Coping With a Long-distance Marriage

Reviewed Feb 20, 2017

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Summary

It takes planning, trust, communication, and commitment to make things work.

Millions of happily married people live in separate locations because of work demands. But don’t let those numbers fool you. According to experts, long absences can add stress to a marriage. Those with successful long-distance relationships will tell you it takes planning, trust, communication and commitment to make things work.

Keep busy

If you’re the one at home, use this time to reconnect with yourself or your children. Take a class, go out with friends, volunteer, or focus on your career. If you’re the one “on the road,” make the most of the time alone to explore the new locale or learn a new skill. For both, creating an interesting life will lessen the loneliness and make for livelier long-distance conversations.

Trust

Have a clear understanding of the separation—is it a job assignment of limited duration or an open-ended lifestyle experiment? Make sure you and your spouse know the limits of each other’s patience.

Trust your spouse. Infidelity is a risk all couples face. If you fear your spouse may be unfaithful, then the problem is not in the long distance. People can cheat anywhere. Share your feelings and concerns, but don’t demand that your spouse account for every minute of her time. Communicate your expectations regarding fidelity and then let trust rule. 

Reach out

Communication is the most important element in managing a long-distance marriage. Stay in touch with texting, face time, phone calls, email,  photos, videos, and letters. Take time to share and express the good things—love and laughter—but don’t allow everyday issues to pile up. If your child starts having trouble at school, pick up the phone and have a discussion. Don’t save all the problems for when you finally have time together. Here are some other ideas to help you cope:

  • Return all emails, texts, and phone calls promptly. Acknowledge packages.
  • Share important news by phone or in person.
  • Send digital photos.
  • Schedule online dates. Play internet games or tour a museum website together.
  • Keep a journal of your daily events and email them once a week.
  • Develop rituals. Ask your spouse to phone with a bedtime story for the kids or a goodnight kiss for you.
  • Buy a video phone or web cam or use an Internet video chat service, such as Skype.
  • Schedule as many visits as your budget will allow.
  • Watch the same shows or read the same books so you have something fun to discuss.
  • Keep a list of conversation starters.
  • Schedule intimate phone or email chats with lit candles and background music.
  • Send a care package with favorite books, movies, magazines, and food.
  • Ask your partner what he or she needs or wants. Don’t try to mind read or guess.
  • Plan for the financial costs of frequent phone or text contact. Check out less expensive telephone plans. Some cell phone providers offer free calling between phones on the same plan.

Overseas challenges

Maintaining a successful overseas relationship requires additional planning. Time differences and the high costs of phone calls and travel can make scheduling quality time difficult. Access to a computer with email, instant messaging and video conferencing is a must.

  • Memorize the time difference so you can relate to your spouse—is he working, sleeping, relaxing?
  • Investigate your telephone options. Landline calls are often expensive. Explore international cell phones and calling packages. In some countries, it may be cheaper to rent from a local supplier than from a company in the United States. International calling cards are handy and economical.
  • In developing countries, regular and timely access to land phone lines, mail, and the internet can be difficult. Consider international cell phones.
  • Get to know postal rates and how long it will take for your package to arrive. Know what’s prohibited. Wrap carefully. Insure valuables. For fun, send along an article of clothing with your scent. Smell is a powerful memory inducer.
  • Keep up-to-date on the other’s location. Know the current weather and news. 
  • Save for a trip. Nothing can beat face-to-face contact, and you’ll be able to relate better to your partner’s overseas experience.
  • Have emergency plans, including an emergency contact.
  • Find a support group—online or in the community.  

Don’t read between the lines

Everyone has different communication styles and expectations. For example, will your spouse welcome frequent calls, texts and emails or will they seem like a subtle form of pressure? Or maybe you’re naturally chatty and your spouse is a one-word type. Tone and attitude are especially hard to convey via email or text. If your call, text, or email hasn’t been returned promptly, don’t jump to conclusions; let your partner explain.

Don’t worry

If you envision a catastrophe every time your spouse boards a plane or train, try to break the worry habit. Accept that no one gets a safety guarantee.

Some long-distance love experts suggest that you not accompany your spouse to the airport or train station. Get used to frequent departures and arrivals so they seem natural. Don’t make every “hello” and “good-bye” a three-hankie event.

Reunions

Allow for a period of adjustment when you reunite. It may be awkward at first. If you’ve been apart a long time, your partner may seem different. Both of you probably have developed routines that can suddenly make a long-awaited lover seem like a third wheel. Also, one study shows that frequent business travelers suffer more physical and psychological complaints. Don’t misread jet lag or fatigue as a marital problem. 

