The lessons I have learned from being in a long-distance relationship are simple but profound ones.
1. The line between being a supporting girlfriend and being his mom is very narrow.
I have always had that motherly instinct, and I have to remember to advise less and listen more. I am not auditioning for the role of his mother. I am simply the pillar to hold him up, to support him as best I can.
With all we have going against us, supporting him is challenging, emotionally and mentally exhausting, but so worth it. He and I are worth it.
2. If something is off with your relationship, speak up.
People don’t have the power to read minds. If your partner truly wants a real relationship with you, then he or she should appreciate your honesty, even if you don’t always agree. This shows that there’s respect in your relationship. Without it, you and your partner cannot build anything worth having.
3. Don’t take to social media about everything that happens in your life.
You need to have boundaries in your relationship, and limiting or picking and choosing what you post shows that you value your relationship more than winning the popular vote on social media. Over-sharing will kill your relationship faster than any rumor could. It could also lead to unnecessary drama and could cause unnecessary miscommunications between you and your partner.
4. Call your partner on their crap.
If you want to make your partner better, tell them when they need to stop falling into old habits that won’t help them grow. They may be pissed at first, but they will thank you later. Relationships aren’t about being right, but rather doing whatever is necessary at the moment and moving toward whatever goal you’re trying to accomplish together.
5. Never push your partner to talk.
This is a tricky one. If you push your partner too much, they shut down. But you also don’t want to spend the entire conversation trying to pull information out of them. Take the cues your partner gives you, and unless it’s a topic of real importance, table it. File it under “To Continue At A Later Date.”
6. Listen to your instincts.
This is important because as much as you want to live on cloud nine with your partner for the remainder of your days, the truth is that you can’t. Real life is waiting for the both of you. When something comes up, go into “plan mode.” If you don’t have a backup plan for you both to use, ask someone else, like a financial advisor or a job or life coach for help. The more tools you and your partner have, the better off you’ll be.
7. Know exactly what you each bring to the table.
This way, you both can work together on what you want your short-term and long-term goals to be and split as much of the responsibility as you can equally (i.e. Bills/budget, household upkeep, dates).
8. Marriage/couples counseling is not just for when your relationship is in trouble.
I personally believe that going to couples counseling can be extremely helpful. In couples’ counseling, someone objective can look at your relationship. Too many couples wait until they’re on the brink of ending the relationship before going to couples’ counseling. Sitting across from your partner and talking face-to-face will help you communicate better in general.
9. Spoil your guy, too.
Guys have bad days, too, and they could very well need a day where they watch Netflix, binge on junk food, and play Mario Kart for the next 24 hours. Show them you care, and appreciate them. The little things matter to guys, too.
10. No one is perfect.
Far too many couples bail when the gloss of the relationship starts to fade and partners’ imperfections and quirks start to show. If your guy or girl means anything to you at all you’ll stick with the relationship and love them in spite of their imperfections. Life is tough, so why don’t you get matching helmets and deal with whatever comes your way?
I strongly believe that the couples that withstand the storms in life are the ones that will truly make it. They are the ones that give the term “true love” true meaning because they didn’t quit when something went wrong or broke down between them. They stayed. They made what they had work for them, turning it into a strong and lasting relationship with a strong friendship as their foundation.
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