How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work
Ask the important questions at the onset, to make sure you are both clear on the parameters of the relationship. Setting parameters such as naming your relationship (dating, seeing each other, boyfriend-girlfriend, engaged) as well as defining exclusive (limited to one person,) or non-exclusive. These can be difficult and awkward questions to ask, but will save you great heartache and misunderstanding down the line. Example: “Are you open to the possibility of relocating if the relationship should become more serious?” or “What are you looking to get out of the relationship?” Stating your end goal or ideas will allow each person to maintain what they need.
Do things together. Defy the distance. As a long distance couple, it’s important to do other things together besides the usual phone call. In a long distance relationship, interaction over the phone can become dull in the long run. Incorporating other forms of interaction are important. Just think… People in short-distance relationships do not spend the majority of their time talking, but rather doing things with each other. Try to replicate this
finding things to do together such as watching a TV show or movie
Consider using Skype video chat calls every day or as often as possible, text messaging, phone calls and email every day. It is important to maintain contact and to be in each others daily lives as much as possible.
Communicate in some way every day, more than once if possible. Since you won’t be seeing each other, it’s important to establish and maintain an emotional connection. These don’t always have to be long, in-depth conversations. Tell each other about your little triumphs and tragedies. Ask on for advice. Use an instant messenger program or VoIP for real-time chat, or web cams for that visual connection. E-mail is great so make sure you use it, especially if long-distance phone calls put a strain on your budget. Ensure the e-mails are substantive and detailed, it will show that you care enough to put in the time and effort. Write love letters. Send small gifts, cards, or send flowers for no reason. In this case, quantity is as important as quality. You may discover an advantage over others whose partner is close at hand—you don’t take communication for granted!
You can set up reminders, including automatically-recurring reminders, for this purpose in calendaring software on your computer or online. This is especially important when you don’t have much contact with the others friends to remember important events such as birthdays.
Take advantage of the benefits a long distance relationship offers: more time with friends and/or family, no arguments over toothpaste caps, the pleasure of seeing your sweetheart again after a long absence, time to mull your options (rather than snapping at your partner impulsively) before you respond to that email s/he wrote that seemed so rude the first time you read it, not being dragged into a bunch of chick flicks, etc. Most important, being far apart gives you a chance to maintain your individuality—something that can get lost in the shuffle when couples spend all their free time together. Here are additional benefits of long distance relationships.
Pursue common interests, even if it means pursuing them apart. If there’s a movie you’re both interested in seeing, watch it individually and then call each other afterward and talk about it. Read a certain book at the same time. Stargaze while you’re on the phone. Set your watches to go off at the same time every day, and synchronize your alarm with that of your partner. Make it a point to think of each other when your watch goes off, and revel in the fact that he or she is thinking about you, too. Find creative ways to bond.Avoid the temptation to be controlling. People have free will and no one can or should control another person. As long as you are both interested in being in the relationship, you will stick with it and distance will not make a difference. As soon as one of you decides the other is not a good match—or someone else is a better match—your relationship ends, whether you live 3000 miles apart, two streets over, or share the same bed with your wedding picture on the wall. You are going to have to trust each other completely if this relationship is going to work.
Try challenging each other. This is not the same as being controlling. You may find that you can do things for each other that you couldn’t quite find the motivation to do on your own. Perhaps you could motivate yourselves to get some exercise or to cook better or more often. It will give you something to do while you wait to see your partner again, and it will give you both something to strive for and talk about until then.
Talk about your future together. Assuming that ultimately you’d want to live together, discussing how you’re going to get to that point will help you prove to each other that the relationship is going somewhere and that your efforts and frustrations are not in vain.
Remember: Things will get better with time, and even the relationship will become better. Have hope.
Visit often. Try to make the time to visit each other as often as possible or as often as your budget permits you to. A relationship cannot thrive if the only thing you have is the phone call. You need to see each other up close and personal every chance you get. The key here is to set up some “rules” about frequency of communication and visits and stick to them. Consistency can help a long-distance relationship survive.
