In order to make a relationship work, it takes a lot of effort, and being in a long-distance relationship is no exception. There are lots of people who say they’d never be in an LDR because they know it’s not right for them, and that’s okay! They’re right; it’s not going to work for every relationship.
If you’ve decided that you’re going to commit to a long-distance relationship, there are a few things you can do to help set you and your partner up for success.
Schedule Your Phone Calls
Sure, it doesn’t seem as romantic, but having a schedule will help you. Plan out call times that work for both of you, and remember that it’s not set in stone. Start off with a few calls a week, then reevaluate once you have a better idea of how frequently you want to talk or what nights work best for both of you.
Talk About The Boring Things
Not seeing someone frequently leaves you at risk of falling into the trap of only sharing your highlight reel, or feeling like you should only be talking about the big, “important” aspects of your day or week or life. The mundane parts of your life that you would normally share if you were in the same city are still worth talking about.
Play Games Together
Not mind games, though, they’re not going to strengthen your relationship at all while you’re hundreds of miles away from each other. It seems silly, but playing games on an app or gaming system, even something as basic as Words with Friends, is a fun way to get to do something together, and it can be ongoing.
Do Things Your Partner Doesn’t Enjoy
Does your girlfriend hate buying popcorn when you go to the movies because she thinks it’s a waste of money? Or maybe your boyfriend despises the smell of Indian food, so you never eat it together. Use this time to do all the things that your partner doesn’t enjoy, then tell them all about it later.
Be Realistic About If A Long-Distance Relationship Could Actually Work For You
Before you decide to dive headfirst into an LDR, you need to be honest with yourself about whether or not that’s actually right for you. It’s not just about wanting to be with someone; there’s more to it than that. Relationships take work, and long-distance ones take even more, so you both have to be 100% ready to put in the effort.
Plan Your Next Visit Before Your Current One Is Finished
Rather than leaving it for later, plan your next visit while you’re still on your current visit! It’s less sad to say goodbye when you both know exactly when you’re going to be seeing them again.
Make Sure That You Visit Each Other, Not Just One Person Traveling
When it comes to visiting each other, make sure that’s what you’re actually doing: going to see each other. Having one person who is always the one that travels the distance or comes home to the city where you met can be draining, so switch off who spends the money and the time to come see the other.
Make It Known That You’re In A Relationship
You don’t want to be the person who is constantly talking about their boyfriend or girlfriend, whether you’re in an LDR or one where you see each other every day. But. You also don’t want to be the person who never talks about their relationship and no one around them is aware of it.
Remember Your Relationship Isn’t Your Entire Life
If you’re going to spend every free moment of your life holed up in your room on the phone with your girlfriend or denying every potential Friday night plan because you want to FaceTime your boyfriend, you’re not really living a life. It’s okay to have a life beyond your partner, just like you would if you were together every day.
Technology Is On Your Side
You might not be the person who typically enjoys video chatting or talking on the phone, but you’re going to have to become one. With FaceTime, Zoom, social media, and countless other apps, there are tons of ways that you can stay connected with your person even if they’re not physically near you.
Never Spend More Than Three Months Apart
According to dating experts and coaches, three months should be the longest you go without seeing your partner in person. You might not always have control over the timeline for something like a military deployment, but if you have the ability to, never take longer than three months away from each other, because you can start to forget why you’re with them in the first place.
Speak Up About Whatever You’re Feeling
If you’re frustrated that your boyfriend skipped your scheduled phone call on Thursday or you’re just particularly lonely that day, you need to share those feelings. Your partner can’t see you or know that you’re upset, so if something is bothering you, you have to be the one who puts it out there.
You Can Still Be Spontaneous
It’s easy to feel like spontaneity is impossible when you live overseas or across the country and can’t afford to jump on a last-minute flight every weekend, but there are other ways. Sending them dinner one night when you know they’re studying late, or leaving little gifts for them to find after you leave will always be appreciated.
Don’t Expect Constant Communication
If you’re going into your LDR with the expectation that you’re going to communicate with each other every hour of every day, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not realistic that you’ll be able to text or talk on the phone or FaceTime all day every day, and it’s not necessary.
Embrace Snail Mail
Who doesn’t love receiving mail the old-fashioned way? Sure, a text message full of heart-eye emojis is nice to wake up to, but nothing says romance like a good old-fashioned snail mail letter or a care package.
Think About The “Why”
What do you two hope to achieve from this decision? How long are you going to be apart from each other? Think about why you’re choosing to stay together and what you’re working towards, whether that’s a certain career for one of you or a specialized degree.
Plan Virtual Dates
Things like NetflixParty don’t have to be reserved just for a quarantine night with your girlfriends; you can use them to have a date with your SO, no matter what time zone they’re in. Schedule a movie night, send each other packages to open together on FaceTime, be creative!
Fighting Isn’t A Bad Thing
Would you have the occasional fight with your partner if you were dating while living in the same city? Absolutely, so why wouldn’t you have a few fights while in an LDR? If anything, you can view the fighting as a good thing, because it means you can work through something, move forward, and you know that both of you are still invested enough to care.
Establish Boundaries And Limits Before They Come Up
Don’t wait for a problem or a question to arise. Before you begin your relationship apart, make sure you’ve both been clear on what you’re expecting from the other person, and what you are or aren’t comfortable with. Depending on how new your relationship is, you might even want to discuss whether you’re exclusive or seeing other people, and set some ground rules.
You’re Not Lonely Just Because You’re Alone
Yes, you can be sad because you don’t get to spend time with your girlfriend or boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. Surround yourself with friends and family who love you just as much in the meantime.