Long distance relationships can be very challenging. It’s in our nature to keep our loved ones close.
If you’re in a long distance relationship or planning to, we can help!
We’ve gathered 7 experts to share 13 tips on how to make long distance relationships work.
See them below.
Dr. Laura Louis
Licensed Psychologist, Atlanta Couple Therapy
Being in a long distance relationship has its own unique set of stressors but it is possible to be in a happy, healthy long distance relationship especially if you apply these tips.
As a psychologist, I have worked with several couples who are looking to strengthen their relationship despite the distance and the biggest issue they have is their sense of the connection being off because they aren’t able to see, touch, hold and truly connect.
My top 3 tips to making a long distance relationship work are:
Make a plan to connect with each other
You have to be intentional and strategic about seeing each other. Have a clear schedule and plan on who will make the trip each time or if you will meet somewhere in the middle.
Keep it interesting and exciting
Send those racy pictures when it’s least expected or even send that racy text in the middle of the day.
Don’t just rely on listening to each other’s voice or reading texts get on a video chat via Skype, Facetime or Hangout
Those face to face conversations will allow for you to reignite the intimacy in your relationship.
Manager, Best Company
The stigma around long-distance relationships is powerful enough to cause even the happiest and strongest of couples to doubt their relationship.
Seeds of doubt can be planted by others suggesting your partner is unfaithful or happier when you’re not around. Family and friends often will encourage you not to take the relationship as seriously, because if you don’t completely trust your partner, you’re more than likely to get your heartbroken.
Even if their intentions are pure, even hinting at these types of thoughts will cause anyone to overthink and overanalyze their relationship.
However, not all long-distance relationships are doomed from the start. While the distance may require putting in some extra effort from both partners, they can often bring people closer together. After all, distance makes the heart grow fonder.
Here are several tips for making your long distance relationship work:
Familiarize yourself with their schedule
Don’t always assume that since you’re free that your partner is too. Different work or school schedules, business meetings, exams, etc. can be frustrating in any relationship, but it can be a major inconvenience in a long-distance relationship where you and your partner might not be in the same time zone.
Before sending that sexy text to your partner, make sure they’re not in an important business meeting while screencasting their phone to a projector. Or don’t disclose personal information about your recent doctors visit while they’re out having dinner with some friends.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with their schedule; now this doesn’t mean you memorize it and track their every movement.
Talk with your partner about how and when you would like to communicate. Are you going to talk every day after work? What about weekends? Should you Skype? There’s no right or wrong answer, just find a rhythm that works for you.
Read related article: The 25 Best Books on Communication Skills
Technology is great but so are other things
Technology has really changed the game for long-distance relationships. Skyping, FaceTime, text messages, and other communication apps have made it easier to stay in constant contact with your loved one.
There is just something about getting a handwritten card in the mail or wearing your partner’s oversized sweatshirt that makes you smile.
A loving text is great, but just knowing that your partner took a few more minutes out of their day to write you a love letter, just warms your heart.
Be honest with each other
If you miss your partner, tell them you miss them. If you are feeling jealous, insecure, annoyed, or alone, talk about your feelings.
Bottling up your emotions can cause feelings of resentment towards your partner or self-doubt in yourself or your relationship. Let your partner know how you’re feeling and what they can do to help.
Watch the same shows
Couples that are in close proximity spend a lot of the time doing similar activities as their partner. In a long-distance relationship, talking about your work or school day can get old real quick and become slightly monotonous.
It’s important to find a common topic that you both enjoy and can discuss. Read the same book and talk about the things that interested you or watch the same show and talk about the many plot holes, whatever you choose, have something in common that will liven up your phone call or video and give you more to talk about.
This is a great way to learn more about your partner and share experiences while living apart.
Instead of just chatting about your day over FaceTime or phone call, find ways to animate and energize your conversation.
Maybe that means you surprise your loved one by starting your call playing an instrument or reading a poem. Alternatively, start a video call and “take them shopping” and show them several outfits and get their opinion. Keep it simple but unique and have fun with it.
Enjoy your alone time
Close proximity couples often gripe about having too much time with their partner, so much so that they usually don’t get much alone time.
An advantage in a long-distance relationship is that you have time to reflect and focus on yourself. Take the opportunity to learn a new hobby or skill.
Go to the gym or explore new places. Binge-watch the Hallmark Channel with no judgment. You don’t have to become a recluse or “boring” just because you don’t have your partner with you. Spend your time along, doing the things you want to do, because you want to do it.
Rachel Vida Maclynn
Founder | CEO, The Vida Consultancy
Don’t sweat it
Most people think their long-distance relationship will fail because they fear their partner will replace them with someone else. In an attempt to protect themselves from this fear, their brain highlights their partner’s most negative traits.
This is a common defense mechanism which prepares for the emotional pain of a break-up. However, couples who establish that they have a trusting, committed relationship, and work on their own individual mental health report greater intimacy in their long-distance relationships.
Lower levels of psychological distress in each individual also has positive effects on commitment, communication, and satisfaction in the long-distance relationship.
Healthy daily activities such as running, yoga and meditation can all contribute to a greater relationship with one’s self, which in turn results in more positivity and optimism in the relationship.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder
The scarcity effect is a technique successful marketers use to increase the value perception of their products.
