Long distance relationships aren’t the easiest thing in the world to manage. But if you think you’ve found the right person to do it with, you can make it work.
The truth is, everyone has an opinion about long distance relationships. Sadly, most of the people giving advice are armchair experts and have never been in a long distance relationship of their own. They hear circumstances, but don’t know your goals. They consider what they’d want, and never ask what you’d want.
Plenty of people figure out a way to make it work, and you can, too. In this article, we’ll look at some of the keys to making long distance work for you and your partner.
Key: Is This the Right Person?
We have to start with an obvious question. Feel free to skip over this section, but we don’t recommend it.
Understand that long distance is not for everyone. In fact, it’s probably not for most people. You need to decide if the person that’s going to be on the other end of this relationship is a) worth the trouble of the relationship and, b) feeling the same way about you.
There are a lot of people in the world, and chances are, one of you is going to experience a new place, culture, or social setting. It would be a shame to look back and feel like you lost out on an experience because you were holding onto the ghost of a good thing.
But if it’s the right person, you trust them, and you feel confident that they feel the same way you do, then you can proceed to some of the tips below about how to make a long distance relationship work.
As the old saying goes, what gets measured, gets managed. Okay, you’re not measuring anything, but the point is that you’re both invested in a relationship that needs to be managed.
One of the first things you should establish with your partner is when you’re going to see them. Whether it’s a Skype call, a phone call, or you’re just planning to text back and forth throughout the day, it needs to be decided on right away.
Why? For two reasons. One, it will give you two something to look forward and build around.
And, two, it’s a good test for you and your significant other. If they can’t hold to the schedule you’ve created consistently, it’s a sign that they aren’t as serious about the relationship as you might be.
Sorry to be a bit of a downer here, but it is a good way to figure out how things are going. Scheduling your talks will also help you avoid being clingy or obsessive with your communication.
Treat a long distance relationship like a sports season. This means you should know when the season is going to end, or when you’re going to see the person next.
This tip for staying connected with your boyfriend or girlfriend is particularly useful for keeping spirits high during the rougher periods of your time apart. If you don’t have an actual date to look forward to, it might start to feel like you’re holding onto something that isn’t real, and that can lead one or both of you thinking this isn’t going to work out.
Book that ticket and make it real.
Include Eachother in Your New Lives
Maybe you took a job in a new city or are doing a semester abroad. Perhaps you’re the one staying at home and he or she is going someplace else. Or, maybe you’re starting new lives in two completely different cities.
Here’s the key: you both need to grow together in your new relationship. This means that your significant other should know about your new friends, courses, or colleagues, and feel like they are there.
The truth is, your old ‘thing’ has to evolve if you’re going to make this work. A relationship is either growing or dying. Knowing what your long distance partner is up to in their new place is a good way to keep growing the relationship.
Also: “How was your day?” gets old pretty quickly. Just saying.
Proceed with Your Partner in Mind
This tip should be filed under the “Duh” category of long distance relationship advice, but it needs to be said: don’t do things that make your significant other uncomfortable, afraid, or nervous about your relationship.
Examples of this include being around people that are too flirty, staying out too late, not communicating properly what you’re planning to do, and saying how you’re feeling when things feel a little off.
A long-distance relationship magnifies all the problems a normal relationship might have. If there is tension, sadness, or fear in a relationship, that can be tough. But you’re also only a few miles away and can go get a coffee together and fix it.
In a long distance relationship, you have to talk things through in less-than-ideal circumstances, which might make it tough for your partner if you’re regularly explaining yourself.
Think about what they need. Or, even better, think about how you’d like to be treated in a long distance relationship. Be that for your partner.
Make It Work: Wrapping Up
Long distance relationships are tough, but you can make it work if you plan ahead, consider your partner’s needs, schedule your time together, and have an end in sight for the amount of time it’ll be before you see each other again.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the right person. But if you want the right person to stick around, you need to be someone worth working through less-than-ideal circumstances for.
Here are more advice and articles on love and relationships. Good luck!