Are you in an LDR (long distance relationship) or at least open to being in one? Do you and your sweetheart live too far apart to spend time in each other's presence whenever you desire?
If so, then know that it will require creativity and commitment to sustain and deepen such a relationship. With imagination and determination, you can render geographical barriers all but irrelevant and enjoy one another as much as a genuinely happy couple who spends everyday together.
You just have to be creative enough to ensure that whatever quantity of time you share is quality time, too. Many people in LDR's make more of the distance between them than the things that brought them together in the first place. Even though there may be little or nothing they can do about the distance, they spend an inordinate amount of time bemoaning the fact that they cannot be together "right now."
However, pining for one another's presence need not be accompanied by either of you plundering the present. Avoid the emotional pitfall of allowing anticipation of what you want to dull your appreciation of what you have. Take joy in your LDR and make the most of it.
Having encouraged you to make your LDR as meaningful and exciting as it can be, I would like to mention several ways you can do so. I hope my suggestions will inspire you to think of other fun and fulfilling ways to show, sustain, and strengthen your love for one another.
Despite all the advice to take their time getting to know someone, most romantics are hopelessly rash. This will not serve you or the relationship well. Patiently build the relationship without being passive. Be an active but not aggressive partner in the relationship.
Genuinely trust your significant other because unbridled suspicion and cynicism will quickly erode your relationship and perhaps inundate you with regret. Note, however, that you should trust only if you believe for good reasons that the person is trustworthy.
You cannot be a good lover without being an even better listener. Show your affection by also being very attentive, and in so doing place yourself in a better position to respond your partner's actual thoughts, feelings, and concerns.
Work doubly hard at communicating well. It is difficult enough to effectively communicate with someone who is around you all the time and whose facial expressions and body language you can observe. Help minimize the number of misunderstandings between you and your long distance lover by always putting forth an extra effort to say what you mean and to see whether they understand the meaning of what you said.
Good communication commences with clarification. "Seek to understand and then to be understood." Ask about everything rather than assume anything.
Discuss all aspects of your relationship with your darling rather than attempt to dictate or demand anything.
Stay on the same page, and turn to the next page of your relationship only when both of you think it is time. Grow together rather than apart.
Do not set yourself up for needless disappointment by placing your partner on a pedestal. Think highly of them, but not more than you ought.
Love strongly enough to be respectful even when you are frustrated, disappointed, or angry. Do not feed on or encourage negativity regardless of its source.
Try not to be silly or serious all the time. Experience the full spectrum of human emotions over the course of your relationship.
Chat on the computer and talk on the phone with your beloved, but also be responsible enough not to run up your phone bill and thereby place an unnecessary financial burden on the relationship.
If both of you use mobile phones, subscribe to the same service and get free mobile-to-mobile minutes.
Deepen intimacy not merely by divulging secrets, but by making your long distance lover as much a part of your everyday life as you possibly can.
Shame on you if you allow yourself to be ashamed of your LDR. Proudly introduce your long distance lover to others who are near and dear to you. You can do this online and over the phone as well as in person.
Speaking of telling others about your LDR, you should build a support network. Most people have negative opinions of LDR's. Nevertheless, if you have family or friends who are understanding and supportive of your LDR, look to such people for a listening ear, encouragement, and sound advice.
You also need to have a life of your own. Do not just keep busy, but do things that really matter to you. Avoid becoming so wrapped up in your LDR that you neglect you or other vital relationships and responsibilities.
Write love letters and love poems to your beloved, and send them to their email or postal address.
Send e-greeting cards from Web sites like BeatGreets.com and Hallmark.com.
Get high-speed Internet access and engage in free voice and video chat with your long distance lover.
Record a sound file or video clip on which you express how you feel about your companion, and send it to their email account or use software like AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, or Yahoo! Messenger to transfer the file from your computer to their computer.
Send love notes to their mobile phone.
Occasionally send flowers and other gifts, but do this responsibly and spontaneously rather than from a sense of obligation.
Look for your favorite love songs on a Web site like Launch.com and email it to them.
Serenade your sweetheart sometimes.
Share your favorite love poems.
Create a Web page on which you declare and celebrate your love. A simple way to do this is open a free account on Tripod.com and use its SiteBuilder tool to design a Web page or site.
Do romantic things with and for your beloved on the anniversary of relationship, Valentine’s Day, Sweetish Day, their birthday, and whatever other day you deem special.
It is not always pleasurable to be predictable, so do some of the nicest things for no reason at all.
Precious moments are priceless. Collect photos and other memorabilia through which you chronicle the growth and goodness of your relationship.
Visit and travel with your long distance lover as often as you can.
Embody and enact the virtues you want to see in them, and do so regardless of how you perceive their words and behavior. Do unto your significant other as you would have them do unto you.
Moreover, be compassionate as well as passionate: Care enough to be "there" for your beloved in every way you can, especially when they need you most.
Keep hope alive in the relationship through honesty, respect, solid communication, and the kind of problem-solving that can strengthen the relationship.
As one professional counselor advised, "Do things that draw you closer, rather than emphasize the distance between you."
richard jones is a writer living in Detroit, Michigan USA. For more information about him, please visit http://www.iamrj.com