Long distance relationships are difficult. Every relationship requires trust, flexibility, and confidence in yourself and your partner, among many other elements. Long distance makes navigating a relationship even more challenging. All relationships are complex and while adding distance can be a beautiful thing because it forces each of you to foster your independence separate of each other, it also adds extra strain on all of the “normal” aspects of every relationship.
When you are in any romantic relationship it is essential to establish goals, both short term and long term. If you are in a position where your relationship has ended, continue reading below to help you determine your next steps toward improving your situation.
- 1 First, ask yourself a set of questions:
- 2 Once you have the answers to these questions, ask yourself the following:
- 3 Ask yourself a final question:
- 4 Give yourself time to ponder over these questions
- 5 If he is willing to work things out or at least talk about it
- 6 If your ex is not willing to talk about it
First, ask yourself a set of questions:
If you just ended a long-term relationship, now is the time if you haven’t already to ask yourself the following questions: Are you looking to get married eventually? Are you seeking to maintain a relationship without marriage? Are you looking for an open relationship? Are you looking for a fling? Do you need time by yourself? What are you goals? What are you boundaries? What are your expectations of the person you’re with? Can you see yourself with this person long term and do you want to? In a long distance relationship, you have to add on – are you wiling to move to where they are? Are they willing to move to where you are? Think about the relationship that just ended. While I am sure emotions are running high, it is important for you to consider all of these aspects and how they pertain to your most recent relationship to see if it is feasible for you to try to fix it.
Related article: What you need to know to get him back now
Once you have the answers to these questions, ask yourself the following:
What were the circumstances that lead to the break up? Is it because of the distance itself? Is it trust? Is it because you’re fighting? Is it because you want different things? Is it because you both have grown separately? What is the cause?
Ask yourself a final question:
Once you have more clarity to the questions above, and once you have been able to identify the causes of where the relationship went wrong, the final question is: is this fixable?
Give yourself time to ponder over these questions
In the emotion of it all, it is hard to think clearly. It really is true that time heals all wounds and you need the time to gather your thoughts and emotions to decide what to do. If the relationship has realistic potential in terms of meeting your needs and long-term goals, the next question is: is your ex willing to talk it out?
If he is willing to work things out or at least talk about it
You both have to identify what went wrong and what the concrete (and again, realistic) steps are each of you can take to improve those aspects. Each of you should make a list of the elements of your relationship that were working well and the elements that need improvement. What caused it to end? Commitment? Trust? Separate lives? The distance itself? Each of you must identify the areas that are important to you that need improvement and communicate those factors with each other. Keep in mind that you may each have different perspectives of what went well and what did not. Decide together if the aspects that need changing are truly changeable. A relationship takes teamwork and dedication. Are you both willing and able?
If your ex is not willing to talk about it
You have to accept that he is not in a position to reconsider his choice, at least not now. If this is your situation, the best thing you can do is respect his wishes and space. Communicate your love and care for him and let him know you want to try to work things out, but do not insist on that happening right now and do not disregard his feelings because you will push him further away. Give him some time and space to come around to it on his own. He needs and deserves his own time to reflect on his own needs. Plus, giving him time and space is beneficial for you because it gives him an opportunity to miss you. However, if he has his mind made up there is nothing you can do to change it. Remember that if someone does not want you and is not willing to work it our or fight for the relationship, this is not someone you want in your life. Every relationship requires two people, effort on both ends, care and nourishment on both ends. If you try to maintain a relationship where you are carrying all of the weight, it will burn you out and everyone involved will be left hurt and unhappy. If you are finding yourself in this situation now, it is best to cut your losses here and begin your journey of healing now, instead of down the road.
As you explore this difficult time, remember that habits can change. You can identify ways you can communicate your needs, communicate better in general, focus on positives, share concerns and emotions and thoughts. You can be mindful of spending more quality time if you feel that is the issue, or you can work on building trust. But, you cannot change character or the essence of who someone is. If you are trying to change your ex or if he is trying to change you, it is not going to work. Allow yourself enough time to gather your thoughts and emotions to make a decision that is in the best interest of both of you.
Suzanne is a certified counselor with 6 years of experience working with individuals of diverse backgrounds and age groups. In addition to working full time as a School Counselor servicing students ages K-12, Suzanne began a side business in 2014 geared toward providing relationship and individual counseling services for adult clientele. She has worked with an extensive range of individuals helping them gain insight, foster changes, and continue to grow. She has acquired a wealth of information about relationships through her professional and personal endeavors and finds great value in sharing what she has learned.