How To Build Trust In A Long Distance Relationship? Part 1: The Golden Rules
Starting and maintaining a long distance relationship is never easy. Jealousy is one of the most dangerous destroying factors in any relationship. This is even more severe in a long distance relationship where you are unable to have that person by your side whenever you need. You’ve got enough distance and obstacles between you. Don’t add “distrust” to that already long list. Instead, good trust can compensate and overcome all the obstacles. So, let me show you how to build trust in a long distance relationship!
But before that, you need to understand that this is not any random unoriginal tips. Unlike all other similar articles around, I’ve classified the secrets of building trust in a long distance relationship into 3 simple steps so that you can easily learn the tips step-by-step starting from your mental states to the necessary actions and finally to the things to take note of.
In this article, I’m going to cover Part 1: The Golden Rules. So, let’s get started…
The 7 Golden Rules That You Must Keep In Mind
1. Be Transparent: Avoid Secrets
It’s normal for people to keep some personal secrets. But in a long distance relationship, you need to be really open and transparent to your partner. The more you share with your partner, the closer you are and the higher the level of trust between you. Physical interactions in close distance relationships can compensate for the lack of transparency. However, it’s a big NO to keep a lot of secrets from your partner in a long distance relationship because it is one of the necessary ways to build trust.
My personal recommendation for you is that you can tell your partner something like, “Baby, let me share with you a secret…” By saying this, your partner will feel that he/she is exclusive to you. You can add, “No one else knows about this. You are the only one.” Think about this, if you are the one being told that this is something that only you know about it, what would you feel? Happy? Exclusive? Loved? Or all of the above? You are so eager to know everything about your partner especially when you are so far apart. Similarly, your partner will feel the same. So, be transparent and avoid secrets!
But one thing you must take note of is that you shouldn’t be telling your partner many secrets in a short period of time. This will make your partner feel that you have a lot of secrets keeping away from him/her. You can tell your partner many secrets at one shot only at the beginning of the relationship. As the time passed by, there shouldn’t be many secrets. You only tell your partner secrets occasionally to maintain the sense of exclusiveness.
If someone is consistently open and honest with you, why wouldn’t you trust him/her?
Some people say long distance relationship is more intimate than close distance ones. Because we have to be a little more transparent and that in turn brings us closer together.
2. Give Your Partner Space
It’s totally understandable for anyone in a long distance relationship wanting to spend every second talking to your partner. But you must recognize the reasons why you are in a long distance situation, probably because of work, education, personal pursuits or any other current situations that cannot be changed immediately. This means that both of you may have other important things to work on in your daily lives. So please give each other some space.
To convince you even more, let me put it this way. The only way for your long distance relationship to work and have a happy ending is to face the current situation and change it by consistently working on it. Both of you need the time and space to constantly do the necessary work so that eventually the long distance situation can end as you planned. Sounds logical?
Personally, I am unable to change the fact that I need to serve compulsory national service in Singapore while she’s working in Taiwan. She is 10 years older than me. What I need to do in my free time is to invest in myself and strive to achieve financial freedom as soon as possible so that I have the ability to marry her after my national service or University. I cannot change the fact that she is 10 years older so I don’t have much time. Time is ticking and I need to be financially prepared fast.
Think about what both of you want to achieve and you will realize that actually giving both of you some space to work together towards the final goal is also very sweet!
3. Be Reliable: Never Let Your Partner Down
Keep your promises! The fastest way to break someone’s trust is by breaking promises. Do you want your partner to trust you? You have to own it yourself!
Keeping promises is actually quite simple. Just follow these 3 rules:
- Don’t make promises that you cannot follow through
- Follow through your promises and make it happen as what you’ve said
- Take the initiative to apologize and explain yourself as soon as possible if you ever can’t keep your promise
Follow these 3 rules and I’m sure you won’t be penalized on this point. What I can assure you is that you can actually build up the trust exponentially between you and your partner overtime if both of you make the effort to be reliable.
Personally, I’m a romantic person that always want to give her more surprise and love. So I would accept her request and offer promises as much as I can within my ability. What I always do is that I would think twice before I either accept her request or offer a promise to make her happy. BUT, I will always make sure that I CAN DO IT!
