“He ghosted me all day again, just as we started getting close...”
I hear variations of this a lot.
They've put in time, commitment, and their heart to start an LDR which seemed to be going well – maybe “this is the one...”
Suddenly they become stressed not knowing why a day goes by without responding when they used to communicate several times every day.
Maybe that's normal and there's some legitimate reason for not replying?
Do they have second thoughts? Did they find someone else?
Should I just stay patient, wait and see? Should I keep calling or messaging?
Maybe they need more space and there's nothing to worry about.
But, how do you know?
Asking “why” or one of its variations such as “what's important to you about x” takes a conversation deeper. I call these “Communication Triggers.” I've included some with each question.
So... Asking these questions early in your LDR can provide needed answers without the worry of finding out the hard way.
It's good to know if your partner's job actually boosts their energy, is energy neutral, or drains their energy. You'll have a better understanding of your partner's mood after work and you can adjust your support accordingly.
Still, you'll also get a better idea of what kind of life together you may have – career military for example could mean long periods apart.
Follow-up with questions like: Why do you like those things? What do you like least? Why (do you do it)? Do you plan to stay in this work, or move on (too what?)?
These discussions will give you a good understanding of what's important to your partner, what some of their short and long-term career objectives are.
First of all, you don't have to do everything together for a great relationship. But you do want to have some things you enjoy doing together.
Early on it's easy to fall into the trap that you think your partner likes doing everything you like doing.
In every case, it's good to know your partner.
Follow-up with questions like: How often do you (do it)? To what extent? What do you like about it? Why? What do you dislike? Why?
For example, if they like running, it would be good to know if they just squeeze some time in most days, or if running consumes virtually all their free time between training, travel to races, and diet.
Whether it's gaming, running, cars, hiking, or whatever... you want to know if you'll have to make big leisure lifestyle changes to have “fun” time together.
Early on it's common to spend as much time as possible talking. You easily give up your free time to chat when you're falling in love.
As your relationship matures, this can change and either fall in line with what you each want or need, or stress and frustration can increase causing other problems in your relationship.
People need various amounts of alone time to recharge their batteries.
Knowing this will allow each of you to adjust to better understand and meet each others' needs.
Follow-up with questions like If the answer was general, ask how often do you like time to yourself/for how long? Are there places you prefer? Why?
Understanding how much time alone your partner needs helps avoid misunderstandings. For example, early on it's common to spend hours every day on calls. But after some months, people tend to settle into their natural rhythms...
So, if over time your partner has less time for those near-daily calls, there's no need to worry. With busy lives, your partner may just need the time to recharge their batteries.
It might be some time before you see who your partner's friends are and what they're like. It's good to know some things about them in advance.
Surprise has twice the impact. It's good to reduce the risk of negative surprises when you finally meet them.
It's helpful if it looks like there would be little conflict between your inner-circle friends and your partner's. If so it's worth discussing what those might be and what can be done to manage them.
It also gives you a good perspective of how your partner thinks others see him or her. It can be interesting to compare that with your personal observations.
Follow-up with questions like: Why do you feel they would say that? How would your colleagues at work describe you? Why? How would you describe your friends? What makes you say that?
This is good to know. And it's not something you'll easily see a long distance. Otherwise, you'll find out later when you're together.
If you do fun things first, some chores may not get done later. Conversely, if you do chores first, you may miss out on some fun time.
With our busy lives, fun time is not always available on demand. Unexpectedly good weather can create the opportunity to go out and enjoy the day. One partner may not be able to relax till the chores are done. Yet...
For example, a friend in California likes to body surf on the Central Coast. Unexpectedly good waves create an urgency to hit the beach. Doing chores in the morning then going out in the afternoon when the common afternoon winds ``blow out” the waves would lead to a missed opportunity. Between work, other commitments, fickle weather, and waves – the next fun time maybe months off.
Understand your preferences now, talk them out and you'll pert much be guaranteed less stress and friction in your LDR.
Follow-up with questions like: How important is it to you? Why? How would you feel if we did the opposite of what you like? Are there compromises we can reach?
You don't want it to be an interrogation, you just want to get a good understanding, just ask a couple at a time, or at least don't ask one right after the other.
And soften the questions starting with: “I'm curious...” or “it sounds like...” or “oh, why is that?” “Well, in what way though?” “I was wondering...?
I'll conclude this post now and pick it up in parts four and five, with the final two questions plus 4 bonus ones.
Future blogs will discuss pointers on “keeping in touch” during the day. Some will include using remote physical touch such as SenzyBee to 'stimulate' the communication.
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Wishing you greater LDR success.