If you have ended up reading this, then it is safe to say that you are probably currently in a long-distance relationship and are scouring the internet trying to find tips, advice or help with what you are going through. Well, if you are having any doubts about whether long-distance relationships are a good idea, then you can be reassured by knowing that they can frequently be a good idea, and they can absolutely work out as well as or even better than a “normal” relationship.
Can My Long-Distance Relationship Work?
Yes, however, it is normal to have these doubts. A long-distance relationship comes with a thousand and one questions such as: is it worth your time and effort? Will it end eventually anyway? Are you being selfish by not living with your partner? How can you keep your relationship feeling special?
People often think that now in the age of technology that it must be easier than ever to have a long-distance relationship; surely you can just call, message, and Skype whenever you want. Unfortunately, you will learn that technology doesn’t make it all magically better, and there are steps you both need to take in order to have a successful and loving relationship. Read on to find out the best things you and your partner can do to have the best chance at a happy and fulfilling long-distance relationship. Below are tips for making a long-distance relationship work.
1) Make Communication a Priority
With everyone leading such busy lives, it is very easy to let that phone call or text message to your partner slide down your list of things to do; after all, you have a lot of work to catch up on, or you really need to go to the gym because you haven’t been for a few days, and you can just call your partner tomorrow instead, right? Wrong.
This is a huge no-no in a long-distance relationship, do not put off communicating with your partner. Sure, they will still physically be there on the other end on the phone tomorrow, but mentally they might not be. The longer you go without communication, the easier it is for you both to become emotionally disconnected, and once you start losing the emotional connection, it will be harder each time to get it back whenever you are not physically together. It does not matter how busy you are, or what other activities you would rather be doing instead, it is essential that you check in with each other every day.
Making communication a priority, even just a five-minute call, regardless of what is happening in your life, will go a long way in making you both feel like you are an important part of each other’s lives.
2) Do Things Together Even Though You Are Apart
Since you are not in the same room, city, or even perhaps country as each other, you are probably thinking that aside from speaking on the phone, there is nothing that you can do together, however, this is not the case. You are limited in what you are able to do together, given the circumstances, but you do still have options.
For example, the next time you both want to watch a movie, phone each other and watch it at the same time. Listen to the same album or playlist together, go online and play a game with each other, or go to the same restaurant chain as each other and treat it like it is a dinner date. You have to use your imagination a little, but there are definitely things you two can both do at the same time; even doing silly things together can make you feel a lot more connected. All of your friends are going to the movies and dinner with their partners, so why can’t you?
3) Send Gifts
There are no set rules on how many gifts you should buy your partner or how much you should spend, but receiving a gift does make you feel warm and loved. Therefore, if possible, try and send your partner things in the mail, no matter how small. You may already be doing this for their birthday, Christmas, or any other holiday you celebrate together, but there is something very special about a person sending you a gift for no reason other than just because they were thinking about you. The next time you are out shopping, or walking down the street and see something that reminds you of your partner, or you see an item that you know they would love, wrap it up and send it to them.
4) Visit as Often as Possible
Of course, this will depend a lot on your personal circumstances and where in the world your partner currently is. For example, if you are studying at university, holding down a minimum wage job just to barely survive, and your partner is living on the other side of the world, then understandably, you won’t be able to visit – and vice versa.
However, if you are in a bit of a better situation than described above, and you have the opportunity to visit them, even if it is just for a few days at a time, then do it. The opportunities you will have to see each other during the course of your long-distance relationship will most probably be far and few between, so it is vital that whenever possible one of you is making the trip to see the other one.
Even if you are not able to go to them due to time constraints, then discuss with your partner about helping them pay to come to see you if they are struggling with money rather than time. The time that you get to physically be together will be worth whatever it costs, or however much traveling one of you has to do. Having even a little time together in person is really important in keeping your intimacy and emotional connection alive, and after just a few days together you will be both feel renewed and reassured in yourselves and in your relationship.
