it makes life positive and motivating. Sharing that excitement with your partner makes for a stronger bond.
9 Learn to resolve disagreements quickly. You’d be wrong for thinking that being apart would mean that you have fewer disagreements than when you are together. Arguments will always happen. But arguing during your precious time together feels like a terrible waste of that time, or arguing over the phone and not knowing how the other person is truly feeling will leave you feeling helpless and raw.
Firstly, use this as an excuse not to argue at all. You have more control over it than you think. We argue because our first instinct to solve a disagreement is to argue! It doesn’t have to be that way, but it takes work and it takes practice.
Learn to resolve your disagreements quickly to save yourself a prolonged “off” period, which is just a further waste of your time together. This is usually done by reminding yourself that you are not always right, and the issue isn’t that important.
Don’t forget that you can always agree to disagree, or cool down and revisit the conversation when you’ve both had time to reflect. These are all methods we can use in any relationship, because regardless of how much time you spend together, arguing is usually a waste of time.
10 Get over your jealousy and trust issues. It is hard to trust your partner when they spend a lot of time in an environment that is alien to you and with new friends that you are unfamiliar with. Remind yourself that making new friends is one of the things that will make being away from home more bearable. Let your partner have fun, and don’t forget to make regular plans of your own.
Don’t obsess! No one likes a bunny boiler. If you are feeling insecure, it will only make you feel worse to text and check Facebook every two minutes. Take a step back from your phone and your computer. If you demand to know what your partner is doing all the time, they won’t thank you for it. What’s more, you will end up creating all sorts of stories in your head, if they don’t have time to reply to your messages! Let them be and ask about it later.