Are you an expert?
Definitely not! this page is solely a set of tips gained by experience plus input from people I know (thanks, I’ll save you the mentions 😂 So, there is no social science, psychology, marriage guidance, however some references.
COVID meant we were all ‘distanced’
Due to distancing of people, we all need to be better at distance relationships. Whether work or personal, we are separated and need to embrace, albeit not literally, the distance. So, although this text is more about couples coping with, enjoying, living with physical and often temporal separation.
Distance relationships necessitate tech. Most probably Internet tools / apps in 2020. Try to avoid text if possible, quite a lot of arguments arise by using text, rather than speaking. People use text to express frustration or amorous feelings, but voice and video is better for both, lower the anger by voice / video or increase the joy. Be mindful of the time zone differences, one sleeping, one partying etc. (avoid mixed feelings). Let one person talk for a longer time, than highly interactive, (better to sync like this) than very highly interactive sessions. Try not to discuss heavy things before one or both sleep.
(Real) time together
Try not to fight on holiday, save that for after 😂, i.e savour the time. Prepare before going to keep calm. Some mins / hours apart, exercise, shopping, etc. always works well. A little headspace and the feeling of being together again, specially away from both homes, one experiences the other one not being there, (you are alone) and then back together again.
Book next trip soon after last, look forward to something, it’s worth of having something in the bank, well worth the money for that alone. One thing about meeting intermittently is one can splash out, and enjoy some extra luxuries, hotel, restaurant, shopping, activities.
Spend a little time apart, to appreciate (the) good times.
For those pairs who are not from the same country, some slightly different aspects might be worth observing. Try to observe cultural differences, Swedes are quiet and leave long pauses, Americans talk / assert much more, some cultures show and demonstrate emotion, whereas it is little more taboo. Often distances can exacerbate these differences, as the lines of communication are thinner and misunderstandings can arise from cultural differences.
When things go / are going wrong
Recognising when things are not going too well is very, very useful. (Over). State a heads up before launching into something the other person might not be aware of. Remember they can’t see your expressions as well, body language etc. or even you are frustrated.
Video, talk or if texting, use emoji’s when ambiguity might start creep in. Do have a quick look at the call logs, who called whom and for how long. If you are in deficit try can call, it will be appreciated by that one making (more) effort. Sometimes it can be little things like who calls the most, or replies quicker that can be the cause than something more fundamental (1st world problems).
what else ? don’t worry too much about tech issues, but the best quality voice or video might be good. some said business calls needed good quality voice, but in reality couples do.
Be clear if something is one person’s mind (don’t let it fester), that often ends up worse.
Dispersed but not ‘separated’
Have a joint distance hobby, blog, watch TV together, something joint, but online (apart from the obvious hehe!). Immerse in one’s person’s life for a few days (learn their style) can be useful when conversation dries up (another de facto topic, like weather, work). Also shows respect and others like to talk about their hobbies.
Build on trustful things, not mistrust.
Aziz Ansari, Eric Klinenberg, A Modern Romance, Goodreads.
John Grey, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Wikipedia.
Erin Meyer, The Culture Map, Amazon.