Five ways to survive long distance relationships

The Internet is full of fluff pieces nowadays, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this recent piece in the Metro (looking more and more like Buzzfeed), giving 10 reasons why long distance relationships are “secretly the best”.

Having been in a few long distance relationships, I can vouch for them not being “the best” at all, as I’m sure many would agree. Ultimately, long distance relationships, if they are monogamous, are tough. For most people, there is only so much to be gained by phone calls, letters, chat and Skype. Unless you’re asexual or too busy to have a libido, you’ll be missing the sex. Intimacy, physical contact – even if not sexual but just affectionate – is also something most of us need. Jealousy can arise, which is often the cause of many over the top displays of affection outsiders see as so romantic. At the end of the day, though, most people would prefer the physical presence of another human being. For most people, long stretches of being alone interspersed with short bouts of relationship-lite is something that can only be tolerated short term.

Long distance relationships are also problematic when embarked upon after only a short acquaintance. For example, if you met someone in a foreign country, fell in love and decided to keep the relationship going. This is because the relationship pattern is usually indication to what life together would actually be. When you are together, it’s like a holiday, because your time together is so short, you’re likely to put everything else on hold. You’ll be on your best behaviour, you’ll tolerate changes in your environment, because you know your partner will leave soon and you can get your own space back.

Here are five ways to deal with long distance relationships.

1. Keep it open

This may seem like an abomination to many people, but as open relationships are becoming more popular, it’s worth mentioning this option. You can make a decision to keep your relationship going while still sleeping with other people. It’s up to you and your partner to discuss the rules of how this would work. You could agree to ask permission before getting off with anyone or you could even agree not to discuss it. If your love is really that strong then having the occasional shag should not come between you, as long as you are both clear on the nature of your relationship and its rules.

2. Keep it short

While I wouldn’t advise selling all your stuff and moving away at a moment’s notice to be with someone you just met, I do advise keeping long distance relationships as short as possible. If you’re in an established relationship, being away for too long can hasten the end. If it’s someone you’ve just met, then meet a few times for as long as possible and then start making arrangements as soon as possible. Don’t let the relationship gets stuck in this limbo stage if you’re planning on one day making it into a proper co-habiting one.

3. Try it out first

If you’ve decided you want to take things further, don’t just drop everything and move. Sublet or rent your place (or have your partner rent out theirs) for a few months if possible and try to spend a few months with your partner to see if you can tolerate actually living together. If you like your own space or are more cautious, getting a place in the same town and dating for a bit before moving in together can actually be very helpful and less overwhelming. If you’re moving to your partner’s town, remember they have a life there. Don’t expect to get the same amount of attention you got when you were there for a week or a weekend and don’t get all huffy if they want to hangout with their friends every once in a while. Take steps to make your own friends and get your own life.

4. Make time for each other

Some long distance couples talk every day. Others have busy lives or other circumstances that prevent them from having this much time. But unless you’re away in the jungle on an expedition with no means to contact your partner, having at least one long conversation a week is pretty much a must for keeping your relationship relevant to your life.

For some people, this might also mean phone sex or Skype sex, so that you still have a sex life. If, like me, you find that’s somewhat of a poor, depressing substitute for the real thing, there are other ways you can keep each other involved in your day to day life while you’re apart. This could be anything from talking about your work day to consulting each other about everyday dilemmas. If this begins to feel like a chore – maybe it’s time to consider what that might mean.

5. Know when to move in and when to move on

What I learned about long distance relationships is that with the physical contact element removed, you can really get to know a lot about the person because you’re always talking. I also learned that it can get dull real quick. This can be a good thing in a way, because you can learn about a person’s political views, tastes, etc. quicker when you’re not spending your whole time in bed. If the person is right for you, this will strengthen your bond. If you learn that the person is radically different from your ideal partner, well, it’s easier to break up with someone when they’re far away.

Guest post: How To Get Your Ex Boyfriend Back And Keep Him Forever

Regular guest poster K Thompson is back for another great post on the site, dedicated to those of you looking to get back with your ex.

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I know that it sucks your relationship ended, but the fact that your ex-boyfriend left you means that there was something majorly wrong with the relationship you had with him. And even if you do get your ex back, chances are your relationship will end again unless you do something that will make this relationship much better than the last one.
There are a few things you can do to make sure that when you get your ex boyfriend back, you keep them forever.

1. Analyze Your Relationship

What was the reason your ex left? Most of the times, the reason they give while breaking up is not the real reason. Something like “It’s not you, it’s me.” Or “I just don’t love you anymore”. In most cases, the reason they left is because they have lost attraction towards you. Men, usually are not in touch with their feelings and they can’t understand what’s wrong. But when they feel that something’s wrong, they are quick to bail.
In most of the cases, neediness plays an important role in breakups. Men can sense neediness form a mile away and it usually turns them off. Many relationships start with the girl being confident and attractive but ending up being needy over time. When men lose the thrill of chasing and realize they already have you, they start analyzing whether or not you are a good match for being a long term partner. And if you show too much neediness or low self-esteem, they start thinking about leaving.