Avoid jealousy and be trusting. One of the easiest ways to destroy a perfectly healthy relationship is to poison it with jealousy and drama. When you start a long distance relationship, you must be realistic of the difficulties ahead. It always helps if you go in a relationship with the idea that everyone is innocent and worthy of trust until proven otherwise. Don’t fall in the trap of interrogating your partner every time he/she decides to go out for a drink with people you haven’t met or he/she didn’t get back to you right away when you called and left a message. Just because you are in a long-distance relationship doesn’t mean your lives will pause. Your partner will naturally have a social life where he/she lives and so should you. Sure, it helps to have your eyes open and not be totally naive, but being overly suspicious is unhealthy for you and your relationship too. You should both maintain your social activity and be happy with yourselves.
Be positive. Staying positive and not focusing on the negative aspects of a long-distance relationship is essential to keeping your relationship blooming and your partner content. Being away from your sweetie is not all bad news. Use the opportunity of personal time to pursue your interests and hobbies as well as your career objectives. Another positive point is that long distance dating pushes both of you to be more creative, to communicate better since you don’t have “face-to-face” time and to test (and express) your feelings. As long as you see the long-distance relationship as a temporary state, you will keep your chin up and transmit that feeling of security and happiness to your partner too.
Give them a personal object of yours so in a time of need, when they miss you, they are able to hold on to something that once belonged to you. This will provide comfort, happiness, and the thought of being with you.
Work towards a balanced relationship between partners. A relationship must be built on strong foundations of trust, understanding and determination to make it work. The key is to ensure that an equal amount of effort is made by both parties. The two partners should be reasonable about their expectations and willing to cooperate so that the relationship can lead to a happy ending. If these parameters are taken care of, you have nothing to worry about. But don’t forget to ask some questions because if you don’t, your partner may start to think that you’re losing interest.
Create your own set of relationship standards that both of you have mutually agreed upon. That creates a common goal for you to work towards, developing a strong relationship whether you are together or apart. For example, agree to disagree, accept each other as you are, practice trust and honesty, strive towards compromise and self-sacrifice, seek spiritual unity, and maintain open communication.
Remember that you’re still in a relationship. You HAVE to be there for your partner. If your partner is ever in trouble, or hurt, or whatever, you have to be there for them.Make sure you are available to them so that they can reach you if they need you. If they end up dealing with everything alone, they will eventually not need you. And sometimes, distance permitting of course, that means being actually, physically there for them.
Because time together is rare, when you do see each other, take as much advantage as possible of your ability to get intimate with each other. You don’t have that privilege during those stretches when you can’t be with each other physically. You’ve got to keep those feelings of excitement and attraction alive or they will wane in time.
Remember “Always toward absent lovers love’s tide stronger flows.”
- Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
- Express yourself to free up emotional weight. One poet who’s written poetry as a result of a long-distance relationship is Tony Berndtsson – look him up.
- A long-distance relationship is no different from a proximal relationship in that they both require a great deal of work, excellent communication, patience, sacrifice and understanding. But you will have to work extra hard to maintain the communication and to stay focused enough to not let your daily life interfere with your desire to be with the other person. Don’t forget them or you can forget the relationship and it will all be over.
- Sometimes phone/email/IM communication can get bland. Don’t forget there are other ways to interact! Use the internet and find things you both can do together. It takes the pressure off, it gives you a break from constant talking, and it can be fun.
- One of the hardest parts of a long distance relationship is connecting when one person gets busier than the other. If this happens in a relationship, it is important to maintain communication. If you are the busy person, try to warn your partner ahead of time that you will be working many hours and may have limited time. If you are the not-as-busy person, take advantage of the time by picking up a new hobby, getting in shape, reading a new book, etc. Flexibility is very important.
- It helps to have a solid time in the future for when the long distance part of the relationship will end, no matter the time length. Without it, the relationship can begin to mold into something that is always distant—even with great communication. With it, each person can see the point at which the distance will end and work harder to keep emotions readily available.
- When talking to your partner, take note of things they enjoy the most (hobbies, day-to-day activities, etc.), and do a little research on it so you have more to do when you see them next. For example: If your partner likes to dance, find the location of different clubs where you will see them next. If you don’t know how to dance, take lessons and you will impress them by your willingness to make an effort on their behalf.
- Choose a game that you can play together over the internet, whether it is a MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing game) or something more traditional, such as chess or Scrabble. You will be able to chat while playing and it will give a greater feeling of togetherness.
- Mail each other scented clothes (or even clothes smelling of your sweat—pheromones are a great way to establish intimate contact). If you can see each other once a week, leave a t-shirt splashed with cologne for your lover before you leave.
- Send each other spontaneous e-cards.
- Make a creative countdown and mail it to your partner to enjoy until you see each other next. For example, create a photo calendar, with something you add for each day to describe what you love about them.
- Do not set unreasonable expectations for your visit and/or future plans. Fantasizing about the visit is fine, but not out loud verbally or by email to your partner. Instead, enjoy the excitement of the surprises to come. By stating that a surprise is coming can allow to much thought time for the receiver and leaves both of you open to disappointments.
- The Long Distance Relationship Guidebook is a well-balanced, practical book for couples in long distance relationships who need some guidance.
- Buy a webcam so you can chat “face-to-face” and see each other, so when you meet you will remember how your partner looks.
- Living far apart gives you both a chance to grow as individuals. Some couples break up to “find themselves”, but in a long distance relationship you both have enough space to do your own things and still have a connection.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about the “boring” parts of your day. The trickier, almost subconscious part is maintaining the feeling of being intermingled in your partner’s life, a state the experts often refer to as “interrelatedness.”
- It’s important to talk about the future. If you’re not sure how long you will be apart, try to make goals for when you can move near one another again.
- Spice things up by meeting halfway (if it’s within a reasonable distance) to grab a bite to eat or get some coffee. This is a great alternative if you’re not able to dedicate an entire weekend with your significant other.
- Don’t talk on the phone TOO often. Since most of your relationship is based off of phone calls, you don’t want to run out of things to talk about for the whole day. Calling one to two times daily will allow you to talk to each other without having repetitive conversations.
- Avoid temptations, the best and easiest way to be faithful would always be to not put yourself in a situation where you would have to be tested. Temptations would always come your way, but avoiding certain things would let your partner know that there’s nothing to worry about.Remember, every kind of relationship takes hard work and dedication to your loved one or partner, whether it’s long distance or proximal. If you and your partner are willing to take these steps, then expect bumps and turns in the road. These bumps and turns will only help contribute towards a relationship.
- Long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart. They can be very trying, but so can proximal relationships.
- Long distance relationships can and will test you and your partner; you need to trust him/her entirely, lest paranoia play a major part in the demise of your relationship.
- Long distance relationships are difficult, as you are emotionally attached to a person you cannot touch or comfort and this can wreak havoc with your emotions. You may have negative thoughts or feelings that are not true, you may doubt your love feelings, or, because of some fights over the phone, you may feel that you don’t feel the way you did before for your partner. But try to keep these feelings in perspective as distance can aggravate them.
- Remember, fights are a part of any relationship, and it’s up to you to deal with it or to succumb to it.
- When you are alone, take out time to see the photos of your love, any gift that he/she has given, or letters written. At night, before sleeping, try to recollect those wonderful moments.
- Try to make every possible effort from your side. Initially, love/passion can be the driving force. As time goes on, it’s commitment that is most important.
- It’s easier to get into arguments in a long-distance relationship, because you can’t always discern what someone’s actual tone is through text. It’s also a lot easier to say hurtful things when you’re not face-to-face, but the words can hurt just the same. Take special care to watch how you interpret their words (for it might not be what they meant), and what you say when you’re angry.
- There would always be people that would say that long distance relationships don’t work, just remember that they are not the people who are in the relationship. Making it work surviving the long distance cannot should not be determined by them.