Making a long distance relationship work

By Faeza
12 August 2016

Worried writes:

What is your take on long distance relationships? My boyfriend of three years has just been offered a position in Cape Town and we are based in Durban. It is a very lucrative position which will boost his career. I know that it would be very selfish of me to ask him to stay for the sake of our relationship. The problem is: he hasn’t even asked me if I would be willing to relocate with him. Even if he did, I couldn’t possibly do it. My entire family and friends are in Durban. So, can our relationship survive the long distance? WORRIED

I am a great believer in love conquering all and being stronger than all human boundaries. So yes, long distance relationships can and do work. It is up to you to make it work. But once the decision has been made, you can conquer any obstacle. However, I need to caution you.


First of all, you are obviously concerned that he didn’t even try to ask you to move with him. The truth is, there could be any number of reasons, why he didn’t. Maybe he knows you enough to know that if he asked you, and you said no, it would leave both of you in an awkward position. Him regretting asking you at all, and you feeling bad for rejecting him? You know him better than I do.


I’ll be honest with you. It is always so much easier when a relationship starts as a long distance one from conception. There isn’t much adjusting to be made. This is not so, in your case. You began the relationship living close to one another, seeing one another all the time. There will have to be a lot of adjustments made, to get used to the idea of only seeing each other once in a while. You will need to make commitments and stick to them.

There are many things that you will need to commit to right now, before he leaves, then stick to them once he has gone. Many people believe that long distance relationships are never going to work out. Your family may discourage it, and some of your best friends may advise you not to do it, because it may end in heartbreak. But the truth is, many ‘normal’ relationships also end in heartbreak. The future is never guaranteed. Nobody says it is going to be easy – the extra distance makes many things hard to achieve. Things could get complicated, and you could get sad and lonely at times.


But the extra distance also makes the simplest things the sweetest; being able to hold the other person’s hand, eating together at the same table, feeling each other’s touch and taking a walk together. These small wishes could suddenly mean so much more in a long distance relationship. A long distance relationship may be tough but it has its own surprises too. You will learn to cherish every moment that you share, every time you visit one another.


To keep your love alive and strong and make your long distance relationship work, here are some tips: Make a concerted effort to stay in touch and have a routine. Just make the effort to at least speak in the morning, during the day and before you go to sleep. View this as an opportunity. If you plan to spend the rest of your lives together, then this minor separation is a great test of your relationship’s longevity.

Set ground rules and discuss expectations. Are you allowed to go on dates with other people? Have friends of the opposite sex? Create a schedule of how often you will visit one another. Once again, this speaks to each other’s expectations. Stay updated on what is happening in each other’s lives. Just try to keep each other updated. Use social media.


This is also an opportunity to step out of your comfort zones a little. Sexual tension can be a problem in such a relationship. So many couples explore options like sexting or video calling while self pleasuring. Find creative ways to keep the sexual fires burning and to keep temptation at bay. Speaking of which…try avoiding situations that can lead you to temptations. The moment you start finding yourselves getting close to and spending more and more time with a person of the opposite sex, no matter how platonic the friendship, be wary of this, as it might open the door to ‘a shoulder to cry on’ or more accurately ‘a crotch to land on’. Stay away from such potentially tempting situations.