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How to Keep a Long-Distance Relationship

by Job de Leon
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

Physical presence in a relationship is a weird thing. Even if the greater part of your daily communication is already mediated by mobile or online messaging, there's an untranslatable comfort in being able to do couple things (I'm talking about dates and movies and coffee) whenever you want to. And when you can't, suddenly all hell breaks loose.

The physical factor, also known as the root cause of pesky "where are you" texts during your boys' nights out, is such a big deal that the biggest fear in most long-term relationships is that the other person loses interest in the whole affair, or God forbid finds interest in someone else, simply because you're not there. That's because we're wired in such a way that we need something we can literally hold on to, even if love is supposed to be a mental and emotional thing, because our brains demand a tactile reference for the cause of our emotions.

While there's no (legal) way of making people do exactly as you wish, you're in absolute control of how much of your presence you want them to feel. Here are a few things to remember when trying to keep the flames alive when you can't be with the one you love:

Stay connected

Despite the fact you're left cuddling a laptop instead of your girlfriend, cherish the internet, even if you can't have her present whenever you want, because you can have their eyes and ears (almost) whenever you want. Smartphone applications like WhatsApp and Viber allow free international calling between registered users over an internet connection. BlackBerry Messenger-which was the handset of choice just two years ago-- offers a similar convenience for its own subscribers as well.

Some couples are fine with a running email thread, others set aside special hours to talk on Skype, while others have been known to keep the video call running wherever they go. Find out what works for you and your partner's needs.

If a difference in time zones is going to be an issue, always remember that relationships are a give-and-take affair, and both parties have to sacrifice a little bit for a mutual good. Always find time to talk to each other. Find the best (which is different from the most convenient) compromise to set aside a couple hours to Skype. Someone might have to sleep later, someone might have to get up earlier. But it's important to carve out space for each other in your daily routine.

Mark the milestones

The best celebrations happen when the people you love are there to share in your joy. We already know that birthdays, anniversaries, promotions and reunions are going to be a bit duller. Your special someone's physical presence is quite a huge deal, but it's not the end of the party. Take photos or videos-by yourself or with your mutual friends-to make her feel like she's at the occasion. Also send each other gifts if you can.

But the most important milestone you'll ever celebrate in a long-distance relationship is the next day, because it's 24 hours less until the next time you see each other again. You don't have to go all Dear John for your girlfriend (and she'll understand there's only so much Nicholas Sparks you can take) but make the extra effort to assure her of how much this relationship means to you.

Science proves that when you lose one of your five senses, your brain compensates by increasing its sensitivity with regard to the remaining four. In the same way that you lose physical touch in a long-distance relationship, you have to make what you have left count for more.

Trust your partner

Connectivity in long-distance relationships does not give you license to turn your girlfriend's smartphone into your own surveillance drone. Nor does it give you permission to rain tomahawk missiles of fury when she doesn't report to you. Travel is an underrated side benefit of long-distance relationships, and there's no point in letting that opportunity go to waste.

You're both allowed to have offline lives. Live a little bit, and you'll both be better off. There's an intriguing new locale to be experienced, and your lives (and kwentuhan sessions) will both be better off from it.