„When distance drives you apart, communication is key to stay close to each other”
Sooner or later, every relationship has to deal with this colossal mountain called “communication”. In the age of the internet, it’s easy to misunderstand or misinterpret what another person shared. Often, communication is broken down to some short texts. Many aspects, like facial expressions, gestures, intonation, or body languages, are missing in daily interactions with other human beings. Screens divide us, and we can only rely on written letters pimped with some smileys.
But if this is one of the few tools you have to communicate with your partner and you choose this relationship, you can make it work. Relationships can get “boring” after months being together. You start laking topics to talk about mostly ask about your day. Most conversations have a similar pattern and almost look the same. This state can weaken your feelings and relationship after a while.
Try to keep it fresh. Are you always using a messenger to communicate? How about collecting questions for your partner you randomly come up with and don’t know yet. Put them together in an E-Mail or even an old-fashioned letter and send it over. The letter style writing can give you a chance to get to know each other better. Talking to many friends, this seems something familiar when you start “meeting” someone online. You slowly increase the amount of words you exchange daily. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t go back to this way of communication at any later point. It’s going to take more of your time, but also the outcome is much more rewardable.
One of my friends reached that stage of a growing new relationship where she most likely needs around one hour to reply to one of his messages. She keeps on scrolling and scrolling, and the words never seem to end. But they prioritise each other and want to dig deep into each other’s souls.
Miscommunication vs. no communication
You don’t need to use a device to miscommunicate with people. Dealing with your own needs and struggles, you might end up waiting for another person to read your mind. I catch myself doing that from time to time, especially with the people I care about the most. Deep inside, I hope to be understood that well, that I don’t need to start talking about a difficult topic. Of course, the other person can enter my brain and take that burden away from me. That’s a misconception I am personally working on. But during countless talks with especially female friends, I noticed it’s not only me.
But assuming someone else can read your mind can end in miscommunication. You get frustrated about the other person’s responses and reactions because you haven’t expressed yourself well enough or not at all. Your friend/partner has to create a vision about your unsaid words, which likely end up bad for you.
On the other side, if you assume things, they might turn out wrong as well. If your partner doesn’t talk about things, you might need to ask straight forward to shape the image inside your head. Only if you talk about feelings and thoughts, you can learn about each other and truly understand the other person. If you stay silent or do your own thing, you can easily drift apart, especially if you try to maintain a long-distance relationship.
Language can cause significant issues with misunderstandings in an interracial relationship. As long of you both aren’t fluent in the same language; there are always chances of problems due to language skills. Mr C. and I decided to use the language we are both most comfortable together: English. When we met each other, it was the only language we had in common except Japanese. But Mr C. wanted to improve his English skills, and my Japanese skills aren’t good enough to have an in-depth conversation. I became much better over the years, but I feel more comfortable with English, even I am no native speaker.
Still, up until today, we sometimes have arguments over misunderstandings due to languages. I often joke that I need a dictionary:
English – Mr C. – English
Over the years, I got used to his grammar issues and fascinating sentence structures. I’m continually learning to fill up the blanks he is leaving due to his native language.
Somehow, we work this out, but it gets challenging if I am in a bad mood. It’s super easy to get offended and pick on these mistakes, only for the sake of making a scene. That’s nothing pretty, but I guess every female can relate to me: sometimes you are annoyed about the world, every human and also yourself. Be aware that this could cause some problems in your relationship. But talking about issues is always the best way to get a solution.
As a couple, you need to keep on working to improve your communication by progressing in your language skills. Many of you can relate to us using English at first if you don’t live in the same country. Eventually, you will shift to one of each other’s language, when you plan on living in another country. But I’ll dedicate another blog post to language learning and our Chinese and German skills now.
I asked Mr C. on his thoughts about communication, and the first thing he mentioned was “trust”. Being separated by land and oceans and more metres than you can cope inside your head, you need to trust each other. Not having trust in the other person will cause your mind to get creative and imagine all worst-case scenarios your significant other could be up to right now.
Being surrounded by the loud noises of negative news on a daily base, it’s difficult to believe there are humans with good intentions left. Did you meet someone on the internet? Oh, be careful! That person could be dangerous, just aiming for a one-night-stand or your money. Society makes us acting cautious and keeps a list of bad headlines inside our minds whenever we go into a new situation.
In my opinion, “being an adult” is about learning that media and governmental systems want us to be afraid. They control which information we consume and what our thoughts should be. There are way more good than bad people out there. It’s unfair to not giving another person a chance to win your trust. Be open-minded to everybody, and you will see that there is much more light and beauty out there. No darkness or hatred will ever get rid of the magical discoveries out there.
First of all, you need to trust your partner fully. You love him, and he loves you. I always had trust in Mr C. and still do that today. He never gave me a reason to doubt his feelings or intentions with me. From the beginning, he was very open about his interest in me as a person. He showed me with words and actions how much he cares about me. Why should I doubt him? Why should I make up “what if” scenarios while he is in Japan and I am in Germany? You can’t do a long-distance relationship without trust.
The magic of video calls
There is one way how you can improve the way of communication with your partner in a long-distance relationship: video calls.
Exchanging messages on one of the several messenger applications isn’t a bad idea, don’t get me wrong. That’s how Mr C. and I mostly communicate. Due to living in different time zones, it’s difficult making time for each other. But at least once a week we prioritise a face-to-face talk via video calls. Those are something Mr C. recommends to do regularly.
At first, talking to a person you just met online on the phone can make you nervous. You probably think your language skills won’t be good enough. Besides, seeing the other person makes him more real than any words he can every exchange with you. All these words turn into a person, and while you read what he is writing later, you’re able to have his voice saying the words inside your head.
You get to see the other person’s facial expression. You’re able to hear his voice and might disguise differences in the way he says statements. You see him smiling and hear his laughter over something silly, you said. All of this is missing if you’re only communicating via text messages.
I never liked talking on the phone much, but now I started to appreciate the talks I can have with my husband.
What are your thoughts on communication?
Are you in a long-distance relationship and struggle with maintaining your partnership? What are your experiences? Any tips on improving communication?
Write down your thoughts in the comment section!