Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have become a worldwide sensation following the announcement of their relationship last year, with fans entirely awestruck by the fairy tale romance of a Canadian actress who found herself within the realms of royalty. Their iconic power couple status is set to rise following the recent announcement of their engagement, as we prepare to welcome a new kind of Duchess into our famed monarchy.
However, this blossoming relationship – despite undisputable fame, money and power – has experienced its fair share of tests; for example, in a report released by the Communications Secretary at Buckingham Palace, it was claimed that ‘Meghan Markle has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment’. Meanwhile, the couple were separated by around 3,600 miles as the actress filmed in her home country of Canada and Harry continued to fulfil his royal duties in London for several months.
The notorious struggles which come with maintaining a long-distance relationship are commonplace for many couples; the pressure of regular phone calls, organising time together were possible and retaining feelings of excitement are often too much for many, causing severe undue stress. It has recently been reported that 40% of couples living far apart do not last, highlighting the fragility of long-distance relationships and emphasising the need for the careful nurturance of oneself and our significant other during more difficult periods.
Every couple, and individual, will demonstrate their own unique needs and preferences. These are commonly referred to as the five ‘languages of love’, as identified and labelled by Gary Chapman in his book. These are the five ways in which different individuals show affection to a partner because they feel that is the best way to show love. These are: physical touch, affirmation (saying “I love you”), quality time, acts of service and the giving of gifts. In order to maintain excitement and longevity within a long-distance relationship, it is important to recognise both what you, and your partner, desire from the other.
Qualified life coach and motivational speaker, Ben Edwards, uses this theory to highlight several key tips to both making a long-distance relationship work. He feels it is equally as important to build confidence when we find ourselves on our own as we cannot expect to flourish as a couple, if we are incapable of fulfilling our own potential independently.
With Ben’s fundamental ethos incorporating the premise of honesty, motivation and respect, his insight has proven to be invaluable for many. As proven by Harry and Meghan’s recent engagement announcement, it is possible to maintain a functional long-distance relationship with a little help along the way to ensure both individuals are entirely satisfied and appreciated.
See the distance as an opportunity:
It has been suggested that in order to live together, you first need to learn how to live apart. It is vital to view this time as a learning journey; maintaining a positive perspective and the belief that the experience will consequently promote a stronger bond reaps reward later. Take this time to pursue your passions, spend time with friends and family and miss one another – distance can make the heart grow fonder.
Set ground rules to manage your expectations:
Both individuals need to be clear and consistent with regards to what is expected from one another; both in terms of regularity in contact, exclusivity within the relationship, travel and more – take the time to understand which language of love your partner speaks. Similarly, it is important that neither party feels uncomfortable in raising any concerns they may have. It is highly unlikely that plans will persistently operate seamlessly – tackling this with honesty and open communication is key to ensuring satisfaction within a long-distance relationship.
Try to communicate regularly and creatively:
Sustaining passion in a long-distance relationship is certainly difficult, particularly when considering the inherent lack of direct contact. Becoming repetitive in communication eliminates the spontaneous and genuine nature of interactions, it is therefore important to be creative and consider new means of communicating. Send each other pictures, audio clips, short videos, letters or gifts where possible. By making this extra effort, your partner will feel appreciated and better attended to.
Similarly, it is important to not over-communicate; it is unwise to be ‘clingy’, possessive or jealous and distance should not provide an excuse for such otherwise unacceptable behaviour. While many couples believe they need to overcompensate for the distance by interacting more, this is not the case. In this instance less is definitely more, as a lack of excess will promote respect and more detailed, interesting conversations in the long term.