Resource

Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education
www.smartmarriages.com

By Amy Fries
Source: Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education

Summary

It takes planning, trust, communication, and commitment to make things work.

Millions of happily married people live in separate locations because of work demands. But don’t let those numbers fool you. According to experts, long absences can add stress to a marriage. Those with successful long-distance relationships will tell you it takes planning, trust, communication and commitment to make things work.

Keep busy

If you’re the one at home, use this time to reconnect with yourself or your children. Take a class, go out with friends, volunteer, or focus on your career. If you’re the one “on the road,” make the most of the time alone to explore the new locale or learn a new skill. For both, creating an interesting life will lessen the loneliness and make for livelier long-distance conversations.

Trust

Have a clear understanding of the separation—is it a job assignment of limited duration or an open-ended lifestyle experiment? Make sure you and your spouse know the limits of each other’s patience.

Trust your spouse. Infidelity is a risk all couples face. If you fear your spouse may be unfaithful, then the problem is not in the long distance. People can cheat anywhere. Share your feelings and concerns, but don’t demand that your spouse account for every minute of her time. Communicate your expectations regarding fidelity and then let trust rule. 

Reach out

Communication is the most important element in managing a long-distance marriage. Stay in touch with texting, face time, phone calls, email,  photos, videos, and letters. Take time to share and express the good things—love and laughter—but don’t allow everyday issues to pile up. If your child starts having trouble at school, pick up the phone and have a discussion. Don’t save all the problems for when you finally have time together. Here are some other ideas to help you cope:

  • Return all emails, texts, and phone calls promptly. Acknowledge packages.
  • Share important news by phone or in person.
  • Send digital photos.
  • Schedule online dates. Play internet games or tour a museum website together.
  • Keep a journal of your daily events and email them once a week.
  • Develop rituals. Ask your spouse to phone with a bedtime story for the kids or a goodnight kiss for you.
  • Buy a video phone or web cam or use an Internet video chat service, such as Skype.
  • Schedule as many visits as your budget will allow.
  • Watch the same shows or read the same books so you have something fun to discuss.
  • Keep a list of conversation starters.
  • Schedule intimate phone or email chats with lit candles and background music.
  • Send a care package with favorite books, movies, magazines, and food.
  • Ask your partner what he or she needs or wants. Don’t try to mind read or guess.
  • Plan for the financial costs of frequent phone or text contact. Check out less expensive telephone plans. Some cell phone providers offer free calling between phones on the same plan.

Overseas challenges

Maintaining a successful overseas relationship requires additional planning. Time differences and the high costs of phone calls and travel can make scheduling quality time difficult. Access to a computer with email, instant messaging and video conferencing is a must.

  • Memorize the time difference so you can relate to your spouse—is he working, sleeping, relaxing?
  • Investigate your telephone options. Landline calls are often expensive. Explore international cell phones and calling packages. In some countries, it may be cheaper to rent from a local supplier than from a company in the United States. International calling cards are handy and economical.
  • In developing countries, regular and timely access to land phone lines, mail, and the internet can be difficult. Consider international cell phones.
  • Get to know postal rates and how long it will take for your package to arrive. Know what’s prohibited. Wrap carefully. Insure valuables. For fun, send along an article of clothing with your scent. Smell is a powerful memory inducer.
  • Keep up-to-date on the other’s location. Know the current weather and news. 
  • Save for a trip. Nothing can beat face-to-face contact, and you’ll be able to relate better to your partner’s overseas experience.
  • Have emergency plans, including an emergency contact.
  • Find a support group—online or in the community.  

Don’t read between the lines

Everyone has different communication styles and expectations. For example, will your spouse welcome frequent calls, texts and emails or will they seem like a subtle form of pressure? Or maybe you’re naturally chatty and your spouse is a one-word type. Tone and attitude are especially hard to convey via email or text. If your call, text, or email hasn’t been returned promptly, don’t jump to conclusions; let your partner explain.

Don’t worry

If you envision a catastrophe every time your spouse boards a plane or train, try to break the worry habit. Accept that no one gets a safety guarantee.

Some long-distance love experts suggest that you not accompany your spouse to the airport or train station. Get used to frequent departures and arrivals so they seem natural. Don’t make every “hello” and “good-bye” a three-hankie event.

Reunions

Allow for a period of adjustment when you reunite. It may be awkward at first. If you’ve been apart a long time, your partner may seem different. Both of you probably have developed routines that can suddenly make a long-awaited lover seem like a third wheel. Also, one study shows that frequent business travelers suffer more physical and psychological complaints. Don’t misread jet lag or fatigue as a marital problem. 

