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Advantages of long-distance relationships as an expat

18 November 2021

All relationships require work. You need to trust each other, support each other and enjoy spending time together. And, although long distance relationships can require more work, there are some benefits to being separated for a time.

If you are planning to go overseas on assignment and will need to give long-distance a try with your loved one, here are ten advantages associated with long-distance relationships:

While you are away from each other you are going to spend a lot of your time talking. It is important that you do. Communication is critical to the success of all relationships. Set up a regular calls often enough to maintain a connection but not so often you have nothing to talk about.

To maintain a successful relationship across the miles you must both be willing to:

  • Express yourself clearly
  • Listen

Both are important but at times might be challenging. It’s somewhat easier if you can agree on a form of communication that works best for your both. That might be texting, phone calls or video calls.

Occasionally check in with each other about:

  • Where you want the relationship to go?
  • How long are you happy to maintain a long-distance relationship?
  • How often you see each other in person?

 During your conversations try to be as kind but honest with each other as possible.

Long-distance relationships can help you build trust. While you are separated physically it is possible to remain emotionally very close. You can grow trust further by:

  • Making each other a priority while you are apart  
  • Communicating regularly
  • Being honest about feelings
  • Marking special occasions

Over time this trust will help you continue to invest in your relationship and to feel a connection no matter how physically apart you may be.

If you have not been together for long, distance may allow you to confirm your feelings for your partner. When you have time and space to yourself, do you miss them? The adage is that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and science seems to back this up. A study by Cornell University and the City University of Hong Kong showed those in long-distance relationships had more meaningful interactions leading to more intimacy. 
Although you are apart, the higher levels of communication between you means you are likely to get to know each other even more than you might if you were together. When you are with your partner it is easy to be distracted while you are together. As you talk, text or video call you are likely to cover topics you wouldn’t dream of if you spent all your time in the same place.  
If you are living apart, the time you do get to spend together becomes even more special. You are less likely to get stuck in the routine of life. Instead, you will value the time you have together by making an occasion of it and making wonderful memories that will become part of your story together.  
If you only get to see each other occasionally you are more likely to enjoy each other’s company when you do. When you are on holidays home, remember to make time for some alone time together. It can be easy to get caught up spending time with family and friends, but it is important you have some quality time together too. That doesn’t mean it is going to be plain sailing, there might be times when you encounter some relationship problems but if you can, work together to try to overcome them. 
A long distance relationship allows you to grow as your own person as well as within your relationship. Not only will you improve your career through your expat assignment but moving to another area means you will have to make new friends and establish yourself independently. This is a fantastic way to learn a lot about yourself outside of your relationship. Hopefully your partner will have had a similar opportunity while you have been away and you will return to your relationship with a better sense of self.  
A long-distance relationship allows more time to yourself to pursue career and personal goals. You don’t have to dedicate the same amount of time to your partner so you can focus on what you might like to achieve. Always wanted to learn a language, take up a sport or try amateur dramatics? Now may be the time! The best thing is, all these activities will help you meet people and make friends in your temporary home
Life apart is likely to help you become more patient with each other. Time differences, and workloads may mean you have to wait for a while longer than before for responses or to speak to each other.  

Last but by no means least, if you can make your relationship work long-distance, chances are it can survive anything.

If you are considering taking an opportunity to work and live overseas, don’t forget to take out international health insurance. It will allow you to access an expat assistance programme that offers expert counselling and wellbeing content should you need some extra support while managing your long distance relationship.