How To Make A Long Distance Relationship Work
Like any relationship, it’s hard to say whether or not you can trust your partner, handle conflicts properly, and keep the spark alive let alone add in the long-distance aspect of it. Some people may tell you it’s impossible, and others may make it seem easier than it really is.
You’ll need to know yourself well enough to know what your strong suits and weak suits are before getting into this type of relationship. However, on the plus side, long-distance allows you to appreciate the little things such as holding hands, dinners, conversations, etc.
[Read: What is your Attachment Style?]
[Read: The Five Love Languages]
1. Communicate (Not Too Much and Not Too Little)
Yes, technology makes it easier to have a long-distance relationship, giving you full access to one another 24/7. Although, that doesn’t mean you should over-communicate to keep the relationship alive. Many couples find themselves on the phone for hours instead of growing on their own and keeping things at a healthy minimum.
Talk to your partner about setting a healthy boundary and discuss what works best, whether that’s texting, talking, or video chatting. If you have different work or school schedules, ask your partner what they are open to doing (spontaneous texts, phone calls, blocked time for a video chat, etc.)
Do Long- Distant Relationships Last?
In a 2013 study from the Journal of Communication, 3 million Americans live apart from their spouse at some point during their marriage, and 75% of college students have been in a long-distance relationship at one time or another. Research also shows that long-distance tends to keep higher levels of dedication and lower levels of feeling trapped.
“One of the greatest benefits is that you are able to talk and learn more about each other since you spend more time having conversations than you might if you were sitting side-by-side watching Netflix, or out running errands or doing activities together,” says Lori Gottlieb, a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships.
2. Express How You View Love
There’s so much pressure learning and understanding what you and your partner need and want. Texts can be misinterpreted, and responses can confuse your spouse a lot more when it comes to long distances.
So, it is up to both of you to express how you feel and open up about what styles of communication and love work best for you. DON’T expect them to just know what you need and don’t assume your style of love is exactly what they need.
In my blog “The Five Love Languages”, I discuss the different ways individuals show their love and how important it is to communicate what works/ doesn’t work.
- Words of Affirmation can show support and empathy to a person who enjoys reading or hearing words that give them a positive/ loving voice in their head. Example: Send them a thoughtful good morning or goodnight text, remind them what you love about them, tell them what makes you happy, and comment on the little things they do or say.
- Gift-Giving doesn’t mean their materialistic, it means that they associate love with receiving or giving a gift as a physical symbol of affection. Example: Surprise them with a small gift. Send them flowers, doordash their favorite dessert or coffee, and pay attention to the things they love in order to make that gift mean something to them.
- Quality Time shows that they cherish the moments they get to spend with you above everything else. To them, words and gestures can’t compete with time. Example: Block out some time to talk on the phone, video chat, plan mini-vacations, etc.
- Physical Touch seems to be the easiest one, however, if your partner needs this above all in a long-distance relationship then it might be a little harder for them to feel fully loved. So, make sure you check in with them and comfort them in other ways so they don’t feel neglected. Example: It’s difficult to receive this love via long distance. However, by knowing that your partner needs this you can understand where they are coming from better and try to comfort them in other ways.
- Acts of Service doesn’t mean ‘household chores’. They see words as just words, gifts as burdensome stuff, quality time is draining and touch feels clingy. Learn what they like and dislike doing and try to help them out in any way you can. Example: Help them plan out their weekly schedule, research useful information that may help them with an issue (car troubles, doctor visits, work-related conflicts, etc)
[Read My Article: The Five Love Languages]
3. Stay Consistent
One of the biggest things that kill the excitement for the couple is the inconsistent effort or ongoing new experiences to help the two of you create memories. The uncertainty will cause you to wonder, “Is this all worth it?” “Do they still feel the same way about me as they did before?” “Is she secretly talking to other people?”
Don’t go all-in for a little while then stop and assume your partner will just know you love them the same. The longer you are apart and the less effort you put in will almost always cause greater uncertainties for the long run. If you are busy for any reason, keep them in the loop with what you are doing. It only takes one text to reassure your partner!
It’s also crucial to have some dates planned out!
- Netflix has created a new/ fun way to watch movies with friends online, it’s a free extension available for Chrome browsers. [Click: Netflix Party]
- Dinner Date via video call. It allows the two of you to spend some quality time together and open up to each other more emotionally as opposed to the physical dates everyone is used to.
- Plan your next trip and research the best Airbnb/ Hotel options.
4. Don’t Judge Too Quickly
It’s hard trusting others and sometimes long-distance can bring out the negative voices in your head but don’t be quick to judge your partner because of the distance. Learn to trust one another as if they lived down the street from you.
Calmly ask them or tell them how you feel about something without jumping to conclusions or starting a fight over your assumptions. Let yourself trust and earn the trust yourself by asking yourself if you can count on your partner in ways big or small if they can stick to the plans you’ve made, and vice versa.
5. Don’t Put Your Life On Hold
Yes, the relationship will require some sacrifices, and yes your partner will need attention in other ways. But you should never sacrifice your whole life. Stopping yourself from seeing friends, family, avoiding hobbies, and interests will bring the relationship to a detrimental end one way or another.
Make sure you are making the most of the life you have with the people, and activities around you so that you can be the best version of yourself. And, do not isolate yourself or stop your world from spinning in the process.