Sunday, March 3, 2013

Serious Topics

One fallacy of communication in a long distance relationship can be the lack of discussion concerning serious topics. In general, as compared to geographically close couples, long distance couples communicate in a manner to accentuate positive affect and minimize differences. Long distance couples are more likely to have greater topic and conflict avoidance, and most importantly, less discussion of serious pre-marital questions. (Stafford, Laura “Geographic Distance and Communication During Courtship,” (2010) Communication Research, vol. 37 no. 2)

One thing Susie and I do that is helpful to continue building our relationship even while in different parts of the country is to still dig into the important topics that can be harder to bring up to each other. Often couples, especially those in long distance relationships, will fall into the habit of talking about superfluous things that don't delve into the meat of the relationship. Though this is the easier route, it is necessary to continue to do the required work throughout the long distance relationship that will facilitate a deeper connection.

Always bring up any issue or problem that is on your mind. If you don't, the other person will be in the dark, posing the potential for conflict in the future. Your significant other is not involved in your daily life as much as a non-distance partner would be and may have less insight into these topics. You need to actively bring up these discussions that are so important in building and maintaining a close relationship.

Another obvious point is that your significant other, though they may know you well, is not a mind reader. Often Susie knows what I'm thinking or what I'm about to say. This comes with knowing each other well, but that does not mean that she knows all the time. Often when I bring up a certain problem I've been having, she had no idea it was even on my mind. An example of this is when Susie and I were brainstorming potential problems for when we move in together. She did not know that I thought our falling asleep methods could be an issue (she likes to fall asleep with the TV on, and I do not) and also that I would not have a problem with her leaving the dishes in a sink for a few days (I don't mind doing them when she is tired or busy). These things need to be brought up now so we would be better prepared for when the issues arise.

One exciting and beneficial method we use to keep each other expressing ourselves and being honest with each other is to play the question game. In this game, the rules are simple:

  1. Be honest, and 
  2. You both answer any question either one of you asks. 

We do this game often (especially on long car rides to and from the airport...) and it helps us maintain the constant openness and honesty. This promotes trust, brings up interesting topics, and will have us talking about some really important "meat" that would have otherwise fallen through the cracks. As long as you both are valiantly trying to be genuine and honest with each other, your relationship will continue to bloom and ultimately you will grow closer as the time you will be reunited also gets closer. 165 days remaining.

If you have trouble coming up with questions, try this awesome kindle book!

201 Great Discussion Questions For Couples In Long Distance Relationships (affiliate link)

It can actually help your relationship! 

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