The idea of being in a long-distance relationship (LDR) is terrifying to some people and may even seem impossible to others. But a long-distance relationship, like all relationships, just requires work and understanding from both people. There will always be doubters and friends who are convinced that LDRs can never work, but, in reality, long-distance relationships can be just as fulfilling as “normal” relationships.
I got into my first LDR during my junior year of college. When we first got together, neither of us considered the distance and we were seriously scared when it finally came up. My partner and I attend the same school but live in very different places, so there are months when we aren’t able to see each other at all. And since we are both poor college students visits are often few and far between, but we are determined to make things work despite the distance.
People like to call LDRs impossible and point out all the possible ways it could go wrong, when, in reality, it’s just a normal relationship that comes with a unique set of obstacles. If you’re entering into a LDR or if you’ve been apart of one for a while, below are some tips for you on how to rock your long distance relationship.
1. Schedule Date Nights
Skype, Facetime, phone calls, and messenger apps are all great ways to connect with your SO and keep them updated on what’s going on with your life. But you need to go a step beyond regular communication and schedule full-fledged date nights. Pick days/times (that work for both of your busy schedules) and set them aside for spending time with your partner. This lets you focus solely on your SO so you won’t be distracted or multi-tasking during your time together. Date nights might be hard to plan around conflicting schedules, but if you can make it work, they’re a great way to enjoy your partners company. There are tons of ideas online about different dates and activities you can do with one another. Here are just a few games and messenger apps for couples. A personal favorite of mine is this website which lets long distance users watch movies together (so you can both binge watch Netflix together!).
2. Communicate & Stay Honest
While this is important in any relationship, it becomes crucial when distance is added to the equation. Keeping your partner involved with what’s going on in your life and how you’re feeling is vital for any LDR. There’s less face-to-face time with them which means less time to address your problems and worries. In LDRs, it’s easy to shutdown when you’re upset, leaving your partner hundreds of miles away and frantically wondering what’s going on. But this is how resentment grows and it will put a strain on both of you. If you’re open with your partner, you both can work together to solve the underlying problem.
3. Set Ground Rules
Before embarking on the adventure that is an LDR, both of you need to be on the same page about what you expect out of the relationship. Make sure the boundaries are clear so nobody will be surprised or hurt down the road. Now is the time to bring up relationship worries like intimacy, jealousy and trust. For instance, if Person A easily becomes jealous they should tell Person B. Then Person B, can reassure Person A that they are very happy to be in a relationship with them. Going over this will leave you with a solid foundation and ensure that you both understand the others concerns.
4. Visit Each Other
If this is logistically and financially possible for you, then great! Seeing my partner after months apart was easily the highlight of my junior year. When you finally get to see each other after so long apart the little things like holding hands and watching TV together will feel extra special. If you’re lucky enough to visit regularly, pick out the dates way ahead of time. Having a date to mark on the calendar will make the weeks/months between visits go by much faster.
5. Mail Gifts
Finding little gifts and trinkets in the mail is an easy way to let your SO know you’re thinking about them. Finding a small toy that reminds you of an inside joke, or of a treasured memory will make for a great surprise. If all else fails- make something yourself! While my partner was withdrawn from college, I made her a care package to let her know I was thinking of her. Even if the gift seems small, it will mean a lot to your partner.
6. Focus on the Positive
At times, LDRs are going to suck and there will be nothing you want more than to be in the same room as your SO. In times like these you need to remind yourself about all the hidden benefits about being in an LDR. One upside is knowing that your partner is going through the same thing and is counting down the days until they see you again. It’s also important to know that your partner chose to be in an LDR with you because they love and care about you regardless of distance. Another upside is that LDRs allow you to grow and develop as an individual. It gives you time to focus more on pursuing things that interest you or things that you’ve always wanted to accomplish (television shows, hobbies, talents, careers, etc.)
7. Be There For Each Other
Even if visits aren’t an option, it’s important that you feel emotionally close to your partner. You both need to know that the other will be there for family tragedies, celebrations, personal crises, and other big changes. Even if you can’t be next to them when going through big events, there are still little things you can do to support and reassure one another.