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  • Matthew Frank
    Matthew Frank

    What are some ways to maintain intimacy in a relationship when you're dealing with physical distance?

    As distance has become a mainstay in so many of our lives, it’s hard to maintain intimacy with our partners when physical contact is not always possible. But that doesn’t mean it must be impossible. Couples separated by physical distance and longing for that close connection can work together to sustain their relationship and foster an even deeper connection in the long run. With some creativity, determination, and effort on both sides, it is possible to stay emotionally connected and enjoy the advantages of a long-distance bond, such as fostering a real appreciation for time together and growing each other’s autonomy.

    The first and possibly most important way to maintain intimacy when apart is through regular communication – even if it’s just a quick text or simple phone call. Not only will this keep you both up to date and in the loop, but you’ll also be less likely to forget those special little details that bring those feelings of connection and familiarity. Plan a regular video call like a weekly date night — with candles, drinks, and conversation — to give yourselves something to look forward to. This is also an opportune chance to get creative with your dialogue and ask each other questions outside of everyday conversations. Dare to paint a picture of what your life would look like if you could be together every single day. Talk about how you would spend your days as a couple.

    Another great way to cultivate intimacy in a relationship is through filling up the time apart. Time should be made to go on adventures and explore new places, take classes, and try new things. These experiences will not only provide new material to share with your partner but show that you are both taking your growth seriously. Developing personal interests encourages trust, loyalty, and independence, which are all key elements of a healthy relationship. It’s important that growth between partners is evidenced in both shared and individual pursuits; remember to continue putting in the same effort you would if in the same location.

    While taking mini-adventures apart, ensure you are engaged with each other as well. Ask how their day went, check in on how they are feeling regularly, and most importantly listen to their answers. Participating in your partner’s world is essential for building understanding and stability despite any physical obstacles. Make sure your partner knows that even from a distance, what they say still matters the same.

    It’s easy to start feeling lonely when love feels out of reach — but just because you can’t physically express affection doesn’t mean the emotion is no longer there. Show your love through random acts of kindness like sending a care package, arranging a surprise call, or even writing a love letter. These actions don’t require an exchange, but just being on the receiving end can make your heart swell with joy. Little gestures throughout your workweek and weekend can remind your partner of why they chose you in the first place – whether it’s a surprise postcard, funny meme, poem, or song lyric.

    Though challenging, maintaining a healthy and strong relationship from afar can be highly rewarding if doneright. Invest in the effort to make it happen and watch the distance just naturally become irrelevant. Be honest with one another about your changing needs and connect whenever possible. Keep those comforting rituals tucked away in your pockets, no matter how far away. With a balance of openness, honesty, and creativity, anything is possible.

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