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Can a Long Distance Relationship Really Last or Not?

Can a Long Distance Relationship Really Last or Not?

Looking for relationship advice about whether long distance relationships really last or not?

Well, around 14 million people manage long distance relationships in the US. An additional 3.75 million couples are in a long distance marriage![1] Seems like a lot, right? So, what’s the deal? Will these relationships make it for the long haul?

    Long Distance Relationships Are Indeed Challenging

    Before you commit to a long distance relationship (LDR), you should know they come with a special set of challenges that other relationships don’t have to endure. Just because so many people are in one doesn’t mean they are easy. In fact, most of the relationship advice out there talks about how they almost never work out.

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    That doesn’t have to happen to you. LDR’s are definitely challenging, you just have to ask yourself if you’re ready to take on this unique kind of relationship before you commit.

      Challenging, But Not Impossible

      With most of the relationship advice out there pointing to how LDR’s are most likely to fail, it can be pretty demotivating and make you start doubting if it’s a good idea or not. Seriously, how could a relationship ever overcome the obstacle of long distance?

      With the right relationship advice, you can work through these challenges and potentially end up with a lasting and fulfilling relationship – if you’re willing to put in the effort.

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      Don’t believe it? Plenty of people have given relationship advice about all the reasons that LDR’s really can work. Maybe you’re wondering, “if something is so difficult, why not search for a partner who lives closer to you?” Because if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you could build an incredibly strong emotional connection with your partner. By the time the two of you make the decision to be closer, or live together, or get married, you will likely have a more fulfilling and healthier relationship than a lot of other couples. The distance between you two can actually work to bring you closer.

      Overcoming the Challenges

      Ready to tackle the challenges of a LDR? Take a look at this relationship advice and find out what the biggest challenges are and what you can do to work your way through them.

      Growing Apart

      The two of you can’t see each other every day or even every week for that matter. You are forced to maintain your relationship via phone calls and video chats (if the internet connection is strong enough). You life continues wherever you are and so does your partner’s, and they aren’t the same. The two of you will be growing and changing with the real possibility that this will cause you to grow apart.

      How do you make sure to grow and change together despite the distance? The key here is to maintain regular and frequent communication. If your budget allows, try to visit each other as much as possible. This way, your individual changes don’t come as a surprise. Be honest with each other and bring it up the moment you start to feel like you’re growing apart.

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      Feeling Jealous

      You are both mature and intelligent adults, trying to be supportive of each other’s independence. But every so often, jealousy rears its ugly head. It’s so easy to start worrying about who your partner spends all their time with and it’s only natural that you wish it could be with you.

      Don’t let your jealousy control your interactions with your significant other. If you suspect they might have feelings for somebody else, ask. Don’t accuse. Recognize if your jealousy stems for your own insecurity and try to handle it together. It’s okay to ask for reassurance from time to time, that’s what relationships are for. But, make sure you fight jealousy early on so it doesn’t get out of control and take over your relationship.

      Misunderstanding the Other Person’s Intention

      When you’re in a long distance relationship, the two of you primarily rely on verbal or written communication. You don’t have the luxury of being face to face and seeing nonverbal behavior or facial expressions. It’s easy to misunderstand the intent behind what your significant other is saying. And these misunderstandings can lead to arguments.

      To avoid this problem, try to be as clear as possible when writing or speaking. Don’t assume that the other person will understand or even know exactly what you’re talking about. If you aren’t sure you understood your partner, ask for clarification. Get out of the habit of reacting, instead make sure you understand everything first.

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      Making it Last

      There is no doubt about it, being in a long distance relationship can be challenging. If you stick to this relationship advice, put in extra effort, and try to be patient, you may end up in one of the most fulfilling and emotionally rewarding relationships of your life.

      Featured photo credit: Tofros.com via pexels.com

      Reference

      [1]longdistancerelationshipstatistics.com: LongDistanceRelationshipStatistics

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      Amber Pariona

      EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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      Published on July 13, 2018

      Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

      Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

      What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

      By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

      When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

      In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

      Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

      What is attachment theory?

      Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

      The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

      His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

      The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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      When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

      Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

      How attachment develops

      Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

      Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

      The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

      It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

      In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

      Different types of attachments

      In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

      • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
      • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
      • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
      • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

      What attachments mean to adults

      So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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      As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

      • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
      • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
      • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
      • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

      Here’s where it gets really interesting:

      Move towards secure attachment

      The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

      Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

      The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

      If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

      The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

      Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

      How to restructure your thoughts

      Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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      For the Avoidant Style

      As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

      Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

      Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

      Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

      Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

      If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

      Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

      And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

      For the Anxious Style

      For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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      First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

      Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

      For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

      The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

      Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

      When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

      For the Secure Style

      Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

      Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

      Strive towards Secure Attachment

      As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

      • Positive self esteem and self image
      • Close and well adjusted relationships
      • Sense of security in self and the world
      • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
      • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
      • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
      • Trust in self and others
      • Close, intimate relationships
      • Strong determination and problem solving skills

      If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

      It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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