You know the feeling: You’ve gone too far, said too much. The nasty words spill out. Maybe you don’t really mean them, but it’s too late. You’ve already said it, and the silence—or the screaming—is excruciating. The long-distance lovers quarrel: Often it starts over nothing but has the potential to end everything.

It happened to me not all that long ago. I was tired and emotional, and I hadn’t seen my boyfriend for a couple of weeks. I was fed up and feeling needy. So I said one thing after another that pushed all of his buttons until he snapped. I cried, and then I just stopped talking and hung up. Not my finest moment. In fact, it still makes me embarrassed. I might have even uttered the humiliating phrase “You don’t even love me” completely out of context and out of the blue—just to get a reaction. It didn’t work. It was a Skype call gone completely and embarrassingly wrong. All I wanted was a little reassurance. Instead, I made him mad and myself upset.

I started the fight. So it was me who had to fix it. But how do you make up when you’re far apart? What is the best way do that when you are far away and feeling vulnerable? When he is angry and annoyed? When you can’t just hug and make up.

Here are five ways to make up even when you’re far apart.

Apologize.

There is no avoiding it, and the quicker it happens the better you will feel. We all know how a girl’s mind works. We tend to overanalyze to the point of exhaustion, and we make ourselves sick in the process. So let’s learn to cut to the chase. Send that text or jump back on the phone to genuinely apologize. I agree that it can really suck having to say you are sorry, but it really is the most important part of making up. Whether you started it or not, saying “I am sorry for making you feel this way/like that” is a sure-fire way of resolving the argument quickly. But you have to mean it. You don’t have to feel bad for something you did, but you do have to acknowledge your part in the disagreement and want to resolve it enough to utter those three important words.

Communicate clearly.

Explain your feelings as clearly as you possibly can. Tell your sweetheart what caused you to become upset, to say what you said, to come to the actions you did. If it was because you felt stressed, tired or hormonal, then explain that it is actually not them and that you were just frustrated that you couldn’t de-stress in their company, that you couldn’t snuggle up in their arms. If the reason you began or participated in the fight was because there is a deeper relationship issue, then be brave and state your feelings. Be very careful not to go into attack mode. Just explain what the issue feels like to you. Write it down beforehand to really understand for yourself. Always get to the heart of the problem. And once you know what it was all about, state it objectively. For example, don’t say “You always embarrass me,” as it is too general and accusatory. Instead, try saying something specific, such as, “I find it really hurtful when you say that I am a bad cook to our friends.” Be specific and clear about how the issue makes you feel.

Let it go.

Once you have explained yourself and apologized genuinely, let it go. The golden rule is that you cannot bring it up again or use it in a future fight. Deal with the issue properly, find the root cause and then move on. This is absolutely essential for a happy relationship. After all, we all make mistakes. We shouldn’t have to live in fear of them being raised during every disagreement.

Show love.

Now that you have let it go and moved on, go right back to showing love. We are adults. Let’s not play games. So that means no digital silent treatment or overindulgence of attention. The issue has been put to bed. So say you love each other, and choose to change your attitude. It never hurts to send a little love, either.

Predict the problem.

We all get tired and emotional at times. In future, if you feel a mini meltdown coming on, don’t pick up the phone or log onto the computer unless you feel you can actually talk it through and not cause an issue. Instead, show yourself some love: Go for a walk. Take a nap. Do something creative such as drawing, crafting or writing. Spend time with a pet. Once you feel a little less vulnerable and less likely to cause a fight, then call your sweetheart. It’s too easy to take out the stresses of life on the one we love most. Know yourself well, and avoid making their day miserable.

Long-distance love works if you work it. And knowing how to make up is a key tool in your long-distance toolbox. I’d love to hear how you make up and manage these sometimes unavoidable issues. Do you agree with the list above?

Written by Rebecca Hurtrel
Rebecca is a wellness coach and yoga teacher from Sydney, Australia. She now lives with her husband in Paris, following five years of long-distance love. They are expecting their first baby in June 2016. Rebecca writes about her yoga lifestyle on her website, rebeccahurtrelwellness.wordpress.com.

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