On my radio show this weekend I had the opportunity to interview a fascinating author by the name of Armin Brott who recently published a book titled "The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads". This past Memorial Day weekend we all focused a lot on the soldiers
that have given their lives in defense of our nation, but Armin brings insight to the great sacrifices made by current military personnel, and in particular, parents (men and women) separated from their children during deployment. Armin took us through the three stages of this very unique flavor of long-distance relationship: pre-deployment, staying connected, and the return home.
The Kelleher International client base is spread across the US and overseas, and many of our searches are not limited to a single city. Some of the lessons that Armin shared with us lines up exactly with some of the advice we give clients who are in the early stages of long-distance relationships.
Pre-Relationship: a local relationship often has a very nice progress from date-to-date as a couple escalates from that first dinner, to multiple dates in a week to exciting getaways. Long distance relationships are very different – when you are apart it sometimes feels like a relationship is progressing very slowly, but when you are together the intensity may be different than any previous relationship you may have had. The advice is just to “be prepared” and to have a sense of the progress in your relationship that is adjusted for the unique nature of a long distance romance. If progress feels “slow” when you are apart, give yourself some extra time before you start drawing any conclusions. If you’re coming off a long weekend visiting your new romance and you feel a giant leap forward in intimacy and connection, be sure to consider those feelings in light of the intensity created by being together and knowing there is a clock on your time together.
Stay Connected: long distance relationships die less often from incompatibility and the inconvenience of separation than they do from simple neglect. Days slip by, communication becomes more spotty, and eventually the relationship fades. If you are serious about making a go of a long-distance relationship then staying connected has to become a habit. Pick a regular time to call, don’t let too many days go by without talking, and always know the next date the two of you will be together again. Take joint responsibility for making the communication happen, it should be on both of you to make every connection happen. Also, don’t underestimate the power of the written letter – there is something about the thrill of the receipt and the ability to physically carry it around that makes this type of communication very powerful.
The Return Home/Getting Together: this is often the most fun part of a long-distance relationship – separation depression is washed away, the intensity of the reunion is intoxicating, and there is a certain exotic feel to traveling for love. For these get togethers, I don’t want discourage the nice dinners and exciting events that help make these reunions thrilling, but I also encourage long distance singles to include some day-to-day “boring” activities in the weekend plans. Running errands together, simple walks and even cooking dinner together are great ways that same-city couples begin to answer the critical question “could we live together?” Long-distance couples sometimes don’t have the chance to experience these activities and it slows the overall progress of the relationship.
Thanks again to Armin Brott and his insights into long-distance relationships – they aren’t impossible, you just have to spend a little extra time in the care and feeding of the relationship to make them successful.