Long distance relationships suck. They are hard, frustrating and can feel pretty unsettling. These are five of the biggest things that I believe are needed to make a long distance relationship easier:
1. Be on the same page about your relationship.
If you’re not as invested and committed to the relationship as each other, going long distance is only going to magnify that. It will make everything about being in a long distance relationship ten times harder, because every effort you make to make it work will be met with resistance. You both need to be committed to each other, and to putting in the time, attention and care to making your relationship survive the distance.
It seems obvious, but if one of you isn’t in this whole-heartedly, it’s important to lay down your cards and be honest with each other before taking your relationship long distance. Don’t try using the distance to get out of breaking up with someone, or to “see how it goes”, and don’t take the relationship into long distance territory if you already feel like your partner may not be as invested as you. It may be painful now, but it could save you a lot more heartache on the road ahead.
2. Share the same outlook for your future together.
Things like where you will live, and what your future together will look like. Going long distance needs a solid base and a firm commitment to each other, which means sorting out the hard questions and knowing you both want the same things, and are going in the same direction before heading off to live in separate places.
3. Know there is an endpoint to your time apart.
Knowing you will be living together again at some point in the future makes long distance easier because it not only gives you something to look forward to, but it also gives a sense of certainty and control in knowing that however difficult the distance may be, it’s only going to be temporary. Endless long distance is frustrating and can feel very unsettling and insecure- the uncertainty of not knowing when you will be together again can leave you on edge, and that anxiety will affect other areas of your life.
Daily communication is a must to make your long distance relationship easier- that’s pretty much all you have. Phone calls and video chats are obviously the main ways to stay in touch and actually talk everyday, but daily little texts just to say good morning, or sending pictures of the things you are doing throughout the day are a really nice way to feel like you’re a part of each other’s lives. The most important thing though, is consistency and frequency. Figure out what sort of communication, and frequency, works to make you both feel closer and more connected to each other, and be consistent and reliable with it. I’m also a firm believer in direct contact in any relationship, regardless of distance. You know, actual, real messages where you’re talking to each other privately rather than publicly on social media. Letting your partner find out big things about your life or day through your Facebook status updates can be very distancing and disconnecting. And rather than updating your status to thank them if they send you something in the mail or do something nice for you, send a private message. Private communication is so much more meaningful, connecting and genuine than that status update or hashtag about #howmuchyoumissthem. This goes for any relationship really, not just long distance.
5. Do things you would normally do together, apart.
If you can, get on video chat or the phone and watch your favourite t.v. shows together. Read the same book at the same time or pace, or watch the same movie together. Have a date night; a video chat that you plan in advance, where you get dressed up as you would if you were meeting for a date face to face, and have your dinner, or coffee, or glass of wine with you while you’re chatting. Send them a hand-written letter the traditional way. Next time you meet, exchange something of each of yours, or even little bottles of your perfume or cologne, so you have something of theirs to go to when you miss them. If you’re both into fitness, set goals for each other or use apps where you can see each other’s progress. Use a shared online calendar to feel part of each other’s daily goings-on. If you’re both into cooking, pick a new recipe to try together, separately, and if the timezone allows, video chat throughout the cook! The possibilities are clearly endless. Think about what you both liked to do as a couple when you were in the same city, or what your shared interests are, and find a way to do them together, apart.
Long distance relationships can be hard at the best of times, but they’re not impossible. As with most things, dedication, determination and understanding can go a long way in making long distance relationships a little easier. Good luck!