In today’s post, we will talk about long distance relationships.
My girlfriend and I had no idea what we were doing when we started dating.
She lives in Italy and I’m in the United States. How did it work? Is it possible to have a good long distance relationship (LDR)?
If we were dating in person we’d go on a date and see where that takes us. But we could only FaceTime. While it took time to figure out, after eight months, we’re stronger than ever.
We’ve learned how to maintain a healthy, happy relationship despite our 9-hour time difference. If you’re in the same situation, don’t worry.
You can be a thriving couple even if you live across the ocean from one another.
Here’s your ultimate guide to making a long distance relationship work.
1. Do Long Distance Relationships Work? Most People Will Tell You No – But They’re Wrong
If you want your relationship to work, you first have to believe it can.
When I told my parents I was entering a long-distance relationship, they didn’t approve. “You should date someone you can go out with on the weekends,” my mom said.
Your friends and family might tell you the same. But if you want to be in a relationship with this person, fight for it. Choose them and choose yourself—not the negative people around you.
You’ll also read articles telling you that long distance relationships don’t work, but they’re wrong.
60% of long distance relationships actually last.
While distance can make things difficult, long distance relationships are no different than local relationships.
You make them work with communication, as we’ll talk about later.
For now, remember:
You can be happy in a long-distance relationship. It can be serious. And you can fall in love with your partner even if you’ve never met—just as I fell in love with mine months before touching her for the first time.
2. If You Want a Healthy Long Distance Relationship, Tell Them About the Little Things
Communication is all you have in a long distance relationship, so use it to your advantage.
My girlfriend and I like to update each other throughout the day, and this makes us feel closer to one another.
For example, earlier today, she texted me when she arrived at her friend’s house.
She didn’t have to do that, but it let me know she was thinking about me.
You don’t have to be glued to your phone all day, but you can update them about your plans, send a voice-note when something funny happens, or even call them while you’re shopping to ask for an opinion.
You won’t be annoying, even if you feel like you are. They’re happy to hear and read everything about your daily life.
Recommended read: 40 Long Distance Relationship Quotes to Give You All the Feels
3. How to Get Vulnerable In Your Relationship, and Tell Your Partner What You Want
If you and your partner were together, you would cuddle, kiss, hold each other’s hands. You can’t do that with the distance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tell them it’s what you want.
Actually, now and then that’s actually what you’ll need to hear. For example, if you’re having a hard day, tell them you wish you could take a nap with them.
Tell them you wish you could hold them to your chest.
Whatever you feel in the moment, say.
“I want you to sit in between my legs while we watch a movie.”
“I want to pepper your face with kisses.”
“I want to cuddle under that blanket with you.”
Be honest about the cute, cuddly stuff you’d do in person. Use your imagination and your words to paint a picture of what you’d love to have with them.
Recommended read: Healthy Relationships: 5 Powerful Habits of Truly Happy Couples
4. What to Do For Fun in Long Distance Relationships
In an LDR, you can’t go beyond calls and FaceTime, which is why you use the tools available to you. Here are some examples.
My girlfriend and I enjoy online shopping. We’ll open FaceTime, one of us will share our screen, and we’ll scroll through stores and buy what we want. You can also do this on Google Meets.
You can watch Netflix, Hulu, etc., with the free Chrome extension Scener. Scener lets you FaceTime while you watch a movie in sync, and it’s easy to use.
If you enjoy reading, read the same book at the same time. You can discuss story lines, try to guess who the killer is, or dig deep into a fictional couple’s relationship.
Throughout months of dating, you might develop routines or rituals.
My girlfriend and I drink hot chocolate whenever we miss each other or need comfort, and making it alongside her always makes me happy—especially because this was an accidental habit.
You can also have a night or morning routine that you do together over FaceTime.
Bonus: There’s a free app called Locket we just started using. It’s a widget you can add to your home screen that lets you send photos to your partner through the app.
You’ll be happy to see your partner’s face on your screen, a different photo each day.
5. Tear Your Soul Apart, Even If You’re Thousands of Miles Apart
Like in any relationship, you want to be honest about your personal struggles. “Healthy relationships require that we learn how to open up and share from our hearts,” shared couples therapist, Angela Amias.
I’ve never been good at talking about how I feel, but thankfully I have a partner who pushed me to be myself and encouraged me to show my dark side.
This not only helped me feel more confident, but it strengthened our relationship.
This can be hard in a LDR because, for example, if your partner starts crying, you can’t hold them. But don’t let that stop you. Don’t shut each other out—no matter their time of day.
Sharing fears about your relationship is especially important. At the start, my girlfriend and I would express our worries about being in a long-relationship.
By talking openly, we were able to comfort one another or find solutions. It connected us, and in the end, we were always more in love.
At the root of these worries, you’re afraid of losing them. If you express that, you can work through anything.
6. How to Keep Your Sex Life Alive If You’re in A Long Distance Relationship
The best place to start is through sexting. When my girlfriend and I started dating, not only had I never sexted before, I’d never had sex. I felt awkward and embarrassed.
But if you have a great partner, they won’t make you feel that way. That’s the important part.
