Penelope and Odysseus
Congratulations! Your relationship probably has what it takes to survive the Long-Distance Test.
According to Greek myth, King Odysseus of Ithaca left his wife, queen Penelope, to sail to Troy and fight the Trojans for ten years. When the war was over, the gods became angry with him and kept him from reaching Ithaca for another ten years. Seven of those he spent "trapped" on the island realm of a beautiful sea-nymph named Calypso. He cried for Penelope every morning, but when the sun went down, he couldn't resist Calypso's bed. When Odysseus finally reached home, he found that his wife had remained faithful to him, despite the rapacious advances of every gold-digging bachelor on Ithaca. The story does not relate whether Penelope ever learned of her husband's infidelity. If she did, they must have worked through the issue together, because they lived happily ever after.
Let's hope the gods and goddesses don't conspire to keep you and your partner apart for twenty years, one of you living on a beautiful island fending off the daily temptations of a seductive deity. As any couple will tell you, several months apart is enough of a challenge!
Experts have identified several keys for survival, and your relationship is already healthy in most departments:
* Commitment: A roughly equal level of commitment to the relationship. There is no absolute level that will determine success or failure. The important thing is that it be about the same for both of you. A big mismatch is likely to breed fear, jealousy, anger and, ultimately, a break-up.
* Communication: Excellent communication skills, including a willingness to listen and respond to your partner's concerns and vice versa.
* Risking Change: A willingness to take healthy risks with the relationship, allowing it to change as circumstances demand. Recognize that you and your partner won't always be exactly the same people as when you met.
* Trust: A willingness to build a solid, secure trust between the two of you (if it doesn't already exist.) Trust will allow you stay sane by building independent social lives in your hometown.
* Developing Coping Strategies: This might mean getting involved in your community by joining social groups or organizations or by working on causes you believe in. You both need the social support other people can offer. You need to find meaning in your life as a compliment to your relationship, no matter how much your partner means to you. Otherwise, you will soon become lonely, depressed, angry, resentful or all of the above.