2. Work on Yourself

Working on yourself, including your confidence, your self-esteem and your self-actualization is going to serve a double purpose. It’s going to help you get your ex back and it’s going to help you keep your ex forever. Here’s why.

– When you work on yourself, you are going to look more confident, independent and attractive. These are the qualities that your ex can’t resist. And when you meet him, he is going to fall head over heels over you. He will be second guessing his decision of leaving you and will start thinking about getting back together. If you play your cards right, there is nothing stopping you two from getting back together.

– When you do get back together, you are going to keep the attraction going because you have worked on your self-esteem before. If you don’t fall back to your old ways and continue working yourself, your ex will do anything to keep you with him forever.

3. Put Yourself before Him

Your boyfriend should not be your priority no. 1 in life. It’s good to have a relationship and he should be important for you, but if you put yourself before him, he is going to walk all over you and then he will leave you, again.

If you make your happiness the no. 1 priority in your life, then you are going to find happiness. However, the problem is that most women think of their ex-boyfriend as the only source for their happiness. If your boyfriend really cared about your happiness, then why are you so miserable without him? If you really made your happiness your no. 1 priority, then you wouldn’t let your source of happiness be someone who left you. You would learn to be happy without your ex boyfriend.

When you learn to be happy without your ex boyfriend, you instantly become more attractive to your ex. And when you do win your ex back, you are no longer needy (because you know you don’t need him for your happiness) and as a consequence a thousand times more attractive.

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K Thompson helps people with breakups. He has been writing online and helping broken hearts for the past two years.

Guest post: Why Online Dating Is Your Friend After a Breakup

If you just broke up and are thinking of getting back in the dating game, then online dating might just be the thing for you. There is always a little hesitation after a breakup to meet someone new after coming out a big relationship. With online dating you don’t really have to hesitate because unless you are completely ready, you are not forced to meet anyone. You can just flirt around and have fun before even going on an actual date.

One of the most common pitfall after a breakup is losing hope in yourself and in relationships. You feel like you will never find “the one” and you are doomed to be single for the rest of your life. But just creating a profile on an online dating site will give you a lot of perspective. Its one thing to tell yourself there’s plenty of fish in the sea and another to actually experience it. When you are on a website with millions of other singles searching for a partner, it’s hard to feel like you will never find someone for you. Just surfing an online dating website will help you realize the odds are in your favor.

Of course, you should have the proper mindset before you actually start dating someone. One bad date can make you start craving for your ex and start thinking about getting back with them. The truth is, you are bound to go on a few bad dates. And that’s completely OK. You should not look at dating as something you should do to finally be in a relationship again. Sure, that’s why you are doing it. But if you think of it as an experience, you will have a lot more fun going through the good, bad and ugly of dating.

Another reason why online dating after a breakup can be beneficial is because you are probably a little rusty with your pick up skills after being in a relationship for a long time. With online dating, you increase your chances of meeting people interested in dating and getting someone to actually go out on a date with you. It’s much easier to learn how to make an attractive dating profile than to learn how to approach people at a bar.

Online dating can help you jump head first into the dating game again. You just need to have the right mindset and remember that you should not go into a relationship unless you are completely over your breakup and are ready for one.

Kevin Thompson has helped thousands of people with breakups. He writes about breakups and getting your ex back at unbreakup.org.

The fidelity hormone found? Some thoughts about the future of relationships

The big news this week is that oxytocin, the bonding/attachment hormone can make men more faithful to their partners. A while back, some researchers put some of this hormone into a spray and tested it on couples in committed relationships to see how it affected the quality of their communications. They found that couples dosed with the hormone were able to discuss difficult topics to do with their relationship with more ease and mutual trust. It basically took out that whole mutual mistrust and accusatory tone issue that taints most difficult emotional discussions, as the couples were flying high on the love hormone, thus acting from a place of love. I mused then about the possible commercial implications of something like that. Some people might see it as the fast, cost effective alternative to relationship counselling and who doesn’t like a quick fix you can just spray up your nose, right? I see the need for some sort of marketing campaign to convince people to have awkward relationship conversations (with or without the magic spray). After all, a less wholesome “love drug”, MDMA, was supposedly originally touted by dealers under the cuddly name “Empathy”, but it didn’t become a hit with the clubbers till it rebranded as “Ecstasy”. So if someone were to market oxytocin spray based on that particular research, they’d probably get better results by talking about the effects of oxytocin on mutual orgasms, or something. But now, this new research has gone and told everyone that a dose of oxytocin can actually make men in committed relationships stay faithful in the face of sexy women. I doubt there is any interest at the moment at marketing oxytocin spray to the masses, but can you imagine? It would be to bad relationships what Ritalin is to boring tasks. And it wouldn’t surprise me if at some point in the future people just didn’t care. After all, if a man (and probably a woman, too. After all, this research hasn’t been conducted on women yet) is feeling the urge to stay and the prospect of relationship problem-solving or a break up seems daunting or impossible, what could be easier than just spraying something up your nose a few times a day to keep things together? Gone would be the days where people stopped to think about the reasons behind their dissatisfaction, of wondering whether there is a reason why they keep feeling the need to move on. Just like the case of Ritalin, there are undoubtedly people out there who are prone to straying even when they’re in a happy relationship with a person they truly love. But I can very much see a future where a one size fits all solution would mean people stop trusting themselves and thinking about their own motives and needs and just spray themselves into fidelity. Can’t you?

