Coping with a period of separation can be a major test for romantic relationships. Suddenly, the person who you've grown the closest to isn't around, and you're both longing to experience the emotional bond and physical connection you share. Being affectionate with your partner if you're apart doesn't have to feel forced. There are plenty of ways to show your SO tenderness and warmth, even when you can't be together. According to Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, affection is an important part of maintaining a romantic bond with someone, particularly when there's distance involved.
"Showing affection is the fuel that healthy relationships run on," Dr. Klapow tells Elite Daily. "Although there also needs to be communication, compromise, and intimacy, ongoing affection is how we keep the flame burning." Even if all of the other elements of your relationship are strong, if your relationship is lacking sufficient closeness, being separated could start to become problematic. "It is absolutely possible to be affectionate when we are apart, in fact, acts of affection are the glue that will keep the relationship alive." So, if you and your partner are struggling to maintain a connection, here are three ways to ensure they feel the love.
1. Write Down What You're Feeling.
It's all too easy to assume that your SO already knows how much they mean to you, but even if that's the case, it's never a bad idea to put your feelings into words — especially when you're apart. "Maybe it's a poem, or maybe it's just a stream of consciousness," says Dr. Klapow. "Tell them how you feel, what you love about them, why you are with them, or how they make your life better. Get deep and don’t hold back because this is going to serve as a proxy for you being in their presence."
2. Make A Video Or Audio Recording.
Exchanging video or audio messages is another great way to make sure you and your SO's connection stays strong. "Tell them how you feel, and again, speak from the heart." Dr. Klapow also recommends keeping your message short and sweet. "Don’t ramble and keep the message to less than 2 minutes," he suggests. And don't be afraid to get creative! If talking about your feelings openly doesn't come naturally to you, you can also sing them a song, read them a passage from your favorite romance novel, or anything else that makes you feel close to each other.
3. Make An Effort To Communicate Regularly.
Ultimately, when it comes to managing periods of distance while in a relationship, setting aside uninterrupted time to talk is key. "Show them as much as possible how you feel about them by calling or video chatting," recommends Dr. Klapow. "Let them see your emotions, let them hear in your voice how you feel about them. The key here is not to lay it on too thick, but again, try to voice what is most important to you about them, or about your relationship." Even though it can be tempting to avoid getting too sentimental when you know you're not going to be together for a while, reassuring each other through words and actions creates a consistency that is necessary when you're apart.
In the end, no matter which way you spin in, coping with longing and the emotional drain of being away from someone you love is never easy. That said, how you handle these less-than-ideal circumstances say so much about your commitment to the relationship. Putting in the effort to be affectionate with your partner in whatever ways work for your relationship is one of the best things you can do to ensure you and partner are rock-solid.