So you’re in or just starting a long distance relationship. Facetime dates, excessive worrying when they don’t text you back, sending funny memes to each other to stay connected, actively awaiting your next flight or road trip to them: All things that, to a long distance pro, seem to be the expected aspects of the relationship.
Letting other people in on the long distance nature of your relationship can definitely bring down your confidence if you’re a newbie. You might share that your significant other lives 7 states away and then receive that smile. The smile that cannot hide their pity and doubt about your choices and is often followed up by a lackluster “So… when are they moving out here?”
However, a long distance relationship is not all waiting, worrying, and pity smiles!! You don’t have to feel like you are merely surviving a long distance relationship and not enjoying it. Long distance can give you an amazing experience to live your life confidently and independently while still having someone you can rely on at the end of the day. Here are some long distance relationship ideas for not only making it work but for ultimately making your relationship stronger.
Quality over quantity with your time
After being long distance for a while, it can just seem like wasted time if your calls are never exciting, fun, or meaningful and just repetitive. Living apart means you might not get to spend as much time together as you had when you were living in the same area. You might only have time for an hour long call at night after a busy day. Make sure that this hour is a good one and are able to give your attention to your long distance significant other. Don’t force yourself to schedule in extra calls to seem more connected because that will make answering the phone a repetitive burden rather than a time to feel close.
Don’t be needy
This is a hard pill for some to swallow, but one of the biggest long distance relationship struggles if having a partner who is excessively needy. If you are constantly calling your partner, worrying, and depending on them, etc, it will start to get irritating and the last thing you want in a long distance relationship is to push your partner further away. Acknowledge that they have a life outside of your relationship even if you were living directly together. Leave them space to grow as an individual within your relationship and it will be something they consistently want, not something they need a break from.
Set specific expectations
A relationship is like a contract. You decide early on in your relationship that you like each other enough to commit your time to care for each other, plan for the future, and have an exclusive label with each other, with an understanding that you don’t *insert deal breaker here*. And if one person falls short of this agreement, a break up happens. That sounds pretty contractual to me.
So when starting your long distance relationship, make sure you determine specific deal breakers and expectations that you are both comfortable with. Specify how often you will call each other, what you expect from your partner when they go out with friends, how your partner’s priorities and schedule will affect you, establish the protocol for dealing with issues when they arise. This will save you from many misunderstandings down the road and keep you from being constantly disappointed by your partner
Do small things to let them know you care
Without simple everyday interactions with your partner like making dinner or giving them a shoulder rub after a long day, it is crucial to put in the effort to remind your partner that you care. This can save you from your partner feeling desperate or disappointed and lets them know you care about them just as much even though they’re far away.
Do things like send them flowers, plan a surprise visit, Venmo them $5 for coffee, tag them in a social media post, leave them random voicemail, come up with fun ideas for the two of you to do over facetime, etc. Putting forth the effort in creative ways to show you care will save you and your partner from being let down.
Think about what you like best about the relationship
This is something to intimately discuss with your significant other. Think about the main factors that make you love being with them. Maybe you have a ton of fun together, make eachother laugh, or you have amazing intimate talks about your ideas and beliefs.
Whatever your thing is in your relationship, talk about how you feed and maintain that attribute when you are together, and how you can transfer those actions in a digital way.
Treat every Facetime date as an exciting thing
Even if you are tired or busy, putting forth a little extra effort into facetime dates and phone calls can definitely help your long term relationship work better. No one wants to answer the phone to a lackluster person when they were looking forward to having a fun and meaningful time with their partner. Obviously, everyone gets in bad moods, but try to stay positive and see your Facetimes as a place to be loving toward one another rather than reporting the bad day that you had. Be honest if you are having a hard time but don’t treat the call as a place to dump out your bad feelings.
Always look to the future
Being positive in a long distance relationship is absolutely important. Make sure to let your partner know you are excited for when you see them next. You should always have a planned trip to see them next that you can reference and get excited about with them often.
Planning bigger trips together is also a great way to keep up the positive outlook on the situation. Maybe you have a friend getting married, or you plan a trip to Europe together. Having something in the future to look forward to makes life in your relationship a little more exciting.
Get comfortable with online intimacy
It’s no lie that one of the biggest struggles when it comes to long distance relationships is lack of intimacy. Sexual repression can cause you to become more anxious, put you in a negative headspace, and make you feel disconnected from your partner.
This is an opportunity to get creative with that side of your relationship and also get comfortable with yourself. Take pictures and videos to send to your partner every so often, buy new toys or outfits that you wouldn’t have normally to make it feel fun and special, facetime them and show them the new things you’ve bought to spice up the online relationship. It might sound out of your comfort zone, but they will definitely appreciate it and you can learn together how to transition from intimacy in your bedroom to over the phone fun.
Remind yourself of the positives of a long distance relationship
Many people look down on long distance relationships, but if done right, this type of relationship can honestly be even better than the regular scenario.
