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Long-Distance Relationships: Whether Short- or Long-Term, What You Need to Know to...

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  • Long-Distance Relationships: Whether Short- or Long-Term, What You Need to Know to...

    Long-Distance Relationships: Whether Short- or Long-Term, What You Need to Know to Make Them Work

    An estimated 7 million couples in the United States live apart from their partners, according to the Institute on Long Distance Relationships (ILDR), a research partnership that s studying long-distance couples. Whether due to military duty, attending separate schools, different career paths or other life scenarios that cause people to change their locale, the number of long-distance couples is growing, even among those who are married.

    One of the most common questions people ask when it comes to long-distance relationships, according to psychologist Greg Guldner, founder of ILDR, is,Do they work?

    In response, Guldner has good news and bad news. The good news? Long-distance relationships appear to be just as maintainable as any relationship. However, Guldner points out that staying together isn t always the best choice, particularly when one partner feels unsatisfied or trapped.

    The majority of studies show no greater risk of a long distance relationship breaking up than any other relationship In our study we compared those in long distance relationships with those in geographically close relationships. We looked at relationship satisfaction, commitment, intimacy, and trust. We found that on all these measures the two groups were identical,Guldner said.

    That said, if you are currently in, or are considering, a long-distance relationship, there s no reason it can t work out, but there are some important things you need to consider.

    Essential Information for Anyone Involved in a Long-Distance Relationship

    1. Set up Ground Rules. In many cases, what works for your relationship will be different from what works for anyone else s (such as how often to visit each other or talk on the phone). However, one thing that most every long-distance couple must do to succeed is set ground rules about whether you ll date other people or not.

    Guldner s studies found that couples who never developed ground rules about dating others were more than twice as likely to break up than those who did. In fact, couples with no ground rules had close to a 70 percent chance of breaking up over six months!

    2. Try Not to Worry About Your Partner Cheating.

    It s common for couples that are apart to worry about their partner cheating. However, according to Guldner, Studies showed that couples in long distance relationships had no greater risk of having an affair than geographically close couples.They do, however, tend to worry about them more.

    If you find yourself worrying excessively about your partner cheating, The Sedona Method is a do-it-yourself system that will show you and your partner how to free yourselves from negative thoughts and communication patterns -- and truly set you free from worry. The Method also works to release the other negative feelings that can sometimes arise from a long-distance relationship, like loneliness, so that you can feel fulfilled, close to and at peace with your partner, even when he or she is physically far away.

    3. Pick up a pen and paper. Interestingly, while studies have found that how often couples call or visit does not impact the outcome of the relationship, Guldner says that writing letters to one another does make a big difference. So grab a pen, some stationary, and maybe a thesaurus, and let your heart pour out on paper! (And, no, e-mail does not count.)
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