Communication in a Long-Distance Relationship
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Imagine your relationship with no arguments. The one where you can hear each other and be heard in return. What would your relationship be like if you knew your partner’s feelings, doubts and concerns?
Effective communication in a long-distance relationship is the ability to express and listen to each other to have an understanding. In a long-distance relationship, you have to be able to reach this understanding mostly via online means. Clear and effective communication is essential to navigating your long-distance relationship successfully.
In a long-distance relationship, emotional connection relies entirely on how good is your communication. Effective communication can help you get to know someone you met online or maintain a long-distance relationship with your current partner. Without effective communication, you are likely to have misunderstandings and arguments.
In this article, we will explore the importance of effective communication in a long-distance relationship. You will learn how to improve your communication with your long-distance partner.
What Is Effective Communication in a Long-Distance Relationship?
Effective communication in a long-distance relationship is your ability to talk to your partner in a way that you understand each other.
To reach this understanding, both you and your partner need two skills expressing yourself clearly and listening to each other. To have a healthy and successful long-distance relationship, you have to be able to reach this understanding predominantly through online means.
You need to know which is your preferred way of communicating either texting, phoning, or video calling and agree upon the frequency of communication that suits both of you.
Effective communication is a cornerstone of any relationship. Partners who can communicate effectively can form successful relationships based on trust and understanding. Couples who don’t have good communication experience many problems and unnecessary arguments that could ruin your relationship.
The communication in a long-distance relationship is challenging because:
- Most communication is online.
- There is a lack of body language.
- You only express through verbal and written communication.
So, unless you say or write how you feel, there’s no way for your partner to know it.
Verbal and written communication makes up most of your relationship, as opposed to a regular relationship where you can coexist together while doing things together without too much communication.
Body language is responsible for much of our communication. But, in a long-distance relationship, you don’t have the luxury to observe your partner’s body language.
When you are next to your partner, you can feel when something is not right. But, when you are away from each other, the only way to identify a problem is by asking the right questions and talking about it. In this article we cover all common problems long-distance couples face.
Ways to Communicate in a Long-Distance Relationship
In a long-distance relationship, you rely mostly on verbal and written communication. The clearer you express yourself through words, the easier it’s for your partner to understand what you mean.
During a long-distance relationship, you will see each other occasionally, so most of your communication will be by online means:
- Text messages
- Phone calls
- Video calls
Each of these ways of communication has its advantages and downsides.
Communication through electronic devices doesn’t give you a sense of knowing what your partner is feeling. Unless you openly talk about things that bother you, your mind will become full of doubts. If you don’t address these doubts, they will accumulate and with time turn into problems.
If something is bothering, you can try to talk about it online. However, if you can’t resolve your issues through online communication, better leave it till next time you see each other.
Why Is Effective Communication Important in a Long-Distance Relationship?
Effective communication allows you to maintain a healthy relationship even when you are physically apart. Poor communication creates confusion that leads to unnecessary arguments.
There are four main reasons why effective communication is essential for a successful long-distance relationship:
- Clear communication helps you have an understanding with your long-distance partner.
- Honest communication allows you to maintain an emotional connection with your partner.
- Open communication makes it easier to navigate your long-distance relationship.
- Good communication can help you resolve issues, problems and conflicts that you encounter during your long-distance relationship.
Open and honest communication is the foundation of your relationship. It allows you to share your feelings without fear of judgment or criticism.
Let’s look in more detail on how effective communication can help you in each aspect of your long-distance relationship.
Develop an Understanding with Your Long-Distance Partner.
Clear communication allows you to develop an understanding with your long-distance partner. You can express yourself, hear each other, and make your conversations interesting.
By practising effective communication, you also contribute to your self-development, as you can apply these communication skills to various aspects of your life.
Having an understanding with your long-distance partner will allow you to hear your partner’s feelings and needs and help them in the right way.
Maintain an Emotional Connection with Honest Communication
In a long-distance relationship, it’s important to feel emotionally connected. In this relationship, your physical connection is limited. Emotional connection is the only way you can be close to your partner.
Effective communication is even more important for a long-distance relationship than a regular one. A typical relationship doesn’t rely on communication, as much as a long-distance relationship does.
When you live together, apart from talking, you can also do many other things like going for walks, eating together, having sex, going on trips. So your relationship doesn’t rely only on words.
Navigate Your Long-Distance Relationship with Open Communication.
Here are some questions for you to discuss with your partner that will help you navigate your relationship:
- Where do you want your relationship to go?
- Are you happy with the distance lasting that long?
- How are you going to manage physical intimacy?
- Are you happy to maintain the long-distance indefinitely or at which point would you like to move in together?
- Do you have a specific and realistic plan to move in together?
Resolve Issues and Conflicts with Your Long-Distance Partner Through Good Communication.
Without good communication, problems will pile up, and your relationship will become a struggle.
Effective communication can help you find the source of your problems. Once you know the cause of the problem, you can find the solutions.
