Long-distance relationships can be difficult to manage but not impossible. Sometimes, we find ourselves becoming more demanding of our partner's time and attention because of the distance and their physical absence. While this is understandable, nothing breaks a relationship faster than codependency.
What is codependency?
Codependency is a state where one partner relies excessively on the other for their physical, emotional, and mental comfort. The dependency becomes so severe that the co-dependent partner feels ignored when the other person seeks some time for themselves. There is often no acknowledgment of boundaries in the relationship, and this is what makes the relationship more vulnerable to having mixed feelings.
While not all long-distance relationships experience codependency, quite a few do. There are ways to address this situation. In this blog post, we explore a few ways you can prevent your long-distance relationship from becoming codependent, and the two of you can forge a loving and strong relationship.
Five ways to have a healthy long-distance relationship
1. Have faith in your relationship
One of the main reasons a person may start to become co-dependent is their lack of faith in the relationship. It is human to feel worried about whether your long-distance relationship will last or not. But overthinking your relationship and building non-existent worries in your mind can cause you to cling to your partner or exhibit needy behavior. It's important to trust your partner and your ability to nurture your relationship through distance.
2. Consciously communicate and actively listen
One thing that can get rid of any unwarranted worries or co-dependencies about your relationship is communication and active listening. When you and your partner are in a long-distance relationship, it is very important to be open and upfront about everything. Being open and honest about how your day went and what you need from each other can help you iron out any concerns. The most important thing here is to not judge but listen and respond mindfully to the needs expressed by your partner.
3. Build a social scene that's just yours – and don't feel guilty about it
Many couples feel guilty about having friends outside their relationship. They may feel like they're emotionally cheating on their partners by seeking their emotional fulfillment and mental stimulation from friends. But nothing is further from the truth.
In reality, it's very important for people in all types of relationships (and not just long-distance relationships) to have friends outside their partnership. Your friends can provide you with the social stimulation and emotional comfort you need. This will ensure you don't unnecessarily make demands of your partner, resulting in a codependent relationship.
4. Re-establish a relationship with yourself
Humans are social creatures, and many of us find it difficult to enjoy our own company. But it is important for you to learn how to be independent and self-satisfied when you are in a long-distance relationship.
Use this distance and space to re-establish your relationship with yourself. Revisit hobbies you had let go of in the past. Pick up a few new hobbies too. Try solo traveling and do things that you love to do but your partner doesn't. This will make you feel happy and less likely to seek attention and validation from your partner at all times.
5. Remember, it's okay to say "No"
It may be possible that your partner is the co-dependent person in your relationship. If this is the case, know that it is perfectly acceptable to say "No" when your partner demands something of you.
You don't have to do everything your partner says just because you are in a relationship. Discuss what boundaries you'd like to maintain and communicate with your partner about the importance of honoring these boundaries.