Long-distance relationships come with their own unique dynamics. People often talk about how difficult they are, but they don’t have to be. With the right approach, commitment, and communication, any compatible couple can make their long-distance relationship work.
As a woman who has had her fair share of long-distance romances, I have learned a few lessons along the way. By far, the most important point is to make sure you communicate openly, honestly, and regularly. Communication is essential in any relationship, but even more so when you’re not physically together.
But more on that later. First, we’ll look at the benefits and challenges of being in a long-distance relationship. We’ll then share our top tips on how to make your long-distance relationship work.
Benefits of long-distance relationships
First, let’s talk about the benefits of long-distance relationships.
1. You have time to focus on yourself. Being away from each other can give couples time to focus on themselves and their own interests. People in long-distance relationships often maintain a stronger sense of identity and independence than couples in geographically close relationships.
2. You make the most of your time together. When couples in long-distance relationships do spend time together, it’s often more special and meaningful. You are more likely to make an effort to do fun activities together and spend quality time as a couple because you know those moments are limited.
3. You know you aren’t together out of convenience. At least with long-distance relationships, you know you’re not together out of convenience! Generally, only couples who have a strong bond are willing to be in a long-distance relationship.
4. You have more perspective on the relationship. Being in a long-distance relationship encourages you to take a step back and evaluate the bigger picture of your relationship. Are there areas that you should be working on? Are there behavioral patterns that need to be addressed? Having a little distance can make it easier to take an objective view of the relationship.
5. You deeply appreciate each other when you are together. You don’t tend to find couples taking each for granted in long-distance relationships. Particularly when you see someone every day, it can be easy to forget how amazing they are. But with long-distance relationships, couples don’t take things for granted in the same way.
Challenges of long-distance relationships
Of course, long-distance relationships also come with their own set of challenges too. Here are the main difficulties you might face.
1. You might find it harder to build intimacy. Intimacy is a key component of any relationship and it can be hard to build when you’re apart. It can be challenging to maintain the same level of closeness and connection that you would in a geographically close relationship where you see each other all the time.
2. You can miss each other. This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning. When couples are in different places, they often miss each other, which can make them feel sad and lonely.
3. You may struggle to communicate effectively. Long-distance relationships often require more effort when it comes to communication. You have to be more mindful to make sure you’re staying connected and on the same page with your partner.
4. You can feel disconnected from each other’s lives. When you’re not physically with each other regularly, it can be hard to stay up-to-date with each other’s daily lives. You might miss out on simple day-to-day moments that couples in close proximity get to enjoy together, and you may not feel as integrated into each other’s lives.
5. You may find it challenging to resolve conflicts. When couples are living in different places, it can be hard to resolve conflicts in the same way as you would if you were together. You might end up dwelling on small issues for longer and you can’t give each other a hug to make things better.
25 tips for how to make your long-distance relationship work
Let’s now move on to looking at some tips for making a long-distance relationship work. Here are 23 to get you started.
1. Don’t tell yourself that long-distance relationships are hard.
Telling yourself that long-distance relationships are hard can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your mindset is one of the most important factors in making your long-distance relationship work. Instead of dwelling on the difficulties of long-distance relationships, focus on the opportunities these types of relationships provide. By shifting your attitude and focusing on the positives instead of the negatives, you’re more likely to build strong and successful relationships no matter how far apart you may be.
2. Communicate openly and honestly.
It’s true that communication requires a little more effort in long-distance relationships, but it’s also key to making them work. Make sure to communicate regularly and openly with your partner. However, there is still a balance to be found. You don’t need to be messaging your partner every hour of the day, but it’s important to be attentive and stay connected. It might take a bit of time to work out, but with patience, you will find a communication dynamic that works for you.
3. Make time for virtual date nights.
Just because you can’t be together physically, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy romantic dates. Make sure to plan virtual date nights by agreeing on activities to do, such as watching a movie together or playing a game. Do date nights where you dress up, too. This can help keep things interesting.
4. Make the most of technology.
If one thing is certain, it’s that long-distance relationships have become easier as technology has advanced. There was a time, not so long ago, when you had to pay astronomical rates for extended-distance phone calls and letters. Now, you can be in touch with your partner throughout the day via video calls, text messages, email, and Skype. So make the most of it!
5. Always have your next trip booked.
Having a date in the diary for when you’ll next see your partner can be a real source of motivation and comfort. It’s often helpful to always have your next trip planned, if possible. So before you say goodbye, discuss when you’ll next be physically together. This will give you something to look forward to during the times you’re apart.
6. Send each other little gifts and surprises.
Gift-giving is a great way to make your long-distance relationship feel more special and intimate. You don’t have to spend a lot of money—even small, thoughtful gifts can make your partner feel loved. If you’re apart on a special day such as a birthday or Valentine’s Day, you can always send little surprises in the mail, you could surprise your partner with a care package full of their favorite things.
7. Mix up your medium of communication.
It’s easy to fall into a pattern in terms of how you communicate. For example, you might do calls on certain days of the week and then chat via WhatsApp. But mixing things up helps to keep things interesting. Try sending a letter, sending a voice note, or even just sharing a photo of something that made you think of them. This will help your relationship to stay fresh and exciting.
