Long distance relationships are hard, but worth it! After all, your heart doesn’t care about distance, it just knows love. But staying connected is a challenge, sharing both happy moments and the not-so-happy ones, can seem difficult, especially when you’re in different time zones, or on completely different schedules.
Here are some tips to make it work!
1. See it as an opportunity
Instead of thinking that this long distance relationship is pulling you two apart, believe that through this experience, your relationship will become even stronger. See it as a test of your love for each other. As the Chinese saying goes, “Real gold is not afraid of the test of fire.” In fact, some distance can help you realize how much you love your partner and how strong your feelings are for them.
2. Understand that communication will be hard, but do it often even if only for 5 minutes
Communication should happen naturally because you’re thinking of him/her, not because you’re obligated to. It's okay if you don't communicate for 1-2 days due to conflicting schedules. Try having short calls whenever you have a spare moment, don't only wait until the end of the day to call. You can have a short call during the day to just simply say I miss you or share what's in your mind. Remember: it's not about how often you communicate, but about continually getting connected at the right moments. Go the extra step and send each other pictures, audio clips or short videos from time to time. By putting in this kind of effort, you make the other person feel loved and attended to.
3. Keep your partner updated
It's important to keep your partner updated about your life. This doesn’t just mean the big stuff, but the little moments too like a funny video you saw that made you think of them, or an article you read. Encourage your partner to do the same thing and listen to whatever he/she said about their life.
4. Manage your expectations and set some ground rules to be committed
Both of you must make clear expectations about your commitment to each other. Understand you’re your partner may not be able to quickly reply to all of your messages, especially if you’re in different time zones.
Discuss how you both approach a conflict. Conflict is inevitable, but in a long distance relationship, it will be even more difficult. Set up ground rules on dealing with conflict, and never, ever avoid each other’s attempt at communication. This can create unnecessary frustration, second-guessing, doubt, and feelings of powerlessness.
After you set the ground rules, forget about keeping score. Don't count who has followed the rules more and who did less. Just focus doing what's right to make your relationship work.
5. Trust each other and be slow to judge
You need to trust your partner: Scrutinizing everything and constantly questioning them only makes things worse. It never fails that when we’re separated from one another, we start to make all sorts of assumptions or judgments that are usually exaggerated or untrue. Remind yourself that you really don’t know what’s going on, trust your partner at their word, and keep communication open, listening to what they’re feeling and sharing your feelings as well.
6. Avoid dangerous situations
If you know that going drinking with your group of friends late at night will make your partner feel uneasy, then don’t go or tell your partner beforehand to ask if he/she is alright with you going and respect their answer. Don't take this matter lightly, once your partner has found out you're hiding things from him/her, a mess can turn into a disaster. Learn to recognize the dangers before entering the situation. Don’t just listen to your heart, put yourself in their shoes, how would you feel if the situation was reversed?
7. Stay honest with each other
Be open and honest with each other. When you miss him/her, just say so and have a video call. You’d be surprised how quickly looking into each other’s eyes and hearing each other’s voices can make the distance disappear. Talk about your feelings of fear, insecurity, jealousy, apathy, and everything in between. Let your partner help you and give you the support you need. Keep communication open and honest.
8. Do things together
Both of you need something to look forward to together. Get inventive about date nights! Plan something simple such as playing an online game together, stream a movie at the same time, a “virtual” date night, or take a walk together while calling each other.
Recommend books, TV shows, movies, music to each other. When you read, watch and listen to the same things, you have more topics in common to talk about. This is good to create some shared experiences even though you are living apart. Feel free to be creative and spontaneous about it.
9. Make plans to visit each other
Visits are the highlight of every long-distance relationship. After all the waiting and yearning, you finally get to see each other again, and all the little things like kissing, hugging, holding hands will be extra special.
Make visits a priority for both of you, set goals such as not going more than 2 months without seeing each other in person.
Don't expect the visits will be perfect, some trips may be full of great moments together, others may be filled with fighting, but that's a very normal thing for all couples.
For extra savings, get a credit card that earns airline miles to help you save money on your future visits.
10. Don’t let yourself feel lonely
You may be alone, but you’re only lonely if you choose to be. You don’t have to let your world revolve around your partner — you still have you, your friends, and your family. Take this time apart to do more with others, go to the gym more often, get a new hobby, binge-watch shows or take a class.
11. Give a personal item for your partner to hold onto it
We often attach meanings to the little things and items found in our everyday life, whether knowingly or not. This is what we all do — we try to store memories in physical things, in the hope that when our mind fails us, we can look or hold on to something that will help us remember. It can be a ring, a keychain, a collection of songs and videos, a bottle of fragrance, or a t-shirt that smells like him.
12. Send physical items to each other
Send each other gifts across the globe from time to time. Flower deliveries on birthdays, anniversaries or Valentine’s Day. Shop online and surprise each other with cool T-shirts, sexy underwear, and such. Mail each other postcards and hand-written love letters. With Memobird Wi-Fi printer & messenger you can send actual love notes with your handwriting to your partner in seconds.
Love knows no boundaries! With honesty and commitment, you can make your long-distance relationship work!