I’m sure we can all agree that long-distance relationships are hard. So why do so many poly people find themselves in them? Is it because people who are open to polyamory are also more willing to try different kinds of relationship dynamics? Or maybe, because they aren’t relying on just one partner to fulfill their every need, they’re more open to engaging in a relationship where sex occurs less frequently?
Whatever the reason, long-distance poly relationships are here to stay. Here are some tips for making yours last.
Establish a Skype or FaceTime Routine
Set aside a dedicated time to connect. Depending on your needs and schedule, this could range from once a day to once a week. What matters most is not the frequency of contact, but that you agree on a schedule. If things need to change for any reason, like your work schedule has shifted, be sure to mention it as soon as possible.
It’s easy for small miscommunications to turn into larger issues in long distance relationships, so try to check in regularly and honor your commitments.
Add Virtual Dates to the Shared Poly Calendar
This will not only remind you to be available, but it will also signal to your entire polycule that said time slot has been set aside exclusively for you and your long-distance love. It’s a way to show your commitment to one another, and cut down on the number of interruptions you might encounter.
Let your other partners know that you will not be available at that time. Turn off your phone if you need to, and find a private place to focus your attention on one another.
Engage in Shared Experiences
Although it’s not quite the same as being together in person, try to find long-term things you can do together over the phone or Internet. Read the same book, or take a course together online. If you’re feeling more sexy and adventurous, try mutual masturbation, or voyeuristic role play.
Skype makes it easy to connect on a deeper and hotter level than just the phone, so get creative!
Expect to Talk about Feelings
When you take sex off the table, you take away the most direct outlet for your emotions. All those feelings are going to have to come out somehow, and in long-distance relationships that often translates to epic conversations about emotional things. Being poly has probably already prepared you for this to some degree, but it’s important to be really comfortable with both sharing and receiving emotional information.
If you or your partner clam up whenever the conversation gets deep, you’ll have a hard time maintaining the closeness required to keep your relationship going. Practice makes perfect, so keep talking on a regular basis.
Focus on the Future
Most of the time I advise poly partners to stay in the moment, but in long-distance relationships, the moment can feel like a lonely place to be. Why not look ahead in anticipation to the next time the two of you will be together? How long off is it? Do you have something fun or sexy planned? If so, talk about it! Go into lots of detail. Build the excitement, because that’s really the best part of being long-distance lovers.
Everyone knows that absence makes the heart grow fonder and the loins grow hotter, so why not use this to your advantage?