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5 Tips for Long Distance Relationships

Let’s get personal. As some of you may know, I’ve been in a relationship for about 3 and a half years now. During this time, 1.5 years have been spent living together and the other 2 have been long distance. Because James lives in England and I live in America, long distance comes with added bonus challenges of expensive international flights, visas, and managing time zones. So how have we managed to do it? These 5 key areas have been essential in making our (mostly) long distance relationship successful.


1. Trust


Long distance relationships are ten times harder if you don’t fully trust your partner. Because you aren’t living in the same place, you will never truly know what your partner is doing. You need to trust that they can make smart decisions for themselves and for your relationship. Without this, your relationship will suffer. Constantly asking your partner where they are, who they’re with, and when they will be home is exhausting and will lead to frustration in the future. Being inquisitive about their life is very different than interrogating them every time they go out. Keep in mind that, like any relationship, you both should have your own lives apart from each other.


2. Scheduling


The best long distance relationships still make time for each other, just like you would in a normal relationship. You may try out a few different things before you figure out what works best for you. Some people enjoy Facetiming or Skyping while others just like to call. Some couples will even play online video games together as a form of quality time. Whatever it is that you decide to do, you should put in the effort. If you start blowing off time with your long distance partner, it may be a sign that you aren’t prioritizing them as much as you should.


It is important to note that life often gets in the way and that scheduling time together can be very difficult because of things like jobs and time zones. Some couples may get to talk every day while others may only chat once a week. You should be clear with your partner about what your communication expectations are so that neither of you are disappointed. You should also be understanding when other things may intrude on your time together, unless it starts to get out of hand.


3. Do special things for each other


Because you won’t be able to go on actual dates, you will need to find other ways to make your significant other feel special. How to do this changes wildly based on your relationship. Because you’re living apart, it may be a wonderful time to write letters to each other. Everybody likes getting mail and it shows that you’ve made a little extra effort for your partner. You may want to send flowers or other small gifts. My long distance partner James once sent me some of my favorite chocolate because I was stressed about finishing a semester of college. Being mindful and thoughtful goes a long way.


4. Have an end goal in mind


One of the benefits of long distance is that it often weeds out weak relationships. Because you are apart, you are forced to discuss the future of the relationship. Having a future, and more specifically, an end date in mind is very helpful in getting through a period of long distance. Is one of you planning to move to the other’s city? Is a job change involved? You and your partner will have to be diligent in planning out your steps to be together in the end and hopefully set a date when you will be together more permanently.


It is essential to bear in mind that one person will likely have to sacrifice more if they are moving to the other’s location. Always be aware of what you (or your partner) is giving up for the relationship and show that gratitude towards each other. If one of you feels resentful about this, you should talk to your partner and potentially make other arrangements.


5. Limit your expectations


For some, the idea of a long distance relationship is incredibly romantic, and in many ways, it is! However, you should know that most of the time, it is just like any other relationship. You will go through the same trials of busyness, tiredness, frustration, and many more. You should always be open with your partner about what you are feeling and doing, even if it is incredibly mundane most of the time.


You may also have expectations about visiting each other that are much too high. While you may be able to visit some amazing destinations, keep in mind that every moment doesn’t have to be over-the-top. You may feel the pressure to plan everything to be absolutely perfect. It probably won’t be! You can have a great time just by hanging out together and enjoying each other’s company. Don’t be afraid to just relax.

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