If a product is less available, people view it as more desirable as a certain status applies to the exclusive few who have it.
The latest iPhone must be amazing if there is a long queue of people waiting at the store opening to acquire one of the scarce few, right?
In long-distance relationships, the demand almost always exceeds the supply.
You love each other deeply but cannot see each other as much as you would like. Due to this, couples perceive each other- and their time together- as more valuable.
Planning frequent visits ahead of schedule provides anticipation and excitement. It also shows a willingness to invest in the relationship, which promotes security within it.
As an international matchmaker, I have set up many international couples.
Those who have continued to arrange special and thoughtful dates once committed to each other have reported much more relationship satisfaction than those who see each other when it’s convenient.
Communication is key
Although physically seeing each other may be a scarcity, speaking with each other should not be. Communication really is key as it results in less loneliness, greater feelings of intimacy, and lower levels of jealousy.
Try to make it a mixture of planned and spontaneous communication to keep the relationship both comforting and filled with excitement.
Wedding Officiant | Founder, LoveLens
Our life experiences shape the lens through which we view the world. They inform our behaviors and the paths we take together and apart. As couples, we rarely reflect on where our values came from let alone define the values we seek to live together.
I believe it’s critical for long-distance relationships to be clear and rooted in their shared and unique values so they can intentionally activate them during a conversation and when they’re able to be physically together.
For example, if a couple shares the value of “Unity with Nature” (like me and my hubs do) then it would make a lot of sense that when they choose a vacation or a place to even meet up in person that they expose themselves to nature when they do!
While apart, they could read the same books (such as”Nature Fix”) or even watch the same movie (like “Mountains”) from their respective locations and have intentional conversation about it when they connect.
This keeps people out of the usual routine of simply “how was your day?” and allows them to grow together while they’re apart AND together!
Owner, Fitness/Lifestyle Blog, That Ginger Latte
My husband and I were in a Long-Distance Relationship (LDR) for about five years before we finally made the move to ‘be’ together.
We even flew from opposite sides of the world (me from Thailand and him from Romania) to DFW to go to the Justice of the Peace, get married, and hop back on a plane to our respective locales.
I have to say that if that relationship were entirely up to me, I would’ve most likely jumped ship long ago, but my now-husband, then-boyfriend was great at encouraging ways to make it work!
I am a former US Department of State Foreign Service which means I move countries every 2-3 years. He is US Military so he also relocates every 1-3 years–and never to a simultaneous location and never at a simultaneous time.
We met overseas and continued to move halfway across the world, separately, while maintaining our relationship which eventually led to marriage (still LDR) and then finally to living together and the birth of our son and another on the way.
Our best tips for making it work:
Talk (or better yet FaceTime) every day
I hate talking on the phone and I hate FaceTiming even more (I feel I never look attractive on the camera and of course I have to put on makeup!) and at one point in our LDR, we were 12 hours apart in timezone so that meant my mornings were his evenings which made things even more difficult.
I would call him in my evening as he was just waking up. This meant sometimes I’d have to cut my social time short or skip out of work briefly to take a call, but I really feel these daily talks that kept things ‘normal’ were essential.
If we couldn’t get an FT session in, we’d absolutely do a phone call, even if it was 2 minutes to say “I love you but can’t talk right now.”
Set a date
I think this was the most important point of our success. Every time we reunited in person (which at some points was only every 3 months), we made a date to see each other again.
It became exciting to plan a trip or a reunion, pick the location, schedule our time off, select hotels, etc, and mark our calendars. Having something to look forward to – a solid date and time – was essential to our happiness and focus.
When we’d both reunite in hometown for a holiday or big family event, it was important to manage expectations of family and friends because we were focused on spending as much quality time together as possible.
With two sets of parents, step-parents, and a copious amount of friends on both sides, we’d sit down, mark out a calendar schedule of when we’d see how and let everyone know that was the time we’d see each other and that was all we had.
That way, we didn’t have to deal with people asking when we’d be stopping by or when they could come to do something because we’d let them know well ahead of time when we’d be seeing them.
Health and Wellness Expert, Maple Holistics
The first step to having a successful long-distance relationship is to speak openly with each other about your expectations.
Questions to discuss include how often you will speak, will it be via texting or phone calls, and how often will you fly back and forth to see each other. Talking about this in advance will let you avoid feelings of resentment and anger later on.
Also, make sure that you and your partner Skype at least once a week. More is even better, but you definitely need some face time with each other to keep the energy in your relationship alive.
Even if it is hard to arrange with time differences, really make an effort to catch each other via video chatting as much as possible.
Author | Creator, Superior Self Series
My first boyfriend and I were together for 5 years. There were times when we were states apart due to work. There were times when we were countries apart due to studies or curiosity about the world.
My husband and I were dating four years before we married. We also traveled apart from each other while modeling the globe.
In both cases, we wrote letters and postcards by hand, trying to fit in as many words as possible around the edges. Both were still wonderful relationships due to the power of the written word. We hand wrote letters weekly when we were apart.
Do not underestimate the power of old-fashioned letter writing. Your heart and mechanical motion take the thoughts and put honest feelings into them.