Surviving the Distance: How to Nourish Long Distance Relationship

in Dating Tips, Marriage Tips

Tips for Long Distance Relationship
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Today we have a treat, a guest post from our good friend Kristy of Amritsar Restaurant and Business Review.

Nothing is harder on a relationship than being far apart. You cannot see your sweetheart, spend quiet time with them, go to the movies or even sit down to dinner. Trust becomes harder to hold onto the longer the separation goes on. But you don’t have to feel completely disconnected from your sweetheart, even if the separation is indefinite.

Verbal Communication

Verbal communication is the core of any relationship. It becomes even more critical for long distance relationships. You each need comfort and reassurance as you get through this trying time together. Without verbal communication, you have no relationship.

Perhaps the most critical component in keeping communication alive are phone calls. But international phone calls can be quite expensive. Not everyone can afford them. It’s okay. You can call your sweetheart for free. That’s right, free! This is no secret though right? I’m not telling you anything new. But, do you know the best way to reach your honey bunny anytime day or night?

Having worked customer service for a major US cellular service provider I learned quite a bit about how cellular transmissions work. Most US services charge an average of 30 cents per minute to call internationally. At that rate you can speak about 3 minutes for $1. I have never been able to keep a conversation that short and I don’t feel you should have to try to.

Text Messaging

SMS is so closely associated to actually talking these days that it makes sense to include it here. Though I don’t recommend them for any serious conversation, they are a great way to talk to your sweetheart when they cannot accept a phone call. SMS is a great way to send a cute little message to remind your sweetheart you’re thinking of them.

Airtel, Vodaphone, Reliance, O2, MTN, and other non-US international phone carriers often charge a per message fee for international SMS messages. In many instances you’re charged even if the message doesn’t reach its intended recipient. When it comes to US cell phone providers the outlook is no better. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and many prepaid services offer international SMS in their popular packages but there is no guarantee the message will ever be delivered. This is why you should never discuss anything serious with your loved ones over SMS.

It basically works like this. You send an SMS from your phone. It travels to your cell phone providers company. Then they forward it to the international courier. From there it goes to your recipients cell phone provider and then to your recipients’ phone. The majority of lost messages get lost at the courier level. There’s nothing your phone company or your recipients’ phone company can do about it. They pay for the service just like you do and are often unwilling to contact their supplier for troubleshooting one account that may or may not even be supported through the couriers service. In other words, don’t trust your SMS to be delivered and just be happy when/if it is.

Free Phone Calls

Several instant messaging programs offer free online calling to other users of the service. These phone calls are often good quality but you will need to adapt to the occasional disconnection or noise on the line. Other factors that you must consider when choosing free phone calls are the connection speed of your internet and your sweethearts. Not all connections will give you good call quality. You may need to disconnect and call a few times before hitting the jackpot. Still, it’s free so you can’t complain too much.

I don’t recommend accepting any of the “free international minute” offers you see online. I’ve read over the fine details of quite a few and most seem too much like scams. Additionally, you don’t get enough free minutes to carry on any meaningful conversation. This alone can be more frustrating than not even talking. Can you imagine being in the middle of a sob rant and getting cut off because your time ran out? Not to mention your sweetheart may not even understand a word you say and there’s no time in your free minutes for you to repeat all you just said. Your best bet is to try cheap call services.

Cheap Calls

Use your home phone or cell phone to dial your sweetheart via a party line. Party lines allow multiple callers to be on the same call at the same time without hearing each other. The service you sign up for will give you a phone number based in your country to dial. When you dial that number it either asks you to dial your sweethearts phone number or, if the service offers an address book feature, it will automatically connect you to them. These calls run as little as 1 US cent per minute and you can call anywhere in the world at any time, just watch your cell phone minutes so you don’t go over.

Three good services I’ve personally used for cheap calls are Skype, Jaxtr and Rebtel. I spent about $25 US a month calling my hubby and we talked for countless hours. Keep in mind that services not based in your home country may also charge an exchange fee for changing the money into their currency. Another important factor to consider is that Skype is not available on every phone whereas services like Jaxtr and Rebtel are not phone specific.

Intimacy

A crucial part of relationships is dating. But how can you date when you’re on opposite sides of the Earth? It’s easier than it sounds. Here’s some suggestions for you.

Speakerphone

Now that you have some great free or inexpensive ways to call your sweetheart, put them on speakerphone and cook a meal together. He may be cooking breakfast while you cook dinner but it’s the together time that counts, not the menu. After all, it’s doubtful you would purchase the same meal at a restaurant so why should home be any different. You will be amazed at the conversation you can spark while cooking together from separate homes. If your phone doesn’t have speakerphone, you can also use the “Call” feature of most popular IM programs.

Webcam

Most computers and laptops come with these now. Use it. You get a visual of your sweetheart so you can talk face to face, help each other choose clothes or just share moments the same way you would if you were in the same room. Sit the laptop across the table from you during meal time and it will feel as if your sweetheart is there with you while you eat. Meal time is another great time for conversation.

Movie Night

Pick out a movie together using online services like Netflix. Then both of you pick a date to watch the movie. You can either choose a time that both of you can sit together and watch it over speakerphone on watch it individually on the same day and then plan to discuss it for your next phone call. Make a list of questions before or during watching that you want to ask each other. Think of questions like “what did you think when *insert main character name* said I love you?” Try to come up with thought provoking questions that will spark more conversation rather than yes and no questions.

What other ideas for intimacy have you tried? How did they work? What would you recommend to others? What about communication? What services have you used that worked well? Tell us about them.

Photo credit: weheartit

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