If you need help with your communication, this workbook will help you become closer with your partner by working through specific topics together.
Communication Problems in a Long-Distance Relationship
If you don’t have effective communication, it can lead to problems. Unresolved problems can lead to resentment. Growing resentment can create many issues for your long-distance relationship and can weaken your emotional connection.
All of this can happen silently unless you talk about the doubts, worries and concerns you have at the moment they arise.
The only way to break from this cycle of blame and resentment is to talk about your thoughts and feelings openly and honestly with your partner. Otherwise, this blame will spark resentment and make your relationship toxic.
Effective communication will help you avoid problems and allow you to have a healthy and loving long-distance relationship.
Here are some common communication problems in a long-distance relationship:
- Not listening
- Not expressing yourself clearly
- Not sharing your feelings which can get on the way of emotional connection.
- Saying things that don’t make sense to the other person
- Short cuts and grammar mistakes in texting can lead to confusion.
- Not visiting each other regularly to feel connected.
- Talking too much or not enough.
- Not talking about meaningful things that matter.
- Not taking the time to hear the other person’s point of view.
- The time difference can make it hard for both partners to be in the mood to talk.
- Boring conversations can make a long-distance relationship dull. After a while, you lose interest in talking to your partner.
- Technical issues with connection and internet access can be frustrating.
Have a look at this workbook to learn how you can handle the distance in your relationship and potentially avoid many problems.
Frequency of Communication in a Long-Distance Relationship
Many long-distance couples spend a lot of time talking in an attempt to feel connected as compensating the lack of physical intimacy.
This connection is achieved through the quality of communication rather than the quantity.
When you are away from each other, there’s something you should accept. Your needs for physical intimacy will be unfulfilled unless you have the time and money to see each other as often as you like.
The lack of physical intimacy will lead to sexual frustration. One thing you can do to deal with this issue is to work on your communication to improve your emotional connection.
Most of your long-distance relationship is communication. If your communication becomes boring, your relationship becomes dull. A couple that spends 3 hours on the phone every day would soon run out of things to talk about.
To feel the connection, a lot of couples in a long-distance relationship have a strong need to talk every day. If both of you are happy with the frequency of your communication, all is well. However, if one of you feels that you talk too much or not enough, both of you should accommodate those needs.
To maintain a healthy long-distance relationship, agree on 2-3 days a week to talk for a few hours. It will give you both time to do your own things, so you will have something new and exciting to share. Apart from sharing your life events, talk about something meaningful, things that are important to each of you, and your relationship.
Lack of Communication in a Long-Distance Relationship
Lack of communication is a sign of an unhealthy long-distance relationship. There are two reasons why you may feel that you don’t have enough communication in your relationship.
One reason is that you may interpret that your communication is not enough because you want more, to feel closer. It could mean that you are starting to feel disconnected from your long-distance partner.
Another reason is that now you communicate less than before. It can be a sign that you are growing apart, which can happen when you are in a long-distance relationship for too long.
Excessive Communication in a Long-Distance Relationship
In a long-distance relationship, it’s easy to have excessive communication. It’s a way of compensating for the lack of physical intimacy. But the problem is that this effort to compensate doesn’t work because no amount of talking can replace the physical touch of the person you love.
In the beginning, it may seem fair to spend an extra few minutes talking to each other, but it may be a problem if it turns into hours. Talking every day for hours can become a routine and an obligation, which can harm your relationship in the long term.
If you don’t set up boundaries of the time you spend talking to your partner, you will end up compromising your own life. Excessive communication may create resentment for having to spend all your free time talking to your long-distance partner instead of using this time for personal development.
You may start lying to get yourself extra time and avoid emotional blackmail. If only one partner is happy to use the spare time for personal development. The other partner can get needy and even resort to emotional blackmail to talk more.
Neediness and dishonesty is a sign of a toxic relationship. You should address the issue straight away, by expressing your needs and setting boundaries that will give you the time to doing the things you want.
It’s a good idea to agree on how often you talk to your partner and try to stick to it. While you want to keep in touch and to maintain an emotional connection, you need to be careful of conversations becoming tedious and time-consuming. It’s better to have a pleasant and informative short conversation, rather than drag it out until it’s full of nonsense.
How to Communicate Effectively in a Long-Distance Relationship
To create a healthy relationship and grow as a couple, you need to know how to communicate with each other. Both you and your partner need to be able to express and listen to each other.
You need two things to communicate effectively clarity and understanding. Lack of clarity leads to assumptions, misunderstandings, and conflicts. It is one of the main reasons long-distance relationships fail. Sometimes we are afraid of getting clear because clarity means facing the truth.
We don’t always like what we see, and we may ignore the issue altogether. It is ok for a holiday fling or a casual relationship. But, if you are serious about making it work, clarity is a must.
If you are having a communication breakdown in your long-distance relationship, express yourself in a way that your long-distance partner can understand you better.