8. Share stories from everyday life.
Sharing details of your everyday life can help to build intimacy and connection when you’re physically apart. Talk to each other about what your day was like, any funny things that happened, or send a photo of the sunset you just saw. This is a great way to ensure you feel integrated into each other’s lives, even when you’re apart.
9. Be proactive regarding checking in with each other.
Ask each other outright how you are both feeling about the relationship and the specific dynamics. Don’t wait until something becomes unmanageable to talk about it. This is especially important if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the distance or facing any other issues. Being proactive about checking in shows that you care about the relationship and are committed to making it work.
10. Have a plan for the future.
When the time is right, it can be helpful to have a plan for the future of your relationship. Talk about what you both want in a partner and how you see your long-distance relationship evolving. Will one of you move at some point? When might that be? And what kind of life do you see yourself having? Now, these might not be questions for the early stages of a long-distance relationship, but it’s important to discuss them together eventually. This can help to create clarity which brings a sense of security.
11. Send each other memes.
Sharing memes can help to bridge the physical distance between you. It’s a great way to make your partner laugh when you’re not together. They are essentially a light-hearted, cute, and fun way to build connection and familiarity. It’s even better if you can make the memes relevant to something you’ve discussed or an “in” joke.
12. Create shared goals.
If possible, try to set some shared goals as a couple. This could be something like eating more healthily, trying a new hobby together, or even something small like learning to make a new dish. Having something to work towards together can be a great way to stay connected when apart.
13. Do an emergency visit if necessary.
If your partner is in need of support, offer to do a last-minute emergency trip to visit them if your situation allows it. This shows that you’re dedicated to making the relationship work and you truly care about their happiness. This gesture won’t go unnoticed and it speaks volumes about your commitment.
14. Use the time to work on yourself.
Remind yourself that this time apart can be used as an opportunity to work on yourself. Invest in some new hobbies, catch up with old friends, and try to make the most of this time apart. It’s always important to have a life outside of your relationship, so use this time to build your own sense of self so that you can come back together even stronger.
15. Understand what makes each other feel connected.
It’s important to remember that we all have different ways of showing and receiving love. Talk to each other about what makes you both feel connected so that you can tailor your affection accordingly. In fact, we have a blog post about the five love languages, which you might want to check out.
16. Be organized.
Long-distance relationships require planning and organization to make sure you can stay connected. This is especially true if you are both living in different time zones. It can help to have a call, say, every Sunday, so you can discuss what you both have going on that week. You can then work out when you’ll be able to chat with each other.
17. Explore sexting.
If you’re both comfortable with it, sexting can be a great way to keep the spark alive when you’re apart. Sex is a key part of a relationship for most people, and it can help to explore non-physical sexual activities to make sure you’re both satisfied. And let’s not forget that it can be great fun too.
18. Be patient and kind with each other.
It might take some time for you to figure out a long-distance relationship dynamic that works. So be patient and kind with each other during the process. You might not always get it right, so don’t be too hard on yourselves if things don’t go as smoothly as planned. Instead, take the time to learn from your mistakes and try something new.
19. Prioritize each other.
Just because you’re not meeting up in person, it doesn’t make your time together any less valuable. Even if you have different commitments and responsibilities, make sure you’re setting aside time to focus on each other. If either of you feels neglected, it can be easy for resentment to build up, which can put the relationship at risk.
20. Stay positive.
Above all, try to stay positive. You might have some tough days where you miss your partner and you just want to be together and that’s completely normal. But try to stay focused on the bigger picture and remind yourself what an incredible connection you have. You can even come back to this post and read our list of positives if you’re struggling.
21. Get creative with date ideas.
Plan some original dates to spice things up ad keep the relationship exciting while you’re apart. You could, for example, plan a virtual Netflix movie marathon, play online video games together, or do a couples’ workout via Zoom. It can actually be more fun to plan virtual dates because you have to be more creative, and that can bring you closer together.
22. Make the most of your time together.
We have talked a lot about what you can do while you’re apart, but it’s equally important to make the most of the time you’re together. Put away your phone, focus on the present moment, and just enjoy being in each other’s company.
23. Include each other in family events.
If there are special occasions coming up, like birthdays or religious holidays, try to include each other in the celebrations. This could be as simple as giving your partner a quick call while you’re with your family or friends to show them you’re thinking of them. Making an effort like this can show your partner that you really want them to be a part of your life.
24. Don’t overthink your partner’s actions.
If your partner doesn’t reply for a while now and again, try not to overanalyze it. Take into account their life circumstances. For example, they might be going through a busy period at work so it’s taking them a little longer to respond. As long as your partner is trying to make time for you and isn’t being dishonest, don’t assume the worst. Instead, communicate and have an open conversation about it.
25. Have fun.
Last but not least, have fun! At the end of the day, you are together because you have something special, so try to enjoy the journey and appreciate each moment you have together. Be grateful for finding each other and for the amazing connection you share. So enjoy it and make the most of it.
Final thoughts on how to make a long-distance relationship work
There you have it – our top tips for surviving a long-distance relationship. With our advice, you should be well on your way to having a healthy and fulfilling long-distance relationship with your partner. Just remember that, as with any relationship, communication and understanding are key.
At the end of the day, compatibility and commitment matter more than the miles that separate you. If you’re both dedicated to making it work, there’s no reason why a long-distance relationship can’t be just as successful as an in-person one. So stay positive, focus on your connection, and enjoy your journey.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like our blog about long-distance relationship quotes.
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