There are times where I may forget or unable to accomplish some small promises like giving her a call or wake her up as she requested. She may be unhappy about it. I would always first apologize to her sincerely and quickly explain to her why I couldn’t keep the promise because your partner is not only looking for your apology. He/She is also looking for your reasons why you did not make it. YOU MUST EXPLAIN YOURSELF. But don’t sounds like you are giving an excuse. If you ever happened to just forget about it and do not have any reason, apologize to her as sincerely as possible and promise that it won’t happen next time.
4. Be A Good Listener
This is very important not only to long distance relationships. In any kind of relationships or friendships, you need to learn to be a good listener and not always be the one talking.
Recognize that there are times when your partner simply just want to confide in you or grumble to you about the unpleasant happenings. Always be a good listener and show your concern for your partner in this kind of situation. Care for his/her feelings and comfort him/her when necessary.
Let me tell you the truth! When you find your partner grumbles to you, that means he/she trusts you. So make this an opportunity to grow the trust by being a good listener for your partner to vent his/her emotion. Sometimes comfort is not even necessary because your partner simply wants to vent his/her feelings and emotion. Afterwards, you will find that your partner trust you even more.
Here’s a tip for you: You must not grumble to your partner frequently but you must always be a good listener whenever your partner grumbles to you.
This is because you shouldn’t bring much negative emotion to your partner. It is acceptable to do it occasionally. Just make sure you bring more positive emotion to your partner than the negative ones. For your partner, you cannot control whether he/she wants to grumble to you or not. You, being a great partner, should simply be a good listener. If your partner cares about you, he/she will also bring to you more positive emotion.
There is a reason why you are born with two ears but only one mouth!
5. Assume Good Intentions: Just Trust Your Partner
This is a very very important point that people tend to do badly at. I was one of them too. I suffered the consequences and learnt the lesson.
Let me share with you my story. I used to be very concerned about my girlfriend “read” my message but never reply. I would start thinking about all the possibilities when I saw the word “read” beside my message. I was so desperate that I even questioned her why she didn’t “like” or respond to the things I shared on her Facebook Wall. These are big big NO NO. I remembered I got mad at her because she didn’t pick up my call for one hour simply because she overslept. What these led to were some quarrels because she said I was too sensitive. And I admit it. I am sensitive because I love and care for her too much. This was the reason that I usually gave. This also somewhat ended the quarrels because once I said I love and care for her too much, she would usually forgive me.
Related post: How to solve quarrels in a long distance context (Coming soon)
So, the moral of the story is that don’t jump to conclusions about her intentions. Assuming that she’s hiding something or deliberately antagonizing you is a great way to insult her and damage your relationship. Instead, assume that there’s a perfectly valid, reasonable explanation for whatever she did because this is usually what the truth is. Unless, there is already something wrong in your relationship. If you have a really healthy relationship, then maintain it by trusting your partner fully.
6. Have An End Goal In Mind: Develop Crystal Clear Expectations
It’s very important for both of you to have clear expectations of what you are going to achieve out of this relationship and where your relationship will be going as well as when will the long distance situation end. With an end in mind, you will be working towards it and you will feel that those efforts are worthwhile. Knowing that both of you have a common end goal is a trust building factor. It also makes your relationship more meaningful.
One thing to take note of is that you need to be realistic in your goals as it will link back to point No.3 about breaking promise and trust if you set a very high expectation that you cannot achieve.
7. Empathy Is Key
I put this at the last point because this point summarizes all the above 6 points. Every rule above requires empathy.
- You do not want your partner to hide any secrets from you.
- You do want some space for your own pursuit.
- You do not want your partner to break his/her promise.
- You want your partner to be there listening to you whenever you need.
- You want your partner to trust you and excuse you for things you do unintentionally
- You want your partner to be on the same page as you in this relationship and there is an end to that story.
The tip for empathy is just to put yourself into other people’s shoes. Try to understand every single situation in different angles. Once you get the hang of it, you will find that you will automatically put yourself into other people’s shoes every time in any situation.
Here comes to the end of the first part of “How to build trust in a long distance relationship?” series. I hope you enjoyed it and I wish you all my best to your journey of building trust!
“A long distance relationship isn’t hard at all, it’s just a matter of trust, commitment and holding on.”