You get to be independent. You get to have your own schedule, create and develop your own friendships, choose the food you want to eat, watch the shows you want, get time to be alone when you want to be alone, work on projects without distraction.
You get to have an entirely separate life outside your partner’s and that makes it so much more fun to talk to them at the end of the day and share stories about your day and vice versa. Two enriched lives are much more fun and exciting than one. And when you go visit them, you get to be shown around a new city, hang out with a new group of friends, and experience a whole new experience.
Remind yourself that “normal” relationships face hardships too
Many people wish they had a normal relationship with their partner and regret doing long distance. However, the grass really does seem to always be greener on the other side. Don’t forget that face to face relationships deal with hurdles too.
In a regular relationship, you have to compromise on things like food, dates, what side of the bed you sleep on. You might get a worse night’s sleep with them and maybe they’re a lot more messy than you or a lot more strict with their household than you are. You might even hate the fact that you have to share friends or feel too dependent on someone.
Reminding yourself that issues arise in any type of relationship can help make your perspective of your long distance situation so much sweeter.
Get creative with communicating
Since you are communicating only via technology in your long distance relationship, it can be a fun idea to switch up the communication styles. Go between texting, dming, facetiming, calling, and tagging your partner in funny things across multiple social platforms. This keeps your significant other on their toes and gets them excited when you mix it up and show them you care by popping up in their dm’s as a nice surprise.
Social media can be a really great way to adhere to maintaining that main attribute that makes your relationship so special to you. If you are always laughing together, send them memes, tweets, or Tik Toks, to let them know you were thinking of them and give them a little laugh throughout their day. Posting old pictures of you two or tweeting about a funny thing they said makes them feel special and won’t go unnoticed.
Respect their boundaries and expectations
Although your partner distance allows you to be a more independent person, you should still maintain the boundaries you set for one another in your social lives. Going to the club with the same group of guys your partner doesn’t know so well might not be the best idea.
Even if you can guarantee your relationship is a trust filled one, putting your significant other in the situation to feel jealousy is never a good idea. No one likes to feel jealous, but it is a natural human emotion even in the most trusting relationships. The worst thing is having to have the conversation that you feel jealous and insecure. “Read the Room” in your relationship and ask yourself how your partner might feel when you decide to hangout with certain people or agree to certain activities.
Do fun things together
It might be easier to have fun with your partner while in person, so make sure to still continue to do fun things together when you are apart.
You can facetime them when you are out with your friends to include them for a bit, or take them shopping with you. You can watch a show together, play video games together, or buy gifts online together for each other. You can also decide a skill you both want to learn, like cooking or playing guitar, and then look forward to showing off your skills to each other.
Prioritize visiting each other
This one can get expensive, but it is so important. A lot of long distance relationships base their visit schedule on the two week rule: you never go more than two weeks without seeing each other, but this can be whatever length of time you and your partner are comfortable with. Some can only afford to see each other every two months, others can visit every other weekend.
Figure out what you and your partner can afford and how long you can realistically go without seeing them. This might take a couple months to figure out as well, so communicate regularly about how you’re feeling regarding the length of distance from each other and update your visit schedule accordingly. NOTE: Make sure that the traveling is not always one sided, if they have come to see you the past three times, it is your turn to make the trip.
Discuss if there is an end to the long term part of the relationship
The tricky part of a long distance relationship is that if you’re so busy living your life and being independent, you might put aside a long term plan. Lack of communication on this can be detrimental if you each have different expectations on how your lives will turn out.
Have regular conversations at milestones or when you feel shifts in the relationship atmosphere. If you hit the year mark of your relationship, the relationship starts getting more serious, or you take a new job where you live, these are great times to open up the question of, “what does the future look like for us?”
Keep up relationship maintenance
Just because you are away and focusing on yourself doesn’t mean you can forget about being a good partner. Keep up with healthy relationship tactics to keep the peace in your relationship.
Continue to check in with yourself and your partner to see if you are communicating effectively, putting in the effort, and maintaining the expectations set.
Remember, a relationship is like a contract. It has to be revisited and revised as time goes on and as you both change. If someone wasn’t holding up their end of a job contract, you’d fire them, right? Same goes for a relationship. Having a significant other is work, especially if you’re long distance. Make sure that you actively participate in your relationship and not just work at it at 50%.
Yes, there are several negatives of a long distance relationship, the major one being that they aren’t physically close to you. If you stick to these guidelines and actively participate in your relationship, every aspect of your “normal” relationship will shine through into your long distance one. The fun and sexy times, laughs, meaningful talks, and entertainment will all still be there. It’s just a matter of thinking positive and doing your due diligence to make your partner feel wanted, loved, and special.
You really get to have the best of both worlds: living your life for yourself while still caring for and having care from someone you love in your corner, always there at the end of the day.