It’s one thing to make a long-distance relationship work, and another is to keep it healthy. So what does a healthy relationship look like?
Long-distance relationships can be healthy if you know how to handle them. Healthy long-distance relationships as well as regular relationships need understanding and communication. The difference is in the way you communicate to reach the understanding.
When you communicate face to face, you get a lot of feedback from body language. In a long-distance relationship, most of the communication is verbal. When you chat on the phone or via texts, what you don’t say, your partner won’t know. And when you do say something, it can be easily misinterpreted by your partner, depending on how they feel and what they think at a time.
This makes communication in a long-distance relationship a lot harder than a regular one. And a healthy relationship isn’t possible without clear and effective communication.
This article will help you start a healthy long-distance relationship. If you are already in a relationship, this information will help you decide if it’s healthy and what to do if it’s not. While a long-distance relationship can be healthy it requires even more awareness than just making it work.
First, let’s get clear on what a long-distance relationship is and what it isn’t.
What is a healthy long-distance relationship?
A healthy relationship is based on understanding. You can tell you have an understanding with your partner when you know what each other is thinking and is going to say and you let them say it. It’s that thing where couples complete each other’s sentences.
Understanding comes from the ability to listening to your partner. To listen to another person, you have you to hear them. Hearing is registering the sound and listening is processing and making sense of what’s being said.
Some couples don’t take the time to hear each other. Others constantly speak until their words blend with a background. Healthy communication requires taking the time to speak and the attention to listen.
But don’t confuse this with thinking you know what the other person is going to say and interrupt them to say what you want to say. This is not knowing, it’s assuming you know. Because you only really know when they say it.
A healthy relationship also means that both of you feel free to express any thoughts, concerns, and ideas, knowing your partner is going to hear you out and take time to understand you, your point of view and where you come from.
If you can have an understanding and healthy communication you can make your relationship work. And even if your feelings towards each other change, you can still talk it out and find a way forward that works for both of you.
Let’s have a look at what a healthy relationship looks like and how the distance affects your relationship.
What does a healthy long-distance relationship look like?
A healthy relationship isn’t the same as normal. There’s this notion that fights are normal in a relationship. Just because most couples fight doesn’t make it normal. The fight is between enemies, so if you are seeing the person closest to you as your enemy, maybe it’s time to reassess.
Disagreements on the other hand are inevitable. Every person has their preferences. And you can never expect that two people in a relationship will have the same preferences all the time, it just doesn’t happen.
The difference between having a fight and resolving a disagreement is in what you do when you disagree on something.
When couples fight, they protect their interest, believing that the other person is going to do the same. So everyone only cares for themselves.
Most conflicts can be resolved when partners are prepared to hear one another. Then the fight turns into a discussion. And with a little guidance and a few practical communication skills, you can agree on a solution that works for both of you.
In a healthy relationship, you may have similar interests and do things together. In a long-distance relationship, you can only talk about these things. You can also play games online.
It’s important to have fun things you can do together apart from talking. Although talking itself can be fun if you have understanding.
Starting a healthy long-distance relationship
When you start a healthy long-distance relationship you should know how long it’ll last and have a plan to be together. In the beginning, you never know how it’ll work out. Give yourself a couple of months to get to know each other. And if you get on well, meet to see how it feels to be together.
When your long-distance relationship is healthy, you feel healthy.
In reality, it can manifest as being happy and fulfilled on your own as well as sharing your happiness with your partner.
You can tell if your long-distance relationship is healthy if you feel healthy. But you should check every now and then how this relationship affects your life. Does it align with your values and help you with your personal goals or does it get in the way of what’s important to you?
Both of you have unfulfilled physical needs that influence your feelings so that just adds to the conflicting feelings and impulse responses and decisions. Some people actually like to be in a relationship that is long-distance, because they feel they have someone to talk to and share their intimate thoughts and feelings while at the same time doing what they want with the rest of their time. Whether this is healthy or not is up for debate.
In a healthy relationship, you should be able to do what you want while still being in a relationship. When you are in a long-distance relationship you get a lot more time for yourself. A lot of couples in a long-distance relationship spend the same time talking on the phone as they would face to face. While it’s understandable, the feeling of loneliness is almost inevitable at the end of the conversation.
When you are starting a long-distance relationship, keep an eye on how much you talk and try not to let it take over your life.
Having a healthy long-distance relationship
To keep your long-distance relationship healthy, you need to make time for your relationship. When you talk on the phone, remember to discuss your feelings, doubts, and concerns. Don’t just spend time talking about mundane things that don’t serve your relationship. In a long-distance relationship, the time you spend talking and texting are precious.
You also need time for your personal life and the physical world around you.
If you are in a healthy and loving relationship, it is possible to go through a period of long-distance without much trouble. However, if your relationship isn’t very strong, long-distance will expose its weaknesses. You may come across problems that you didn’t see when you lived together. These problems will either strengthen your relationship or, they will end it.
Apart from communication and understanding a healthy relationship needs For a healthy relationship, you need to take the time and have the space for all things relationship-related as well as personal space.
A healthy long-distance relationship should contribute to your overall state of health. If you find yourself overeating, for example, it may not be linked to your relationship, but it could be a sign of trying to compensate for some emotional distress.
How to make a long-distance relationship healthy?
A long-distance relationship shouldn’t last a long time. While you can maintain a healthy long-distance relationship with effective communication, the longer it lasts the harder it gets.
Allowing each other personal time and space is just as important as talking. Long-distance relationship couples tend to compensate for the lack of physical closeness with talking, texting, and video calling. It leads to talking too much about nothing that matters.
