Expats can find themselves in long distance relationships for a variety of reasons. Career expats who weren’t married before they went overseas may have a significant other at home who can’t leave due to raising children or a career. An expat, who’s decided to take a year off to travel, may have left behind a less-than-significant other and is using this time to be open to new relationships. Or a two-career couple may have decided that living apart is the only way they can be together.
Whatever the reasons for the long distant nature of your relationship, here are a few tips that can enhance your relationship while you’re apart:
Tip # 1: Be clear about the boundaries of your relationship and establish them together.
The most important boundary involves whether you and your partner are in an exclusive, monogamous relationship or not. If not, then discuss whether you are both open to dating and meeting potential new partners. If one person wants an open relationship and the other does not, this is important information for you both to have going forward. You may want to evaluate your expectations of the other and this relationship.
If you are in a monogamous relationship and want it to remain that way, it is important to talk about the possibility of feelings arising for someone abroad and what you intend to do or not do about it. It’s important for the lines of communication to remain open for trust to be established and grow.
Tip #2: Make concrete plans to be together in the future, if you want to nurture the relationship.
It’s important that you both know when you will see each other and how often visits will happen. That will help give some structure and direction to the relationship. You can get creative about the time you spend together to maximize these visits. You might try meeting in different places that you’ve both wanted to visit, or spend some time just relaxing at a spa. If there are children involved, it’s important for the expat parent to spend some quality time with each child as well as with the whole family.
Tip #3: Keep each other abreast of what’s taking place in your lives.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but I mention it because it’s important for the growth of your relationship. It can sometimes be all too easy to let matters slide, or to feel like you don’t want to burden your long distance partner with details about your life. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you each know about the important and not-so-important events in your lives and can share them, this will help enrich you both and cause your relationship to flourish, even across great distances.
If you’d like to book free 30-minute session with Dhyan Summers, visit www.expatcounselingandcoaching.com and hit Book a Free Session.