Why men (and women) stay in controlling and abusive relationships

I’d only just finished writing a post for the Parship Blog in response to an article about why men “secretly love bossy women”, when this article came up on the Daily Mail site, asking why women stay in relationships with controlling men. I thought it was going to be the perfect balancing answer to the other article, but, being the mail, it’s more about celebrity gossip and personal story telling, without actually getting into the real reasons as to why women are attracted to bossy men. All it tells you is that women who are in such relationships blame themselves for their partner’s behaviour and let them get away with it. Why do these often intelligent, attractive women go for such men? Short of saying “low self esteem and boredom”, the article leaves you in the dark.

Now, this article talks about the extreme cases – stalkers, utter control freaks, people who could even end up being violent. There are obviously controlling relationships that aren’t so extreme. So the question you need to ask is what do the women engaged in such relationships gain from them in order to keep them there? Is it a validation of their home lives as children? A validation of the guy’s passion and interest in them or, as in the men in the relationships I discussed in my Parship article, the freedom to not worry about the hard decisions one generally has to make in life. You can talk about these things for days, but ultimately, if you’re one of these women, then the only reasons you should be looking at are your own. Once you realise you’re in a controlling or abusive relationship (and for that, as much as I hate to say it, articles like this one are actually quite useful, as they lay down the symptoms and name the disease) then you should do your own soul searching, possibly with professional help, to see what it is that attracts you to a man that holds you back so much.

What a chore – sharing the housework, divorce and dodgy research

After the flurry of surveys and studies proving that splitting the housework evenly does wonders for your long term relationships and marriage (from making men feeling happier, to making your sex life better and more), now comes a Norwegian study which, if you believe the snazzy headlines from papers like The Telegraph, shows that sharing the housework actually leads to higher divorce rates. Of course, looking at the study itself and taking into account comments by the guy in charge, it’s clear to see that this is not at all the case, but I’m sure pubs everywhere will be full of guys telling each other things like “and then I told her, if you want me to do the dishes, fine, but be warned that it could lead to divorce!”. Laughs all round. So what’s the deal? Well, it seems that sharing the chores is part of being a part of a “modern” couple with “modern” values, i.e. the woman is most likely educated, middle class and financially independent. Marriage is not the end all and be all to such women, plus people with modern values tend to want more out of their relationships and, for better or worse, are more likely to bolt if things are looking hopeless. People with traditional family values tend to also believe marriage is for life. That’s pretty much it. Sharing the housework is a symptom of being in a particular type of couple, a couple more likely to split up if things aren’t going well. So all you guys thinking of an easy way out can put your apron back on. You’re not getting off that easily!

Relationship and dating insights from Glamour Magazine

Glamour recently published a couple of interesting surveys. First, there’s the UK Guy Survey which asked men about their dating, relationship and sexual habits (including the opening question which is the charming “which of these places have you masturbated in?”). Frankly, there was little in it that is groundbreaking or comes as news to anyone who’s either a man or has dated a man, though I did like the fact that most men (85%) find women who reply to texts quickly to be efficient, rather than desperate.

Meanwhile, in the US, Boston women have been found to be the unhappiest of US daters in a Glamour survey, sponsored by match.com. Boston was also found to be the US city with the highest percentage of men who expect to get laid on the first date, although the percentage was still not particularly high – just 14%. Boston is a student town, so you have to wonder, really. Is this an indication that more guys in Boston are after casual sex? Sleeping with someone on a first date shouldn’t really indicate that you’re not looking for anything serious, but many people have this stupid idea that women who’d sleep with you on a first date are not marriage material. Ho hum. I guess until we know where Boston women stand on the sleeping with someone on a first date issue, we won’t have an answer, plus, as I said, 14% is not really such a high percentage, when you think about it.