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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Away From Your Partner? 8 Tricks You Can Try to Strengthen Your Relationship

Not all couple-building occurs when you're with your significant other. "Time apart offers the opportunity to take your relationship to another level," says licensed clinical psychologist Carrie Capstick, Ph.D. These simple strategies can help.

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Peter Hermus/iStock (frame), TriggerPhoto/iStock

Sneak peeks at a photo

Tuck a photo of your partner into your wallet or use an image of him or her as the wallpaper on your phone. “It’s a simple yet romantic way to keep your significant other top of mind,” says Capstick.

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Reminisce about your favorite dating memories

Time apart (say, during a business trip) allows you to think more deeply about the reasons you value your relationship and your significant other, says Capstick. To further your reflections, she suggests jotting down the answers to these questions: What first attracted you to your partner? What specific memories do you have of him or her at the beginning of your relationship that made you fall in love?

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Don’t complain to friends

“Talking to your friend about an argument you’re having with your partner might make you feel more angry,” licensed marriage therapist Lori Gottlieb told Buzzfeed Life. “Vent to friends after the issue is somewhat resolved so you discuss it with some clarity.”

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And avoid “competitive complaining”

That’s when, say, you whine about how hard you’re working and your partner then gripes about the challenges of being alone with the kids. Instead, try empathy. Say, “I know it’s lonely on the road,” or “I appreciate how good you are with the kids.”

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Loop them into your day

“If you’re traveling, send pictures of what you’re doing and try to call or Skype at night, even if just for a few minutes,” suggests family therapist and author Terry Real. “Sharing specifics gives your partner a feeling of being with you.”

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Savor your solo time

Work out, take a nap, eat a healthy snack, go to a yoga class … do the things you tend to short-change when you and your partner are spending a lot of time together. “Self care and a sense of abundance helps lower…[stress],” says Real. “It’s good for you and good for the relationship.”

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Tell them you miss them

Are you missing or longing for your partner while? Let him or her know. “Be vulnerable and share it,” suggests Capstick. “Say, ‘Today I was missing you and I realized…’ This will help encourage greater closeness and intimacy in your relationship.”

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Consider therapy

It doesn’t mean your relationship is in trouble. If you have 45 minutes to spare every week, consider sitting down with a professional. “We have a responsibility to ourselves and our partners to be the best that we can be in our relationships,” psychotherapist, author, and host of VH1’s Couples Therapy Jenn Mann, PhD, told Buzzfeed Life.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest