Tag Archives: Long Distance Relationships

How to Handle Disagreements In a Long Distance Relationship

Don't Leave Me by abhinav.s

Don't Leave Me by abhinav.s

 Being in a military marriage, I have had to learn to handle all aspects of long distance relationships.  One of the most important things to learn in love at a distance is how to handle disagreements effectively.  By ‘effectively’ I mean in a way that allows both people to communicate their grievances and frustrations while also finding common ground to resolve the conflict. 

Airing Frustrations

I have come to realize how very important it is for me to be able to say what is bothering me.  It is also important to me that my husband acknowledges my feelings.  In turn, I realize that it may be just as important for my husband to be able to tell me if there is something that he does not agree with or that displeases him.  Communicating our feelings to each other is the first step in resolving a disagreement. 

When There Are Only Words

In long distance relationships, exchanges may occur only through verbal or written communications.  This may be particularly hard during a disagreement because couples do not have the luxury of communicating an angry or emotional disposition through facial expressions and body language, leaving only words.  Words without the context of physical expressions leave a lot open for interpretation by the other person. 

For example, when a couple is together and the man says something that is upsetting to the woman, she may give him a look of anger, turn her back and walk away.  Without words, she has communicated that she is not pleased.  In such a case, he has the opportunity to express his sorrow by putting his arm around her or kissing her softly.  Conversely, he may express his anger by leaving the room and slamming the door.  This exchange of emotion might all occur without the utterance of any words.

Couples in long distance relationships may not have this luxury.  I do realize that, through video media enabled via the Internet, a couple may actually have the ability to see each other in real time.  Such media would make it much easier to exchange not only words, but also emotional gestures in facial expressions and body language.

But, what if such technology is not available?  Many times in military relationships, spouses or loved ones are deployed to remote areas without the network capability to accommodate video media.  For these couples, there may be very few options for expressing non-verbal expressions of displeasure aside from angrily hanging up the phone or uncomfortable silences on the line.  For these distant lovers, an emotional exchange might only occur through words.

If There Are Only Words, Be Sure to Use Constraint

In a long distance relationship, words should be savored.  They should be used deliberately and mindfully.  In an argument, however, they may be used pointedly, harshly, angrily, hurtfully or impulsively, steering you far away from handling the disagreement effectively. 

Using constraint means taking a lot of the emotion out of the words.  It is certainly appropriate to express feelings of sadness and anger in response to words or other actions that have caused such emotions.  But, exercising constraint, so as not to express overly emotional impulsive responses is important for resolving the conflict.

Think about it.  When are you most likely to empathize with someone else’s feelings?  When are you most willing to listen to their side of the story?  It is probably not when that other person is yelling, screaming or saying very hurtful things to you.  In the same way, your lover will be most willing to work with you toward resolving a conflict when you are able to communicate your feelings calmly and clearly.

Think About What You Want to Say Before Saying It

It is often helpful to take some time, once you have removed yourself from an emotionally charged situation, to think about what has triggered such a reaction in you and how you would like to respond.  After taking time to reflect on your feelings, you should be able to tone down the emotion when you communicate your conflict.  But, doing so, however, does not mean denying that the emotion has emerged.

If you are angry, communicate that you are angry.  If you are sad, communicate that as well.  It is not what you say, but how you say it.  Communicate directly by stating, “I was angry when you. . .” or “when you said that to me, I was sad.”  If you think about exactly what caused your reaction and which emotion was elicited, you will be able to state this clearly and calmly to your lover during your next communication. 

It might be helpful to communicate through a writing, such as an email or letter.  In a writing, you will have the benefit of being able to ‘rehearse’ your communication.  And, if you are not pleased with what you have stated, you can erase it and write it again.  Be careful to use constraint in your writing as well. An angry writing will backfire as it does not give the person reading the opportunity to respond in a timely manner, which can leave that person feeling hostile toward you without the opportunity to defend his- or herself.

Even if you don’t want to send an email or letter, it is still very effective to write down your feelings when reflecting on the thing or things that have upset you.  Writing down your feelings helps you to organize your thoughts.  You might even have your ‘first response’ via this writing, allowing you to include all of the angry emotion and all of the hurtful words that you would have thrown at your lover had you not been using constraint.

Allow Your Partner to Respond – Listen

Once you have communicated your feelings, allow your partner the opportunity to respond in an unemotional way.  This allows both of you to get to the bottom of your disagreement and resolve the conflict, reach common ground, or agree to disagree.  It is likely that the response to your mindful words will be one with equal constraint.  This kind of communication avoids the sort of emotionally charged statements that can inflict great harm in your relationship.  Hopefully, through discussing your problem in an unemotional manner, you and your lover can understand each other and resolve the disagreement. 

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship?  How would you handle disagreements?

 WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  Although this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

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Glimpse

Here is a Glimpse from next week’s schedule:

Make Money Monday:  From Employer to Employee.  I will look at why some are choosing to reenter the workplace after years of entrepreneurship or pursuing alternative income sources.  I encountered individuals that have done this or are thinking of doing this and it comes as kind of a blow to my own psyche.

Techy Tuesday:  Home Office Series: I will continue the discussion on finding the right Internet service for your home office.  I will discuss appropriate speeds and whether you should purchase separate Internet plans for your residence and your home office. 

Wedded Bliss Wednesday: Handling Disagreements in a Long Distance Relationship.  When your spouse is not with you, disagreements can be very delicate.  There are ways to soften the blow and still communicate your feelings. 

Tough Life Thursday: Discontinued Until Further Notice

LITE FARE FRIDAYS is anything thing that I feel like discussing on that day.  I will try to keep it light just in time for the weekend! .  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive updates by email or RSS reader.  