Sexting just means you’re explicitly honest about what you want. Whatever you want, you write. I want. I want you to. I’m imagining.
If you ever don’t like what your partner says, tell them. Sexting, like sex, is supposed to feel good and safe. Even if it’s just in their head, it can make you feel uncomfortable, so be honest.
Beyond sexting, you’ll one day feel comfortable enough to FaceTime. Whatever you want to do, say, or show is up to you and your partner.
The more comfortable you are, the better the experience. Take it slow in the beginning, just like you probably would in a regular relationship. Or don’t. It’s up to you.
If you’re new to it, and you feel like it might feel ridiculous, let me tell you now: it won’t be. Despite the screen, you’ll feel an intimate connection.
It can be raw and emotional and sexy. It can be whatever you want it to be. But it’s never, ever ridiculous.
As time goes on, you’ll feel more comfortable. You’ll explore different types of fantasies and it’s a great way to discover what you and your partner desire.
7. How to Have a ‘Better’ Fight When You’re in a LDR
Sometimes your arguments will begin over text. That’s okay. But they really shouldn’t continue or end over text.
The problem with texting is that not only are you more likely to be mean to someone who’s far away, but you forget that what you text to someone is the same as speaking out loud.
You forget there’s a human being, someone with a heart and feelings on the other side of the screen. And not just any person. Your person.
If you’re going to fight, fight over FaceTime.
If the argument starts, text them: “Can we FaceTime?” If they say no, then say: “Okay, but we’re not doing this right now. We’ll talk on FaceTime later.”
Don’t get caught up in your angry feelings. And whatever you do, don’t ever hang up unexpectedly.
If you were together in person, would you walk out of the house? Talk things through. If you genuinely need space to think, tell them—but be sure to say you’ll call them later or tomorrow.
8. Don’t Take All My Advice to Heart (Or Anyone Else’s)
Since I was scared to go into a long distance relationship, I did what most people do nowadays: I went to Google.
Most of the advice I found was negative. People were writing, “You can’t fall in love with someone you’ve never met,” and “long distance relationships aren’t real relationships.” It only deepened my worry.
If you’re going to read articles, stay away from those. Just because an LDR didn’t work for another couple doesn’t mean your relationship will have the same fate.
While many articles offer great advice, take them with a grain of salt. Trust your gut, not the Internet.
Otherwise, there’s a possibility it might lead to a fight. That’s what happened every time I went against what I felt was right.
I’m offering advice that genuinely works in my relationship, but it’s not universal. If you know it’s wrong for your relationship, ignore those those tips.
That said, if you do like the advice I’m offering, then feel free to use it. Tell your partner about it, send them this article, and talk about what you’d like incorporate.
Plus, this will help you improve those communication skills we were talking about earlier.
9. How to Express Love in a Long Distance Relationship
My girlfriend and I were FaceTiming one day when she suddenly craved sushi for dinner.
She was about to order some when she put her phone down and said, “No, I’ve spent too much money. I’ll just make pasta.”
I grabbed my phone when she looked away and went to PayPal (if you’re in an international long-distance relationship, PayPal becomes your best friend).
I sent her money and wrote, “For your dinner.” Her phone dinged and she looked at the notification and smiled. “That made me so happy,” she told me while she recalled the story.
Little things go a long way. Here are more long distance relationship gift ideas:
- Randomly send your partner money for breakfast while they’re asleep,
- If they mention they want a book, buy it as a surprise on a website like Better Books, which ships used books for free internationally,
- As mentioned in Comoenamorar.net, a great idea is to send flowers to your partner; you can call a local florist and have them deliver flowers to your partner’s address,
- Buy gifts through online stores, such as Etsy,
- Get their clothes/shoes/etc. size so you can surprise them without having to ask beforehand,
- You can also buy and ship items through the mail (this might be too expensive if you’re shipping internationally).
You can’t go out on a date, and you can’t get them the flowers yourself, but you do what you can, and that’s what’s most important.
If your love language is gifts, this is the perfect thing to do.
10. Set a Date For When You’ll Meet
“Ocean separates lands, not souls.”– Munia Khan
There should be a time when, for a week or three, you’re not a long distance couple. You’re a couple who gets to sleep together every night, hold hands, eat dinner, and make out first thing in the morning.
That’s why long distance relationship couples should have a date: the day they’re together again (or for the first time).
There are all types of long distance couples.
Some can see each other every other month after a four-hour drive, some are a three-hour flight away, and others reside on different continents. Sometimes you can afford to visit, and sometimes you can’t.
I recommend putting some money aside every payday or saving that side-hustle money to visit your partner.
This isn’t a luxury everyone can afford, but if you can, use it. I have a steady job, albeit minimum wage, but I still live at home, so I can save my money to go to Europe.
The truth is you can survive your relationship if you don’t have a date yet, so don’t stress too much if you absolutely can’t afford to see them or can’t because of your job schedule.
Talk about about possible dates with your partner. Even if you can’t go through with it yet and have to push the date another month, the idea that you’ll one day see them is enough.
Knowing you’ll see you partner after six months apart is one of the greatest joys there is.
Featured photo for “The Ultimate Guide to Long Distance Relationships” by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
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