Resource

Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education
www.smartmarriages.com

By Amy Fries
Source: Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education

Summary

It takes planning, trust, communication, and commitment to make things work.

Millions of happily married people live in separate locations because of work demands. But don’t let those numbers fool you. According to experts, long absences can add stress to a marriage. Those with successful long-distance relationships will tell you it takes planning, trust, communication and commitment to make things work.

Keep busy

If you’re the one at home, use this time to reconnect with yourself or your children. Take a class, go out with friends, volunteer, or focus on your career. If you’re the one “on the road,” make the most of the time alone to explore the new locale or learn a new skill. For both, creating an interesting life will lessen the loneliness and make for livelier long-distance conversations.

Trust

Have a clear understanding of the separation—is it a job assignment of limited duration or an open-ended lifestyle experiment? Make sure you and your spouse know the limits of each other’s patience.

Trust your spouse. Infidelity is a risk all couples face. If you fear your spouse may be unfaithful, then the problem is not in the long distance. People can cheat anywhere. Share your feelings and concerns, but don’t demand that your spouse account for every minute of her time. Communicate your expectations regarding fidelity and then let trust rule. 

Reach out

Communication is the most important element in managing a long-distance marriage. Stay in touch with texting, face time, phone calls, email,  photos, videos, and letters. Take time to share and express the good things—love and laughter—but don’t allow everyday issues to pile up. If your child starts having trouble at school, pick up the phone and have a discussion. Don’t save all the problems for when you finally have time together. Here are some other ideas to help you cope:

  • Return all emails, texts, and phone calls promptly. Acknowledge packages.
  • Share important news by phone or in person.
  • Send digital photos.
  • Schedule online dates. Play internet games or tour a museum website together.
  • Keep a journal of your daily events and email them once a week.
  • Develop rituals. Ask your spouse to phone with a bedtime story for the kids or a goodnight kiss for you.
  • Buy a video phone or web cam or use an Internet video chat service, such as Skype.
  • Schedule as many visits as your budget will allow.
  • Watch the same shows or read the same books so you have something fun to discuss.
  • Keep a list of conversation starters.
  • Schedule intimate phone or email chats with lit candles and background music.
  • Send a care package with favorite books, movies, magazines, and food.
  • Ask your partner what he or she needs or wants. Don’t try to mind read or guess.
  • Plan for the financial costs of frequent phone or text contact. Check out less expensive telephone plans. Some cell phone providers offer free calling between phones on the same plan.

Overseas challenges

Maintaining a successful overseas relationship requires additional planning. Time differences and the high costs of phone calls and travel can make scheduling quality time difficult. Access to a computer with email, instant messaging and video conferencing is a must.

  • Memorize the time difference so you can relate to your spouse—is he working, sleeping, relaxing?
  • Investigate your telephone options. Landline calls are often expensive. Explore international cell phones and calling packages. In some countries, it may be cheaper to rent from a local supplier than from a company in the United States. International calling cards are handy and economical.
  • In developing countries, regular and timely access to land phone lines, mail, and the internet can be difficult. Consider international cell phones.
  • Get to know postal rates and how long it will take for your package to arrive. Know what’s prohibited. Wrap carefully. Insure valuables. For fun, send along an article of clothing with your scent. Smell is a powerful memory inducer.
  • Keep up-to-date on the other’s location. Know the current weather and news. 
  • Save for a trip. Nothing can beat face-to-face contact, and you’ll be able to relate better to your partner’s overseas experience.
  • Have emergency plans, including an emergency contact.
  • Find a support group—online or in the community.  

Don’t read between the lines

Everyone has different communication styles and expectations. For example, will your spouse welcome frequent calls, texts and emails or will they seem like a subtle form of pressure? Or maybe you’re naturally chatty and your spouse is a one-word type. Tone and attitude are especially hard to convey via email or text. If your call, text, or email hasn’t been returned promptly, don’t jump to conclusions; let your partner explain.

Don’t worry

If you envision a catastrophe every time your spouse boards a plane or train, try to break the worry habit. Accept that no one gets a safety guarantee.

Some long-distance love experts suggest that you not accompany your spouse to the airport or train station. Get used to frequent departures and arrivals so they seem natural. Don’t make every “hello” and “good-bye” a three-hankie event.

Reunions

Allow for a period of adjustment when you reunite. It may be awkward at first. If you’ve been apart a long time, your partner may seem different. Both of you probably have developed routines that can suddenly make a long-awaited lover seem like a third wheel. Also, one study shows that frequent business travelers suffer more physical and psychological complaints. Don’t misread jet lag or fatigue as a marital problem. 

Resource

Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education
www.smartmarriages.com

By Amy Fries
Source: Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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