“It’s over!” – the screen flashed.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I couldn’t believe one of my most precious relationships was coming to an end- three years after
I gave it my all, over a whatsapp message. I had to ask repeatedly if he was serious. He said, “yes” every single time.
We have had fights before but things felt different this time. He’s not somebody to be angered easily, in fact he is super calm and understanding in most situations.
In the rare moments when he does get angry it usually takes some time for it to subside before he messages in the morning. This time he didn’t…
Five years later when I sit to pen this down, I can’t but remember the highs and lows we have been through. The once in a blue moon occasions of- taking a break was the toughest.
On our way, we learned a lot! and here I am, penning down my learnings on- “How to deal with a long-distance relationship breakup.”
What is a breakup?
Oxford describes breakup as, “the end of a relationship.”
But, I believe breakup is much more than that. A breakup is a transition from one way of ‘being’ to another.
It is letting go of something that was dear to you for their good, yours or both.
It is looking at life in a different light and handling emotions in a fashion that you might not be used to.
It is a daunting task of not letting the windstorm of emotions come in the way of the life that you want.
No matter the stage, the duration, the reason, the circumstances, or complications; to deal with a breakup with anybody in your life, you need to take a step back and understand what is happening and how you can best deal with it.
What are the reasons for a breakup in a long-distance relationship? And how to fix them.
I know when emotions become overwhelming it becomes impossible to dig out the underlying issues.
So let’s take a look at some of the most common problems in a long-distance relationships:
1. Running out of topics
Ever felt that you have completely run out of things to discuss with your partner in a long distance relationship? No matter how much you have been trying you are getting stuck at “How was your day?” or “What did you have for dinner?”
This is one of the most common problems that all long distance relations have to go through at some point in time but can be the starting of a full blown crisis.
Don’t talk just because you think you should! Instead let the conversations flow. These “dry spans” come in phases. There would be days when you would talk about what clothes you are wearing to what the bald uncle was doing in the metro. And there would be days when you will have practically nothing to say. ACCEPT THIS!
Additionally, to make this a little more interesting you could check this list of amazing conversation topics to make the conversations a bit more fun.
2. Talking too much
Like most things in life the wrong steps you take in a relationship are often revealed only in hindsight. The damage is already done. You carry a boulder on your shoulder that’s called REGRETS!
The most common way to do this in a LDR is to spend every minute to spare by thinking/ talking/ chatting with your other half. Doing this might not hurt you in the short run but the lack of balance will surely hurt you in the long run.
Distance can sometimes bring people a little too close- too fast. That’s because when you don’t have anything but words to share, you talk about pretty much everything which could lead you to make decisions in a haste, without considering other aspects.
Go at a speed that wouldn’t hurt when a speed breaker comes. Make your partner a part of your life and not the other way round. Balance your personal and couple time. Make sure you spend enough energy, effort, and time on other important things in life like friends, family, fitness, fun, and career.
3. Growing apart
Like they say, “the only constant in the world is changing.” When people move into a long-distance relationship a segment of their lives is paused or changes form but the rest of life is very well moving. You could have experiences and explorations about yourself that change you. This is true for your partner too.
It is important to understand at this point that many of these changes will be permanent and can bring about compatibility issues in the relationship. In my opinion this is one of the trickiest ones to deal because there isn’t essentially anything wrong here.
The biggest weapon in your arsenal at this point of time is COMMUNICATION. Share your experiences and try to help your partner grow with you. Find ways to do things that you enjoy together- regular visits, online dates, surprises and everything else that helps.
There are chances that none of these work and you come to an agreement that a break is in fact needed. To give yourselves a chance to recover, make a promise to keep this temporary and make genuine attempts to close the gap.
4. Taking things for granted
The couples who have stayed in a long distance relationship for a long time often start taking things casually. The surprises, gifts, romantic messages, call durations everything reduces. There are no in-depth conversations and only superficial “how was your day” talks.
Have more heart to heart conversations to start feeling the heat again. Involve having fun in the things that you do together. Spice things up a little if you can (you know what I mean). Try making each other feel special and close again. Remind each other what made you fall in love and why both of you deserve to be fought for.
5. Feeling insecure
We all feel insecure, inadequate, threatened or fearful at some point in our relationships. We all hit low points when we expect our people to provide encouragement and support. This is a very basic expectation.