After some time excessive communication becomes an annoyance for at least one of the partners. A long-distance relationship needs a delicate balance if it is to be healthy.
A healthy relationship has a balance of being together and allowing personal space. People in a relationship are still individuals. So they need to continually develop as an individual and grow as a couple at the same time.
Unhealthy and toxic long-distance relationship
It’s normal to have fights and misunderstandings during a long-distance relationship. However, when this happens regularly, the whole relationship becomes toxic. And it just isn’t healthy for anyone.
Being in a long-distance relationship for years may be a sign that you are trying to escape your reality.
You know your long-distance relationship is unhealthy when it brings you more sorrow than happiness. Some couples try to stay together even when their long-distance relationship isn’t working. Trying to survive a long-distance relationship can be a sign of commitment. But is it worth it committing to an unhealthy long-distance relationship that’s toxic to your personal life?
Here are few signs of a toxic long-distance relationship: It lasts a long time, and you don’t have a plan to be together Too much or not enough communication Feeling sad and frustrated more often than happy and fulfilled Feeling jealous and secure for no reason Wanting to be with other people but feeling forced to stay in this relationship Compromising your personal life and spend this time texting to please your partner
When you notice signs of a toxic and unhealthy long-distance relationship, it’s time to reassess. If this happens, you have two options: try to fix it or let it go.
How to fix a toxic long-distance relationship?
To fix a toxic long-distance relationship, both partners need to have the willingness to do so. It’s easy to misunderstand each other in a long-distance relationship. And while a misunderstanding can destroy your relationship, there’s a good chance that you can work it out.
Sometimes a relationship is saturated with negative emotions that developed over a long time. Strong emotions can often cloud your judgment making it hard to breakthrough. On such occasions, a professional can give you an unbiased opinion from an outside perspective.
If your long-distance relationship has become toxic because your feelings change or you’ve had enough, then taking a break could be a way forward.
So if you find yourself in a long-distance relationship that has become toxic and no longer contributes to your health, below this article, there is information on how you can get some help.
How to end a toxic long-distance relationship?
Ending a toxic long-distance relationship can be simple but it’s not easy. It’s simple because you are already physically separated. But emotionally, it’s not an easy thing to do.
While some long-distance relationships have a clear moment when something happens, most of them don’t. A lot of long-distance relationships deteriorate slowly. People tend to compromise their feelings if they can rationalise their actions. Seemingly small compromises accumulate over time and poison the relationship. Before you know it, the joy of being in a relationship becomes a drag that you could do without.
So if you find yourself unhappy in your long-distance relationship, take the time to explore it yourself and with your partner. You must take care of yourself but it’s just as important to take care of your partner.
If you feel that the only way forward is to end your long-distance relationship, do so, but not before you talk to your partner. As long as you are in a relationship, you owe it to yourself to respect the person you chose to be with.
The last thing you want to do is to end your relationship and inform your partner afterward. Breakups are hard for everyone involved, but you should find a way to do it with dignity and understanding.
We’ve talked about how you can tell if your long-distance relationship has become toxic, and what you should do if you find yourself in one.
Long-distance relationships differ from regular relationships in two ways. You can only share physical intimacy on special occasions during your visits. Your understanding depends on verbal communication.
So, to have a healthy long-distance relationship, you need to be ok with the frequency of your visits and learn to communicate clearly and listen carefully.
I hope this article gave you an insight into what a healthy long-distance relationship should be like. All relationships have problems, but in a healthy relationship, partners know how to handle them.
Where are you on this health scale of long-distance relationships?
- Having a healthy long-distance relationship
- Making a long-distance relationship work
- Survive a long-distance relationship
- Failing long-distance relationship
- Ending a long-distance relationship
GETTING SOME HELP
I hope that this article answered some of your questions. If you are struggling and could do with more help, here is how you can get it:
- Join our Facebook PAGE for fresh ideas, quotes, and articles.
- Visit our Facebook GROUP and talk to others in the same situation. Our coaches are part of that group, so you will get professional advice too.
- Take this QUIZ to assess how healthy is your relationship and receive a personalised response from a relationship coach.
- If you still feel confused and overwhelmed and could do with individual help, BOOK your online session. You can discuss your situation with a relationship coach one2one or have a virtual appointment together with your partner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are long-distance relationships healthy?
Long-distance relationships can be healthy. It’s not always easy, but with some understanding of long-distance relationships are and what makes them healthy, you should be able to do it. Read more
How to build a healthy long-distance relationship?
If you know how to handle a long-distance relationship, you can make sure that you have a plan and adjust to a different style of communication. Read more
How to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship?
To maintain a healthy long-distance relationship, you should keep on top of your feelings. Take the time to understand and express your feelings to your partner. Also, take the time to listen and understand their feelings. Read more
Are long-distance relationships unhealthy?
When long-distance relationships last a long-time, misunderstandings and unfulfilled needs tend to become issues. Issues are harder to resolve when you are in a long-distance relationship. So there’s a chance they can go unattended, and after some time, they can destroy your relationship. Read more
How to fix a toxic long-distance relationship?
To fix a toxic long-distance relationship you and your partner have to be willing to do so. If both of you are willing to hear each other out, there’s a good chance you can agree. Read more
How to end a toxic long-distance relationship?
When long-distance relationships don’t work, it might be healthy to end it than to drag it out. Maybe your long-distance relationship lasts longer than you have planned or maybe your feelings have changed. But before you make any final decisions, talk to your partner, express your concerns, and make a decision together. Read more