After months of winking and flirting on dating sites, you’ve finally found someone that seems like a perfect match!
The only problem? They live so far away that regular date nights are going to be impossible.
But though distance keeps you apart, your attraction to your new partner makes you consider something you’ve never done before: start a long distance relationship.
You’ve probably heard horror stories from friends or read about bad experiences online, but long distance relationships are more common than you may know.
In fact, an estimated 14 to 15 million Americans are currently or have been in an online relationship.
Want to beat the odds and foster a relationship that’ll withstand any distance? Here are nine tips on how to make your long distance relationship work.
1. Establish Boundaries
This is a great tip regardless of distance and can set a relationship off on the right foot. Make sure that everyone is on the same page and talk about expectations.
What boundaries are you not okay with a partner crossing? What type of behavior and support should be expected from a long distance partner?
Remember that not everyone shares your experiences and has your expectations. For example, some people are fine with a partner seeing other people, while others can’t stand the idea.
No one is wrong in either circumstance, but it comes down to expectations. And those expectations need to be clearly and efficiently expressed.
2. Find the Perfect Communication Balance
Communication is difficult enough in a ‘standard’ relationship. Throw in some time zones and a few hundred miles and things get even tougher.
The trick here is for both partners to specify their communication styles. Namely, how do both partners prefer to communicate and how much is too much?
Though most people love texting, no one wants to open their phone and see 27 unanswered text messages from a single person. Like everything else in life, too much of a good thing can ruin the whole relationship.
Give each other space and avoid being clingy. If they’re not responding right away, there’s a chance they’re simply busy.
3. Come Up With a Realistic Visitation Schedule
A long distance relationship doesn’t necessarily mean that those involved won’t see each other. Maybe you’ll even see one another on a regular basis!
Whatever the case, during the initial stages of the relationship, discuss a realistic plan for visitations.
Depending on the distance, budget, and job schedules, this can be a chore. Still, it’s a necessary part of a healthy long-distance relationship.
If a partner is in a different part of the state or only lives a few hours away, it could be feasible to meet up once per week or once every other week.
Scheduling visits with a lover can give both partners something to look forward to and make time together that much sweeter.
4. Schedule Video Chat Dates
Thanks to technological innovations like video chat, it’s possible to connect with a partner via video chat for makeshift date nights. Find at least one night per week when both of you are available.
Then, treat the chat like an actual date.
Get dressed up, cook a fancy meal, or even just cuddle on the couch at the same time. It may sound silly, but it’ll make you feel like your partner is right there with you and can take some of the stings out of the distance.
5. Give Each Other Space
It’s so important that partners respect one another’s boundaries.
Not everyone likes to talk 24/7. To some, constant communication can feel like they’re being smothered or like their partner doesn’t trust them — even if that isn’t the case.
Ensure that there’s a mutual respect for each other’s boundaries and that if those boundaries aren’t respected, you can have a reasonable discussion.
6. Send Love Letters
One of the best parts of any relationship is the sweet, spontaneous things partners do for each other. And that doesn’t have to stop just because there are miles between you two.
For those who like to go old school, write and send love letters on a semi-regular basis.
These shouldn’t be so regular that a partner expects them, but they also shouldn’t be so sporadic that a partner forgets about your letters in the first place.
A letter straight from the heart can cheer you up on those lonely nights where the presence of a partner is missed.
7. Share Mutual Interests
Fancy restaurants and lavish trips to landmarks are fun, but sometimes nothing beats kicking back, putting on your pajamas, and binging that hot new Netflix show or reading a new book.
For partners with similar tastes in entertainment, start a book club-style group. Alternate who picks the entertainment, then watch/read/listen to the piece of media and discuss it.
It’s a fun way to find some cool new entertainment while strengthening the relationship at the same time!
8. Understand That It’s Okay To Have Bad Days
All relationships have their ups and downs. Long distance love is certainly no different. And it’s important to understand that at some point, there may be days where the lack of a partner’s presence is excruciating.
This is normal and, in truth, inevitable. Even the hardest, coldest people feel lonely at times.
But like anything else in life, this too shall pass. Express these feelings or schedule a video chat in the meantime.
9. Be Patient
Long distance relationships need more work and patience than the average relationship. The lack of a standard, face-to-face relationship can mean that miscommunications will pop up from time to time.
That doesn’t mean that a relationship is doomed or that one partner is a jerk, though.
Treat your partner like you want to be treated. If they mess up, talk about it and move on, as you’d want them to do for you. If you’re upset with them, always take a little time to cool down and unwind before bringing it up.
Final Thoughts on How To Make a Long Distance Relationship Work
A long distance relationship can be tough, trying, and tumultuous. But with the right person, the distance can also bring partners closer together. Exercise patience, engage in open and honest dialogue and don’t forget to take time out to show appreciation and love for one another.
For more great relationship advice, be sure to check out our relationship archives.