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Agreeing on regular phone arrangements is a must

In this July 21, 2009 file photo, a customer displays an Apple iPhone 3GS at an Apple store in Palo Alto, Calif. Ten years ago, we would have been blown away by a cell phone with far more computing power and memory than the average PC had in 1999, plus a camera and programs to manage every aspect of our lives.
In this July 21, 2009 file photo, a customer displays an Apple iPhone 3GS at an Apple store in Palo Alto, Calif. Ten years ago, we would have been blown away by a cell phone with far more computing power and memory than the average PC had in 1999, plus a camera and programs to manage every aspect of our lives.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

Communicating with your loved one in a long distance relationship can be a serious chore.  When one is settled and ready to chat, the other can be frantically busy, and vice versa.  One can be tired, or distracted by tasks that still need to be completed, or just not in the mood to be social with anyone.  A way to beat bad timing is to plan a specific day and time just to talk to your sweetheart, and stick to it.

Talking to your partner regularly is a very important part of any long distance relationship.  It's crucial that you find a way to let your partner into your world, sharing things in your life so that he doesn't feel like a complete outsider.  Even mundane everyday things can be talked about, because it makes him feel like a major part of your life from many miles away.  This is why talking regularly on the phone is so important, and why setting aside a regular time is a good idea.  If you allow yourselves to call when one of you feels like it, then busy lifestyles can get in the way, a much longer time can pass between phone connections than intended, and the strength of the relationship can be strained.

In his book Long Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide, Dr. Gregory T. Guldner describes setting aside phone time as a "phone date."  He describes some positives of phone dates: "Sometimes you or your partner may not be in the best mood to chat.  Telephone dates allow a degree of preparedness for the call.  Telephone dates also provide two other important ingredients: predictability and romantic ritual."  Predictability is important because it's something that you and your partner have control over, and in a long distance relationship, so little can be controlled by the participants.  And romantic rituals allow a couple to set up little things like background music or naughty storytelling that keep the spark alive.

My fiancee and I have had a couple of standing dates every week from basically the beginning of our relationship--the middle of the week at 9P and Saturday mornings.  The midweek chat was Wednesday nights, but she recently suggested we move to Tuesdays because she had a busy schedule after work on Wednesdays.  So twice a week, unless one of us has something else to do that makes it impossible for us to talk, we make sure that we're going to make space in our lives for each other with no distractions.  Sometimes we don't have much to talk about, but it still feels great to have that connection.  And sometimes we have so much to talk about that by the time we hang up it's officially the next day.  And if we're able, we can continue our conversation the next evening.  Sometimes we have articles or blogs of interest that we save so that we can read to each other and discuss during our scheduled chat.  It's much more personal than e-mailing a link.  Phone dates are so essential to our relationship that it's impossible to imagine a long distance relationship without them.  If you haven't yet done so, make sure you and your honey set aside time just for yourselves, same day, same time.  Your long distance relationship will greatly benefit.

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