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How to Have a Long Distance Relationship

Updated on January 23, 2011

Before I get into how one manages a long distance relationship, I'd like to first say that these are not for everyone; some people simply aren't made to cope with such things, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you're not made for long distance relationships, it's easy enough to avoid having one. If you are made for them, it's important you realize they're only meant to be a temporary fix -- your long term relationship goal should not be that of a long distance relationship! If all you want is someone to chat to over the phone and by email you can get that easily enough in the penpal section of your local paper.

Note: These tips are primarily for those willingly entering into a long-distance relationship, as opposed to those being separated due a partner's military (or similar) deployment. While you can try some of these tips regardless, some of them would obviously be difficult to acheive if a partner didn't have daily access to a phone or computer.

Communicate daily.

Yes, daily. Email, text, phone, whatever -- do it daily. The fact is that most people need this to maintain their faith and trust levels, whether they admit it or not. So even if you don't need daily communication, assume that your partner does, and make time to give it to them, even if it's just a text message. The important thing is that they know you haven't forgotten them all the way over on the other side of the world.

Communicate honestly.

You're going to have moments when you feel like you just can't cope with it anymore. You need to tell your partner this when you're feeling it, and they need to be prepared to give you some reassurance. The feeling itself will pass rather quickly if they do -- if not, the mind can get carried away with itself. So be prepared to help each other cope when the need arises.

Have proper dates.

Well, as close as you can get to it. Just because you live in different cities or different countries doesn't mean you can't have regular dates, you just need to have them online or over the phone. There are all sorts of ways you can manage this. For example, if you live in the US (where calls are very cheap) you can watch a movie together while on the phone. I've heard of lots of people doing this successfully, and it sounds perfectly silly and fun to me. If you live in Europe (where calls cost a fortune) you can do something similar over Skype. Or you can just chat for a few hours. The important thing here is that you put some time aside for this purpose that goes beyond the average type of chat. You need to make each other feel like you're worth it.

Say goodnight to each other.

Make an effort to say goodnight to each other if you can. This is really very helpful, and it can be done by text message, phone or email. Just make the effort, it will be appreciated.

Visit each other.

While some say they've maintained a long distance relationship without seeing each other on a regular basis, I wouldn't advise that type of relationship. If you're in a long distance relationship it ought to be something temporary, with the two of you working on eventually finding a way to live in the same city, or even living together. You don't want to do this before having spent considerable time together, if at all possible. My long distance relationships have always involved monthly visits, even when dating someone in another country. I personally wouldn't be able to cope otherwise. If you can, more power to you, but you should still strive for regular visits whenever possible.

Send cards, letters or other tokens of affection.

It's key to make the other person feel like they're not out of sight, out of mind. You can easily avoid this by sending them unexpected e-cards, regular cards, or a small token of affection.

Coping with the lack of physical attention.

The human libido is a big deal, whether we like to admit it or not. Having a long distance relationship can put a damper on this part of a relationship, but there are plenty of ways to improvise, and they can be very naughty and very fun. Photos, homemade videos, video chats and personalized gifts can go a long way and get you both through a cold winter's night with a smile on your face.

Have a plan.

You need to know that your relationship has potential. You can manage this simply by discussing the possibilities, no matter how far off they might be. The idea is to keep yourselves in a positive mindset to avoid mulling over doubts about how practical the situation really is. That said, you don't want to delude yourselves; stay realistic. But do have a goal.

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