You’d probably assume that long-distance relationships are easier in this day and age, thanks to advanced technology. You no longer need to send letters to keep your loved ones informed about your life, or to pay a ton of money to have a limited amount of time to talk to your long-distance partner.
Everything happens very fast now, you send an email and you expect an immediate response, as there’s no need to use a computer to respond, you can do it very quickly on your smartphone. However, even with all the technology available, many long-distance couples will probably tell you that it cannot make up for everything. Even today, the lack of regular physical proximity is as emotionally tough as ever.
According to a recent survey, more than 24 percent of respondents have used email and the Internet altogether to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship. Additionally, a study has shown that a long-distance relationship’s quality doesn’t differ very much from geographically close relationships, and in some cases, it might be even better.
How to make your long-distance relationship really work? Read on to find 10 tips from relationship experts that will improve your chances for a healthy and long-lasting romance.
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Learn to prioritize your schedule
Living in different cities or even countries might come with different work, school, and sleep schedules, and time zones that can make it even more difficult for couples to maintain a healthy relationship. That’s why it is vital to create a schedule for chatting because regular check-ins are very important for the wellbeing of the relationship.
Sometimes couples follow a pattern that doesn’t work very well for both partners, but doing so won’t work efficiently forever, and at one point or another, one will give up. That’s why it’s very important to understand each other’s schedules and learn to make time for your partner.
Ask yourself some questions: When is the best time of the day to have a private, unrushed conversation? How do you feel about spontaneous texts? What is the part of the day where you crave connection the most? Should males initiate contact? Do you prefer the same phone-call schedule every day or it can vary depending on your free time?
It’s vital to learn what works for you, in order to avoid resentment and frustration after following a schedule that you’re not fully satisfied with.
Do things together even though you’re apart
Doing things together as a couple is very important even when you’re currently in different parts of the world, different cities, countries, or even continents. But who says you can’t spend time together and do different activities when you’re apart?
For instance, you can binge-watch a movie/show on Netflix while talking to your partner on the phone to make comments about what you’re watching. Also, Netflix Party is a new platform that allows you and your partner to sync your TV/movie streaming and watch it together in real-time. Watching shows together is a great way to stay connected with your partner and have interesting conversations.
Additionally, if you like games, you can challenge your partner in online games. There are a lot of games on Facebook, for instance, or other platforms for you to play. Or, if you like reading, you can join an online book club that allows you to read the same book and then discuss it.
You can also exercise together if your both active people. There are many apps that allow you to exercise and share your goal and achievement with one another. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what activity you choose to do together, it’s all about spending time with each other even though you’re apart.
Make sure you share the same goals and expectations about your relationship
According to research, when long-distance relationships are perceived a something temporary, chances are it’s going to work because couples see it as something less stressful. I think we can all agree that it is easier when you can keep your eyes on the prize and know that the distance between you is just something temporary.
However, if you’re apart from each other for an unlimited period of time, it’s normal to feel hopeless. In order to make long-distance relationships work, either temporary or not, you need to talk about your goals and expectations regarding your relationship. For instance, if one sees the distance as a temporary obstacle that will end in a major commitment like moving together or engagement, and the other sees the separation as long term, then you have a problem.
Open up to your partner about your expectations, talk about your future plans as an individual and as a couple and make sure you know from the beginning if you’re on the same page or not.
Learn how to communicate with your partner
According to some studies, long-distance couples have proven to have better communication than those who are geographically together. And that’s because when you’re apart from the person you love, you take advantage of every opportunity you have to talk to them about your day, instead of fighting over small things, like “Why didn’t you wash the dishes?” or “I don’t want to eat pizza tonight, we ate it yesterday.”
Use the separation to your advantage to talk about meaningful things, even though you might not have as much time to communicate as couples who live together or live in close proximity. If you usually talk at night, before going to bed, make sure to communicate about the most important part of your day so the other person will know everything that happens in your life.
Of course, talking in person won’t even be successfully replaced by phone/Skype calls, that’s why it’s very important to choose your words right since you don’t have the benefit of physical touch or facial expression. But don’t let distance ruin your relationship, you can still have intimate conversations even though you’re apart.
But remember, even happy couples fight from time to time. Read on to find the 10 Normal Fights Even Happy Couples Have.
