For BRIDES, by Jillian Kramer.
Long distance relationships, though tough, have their advantages. The time you get with your partner is limited, yes, but that time is also special and intentional, chock full of real QT. You always look your best when you see one another. You have built in alone time to pursue your individual passions. You don't have to work (too hard) to find a balance between the things that matter to you most.
Despite its advantages, the ultimate goal of almost every LDR is to go same-city. But living nearby your love comes with its challenges, too.
"Once a long-distance couple is able to see each other more frequently, the day-to-day routine begins to slip in and competition for each partner's time and attention increases," says Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint For A Lasting Marriage. "The high intensity that comes with long-distance relationships eases and this inevitably results in the dynamics of the relationship changing."
But don't despair. Not all change is bad. Here's how to deal when your LDR goes same city.
Talk about your expectations. Let's face it: Things just won't be the same. But knowing this, "provides you with the opportunity to really talk about what you want the new parameters to look like," says Doares. A good place to start, she says, is by talking to one another about what you did and didn't like about your LDR. "Trying to get more of the positive and minimizing the negative is good advice for all relationships," she says. "Clearly deciding, versus just sliding into a relationship pattern, is always a plus."
Enjoy being spontaneous. Now that you live nearby one another, "time together does not need to be planned carefully and in advance, and you can be more spontaneous," points out psychotherapist and relationship coach Toni Coleman. "The relationship will feel more natural, like less work, and both partners will have more time and energy for one another." Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't ever make advanced plans. (That's just part of making your partner a priority.) "What it does mean is that you can enjoy picking up the conversation again later, being together and just hanging out and not feeling like you have to squeeze in a lot in a small amount of time," she says.
Set aside dedicated time to talk. When you move closer to one another, you may swap long and meaningful conversations for watching TV silently side-by-side. "The amount of time dedicated to conversation can get shorter and shorter," warns Doares. "Communication becomes informational exchange instead of connecting conversations." But you can prevent this from becoming your new reality by making time to talk. "Setting aside uninterrupted time on a regular basis is one way to allow for deeper, more intimate communication," says Doares.
Continue doing you. One of the benefits of being away from your partner was having the time to pursue your own individuals passions. Coleman encourages couples to continue to make time for what you love, even if you can't do it together. "You can still have plenty of couple time, but you shouldn't feel as thought you have to do everything together," she says. "You can plan dates, meals together, and get-togethers with mutual friends, but also make time for your individual friendships and time alone."
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