Love is something that is so powerful that it can lift us up to an extreme bliss one moment and plummet us into an emotional turmoil the next. Despite its ability to put us in such a vulnerable position, we humans still seek for love and long for it like an addiction.
Therefore, when I have found someone that I love, I will do almost anything to maintain a relationship with that person. Even if there is a vast distance between us and I know that there are many challenges to overcome, I willingly go through all of them to maintain a long distance relationship with the person I love.
I have experienced extreme pain and also happiness brought about by this long distance relationship not too long ago, so I have decided to share with you what I have learned from it. I have come up with the ten stages that you must go through in a long distance relationship in hopes that you can anticipate what’s coming and better prepare for it.
The 10 Stages Of Every Long Distance Relationship
Stage 1: Fear
You enter stage one just before your relationship turns into a long distance one. You know that you and your partner are going to be separated and a feeling of fear or dread will set in. You are not sure if you will be able to cope with the change or worse, if your significant other will stay faithful. This is the most important stage which will decide if both of you are willing to give up many things and face the challenges to come.
Stage 2: Determination
Once you and your significant other have made the decision to venture into a long distance relationship, you will feel a strong sense of determination and hope. It will feel like you can beat anything that comes your way and your love will conquer everything. You cannot imagine failing at it, and you think that as long as you have each other, nothing in the world could possibly tear you apart, certainly not distance.
Stage 3: Anxiety
Stage three begins when your partner starts settling down into their life at their new place. You can see that they are making new friends that you have never met before and being part of social groups that are not familiar to you. You wonder if your significant other is beginning to forget about you and if they will be tempted by these new exciting friends of theirs.
This is when you become very anxious and worried, which could easily lead to blind jealousy if you are not careful. Being away from your partner for so long and witnessing the development of their new life without you will stress you out and may start taking a toll on your mental well-being. You may begin to understand what all the fuss is about in maintaining long distance relationships.
Stage 4: Trust
If you managed to get through stage three, congratulations! You have passed the first real test in your relationship. Now, you stop becoming paranoid and accept the fact that you can still be important to your partner even when they have a new life. You have figured out a way to deal with the lack of physical assurance and are becoming more independent. At this stage, you begin to trust your partner, and your relationship becomes more solid and stable. The key to building trust is to make sure that you communicate well and frequently without letting unfounded jealousy blind you.
Stage 5: Routine
By now, you are so used to being in a long distance relationship that everything comes very naturally to you. From the moment you wake up to when you go to bed, you follow a set routine – you send a good morning message to your partner, you snap some photos to send to them along the day, and perhaps have a phone conversation or video chat every evening. You are focused more on improving other aspects of your life like school or work instead of worrying about how to maintain your long distance relationship. You might even have picked up a new hobby or two to keep yourself busy while your partner is away.
Stage 6: Stability
This is perhaps the opposite of stage three. Your long distance relationship is not the biggest source of stress for you but rather, you take comfort in the knowledge that your partner is there for you through thick and thin. The relationship now provides a sort of lifeline to you just by knowing that you have someone who loves you even when life deals a blow to you. By now, you will have visited each other physically at least a few times and look forward to the next time you will be in each other’s arms again.
Stage 7: Doubt
While you have reached some sort of stability in your relationship, just like any other couple, there will be arguments and doubts once in a while. However, this is augmented when you are in a long distance relationship. Perhaps your partner has forgotten to call you back like they have promised or took a rain check on one of your regular video chats to go to a party. This could lead to feelings of uncertainty and make you doubt over and over again if the relationship is really worth the emotional roller coaster. If you are having issues, the right thing to do is to talk to your partner about it. If you are not able to come up with a solution, you might want to take a small break from each other or be alone for a while to reflect on the problem calmly.
Stage 8 and 9: Conclusion or Commitment
After going through stage seven, you’ll realize that you either want to end the relationship or become more committed.
If you feel that the relationship has been causing more harm than good, perhaps it is time to end it. Should you or your partner have any regret or want to see other people, it might be good to each go your separate ways. Or perhaps you have drifted apart and no longer feel the same connection you have with your partner, then you should move on. It will, no doubt, make you sad to think that you have gone through so much together only to have the relationship end, but know that this is the best for both of you in the long-run.
On the contrary, if you still can’t imagine life without your partner in spite of all the stress, heartaches, and pain that you have gone through, then he or she is the one for you. You must work things out with your partner and make sure that they are on the same page as you are. Ensure that you are only committing to the relationship because you want to, not because you are afraid of breaking up.
Stage 10: Creating Goals
So now that you and your partner have decided that you want to continue the distance relationship, it is time to agree on some goals. One of the first things you should do is compare your schedules and set up dates when you can meet each other. Alternate between visiting each other’s place but also pick a destination where neither of you has been to before for a romantic trip. Obviously, you will need to take into account how busy either of you is and what is the budget you have to determine how often you can see each other.
You should also find ways to maintain constant contact and connection with each other. You could both pick up a new hobby that you can do together when you are apart. You could go on a weekly movie date where you synchronize the movie, so both of you are watching it at the same time, have a monthly book club where you and your partner are the only members, have regular dinners together via Skype a few times a week… anything that both of you will enjoy doing together.
You and your partner have come to a point where you are each other’s anchor and support system. You will have to understand and accept that there will be difficulties to overcome still, especially being so far apart most of the time. However, you and your partner have each other’s backs, and the most important thing is to keep an open channel of communication and do not jump to conclusions without first talking to your partner about your concerns.