If youâ€™ve lived through the ups and downs of long-distance relationship, you know that absence can make the heart grow fonderâ€¦but not always. LDRs can be hard, and when even your strongest of efforts seem to be failing, itâ€™s time to call in the experts. I spoke with Dr. Diana Kirschner, best-selling author and frequent guest psychologist on The Today Show, and Dr. Toni Coleman, an experienced psychotherapist and the founder of Consum-mate.com, and picked their brains for tips.
Kirschner says strategic relationship practices, such as â€œbook-endingâ€ your days with conversation, unexpected gifts and steamy Skype sessions can help to rekindle the LDR flame during the holiday season.
The first rule of every relationship — long-distance or not â€“ is to consistently communicate. Despite the distance, show your partner that you care and want to share in their experiences. Coleman, recommends mixing it up by texting, Skyping and calling to keep things interesting and not too predictable.
â€œText or call throughout the day so that you are in contact and talking about what is happening for each of you,â€ Kirschner said. â€œIt will feel like you are together that day.â€
With the holidays just around the corner, making your partner feel special is more important than ever. But in order to make you partner feel special, you have to know what he or she finds romantic and caring, Coleman says.
â€œWrite them a holiday-themed poem about missing them and wanting to be with them that really speaks to who they are and what matters to them- silly, funny, over-the-top romantic, etc.,â€ Coleman said. â€œThen read it to them through Skype.â€
If you really want to go the extra mile, Coleman suggests surprising your partner with their favorite meal and eating together for a Skype dinner date.
â€œHave a favorite meal delivered to your partner,â€ Coleman said. â€œItâ€™s easy to order out something locally from a restaurant near where they live. Then, set a romantic table for two — donâ€™t forget the candles — and make the same meal for yourself.â€
Kirschner suggests sending unexpected gifts, such as framed photos of the two of you, moreâ€¦ahem, intimateâ€¦photos of just you or gifts relating to your partnerâ€™s unique hobbies and interests. Coleman insists creativity is key when surprising that special someone, and recommends ideas such as sending caring messages for the 12 days of Christmas or 8 days of Hanukah that are personal to your relationship to show that you care during the holidays.
After exchanging holiday gifts and romantic reminders, the next step to a successful LDR during the holidays it to hang some mistletoe and keep the spark alive. No matter what challenges exist â€“ whether that be time differences or busy schedules â€“ Coleman says the relationship must be a priority in order to make things work.
â€œAgreeing on specific times you can meet virtually â€“ and making good use of that time is important,â€ Coleman said. â€œYou can have sexy conversations and talk about future plans to get your partnerâ€™s imagination fired up and keep you in his or her thoughts long after youâ€™ve signed off.â€
Kirschner also recommends steamy Skype sessions (thank god for video chat!) and says the biggest donâ€™t when it comes to long-distance relationships is â€œlack of connecting.â€
â€œ[Itâ€™s important to] realize that all relationships have spells where the partners feel in a funk,â€ Kirschner said.Â â€œMake a special effort to connect in a new saucy way via text, phone or Skype.â€Â