Long-Distance Relationships During And Post-Divorce – Wendi Schuller
Divorce brings many challenges and one is long-distance relationships. After divorce, one may move away for a new job, to be near family, and so forth. Opportunities pop up in this chapter of your life. Whether to stay put or leave is difficult, especially when in a new dating situation. Friendships are also affected by being many kilometres apart.
Friendships may be easier than having a romantic relationship long-distance. While it is great to have in-person interactions for either – there is an added draw back to dating relationships. This is the physical intimacy – not just sex – which people miss. One man tried to have two long-distance relationships. He felt his girlfriends turned into inanimate objects which he touched only occasionally. He cut these two relationships off quickly.
Friends can keep relationships alive by talking regularly. WhatsApp is great for keeping in touch for free, globally. There are various online programs for connecting with mates. Some people do “Happy Hour” with far flung friends online. They pour their favourite drink, eat something decadent and have a blast catching up. Be creative in finding ways to maintain ties.
When moving away, what works for many is meeting up with mates in a location midway between them. Or going on holiday together. Have met many people on European river cruises who have reunions yearly on a voyage. They catch up while exploring new destinations.
Long-distance take extra effort in keeping romantic partnerships alive. One person might be doing more in the reaching out and this can become frustrating. Logistics have to be factored in, who is travelling and who is not. It is one thing when in the same locale regarding who pays. Quite another when getting together requires serious money. An example is Harry, who moved and had a six-year long-distance relationship. He resented paying 100% of transportation costs for them both. No give and take financially. Eventually Harry thought about how in other areas of their relationship he was doing most of the work. Although relationships are rarely 50-50, there has to be somewhat of a balance.
People in long-distance relationships mention how getting together in short bursts is more like being in Disneyland. Fantasy vs reality. It is like being on a holiday, doing fun activities. While this may be fine for some, others want a relationship on a deeper level.
People brought up that they missed or ignored red flags in a long-distance relationship. They concentrated on having fun instead. They dealt with the cracks when these could not be ignored. A local relationship could have been patched up or ended sooner. Nip problems in the bud before they get huge. Your partner is not a mind reader, so bring them up.
Distance allows commitment to be gradual. One is more conscious of it and makes a choice instead of falling into it. You decide to be a couple and less likely to take the other person for granted. When dating in town, one can fall into a pattern. On Friday night we do this, on Sunday we go out for brunch. When living in different locales, one is not in a predictable schedule or rut.
Being apart forces one to build a stable foundation. The relationship may be moving at a slower pace. One man said there are less triggers to get to him in his long-distance relationship as are in past local ones. He also said that they met on different levels before initiating physical intimacy. One was getting to know each other spiritually. They did not jump into bed right away, as what happens when dating locally. He feels they really got to know each other first before having sex.
Tips for making it work
Communication is imperative. Be conscious of word choice. Are they expressing your intention and exact emotion? Easier to give a more ambiguous communication when not done in person. Emails and texting can seem blunt without vocal quality. What is helpful is keeping in touch with a short text “Thinking of you. Hope your day is great.”
Think about your level of trust. Are you the jealous type who wonders what the other person is doing or seeing when you are apart? This will complicate your situation.
Be aware of your own emotions. Other emotions can come through subconsciously with communication such as hostility or resentment. If you are angry or disappointed, then express this using “I” statements. “I feel hurt when you take several days to answer a text.” Be direct and not sarcastic.
If becoming serious, discuss where to live together. A US man with a girlfriend in Norway, advises finding neutral territory to settle. They are looking for a city which fits both of their needs. Others may want to move to a place where one of them lives, especially if that person has children. Others live in different locations indefinitely and spend time blocks together. One couple does six weeks together and six weeks apart. This is working fine. Discuss if there is a time table for when living together. Or, if commuting is desirable for you both.
Flexibility is a plus in a long-distance relationship. Here is an example with a happy ending. Matthew and Elizabeth became a couple when they attended university. Matthew went on to law school and Elizabeth studied to be an ophthalmologist in a different city. She had internships in various places during the summer months when Matthew was not attending law school. He stayed with her during those weeks for three years. They got together at other times during the year. The long-distance part of their relationship lasted for three years. They are blissfully married with two children. When a couple is committed to make it work, it can.
If you are considering moving away post-divorce and have children, be sure to bring this up with your Paradigm Family Law solicitor so this can be addressed in your divorce.
Paradigm Family Law have a team of experienced lawyers to help guide you through the process of divorce, just waiting to hear from you.
If you would like more details on this or want to discuss your family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact James, Frank, or Evelyn. Paradigm Family Law offers a free initial consultation and our fixed fee solutions cover financial proceedings from start to finish. You can call us on +44 (0)20 3633 2301 or email us to [email protected].
Wendi Schuller wrote The Global Guide To Divorce book and is a speaker in the divorce field. She has a series of children’s books with the third, Jack Jack The Cat Loose In London being released soon. She is a dating coach who specializes in helping people date after divorce.