Saturday, October 07, 2006

Manual of Long Distance Relationships (LDR)

As you all know, I´m an expert in long distance relationships. Dating someone who lives far away is an art that very few master, but it´s not such an impossible mission if people truly love each other and want to make it work.

There are an estimated 7 million long-distance couples in the U.S., including 2.5 to 3 million long-distance marriages. Between 1999 and 2002 (the most recent data available), the number of long-distance marriages increased by 385,000. The average couple in an LDR lives 125 miles apart, visits each other 1.5 times a month, calls one another every 2.7 days to talk for 30 minutes, and expects to be separated for 14 months.
So here´s a list of "Do's" to help you cope with distance, and make your relationship work:

a) Make a plan. It helps to establish a plan that includes an approximate timeline for how long the separation will last -- and, to the extent possible, a schedule for predictable visits. "If you can mark down on a calendar when the visits will take place, it keeps you reliable to your friends and colleagues and makes life less crazy," says Seetha Narayan, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Long-Distance Relationships.
b) Discuss ground rules. If you're not explicitly committed, it might be a good idea to set boundaries about interactions with other people that could pose a threat to the relationship. According to research by Greg Guldner of the Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships, only 30 percent of couples who discussed such rules broke up, regardless of whether or not they decided to date others -- but 70 percent of couples who didn't discuss the topic split.
c) Deal with conflict immediately. Particularly for newer couples, dealing with problems as they arise is key, even if it means spoiling the reunion weekend, Narayan Burtner says. And without the luxury of body language, you'll be forced to communicate well, a skill that can only help you down the road.
d) Share the details of your daily life. Guldner suggests emailing at least twice a day -- once in the morning to share what's on tap for the day ahead, and once in the evening to recount what happened. And be sure to send handwritten letters -- they help to foster intimacy, Narayan Burtner says, since they're concrete reminders of your loved one that can be carried around in a pocket or a purse.
e) Don't sweat the small stuff. Though dealing with conflict is important, couples should remember that they will be particularly sensitive just before and after a reunion. "If one person is picking a fight or acting cranky or finding fault, and it's inexplicable, just let it go -- it has more to do with the transitions than with anything real that's going on," Narayan Burtner advises.
f) Learn the art of long-distance sex. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of phone sex, Guldner suggests reading sexual fantasies over the phone (or even just to yourself, at first). If you can't do that without giggling, send an erotic email with the help of
g) Develop a strong network of friends and family. "Couples who have those kinds of networks tend to endure, and people report more satisfaction with the relationship and in life if they have this support," Narayan Burtner says.
h) Stay optimistic -- and forget the naysayers. A positive outlook is an LDR's best friend. "Studies show that the only coping style in long-distance relationships that seems to predict mental health as well as a satisfying relationship is when both people realize that it's a very reasonable option -- that it works just fine," Guldner says. "It has its own issues, just like anything else. But don't let people convince you that [LDRs] don't work."

(by Mary E. Morrison - from Yahoo!) - but I totaly, completely, absolutely agree!!!


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