Surviving a long-distance relationship

09 August 2019
Author   Leonore Tjikune
Many people have endured long-distance relationships and each time, it is a challenge and can be stressful.  Whether your partner lives in another city or country, it’s not always easy to handle it. Who am I kidding,
it’s never easy! Don’t despair though, there are some sure-fire ways to make it a little more bearable and keep the love connection alive.
The most important tip is communication. I can’t stress this tip enough. Couples often overlook the significance of communication and I’m not referring to the banal greetings and superficial inquires like, “How are you?” or “How was your day?”.
I’m referring to effective communication where you listen attentively, hear what the other person is saying and then express your feelings in return.  Since the only way to stay connected to your partner is through communication, via text, phone calls or video calls using online facilities such as WhatsApp or Messenger, you need to dig deeper with your emotions and talk to your partner about the good and the bad.
Questions like, “What made you happy (or sad) today and why?” or “How are you coping with our separation?”  or “How can we be a better couple?’, dig deeper in a conversation.  Responding honestly and listening attentively to your partner helps build the communication aspect of your relationship. This is the best way to emotionally and mentally stay close.  The focus must be on quality conversation that connects two people’s lives, not quantity conversation that just fills up time.
The second tip is trust in the relationship. The only way a long-distance relationship will work is if there is trust between the two people. Believing that your partner remains true to the values of the relationship plays an important part in ensuring trust. 
Another aspect of building and maintaining trust is honesty and openness with your partner. There are always a few things we all prefer to keep secret.  However, working hard to open up about the small stuff and the big stuff, goes a long way to strengthening the relationship. 
For example, if someone flirts with you or if you happen to notice someone who you find attractive, share it with your partner so you can both unpack it or laugh about it. This works. When things are open and on the table in the relationship, there is little room for future misfortunes or insecurities based on miscommunications.   As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy.
Another tip is patience.  A long-distance relationship is difficult for both partners and often, frustration builds up and you or your partner end up taking it out on each other. You start picking fights for no particular reason or you make a mountain out of a molehill.
I’ve been guilty of this as well, it’s unavoidable.  It is therefore imperative that you both practice the art of patience to better respond to each other’s frustration outbursts.  Rather than getting upset and responding with anger when your partner tries to pick a fight with you, try to understand him/her and neutralize the situation, instead of making it worse.  Take a second when you are most annoyed and think before you speak – words can hurt and are not easily taken back.   Write that emotive email about how you feel inside; wait a day, then destroy it.  Responding with kindness and forgiveness is a much quicker solution to solving any problem.
The final tip is support. The power of support is frequently overlooked in relationships. You need to support each other in whatever keeps you in a long-distance relationship, whether it’s a job, studies or an internship. If you support each other, instead of breaking your partner down because you are unhappy with the current situation or have not dealt with your own insecurities, your relationship will become even stronger in the long run.
Think of it this way, with both of you striving towards what makes each other happy, you will both come together as independent fulfilled individuals, forming a tight and powerful union, not harboring unspoken resentments or regrets. 
So, don’t wallow in loneliness while you are far away from your partner. Take this time to work on yourself, engage in hobbies, reach for your goals and aspirations as an individual, and look forward to the day when you can finally be in the same city together.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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