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9 Steps to Surviving a Long Distance Relationship

Depending upon the future plans you and your partner have, you may want to do more than survive your long distance relationship. You may just want it to thrive.

Through careful attention and consideration, you can grow a strong long distance relationship that will stand the test of time and distance. A big part of that thriving relationship will be honest communication. So before investing your time, energy, efforts and creativity into a relationship that maybe only YOU want, talk honestly with your partner about your potential future. If you are both heading in opposite directions, then pouring your emotional energy into this relationship may not be in your best interest.

Step 1: One of the secrets to any great relationship is communication. Whether you live in the same zip code or on opposite coasts, you have to learn to communicate so you both understand what the other is saying. Using text and phone conversations doesn't allow you to see body language and can lead to some gross misunderstanding. Include video chatting and make the effort to see each other as often as possible. Most importantly, talk with each other honestly about what you want and don't want. If you can't do that now, you won't be able to do it as the relationship grows further and the whole thing will be built on sand instead of a solid foundation.

Step 2: The other big secret to a great relationship is trust. Trust and respect is earned, not given. There are times in the beginning of a relationship when it is easier to earn trust, but once broken, it is much more difficult to get it back. Work very hard to stay honest with your partner and not do anything behind their back. Once you lose trust, especially in a long distance relationship, you've probably hit the kill switch.

Step 3: Be creative about the way you communicate across the miles. Where it would be easy to slip a love note into your partners lunch if you were living together, it isn't so easy living apart. Money is usually an obstacle because you're spending time and money to visit. Look for ways to surprise your partner that doesn't cost as much. The next time you're visiting leave a couple of letters with your partners trusted friend and ask them to deliver them for you when asked. Send tickets to a coveted game or art exhibition if you can't be there. Be thoughtful about what you do. Instead of sending or doing something you would appreciate, be sure you think about it from their perspective. Use all the tools to enjoy even couple pleasures with TOYS LIKE THESE.

Step 4: Make a plan to end the distance. If one of you moved away or if you start a long distance relationship through online dating, make a plan about how this will end. If there is no plan to unite, then the relationship probably will not work. This doesn't mean asking for a commitment on the second date! But once you both determine that there is something real between you, it's time to make some kind of plan about the distance thing.

Step 5: Make a plan to visit. When you both know the dates and times you'll be seeing each other there is something to look forward to and something to plan around. Do not make plans with other people when your partner is in town, except when you plan to do things with your partner. Alternate the visits so one person doesn't feel taken for granted. Sometimes you can meet somewhere in the middle and just get away from the everyday living of every day life.

Step 6: Figure out a pattern for arguing. When you live closer that can happen a bit more easily because you see each other more often. Sit down and talk about how you fight, how you feel when you fight and what you need to resolve disagreements. When you lay it out on the table early, you won't be blindsided by the other persons need for privacy or "time out" when they get too angry to interact.

Step 7: Celebrate the fact that you DO miss each other and then remember that when you end up in the same city. Too often we take each other for granted. When you live in the same city as your partner it's too easy to overlook their feelings or take it for granted that they will always be there for you. But, when you are experiencing a long distance relationship, you miss your partner - a LOT. Celebrate that!

Step 8: Don't be disrespectful! Disrespect can cut as deeply as distrust, especially with men. To be able to fully love a woman, the man usually must feel like she respects him - his opinion, abilities at work and in the relationship. Your relationship will go a long way when there is respect and the respect should be a two way street.

Step 9: Freedom of choice should be given to your partner. Do you know the expression, "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back it is yours. If it doesn't, it wasn't yours to begin with." You should never force or threaten your partner into monogamy or living together or any other deeper relationship milestone. When the choice is given freely and offered freely there is a much better chance it will succeed.