How to Build Trust in Long Distance Relationship

Basically, a relationship is like a banana: the more you peel, the more you will taste the sweetness. This is especially true for long-distance relationships. These relationships take patience, communication, endurance, commitment, and above all, trust. When you can’t see your partner every day or even every week, it’s important to trust in your love and the strength of your relationship to keep you both happy and healthy.

Part One

Building Trust

  1. Get to know your partner well.

You need to be confident in your knowledge of and love for your partner in order to build a relationship that you can both believe in. Learn how to understand your partner, how to interpret what she says and pick out her emotional states. You should be able to tell when something’s bothering her, and know what makes her feel better.

● Ask each other questions.

Ask about what your partner likes and dislikes, what she wants to do in the next year or five years, where she’s been, who her friends are — anything can spark a story and get a great conversation going. Turn this into a game by keeping track of how many questions you ask, and try to reach 1000 first.

● Play games to get to know each other.

To play Two Truths and a Lie, tell your partner two true things and one false thing about yourself, and have her guess which is the lie. Or make a quiz about yourself and send it to her. Have her do the same, and compete to get the most answers right.

● Use multiple methods of communication.

Talking on the phone is great for certain kinds of conversations. Email encourages more thoughtful discussions of weightier topics, while texting is great for a quick, light-hearted chat. Use more than one method of communication to get to know all sides of your partner.

2. Commit to the relationship.

Discuss topics like what you want to get out of the relationship and where you see it going. Commit to the trust and communication that sustain a long-distance relationship. Understand the difficulties you will face and talk about them with your partner, but at the end of the day, if the relationship is going to work, you both need to fully dedicate yourselves to it, without hesitation.

3. Be reliable.

Encourage your partner to trust you by always proving yourself worthy of her trust. Follow through on your promises, even the small ones like calling her at a specific time or responding to a message. If you ever find that you can’t follow through on a promise, have a very good reason why, explain this to her, and ask for — don’t demand — her forgiveness.

Part Two

Maintaining Trust

1.) Talk to your partner often.

It’s hard to believe in a relationship when you never talk to your partner, and it’s hard to build a relationship when you don’t know what’s going on in your partner’s life. Make sure you talk often so that you can participate in her life, and you can feel her presence in yours. Regular communication is the key to sustaining any relationship, but this is especially true for long-distance ones.

2.) Be open with your partner.

Honest and open communication is just as important as talking often. If something is worrying you, your partner should be the first to know. If she’s feeling upset or frustrated, she should be comfortable opening up to you. If you are consistently open with your partner, she will learn to trust what you say and will feel more comfortable in the relationship. Be completely honest with your partner and trust that she will with you.

3.) Get to know your partner’s friends and family.

This will allow you to better understand your partner’s daily life, and being friendly with the people in her life can help both of you feel more involved with each other. Her friends will also appreciate the chance to get to know the person taking up so much of her time and energy. This increased involvement with your partner will help you build trust in your relationship.

4.) Give your partner space.

Although you may want to spend every moment of every day talking with her, recognize that she needs time and space to live her own life. Don’t pressure her to give you more of her time and energy than she’s comfortable with. Trust that she will come to you when she needs to, and allow her the space to be her own person within your relationship.

● Finding the right balance between personal space and regular communication is perhaps the hardest part of a long-term relationship — and the balance is different for every couple. Experiment and check in with each other regularly to see what works and what doesn’t. Work together to find a balance that lets you both be as happy and as healthy as possible.

5.) Check in with your partner regularly.

Discuss how you both feel about how your relationship is going. Talk about whether you feel happy, comfortable, and confident in the relationship, and what each of you could do to make it even better. If one of you feels dissatisfied for any reason, discuss the problem and work together to figure out a solution that you’re both comfortable with. Recommit to your partner and the relationship, taking into account whatever changes, if any, you’ve discussed.

● Regular check-ins give you a way to make changes to the relationship or even end with mutual understanding and without unnecessary pain, it if and when that becomes necessary. Though it may seem tedious, pessimistic, or even silly, long-distance relationships are a lot of work and this is a good way to make sure it’s still working for both of you.

6.) Assume good intentions.

Your partner will likely do or say something that might confuse or alarm you. She might not return a call, or she might make a snide or offensive comment when talking to you. Don’t jump to conclusions about her intentions when this happens — assuming that she’s hiding something or deliberately antagonizing you is a great way to insult her and damage your relationship. Instead, assume that there’s a perfectly valid, reasonable explanation for whatever she did, and ask to her about it the next time you talk. Always assuming good intentions will foster trust and good feeling, and is crucial in sustaining a long-distance relationship.

Part Three

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

1.) Never accuse your partner of being unfaithful.

This cannot be stressed enough. A long-distance relationship, even more so than any other relationship, is predicated on mutual trust, and accusing your partner of cheating, or even of wanting to cheat, destroys that trust on both sides of the relationship. Never assume that your partner has been unfaithful, and never confront him or her about it. If you are open with each other and committed to your relationship, she will confess any infidelity to you, and then you can deal with it in a healthy and positive way. If you accuse him or her, you introduce suspicion into both sides of the relationship, ultimately and irreparably damaging it.

2.) Address disagreements calmly and rationally.

As with any relationship, it’s inevitable that you will at some point get annoyed or angry at each other. When this happens, address the conflict calmly. Discuss your disagreement. Make an effort to understand her side, and explain to him or her how you feel. Work together to come up with a solution, and make sure you’re both happy with the resolution. Regard disagreements as an opportunity to build up your relationship, rather than something that could tear it apart.

3.) Think about the sacrifice you’re both making.

Understand that a long-distance relationship is difficult for both of you and requires a lot of work and effort, when there are many other things you could be doing with that time and energy. If your partner is worth the sacrifice, you should be happy to make it. But don’t let the relationship consume your life. You need time to devote to work, school, family, and your social life apart from your relationship. If it feels like you aren’t able to give enough time to your other friends and activities, it may be time to work with your partner to reevaluate your relationship.

4.) Expand your conversations to keep them from getting boring.

If the only thing you talk about is what you did that day, you’re bound to get bored pretty fast, and this can quickly take the heat out of your relationship. Expand your conversations by asking questions, teaching your partner about something new you’re learning, discussing books and movies you’ve enjoyed, or playing a game together.

● Go on virtual dates. Watch a movie together online, play a MMORPG or other online game together, or eat the same meal while on the phone together. This can simulate the shared experience that you get from dating in-person, and this will help you build your conversations.

● Take an online class together. This will stimulate conversation and challenge yourselves intellectually, which can add new energy to the relationship.
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● Go back to the beginning of your relationship, where you were just getting to know each other. Ask the same kinds of questions, and focus on learning new things about your partner. There will always be things about her that you don’t know, and this can be a great way to renew your interest in the relationship.

5.) Plan your next visit.

Even if you can’t see each other often, always have a place and date set for the next visit. This will give you both something to look forward to. It can guide your relationship and help you move forward together without necessarily entailing definite long-term plans. Make the most out of your visits, even if they are rare, and always be thinking about the next one.

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