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When I Speak of My Husband, Is My Vision Skewed?

Absolutely.

A reader of mine inquired recently about the way that I talk about my husband on this site. She acknowledged that I tend to put him on a bit of a pedestal and that it seems as if the whole story of us is not being told.

She is correct. I do put my husband on a pedestal, in the same place that he puts me. And my readers will not always know the entire story because some things are not for the public forum. But I will always tell as much of the story as appropriate to illustrate a particular point or to shed light on an issue for discussion.

Over the years, both from outside and now from within my own marriage, I have always enjoyed reading books, blogs or other perspectives on marriage, especially when the author is very positive and supportive of his or her spouse whether or not the writing is about the positives or negatives in marriage. I have always learned a lot more about dealing with marital discord from these writings based in mutual respect and love. Now, I have grown accustom to this perspective and it is one that I have adopted in my own writing.

Even though marriage is not always rose-colored, I tend to fall back on the adage taught to me by my mother: You can say anything you want… it is not what you say, but how you say it. I apply this adage to the way I communicate verbally with my husband and with others, as well as to my writings and communications with you.

That means that even though I may talk about many different facets of marriage, I will always shed a favorable light on him because he is my husband, in good times and in bad times. He is in this marriage just as I am. He has to take the good with the bad just as I do. We work together and are supportive of each other. And he speaks just as positively about me as I speak about him.

That being said, I try to be as objective as possible when writing about issues on this blog. However, I can only speak from my own perspective. I can only speak to how a situation has made me feel and how I have perceived any given instance. In that way, my view will often be skewed, many times in favor of myself and of my loved ones.

My personal goal is always to maintain a positive attitude and to resolve conflicts in marriage, and in life, in the best and healthiest manner possible. So, even when I am speaking of the negatives in marriage, I won’t find it helpful to do so in this public forum by attacking or criticizing my husband for a specific occurrence. On the contrary, I think it is most helpful to keep a cool head and state facts and feelings as they were experienced while illustrating how an instance has unfolded and how it is resolved.

I won’t say to you that the whole story of my husband and I will be told on here, however, and I think you would agree that it shouldn’t be. Our marriage has bumps in the road just like most other marriages. But, sometimes, our darkest hours are for us only and should be preserved for private discussion and resolution. During those times, I don’t support him any less, he is still a good husband.

It is never all rosy all of the time, but I’m not here to criticize. I am here only to share my perspective on relationships as best I can, the way I see it.

WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  Although this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.  If you like what you see here, please use the orange icon at the top right to receive my content updates by email or RSS reader.  

 

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Trust and Long Distance Relationships

 

miss you .. ~ by şυωαίđίά ♥ 30/3

miss you .. ~ by şυωαίđίά ♥ 30/3

My husband’s been gone now for about two months.  I’ve seen him once since he left and I won’t see him again until July or August.  I miss him terribly and I know he misses me too.   We’ve done this before.  The year before we were married – in 2006 – he deployed for one year to Afghanistan.  That was my first taste of managing a long distance relationship.  Daily communication and a large dose of trust between us is what kept our love fresh and strong.  I remember that we shared our daily lives with each other and kept any disagreements to a minimum.  Now, we do it all over again. 

 

This deployment is a lot shorter – six months – but it is just as important for my husband and I to share our daily lives with each other.   That is what reinforces the trust that we have in each other. 

Honesty

Trust begins with honesty, even when unpleasant.  I tell my husband everything because I have nothing to hide.  I have told him about old flames I’ve friended on Facebook, the times I hang out with one of my best guy friends and whenever I hang out with his friends.  I have no reason to want to hide these types of things and I want to be able to share everyday with him while he is away.  Honesty seems like such a straight-forward enough concept, but you’d be surprised at how people hide innocent things because of how they think it will be perceived by their loved ones.

Accountability

Accountability is another big one.  Very straightforward.  Return phone calls and acknowledge and respond to emails.  Silence can be a trust-killer.   During those times when my husband is deployed, we have been fortunate enough to be able to communicate daily.  Accountability is something that we give to each other during these times.  Usually, under the circumstances my husband is the one that has to do the calling.  He calls me daily to share the details of his day.  He calls me around the same time every day (there is a 7 hour difference between our two locations) and I try to make sure that I am available to speak with him whenever he calls.  I know that I can rely on him to call me just about every day, and he knows that he can rely on me to be available to him just about every time he calls.  These are the things that reinforce our trust and commitment during our times apart.  These are the things for us that go without saying. 

Character

One of the most fundamental portions of a trusting relationship is the character of the people involved.  My husband and I were part of a committed relationship before the first time he left for deployment.  During that time, he showed me the type of person that he was – he showed me his character.  He showed me that he was the type of person that had a lot of integrity with whom I could trust my heart. 

I did the same for him.  He knew from the support I gave him and from the way that I conducted my affairs that he could trust me.  It was important for him to see this side of me because he knew that we would be put in situations where we would be apart.  I don’t think he nor I would have survived a deployment before being married if we had not shown each other beforehand that we were the type of people that would be reliable to one another during our times apart.  I’ve said it before – people show you the type of person they are.  In a long distance relationship, it is important to acknowledge what is being placed before you in terms of the type of person with whom you are in a relationship.  

We are all human, not perfect, so during extenuating circumstances such as a long distance relationship it is important to give each other every reason to trust through honesty, accountability and good character.

 WEDDED BLISS WEDNESDAYS discusses marital and relationship issues.  At the beginning, this is likely to be biased toward my own experiences in marriage and with relationships.  But, I hope that you will join the discussion, ask questions, and suggest topics that you are interested in discussing.

 

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