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The Emotional Stages of Long Distance Relationships

Photo by Jasmine Wallace Carter

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Human relationships are as complicated as anything can be; whether it’s a platonic relationship between people of the opposite sex, a BFF-type relationship, a relationship between siblings, or a romantic relationship, they can all get out of control. But of all the different types of human relationships, one of the easiest to spiral out of control is a romantic long-distance relationship.

Despite LDR being a challenging type of relationship, most of us have lived and may still have to live through it at some point in our lives. For this reason, I’ve set out to name the stages involved and how you may avoid common mistakes.

Stage One: Apprehension

Apprehension is likely going to be the first feeling you get when the idea of your man going away for a long time sinks in, and you start to think of all the things that could go wrong. You begin to feel that disturbing knot in your gut that usually signifies a bad omen, but as the supportive girlfriend/wife you are, you put on a smiling face and say, “We got this baby!” but you don’t “got it” and you know.

The only way to deal with this phase is to reminisce just how far you’ve come on your love journey and how much you are in love. Do this until the apprehension fades away.

Stage Two: Love Conquers All

Strengthened by memories of your personal love story and the renewed promise of love that is common before a long separation between spouses, you look forward to the coming weeks or months with hope and an unshakable belief. He moves, and you both can’t have enough of each other, and you want to talk for hours all day, every day.

This is the best part of a LDR, and you should keep it going. Try to build your conversations around highly intimate subjects like goals and challenges, as these topics encourage stronger connections.

Stage Three: Loneliness is the Enemy

Nothing gets our feelings all mixed up as loneliness. All of a sudden, you begin to feel his absence a lot, miss his smell and all. At this point, you may find yourself demanding a lot more time than he can offer, and may start contemplating going all the way out there to hook up with your man.

To avoid getting too lonely, you should start a new hobby, learn a new skill, or get involved with some outdoor activity or something, just don’t entertain the enemy.

Stage Four: Doubts

Okay so he posts pictures of a milestone at his new job, and you notice a particular girl in all the pictures, or you call him and hear a woman’s voice in the background, or he seems to be having a good time and having less time for you, and now the doubts set in. You begin to wonder why you’re stressing over one person in the first place. This is a particularly testing phase, most especially in dating relationships with weaker bonds.

At this stage, what you need is a constant reminder of the trust you share, and you need to find a personal reason to continue. Otherwise, this is the beginning of the end.

Stage Five: The Big Decision

After a while at it, all that you’re left with is your decision. Now you’ve been through the highs and lows associated with LDR, and you can tell if it’s for you or not. If it’s a LDR with no end in sight to the distance between you both, at this point, it’s a natural death. But if the period apart is specific, you might never get to this stage, or if it does, it won’t be an easy choice to make.

If you want to go-on, you might want to read a bit more on how to manage this kind of relationship.

Through all the stages of a long-distance relationship, your best hope of success is trust. Without trust, there’s no hope for success.

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