Here are three steps to help you get started to communicate effectively:
- Get your partner’s attention
- Say what you need to say
- Check your partner heard you
STEP 1 – Get your partner’s attention
When something comes to your mind, you may feel the need to share it with your partner. But they might be having their own’ very important’ thoughts.
First, check that they are listening. Ask your partner if it’s a good time for them to hear you out and pay attention to what you have to say. If it is not a good time, tell them you would like to share something with them. Agree the time that would work for both of you.
STEP 2 – Say what you need to say
Saying too much or too little can be a problem. It’s easy to overthink before saying something. By the time it comes out, we already gave it so much thought and importance.
By overthinking, we worry about our partner’s response. We question ourselves if we should say something or keep quiet. Converse with your partner without having all these worries and fears. Express whatever is on your mind, knowing that your partner will understand what you mean.
Express yourself clearly and make sure your partner understands what you mean
STEP 3 – Check your partner heard you
You strongly need to share and who is better to do it with than the person closest to you, the person you trust. Your partner cares about you, but it doesn’t mean that they care about everything you say. Don’t continue talking for over 2 minutes without a response.
Don’t accept ‘uh-huh’ as a confirmation that they got what you are saying. Ask your partner to repeat what they heard you say and see if it matches your intention. Observe their body language and facial expressions to see if they are paying attention and are responsive to what you say.
For example, if your partner looks at you with their body facing in your direction, it means they are paying attention to what you are saying. On the other hand, if they are looking somewhere else with their body away from you, their focus and concentration are probably is on something else.
You may spend a lot of time talking, but it doesn’t mean that your partner is listening. To test it, ask your partner what did they hear you say. You may be surprised to find how little of what you are saying is getting through to them.
It will give you an idea of how much attention your partner is paying to you at the time. If they can’t ever repeat what you are saying, you need to reassess your relationship. You can use this workbook to check how healthy your long-distance relationship really is.
Communication in a long-distance relationship is slightly different from when you are face to face. When you share your feelings, it’s essential to know that your partner heard you.
Healthy communication is challenging for couples in a long-distance relationship. Keep in mind that excessive communication in a long-distance relationship isn’t healthy, although it’s quite common.
A slight improvement in communication can significantly improve your relationship.
Your ability to express yourself and hear your partner is a key to making your long-distance relationship work. With effective communication, you will be able to handle any problems you may face in a long-distance relationship and maintaining an emotional connection.
Obviously, touching each other and having sex is not possible when you are away. Focusing on something which is not possible, only leads to more disappointment.
Instead, you can focus on what you can do, rather than something that is out of your control. For example, rather than wishing to be together, you can do something fun when you are apart and enjoy your time together during your visits.
Communication is the key to making a long-distance relationship work. Healthy and effective communication can help you keep your relationship fun and exciting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is communication important in a long-distance relationship?
Effective communication is how you can express yourself, understand your partner, and work out issues in your relationship. In a long-distance relationship, communication is even more important than in a regular one, because most of your relationship is communication. So it’s essential to have effective communication.
How often should you communicate in a long-distance relationship?
A healthy frequency of communication depends on how often you need to talk and how much time you have. A healthy frequency of communication allows you to have an exciting conversation and share something meaningful without taking too much time. Talking a little every other day should be enough for most couples to keep an emotional connection while still having personal space for their own development or enjoyment.
Do you need to talk every day in a long-distance relationship?
In a long-distance relationship, you don’t need to talk every day. Every other day should be enough to catch up on your life events and share something meaningful or exciting.
How do you communicate in a long-distance relationship?
Communication is important in any relationship. In a long-distance relationship, it varies in some ways, which we’ve talked about in this article. The biggest difference is the lack of communication via physical touch. So it’s important to communicate with clarity and to make sure that your partner understands you.
How do you deal with silent treatment in a long-distance relationship?
Silent treatment shouldn’t exist in a healthy relationship. Silent treatment doesn’t help you resolve problems and doesn’t contribute to a healthy long-distance relationship. Being quiet doesn’t help you solve the issues, only creates emotional distance. Either work out your differences or end your relationship and move on.
How effective communication applies to a long-distance relationship?
Effective communication helps you maintain an emotional connection with your long-distance partner. With clear communication and understanding, you can resolve most of the problems that come your way. In a long-distance relationship, you are quite limited as to what you can do. Improving your communication is one thing that is your hands.
How do you fix communication in a long-distance relationship?
If you have a break down in communication with your long-distance partner, try the following:
Identify what is causing the problem. Is miscommunication, the frequency, quantity, wrong timing because of the time difference?
Discuss this issue with your long-distance partner.
Together with your partner agree on ways and frequency of communication that works for both of you.
Remember to express yourself as clearly as you can.
Ways to improve communication in a long-distance relationship
To improve your communication in a long-distance relationship, try the following:
Talk enough to maintain an emotional connection, but not too much that your conversations become boring.
Consider the time difference and arrange the best time to talk that suits both of you.
Express yourself clearly by phone and texting.