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The mathematics of love
Would you like to know how to make your long distance relationship work? Right here I will share 6 insanely quick and easy actionable long distance relationship advice. These are all proven tips to make the best out of your LDR. How do you maintain a happy, loving relationship despite long distances? Our research found six critical areas that couples must tackle to keep a long distance relationship happy and healthy. When we looked at dozens of coping styles used by couples in long distance relationships, the only one that clearly stood out was staying optimistic about the relationship. When I work with long distance couples I focus on three parts to staying optimistic: Debunk the myths, challenge the nay-sayers, and focus on the positive. Research shows that, despite what many people think, LDRs do not have any greater chance of breaking up than any other relationship. LDRs report just as much satisfaction, intimacy, trust, and commitment as traditional relationships. Focusing on the positive asks couples to remember the advantages that come with an LDR and there are many! Re-Learn How to be Intimate. This refers back to the answer for your first question. Couples in LDRs often use their precious time together or on the telephone to share heartfelt emotions in an effort to bond. Our research found that what couples say and how they say it matters far more than how frequently they communicate. We use a five-step approach to re-learning intimacy. First, find ways to share in the little day-to-day events. Couples that talk nightly need to make sure to talk about how their day went and their plans for the next day. Couples with less contact can keep a diary of items that they want to share with their partner the next time they do talk. Without this, these little events will vanish from memory. Although often couples share deep emotions on these tapes, the real focus should be run-of-the-mill chatter about the day. Second, use technology to create intimacy. Couples in geographically close relationships create intimacy unconsciously as they chat with one another while doing other activities. This can change the whole feel of a telephone call and produce much greater intimacy in the long run. Our research found that couples in LDRs that stayed together wrote to one another twice as often as those that broke up even when we controlled for differences in trust, commitment, etc. Hand written letters not email have an important psychological impact that fosters intimacy. Scenting these letters with a particular cologne or perfume also can have a profound effect for some couples. Understand the pitfalls of talking on the telephone. Unfortunately, research shows that talking on the telephone has a number of important drawbacks. Arguments are more difficult to resolve, opinions are difficult to predict, couples feel misunderstood and attacked, and they may judge their partner as less sincere and intelligent then when talking face-to-face. Couples have to learn to pick up on subtle problems that occur while on the telephone and learn how to discriminate between problems that result from simply using the telephone and those that are more serious. Use reminders of your partner frequently. Photographs are the most obvious, but you can also now buy talking photographs in which your partner leaves a digitally recorded message that can be replayed with the touch of a button. More expensive are digital video telephones that send a live picture of your partner every few seconds while you talk on the telephone. Cards or letters with a favorite scent can help by tapping into a third sense along with site and sound. Some things must be said. This leads to a tendency to postpone often indefinitely discussing important topics. Research has shown that while couples in LDRs argue less frequently than others, they also progress more slowly. Similarly, couples in LDRs can come to idealize their partner downplaying the negative side which works well until the couple re-unite. Then disillusionment can set in. To combat this effect we recommend that couples formalize a time to talk about the relationship and address problems that might otherwise fester. For example, is it okay to go out with someone for dinner? Is it okay to go to a movie together? Some dating couples even allow for dating other people. Finally, we remind couples in LDRs to generously applaud the contributions of their partners. Men in LDRs in particular feel that their partners did not acknowledge their contributions. Research has found that those in LDRs very frequently cut themselves off from others. They use work as a distraction from the loneliness. Their ambiguous status — physically single but not romantically available — can be uncomfortable in certain social situations. All of these contribute to a tendency to simply turn inward when separated. Yet, we know that the degree of social support from friends and family predicts both the emotional difficulty someone will have while separated and the likelihood that the relationship will stay together. Because of this we encourage those in LDRs to make an effort to spend time with friends and to get out and socialize. We also have found that having a confidant is very important. A confidant is a friend other than the romantic partner with whom concerns about the relationship and other important topics can be safely discussed. Couples in LDRs sometimes measure the success of their relationship by the perceived quality of the most recent time spent together. If the weekend went great then the relationship is doing well. If the weekend was a disappointment then the relationship is in trouble. All relationships have their ups and downs and geographically close relationships can absorb these ups and downs more easily by simply spending more time together. Simply realizing that there will be some disappointing times together — and that this is normal — will help with those less than glorious weekends. Fortunately, research has shown that couples in LDRs report just as satisfying sex lives as their geographically close counterparts. When apart, couples need to learn how to be sexual without being physically close. Usually this involves either telephone sex or erotic letters, pictures, or videos. Are they comfortable with self-pleasuring? If they want to make long distance sex part of their relationship then we work on making them more comfortable with these activities. They can start by reading sexual fantasies over the telephone or even just to themselves first. There are even books that teach people how to write erotic fantasies. LDRs are more similar to traditional relationships than they are different. Many people stress that it is important to maintain separate lives, and not merely sit home and wait for the partner to return. Can you explain why this is so important? Maintaining separate lives supports long distance relationships in many ways. It allows one to be productive and to grow as a person — one of the great advantages of an LDR. Our research found that those in LDRs who were in school, for example, compared to those in geographically close relationships, were generally more successful and found their education more interesting, rewarding, and constructive. This helps them psychologically deal with the separation. This uses a tremendous amount of psychological energy that could be used in much better ways. Yes, some problems may be made worse by distance. For example, even though we know that couples in LDRs do not cheat on one another any more than geographically close couples, we also know that those in LDRs worry more about cheating. Because they cannot visually monitor their partner in the same way as a geographically close couple can, they sometimes create a fantasy world in which their partner is cheating. This fantasy often would be dispelled in a geographically close relationship as couples monitor one another unconsciously or consciously. In an LDR this monitoring is far more difficulty and these fantasies can get out of hand. Also, as I discussed earlier, the use of the telephone can increase misunderstandings because of the lack of visual cues. A vast amount of information is conveyed by the facial expression or hand gestures or body position. This is all lost over the telephone and a simple comment can be greatly misunderstood. Thus when a topic is misunderstood they sometimes will not address this misunderstanding and it can escalate into something much greater than it originally had been. Our research, conducted at Purdue University in Indiana, looked at couples in LDRs and couples in geographically close relationships and examined hundreds of different aspects of the relationships Center for the Study of Long Distance Relationships. We looked at people in LDRs to see how they coped with separation and to see what psychological effects separation had on them. We also attempted to estimate the number of couples in LDRs in the U. A couple of additional research highlights not discussed above include: Most people in LDRs experience some mild depression. The degree of depression is not enough to cause any significant difficulties such as happens with major depression. Thus symptoms of major depression should not be attributed solely to the separation and reunion is unlikely to effectively treat this depression. Individuals must learn how to address this mild depression rather than wait and hope it will go away with time. When working with couples in LDRs I usually try to assess each of these three phases to see if there are difficulties in one or more and then address each in turn. How far apart do they live?
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