Advertising
Advertising

Published on January 22, 2021

8 Ways To Make Your Long-Distance Marriage Work

8 Ways To Make Your Long-Distance Marriage Work

It is no surprise to couples that creating a happy marriage is hard work and full of challenges that they have to overcome. Couples that have to face the challenge of maintaining a connection despite a long-distance marriage, however, take the prize for one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in their relationship.

It is estimated in a 2017 study by the Statistic Brain Research Institute that 3.75 million marriages are considered to be a long-distance marriage. And according to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, the number of long-distance marriages is on the rise due to increased travel for work and internet dating.[1]

The good news is that although it is estimated in a more recent study that long-distance marriages have a 58% success rate, this statistic is not any worse than the current success rate of traditional marriages.[2]

So, what actually is the hard part of a long-distance marriage?

Feeling connected is one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome in a long-distance marriage. According to a study, the most difficult issue that long-distance marriages face is the lack of feeling connected to their partner’s daily life.[3] This disconnection leads to decreased intimacy and can erode the relationship over time.

Since relationships are either growing or dying, this feeling of disconnect must be addressed daily, which can be quite challenging for couples separated by distance. Over the years of working with couples through the Couples Synergy method, I have found that those who are successful at navigating a long-distance marriage practice 8 things that ensure their success.

Advertising

Here are 8 ways to make your long-distance marriage work:

1. Get Creative With Quality Time

Quality time is necessary for couples to nurture their connection. In the book The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work by John Gottman, it is recommended that couples spend 5 hours of quality time together without distractions. This can be extremely difficult for long-distance couples, especially if they are new to the separation.

Long-distance couples need to be creative when spending quality time together, and technology can play a significant role.

For example, one couple we work with has a standing virtual “meeting’ every Friday evening even though they cannot be together physically. They use this time to connect and share their common vision, which is important when spending quality time together. Whatever a couple chooses to do, this time needs to be distraction-free.

2. Stimulate as Many Senses as Possible

When we are in love, all of our senses seem to be stimulated. Just given the traditional five senses, our sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch senses become alive with every moment we spend with our partner.

When we are apart from our spouse as in the case in a long-distance marriage, these senses can lack the stimulation necessary for bonding with our partner. Couples in a long-distance marriage must get creative when apart and find ways to stimulate these senses in each other. Whether you send a picture, audio file, a delivered food or scent, or something your partner can touch themselves with, these creative ideas activating all of these senses can facilitate connection.

Advertising

3. Virtual Intimacy

Technology has increased our ability to connect with people all over the world in an instant. It has also created new ways to express sexual desires and intimacy between lovers when they cannot be together in the same space.

Companies like kiiroo.com have developed apps and sexual toys designed to connect a couple who is especially separated by long distances using technology to enhance intimacy. Getting creative with phone/virtual sex, intimate pictures, sexting, and virtual masturbation can help with the disconnect long-distance marriages often feel in their intimate lives.

4. Letter Writing

Romantic movies have been made about couples separated by distance and how their love was kept alive by the letters they wrote to each other. There is just something about receiving a letter in the mail that holds much more meaning than a text or email, and this is something that couples in a long-distance marriage can replicate in their relationship.

Writing letters to your spouse can spark loving feelings that cannot be duplicated by any other form of communication, and they can be revisited at any time to keep the feeling of connection fresh even when their partner isn’t available.

5. Fall Asleep Together

The act of falling asleep together in the same bed may be something a traditional couple takes for granted, however, lacking this connection can be wearing over time for a long-distance marriage.

A client I had several years ago was engaged and was separated from his fiance for six months due to work obligations. He and his fiance got into the habit of falling asleep together over facetime. He reported that it gave him a sense of calmness and normalcy when he would wake up to see his fiance still sleeping on the screen.

Advertising

Technology advances have created opportunities for long-distance couples to share in this intimate moment, even if snoring might be involved! Beginning and ending the day together even virtually leaves both people feeling a sense of belonging, significance, and connection.

6. Transparency

As mentioned above, one of the most difficult challenges long-distance marriages face is a feeling of disconnection from their partner daily. When partners are not aware of what their spouse is experiencing just because they are not spending as much time together as traditional couples, this can breed worry and assumptions.

According to the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, long-distance couples do worry more about infidelity than traditional marriages.[4] Thus, when transparency isn’t a standard in their relationship, this can add to more worry and more disconnection.

Transparency can be in the form of letting your partner know where you are going, who you are spending time with, what you are spending money on, or what you are communicating on social media. It is important to note that this is not about seeking permission or being controlled by your partner but having consideration for your partner’s feelings and not allowing insecurities to develop.

7. Healthy Boundaries With Friends

The fact is that long-distance couples will not spend nearly as much time together as traditional couples will just because of their physical separation. This doesn’t mean that while apart you should isolate yourself socially. In fact, according to a study, people in long-distance marriages tend to isolate themselves from others and focus on work to alleviate any loneliness they may feel.[5]

It is important for people to have a healthy social life and support system even if they cannot be with their partner. With that said, it is important to have healthy boundaries with the people you spend time with when away from your partner.

Advertising

For example, your spouse should know the people you are spending time with as well as what you are doing with them. Also, the people you spend time with should have equal respect for your marriage and not push any boundaries that might disrespect your spouse.

8. Surprises

Surprising your partner is essential in any relationship, and it is just as important in any long-distance marriage. This can be tricky for couples separated by distance and can take creativity and planning to implement.

Surprises—because they are unsolicited and unexpected—communicates a message to your spouse that you are thinking of them and that you took the time and effort to show them. These surprises do not have to be expensive or extravagant. In fact, it is the smaller gestures that seem to mean the most.

For example, a client of mine wanted to surprise his wife who travels for work and arranged for her favorite candy to be delivered to her hotel room. Another client arranged for their spouse to be taken to an indoor skydiving facility to celebrate his birthday. The gestures can be endless and yet pay out in great rewards in the end.

Final Thoughts

Every kind of marriage faces specific challenges unique to their situation, and long-distance marriages are no exception. Couples must realize that marriage takes work and long-distance marriages face obstacles that traditional marriages do not have to face.

It is important for couples separated by distance to acknowledge their limitations and adapt to new ways of connecting with each other to continue developing their relationship. In these ways, long-distance marriages can ensure a closer connection with their spouse and reach out to each other across the divide.

More Tips on How to Make Long-Distance Relationships Work

Featured photo credit: Justin Follis via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Statistic Brain Research Institute: Long Distance Relationship Statistics
[2] Kiiro: Long-Distance Relationship Troubles
[3] The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships: Long Distance Relationship Frequently Asked Questions 2018
[4] The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships: Long Distance Relationship Frequently Asked Questions 2018
[5] The Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships: Long Distance Relationship Frequently Asked Questions 2018

More by this author

Dr. Ray Kadkhodaian

CoFounder of Couples Synergy and the Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center

What To Do If My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me 8 Ways To Make Your Long-Distance Marriage Work 25 Pieces of Marriage Advice All Loving Couples Follow

Trending in Relationships

1 The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You 2 The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life 3 How to Improve Intimacy in Your Marriage and Rekindle the Passion 4 What To Do If My Wife Doesn’t Respect Me 5 Why You Feel Lonely In Your Marriage And How To Deal With It

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

Advertising

It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

Advertising

Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

Advertising

1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

Advertising

6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Read Next