Tips to Help Long-Distance Relationships Last
Introduction and Acknowledgements
This topic was requested by one of my best friends. I dedicate this article to her and her boyfriend (I hope you stay together forever!). The ideas here are my own, and they are based on my personal experiences and thought processes. I hope this is helpful, and thank you for reading!
1) Set reasonable expectations and understandings
Before diving face-first into a difficult long-distance relationship, I recommend that you discuss your expectations and goals for the relationship with your partner. Make sure that both of you want to actively pursue this commitment. Decide together how much work and time the two of you are willing to invest, and voice anything that you expect of your partner and yourself.
Make sure to set realistic expectations of one another! Setting difficult, draining standards for each other can lead to a strained, tense relationship, with one or both parties feeling like nothing they do is ever enough.
Without this crucial step, the possibility of misunderstandings and conflicts rise. You may blame the other person for not living up to your standards despite keeping said standards to yourself. By ensuring that both of you are committed to a long-distance relationship and understand each other's expectations, you are setting a strong foundation to build your relationship on.
If you're having trouble initiating this conversation out of anxiety, don't worry! Set some time aside to have a serious conversation with your partner and just ask. If they don't want to pursue a long-distance relationship with you, then it's their loss!
2) Talk things out
Feeling insecure because you haven't spend enough time with your partner? Tell them! Worried about a big event coming up? They can help! Annoyed by your boo spoiling shows for you? Let them know! And if they don't stop with the spoilers, that's a sign for you to get out, and get out fast.
All joking aside, talking out your feelings is crucial for a healthy relationship. If you keep anger, jealousy, anxiety, or other negative feelings bottled up, you're going to burst. Trust me, it's not going to be pretty. While emotional vulnerability can be difficult, the ends are definitely worth the means. Share your insecurities and emotions with your partner while encouraging them to do the same. An open, trusting relationship is a lot easier to maintain than a closed off, awkward one.
3) Schedule time for each other
Spending time with someone many miles away can be a daunting task, especially if you live in different time zones. Thankfully, modern technology makes it easier for us to communicate from far away. I recommend setting aside a few minutes every day (or every few days) to have a nice Skype or FaceTime session. If both of you are students, try studying together! A grueling, dull task is much easier with company.
During your calls, don't feel pressured to talk about something unique and interesting. Instead, share the details of your everyday life! I'm sure you would like to know what your partner has been up to, and vice versa. Enjoy your time together; no need to force a conversation.
If you are pressed for time, send a quick text to let your beloved know you're thinking of them. Even if it's a simple "Good morning!" or "I miss you," any message from you shows that you're thinking about them, which can help make their day better.
Try finding a fun activity to do together! You could play multiplayer games, watch a show together, learn a new skill or language, and more! Do whatever your heart desires. Being far apart sucks, but sharing a hobby can help your sweetheart feel closer.
4) Enjoy alone time away from each other
This one may seem a little odd. Why wouldn't you want to spend every available minute glued to the screen, chatting with the love of your life? I applaud that dedicated mentality, but it is not the best thing to do for a healthy relationship. Both of you have your own lives, separate from your relationship. Some time apart allows you to focus on other aspects of your life, such as school, work, friends, and family.
Forcing yourselves to spend as much time together as possible can feel smothering and tiring. This can lead to tension between the two of you. Instead, enjoy your life as it is. Rather than focusing on how much you miss your partner, cultivate other friendships, interests, and hobbies.
The key here is balance. Spending time together is wonderful, but a healthy dose of "alone time" never hurts.
5) Visit each other
While this seems a little obvious, seeing your significant other in person is important enough to warrant stating. No amount of hours spent together on Skype can compare to the joy of seeing your beloved in flesh and blood. I find that I pick up odd habits from constantly Skyping that do not translate well to real life, such as passive aggressively hanging up when I get mad...but I digress.
During your visits, I recommend against cramming your schedules full of activities. It is all well and good to visit places, watch movies, and enjoy meals together, but leave some time for just the two of you. Spend some quality time in privacy to relax and enjoy each other's presence. Don't focus on getting things done; instead, go with the flow and do whatever strikes your fancy. Time with your significant other shouldn't feel like a chore.