5) Remind Yourself Why You Are Doing It
Like with all relationships, you will hit rough patches, and the rough patches can feel even rougher when you are going through them in a long-distance relationship. In fact, it is very easy to feel like giving up when you hit a bump in your relationship, and it’s even easier to tell yourself all the reasons why the relationship isn’t working, why it isn’t worth it, and how your life would be so much simpler if you were to just date someone who lives in the same area as you.
During a bad point in anyone’s relationship, it is normal for someone to question their relationship or wonder if they are making the right choices, and a long-distance relationship is no different. Like with a “regular” relationship, you just have to work together to get to the other side and once again understand and appreciate each other. Relationship blips happen to everyone, and when they do you need to tell yourself the reasons why you are with the other person, remind yourself of the great and wonderful things you have in your relationship, and the thousands of reasons why you love your partner.
It’s the same for people in a long-distance relationship, just with a little added extra; you also need to remind yourself of these things when you are going through a bad time, but you also need to remind yourself and your partner of the positive reasons why you are currently not living in the same place.
Maybe your partner had to move to another city for a few years to study at the school of their dreams, or perhaps you had to move to another country temporarily for a better job so that you can save more money for your future. Whatever the reason is that you have found yourself in a long-distance relationship, there will be a very good reason for it, and you must never forget that.
6) Keep Up to Date on the Little Things
Being apart means that you will miss out on a thousand conversations that most couples don’t even think about. Things like asking what food they want for dinner, what their favorite song is at the moment, or them telling each other the funny thing that happened at work earlier. These are all little conversations that don’t have a lot of meaning on their own, but together it builds part of your relationship.
Therefore, don’t skip over the small things the next time you are talking. If you heard a new song that you liked, tell them. If you heard a funny story on the bus, then share it with your partner. If something has happened in your family then tell your partner, and they need to share likewise.
You might think that it is not important that your brother got a new job, or your friend from work is expecting a baby, but you have to keep on top of the small changes and share the day to day stories, otherwise, you can be together for months or years and still feel like you don’t know each other as well as you should.
7) Don’t Get Caught Up in Trust Issues
It’s normal to have moments of jealousy, whether they are justified or not, but these are often fleeting irrational moments that are fixed with a quick conversation and genuine reassurance. However, it is far easier to have perspective on the situation and fix the problem when you are both there in person, but when these passing moments of jealousy happen and your partner is a thousand miles away then it can quickly escalate into a huge and unnecessary situation that can put a strain on your relationship.
Jealousy can be very damaging and have a massively negative impact on you both, and the best way to fight it is to both trust each other implicitly. You are in a relationship with someone you love, and they deserve your trust, as you do theirs. So, if your partner mentions that they are going out for drinks with work colleagues then tell them to have a good time, don’t start questioning who will be there. If your partner says that they are late phoning you because they had to help one of their friends with a genuine problem, then believe them. If either one of you starts to let jealousy creep into these kinds of situations because you are not there to literally see these things happening, then you will never have a sincere and trusting relationship.
8) Keep Your End Goal in Mind and Make Plans
Normally a long-distance relationship will have an expiration date; generally, people don’t plan to be in one for the rest of their lives, and it is usually a temporary plan that will last several months or several years before you both know the arrangement will come to an end, and you can continue your lives together in the same place.
So, when it is appropriate, bring up conversations with your partner about the future. Hopefully, you both know at least roughly when the long-distance is ending, so when it does you need to have a plan for what happens next. Not only is it exciting to make new plans, but it will both give you something to mentally focus on, and help your relationship survive as you are both counting down to a common goal.
Whatever plans you have, you have to make sure you are both talking about them, you are both on the same page, and you are both keeping the end goal and future in mind.
There is no denying that being in a long-distance relationship can be tough on everyone involved, you can spend a lot of time feeling like you are missing out on many normal aspects of a romantic relationship, so it is essential that you both have the patience and understanding that is required to make it through the rainy days.
Yes, a long-distance relationship does take a lot of work, communication, and appreciation from both sides, but by working together you can make it to the finish line stronger than ever.