Don’t forget about the ‘boring’ details
When conversation time is limited, people tend to skip ‘boring’, smaller details because they feel like they’re not important. However, it’s much easier to grow apart when you don’t discuss the day to day events.
Therefore, even the things that might not seem important to mention, are vital for the wellbeing of the relationship. Who you have lunch with, what podcast do you listen to, what food have you eaten recently and who’s driving you crazy at work are things worth mentioning to your loved one.
Don’t make the mistake of leaving these aspects of your life undiscussed with your partner, as they’re very important in order for you to be present in each other’s life. Even if you’re separated by hundreds of miles, sharing every detail with your partner will help you remain connected.
Click here to read about the 8 Things You Should Tell Your Partner Every Day.
Respect the reason for being apart
Couples can be apart for a million reasons, and most of them are not voluntary. Whether it’s school, work, money, or family, you need to accept and be ok with the fact that you’re apart. Chances are your partner didn’t have much control over where they live, so you shouldn’t make them feel guilty for not being by your side.
The reason for staying apart is very important, but it’s also vital to understand and accept the situation and make sure you’re not rushing your partner to move to your city just because it’s more convenient for you. Understand that you’re currently apart, and if things between you are getting serious, have an open conversation about the possibilities of moving in together.
Make sure to also read 10 Signs Your Relationship Is Solid as a Rock.
Don’t forget about your personal life
Just because you’re in a long-distance relationship doesn’t mean you should put your life on hold. I won’t lie to you, being in a long-distance relationship requires some sacrifices on each part, but forgetting about your personal life shouldn’t be one of them.
When two people are apart, they may find it normal to avoid spending time with friends, lose interests and hobbies, just because they feel guilty for doing all those things without their significant other. But you should know that putting your life on hold often leads to a lot of resentment and frustration, especially when we talk about years and years of long-distance relationships.
It’s normal to look forward to doing all those things with your partner, but it’s not normal to postpone your personal life until then. Make the most out of your life, and your partner should do the same, live each day fully, even though it’s not with your partner by your side.
Interested in finding out more details about this topic? Make sure to also check 11 Relationship “Rules” You Can Safely Break.
But also set boundaries
A healthy relationship needs freedom, but it also needs boundaries. For a long-distance relationship to work, you need to set some boundaries. We’ve established already that communication is vital, but it’s also important to determine when you should communicate.
You might want to Facetime your partner every Friday evening to talk about how your week went, but they might be exhausted or have other plans with their friends. As I previously mentioned, having a personal life even though you’re in a long-distance relationship is totally acceptable. For things to go smoothly, setting boundaries is a must. Therefore, if you know you’re going to go out every Friday night, postpone the call for the next day.
However, in order to successfully set boundaries, you need to master the art of communication. Also, those boundaries can change over time, but it’s important that both of you are ok with them.
Plan regular meet-ups
Even though advanced technology makes it very easy to stay in touch and feel connected, you still need to spend some time in person. Regular meet-ups are essential for maintaining a physical and intimate connection.
Most long-distance couples don’t see each other as often as they want because of issues like time and money, especially if you’re living in different parts of the world. However, according to relationship experts, a good idea would be buying plane/train tickets in advance, because chances are you’ll find better prices. Plus, knowing you have a trip planned will make you more excited to see your loved one, especially if you haven’t seen them in a while.
Monthly meet-ups would be ideal, but for some couples it is impossible. However, both partners should make an effort and travel to see their significant other. Also, you can make a surprise visit, after all, spontaneous travels are the best.
Additionally, it’s very important to know the places where your partner spends the most time, like their apartment, their favorite coffee shop, their workplace, and meet their friends. All those things will make the bond even stronger.
Trust yourself and your partner
Lastly, but not least, the most important aspect of every relationship is trust. You can’t have a lasting relationship if you don’t trust your partner. However, you need to remember that it is as important to earn it, as it is to have it in your partner.
And we’re not just talking about sexual infidelity here, there are many things that can ruin a relationship when there’s no trust between partners. You know you can truly trust your partner when you can count on them to be there for you when you need them, even though it’s just over the phone since you’re geographically apart, when they stick to the plans they’ve made and you can count on them to not change their mind.
Additionally, you need to remember the things that are important to them, you need to be a good listener and make them feel heard. Trust works both ways and it is vital for a healthy, long-lasting relationship.
Read more about the 8 Common Behaviors That Are Sabotaging Your Relationship.