Note: This is an interview with Stephen Blake, author of the Loving Your Long Distance Relationship Book Series.
1. Tell us about how you came to have a long distance relationship? And then, what inspired you to write a book about it?
Distance was created as a result of the choice of University we would both attend. Choosing different fields of study, we found ourselves miles apart at Universities that would meet our need at the time.
The book evolved over a period of four years of being apart, encountering so many different challenges than our friends were having with relationships in the same city. Writing down my emotions, thoughts and struggles became a way of coping. Realizing there must be many people in the same situation, I wanted to use the experience to help others.
2. Do you think there is a difference in how men and women approach and cope with long distance relationships?
Yes, many differences on many levels. Considering age, length of time in the relationship and career/job interests – these would affect your ways of coping with the challenges distance creates in a relationship. On the other hand, one commonality would be if both were as committed to one another, then gender doesn’t come into play at all.
3. In your book you talk about the emotional stages of a long distance relationship, could you tell us what these are?
As I described in the book, the first weeks of being apart are usually seen as “freeing” up time and allowing each other the “space” to grow as individuals. Over time, however, the absence of someone’s physical presence can play tricks with your mind.
You are left to interpret intentions, feelings, thoughts and moods through communication other than in person, or face-to-face. Long periods of time apart have a way of creating doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, and weakens the bond.
4. What would be your 3 best ideas on how to make a long distance relationship work?
1. Try to avoid personal issues in your communications.
2. Try not to make assumptions.
3. Always think the best, not the worst is happening.
5. Is there a right time to end a long distance relationship? How would you know when to do that?
If you find your time apart is becoming longer and longer. Plans to get together are never realized. Your partner is becoming “distant”, by not being “available” to communicate. That’s when you should probably consider the possibility of a break up.
6. Do you have any ideas on how to have a better and more fun communication with your partner in a long distance relationship?
Find creative ways of staying close, through fun, light-hearted messages and talks. Humor can sustain the relationship at the toughest of times.
7. And to close it off, where can long distance lovers get more of your wisdom?
My web site and Facebook page. The web site offers suggestions from me personally, but much better yet, my Facebook page includes thousands of people of different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and genders who share their experiences of what works and what doesn’t work.