However, chronic insecurity can lead to much bigger problems. It can cause you to seek comfort and reassurance in a frequency that is not sustainable for your partner. Insecurity can also take the shape of jealousy, unrealistic demands, making accusations and ultimately make you look very needy. Not fixing it is sure to test your partners to their limits and things can get very complicated.
Firstly, you should talk to your partner about your thoughts. Giving them a clear picture of your situation will give them a chance to deal with it from their end and give you the reassurance you need. If the situation persists you need to regain your self confidence.
It’s very difficult to express your feelings over messages or calls. There’s always an uncertainty of not able to convey your thoughts and feelings in the right manner. And when there’s distance in all of this, it gets tougher. Often at times an argument starts with miscommunication. That’s when two people are not on the same page.
Whenever you feel that your partner misunderstood you, take a moment and explain it to them what you meant instead of getting into a heated argument. Never leave room for a misunderstanding to grow. Always try to clarify and make things fall on the same page for both of you. Take a mental note of what exactly went wrong and where so that you can convey it better the next time.
7. Becoming possessive
It’s okay to be a little possessive but remember, excess of anything is poison. Possessiveness can make your partner want to get rid of your company. When you don’t have faith in your partner and the relationship, you’ll soon be standing on the first step of your long distance relationship break up.
Remember, nobody wants a partner with a controlling nature. Trust your partner. It’s always best to tell your partner about your concerns and overcome your fears. Have a constructive conversation about what makes you feel uncomfortable and listen to your partner too. One possible solution to this problem is you know your partner’s close friends circle well enough to feel comfortable and trust them.
Several researches and my own experience suggest that cheating is not uncommon in relationships, more so when in a LDR. The distance makes it easier to hide things, a lot of intimacy needs are not fulfilled and there could be other distractions too but none of these are reasons that justify cheating.
While I don’t suggest spying, being cautious doesn’t harm much. Keep your eyes open and do not believe everything your partner says. If possible talk to them about this so they can take corrective measures to your insecurity. But in case you find that your partner is cheating on you show them how disappointed you are and what would be your expectations if the relationship has to continue. MAKE IT VERY VERY CLEAR. In the end, choose the course of action very cautiously because those who cheat could cheat again. You have to be sure that you’re not at the receiving end of this behavior.
How to deal with a long distance breakup?
It’s difficult to deal with breakups of any kind.
But it’s tougher when your relationship ends without a proper last meeting.
Everyone has their own way to deal with this specific problem but if in case you’re feeling stuck, here’s a suggestion for you – ACCEPT your emotions. It’s okay to feel sad and broken, you need not act as if everything is just fine. Once you start acknowledging how you feel, you’ll be able to deal with those feelings in a better way.
Catch up with your friends and family. It’s fine to spend some alone time and grieve but it’s also important that you surround yourself with some positivity and good vibes. Most importantly, know that you’re not alone. If you can’t ask for someone’s help to get you through this rough patch, it’s fine, you can just start spending time with them and it’ll start making you feel better. Remember, it’s not a day’s work, it is a constant process. So take it as one day at a time, and soon enough you’ll know you’ve overcome this phase.
Rediscover yourself, do the things you always wanted to. This is your time, you can plan it as you like and there’s nobody to make you reconsider your decisions.
How to implement- An example
They are always changing.
As partners who have ‘committed’ to staying loyal and being pillars of strength to each other, our goals should be to constantly LEVEL UP the love, care and bonding game.
To implement these suggestions follow these steps:
Step 1: Try to figure out what the underlying problem(s) are in your relationship
Step 2: Once you have a fair enough idea of what ‘could’ be the problems you’re dealing with, talk to your partner about what you’ve figured out.
Step 3: Clearly state your expectations with regards to the changes you are making. Also tell them what they should expect from you.
Step 4: Start implementing these changes in your lives. It might be difficult in the beginning. DO NOT QUIT. These are psychological changes you’re trying to bring. Be patient and be at it.
Step 5: When you do have breakdowns and things don’t go as per plan. STOP! RELAX! And TAKE CORRECTIVE MEASURES! Do not go “SPARTAAAAA” on them.
The rom-com movies set wrong expectations for people like you and me. The running in circles, dancing and most of all happy endings are a rare scene!
Relationships are tough and when in a long distance relationship- you better have your seatbelts and your helmets on. It takes far more strength to love somebody and keep hold on when things are rough.
But, once you are through these tough phases, you appear stronger on the other side.
And in that journey, I hope, we prove to be the thoughtful companions we aim to be for you.