Lifestyle

Top SIX most important ways to keep your long-distance relationship healthy and strong:

Long-distance relationships aren’t much fun. “Is this person worth it? Are the feelings still there” “Am I better off dating someone who I can see every day?”

I understand completely. I’ve been there. Long-distance relationships do suck. They are in no way ideal and are definitely not for everyone. It takes a great leap of faith to engage in a relationship that is comprised of phone calls, Facetime dates and thousands of miles between the two of you.

Everyone I’ve met who has successfully experienced long-distance relationships can relate to the slow pain of not knowing when this seemingly non-stop distance will finally come to an end. Every day you and your partner are apart feels like an eternity but there are ways to get through it, if you really want your relationship to succeed.

I am coming up on two years of successful long-distance with my boyfriend so I have decided to write this to help anyone struggling, either with their own relationship or the difficult decision of entering this type of relationship. Just remember not all long-distance relationships end badly, some do work and if you have a difficult time, it will help you to better discover who you are.

1. Trust your partner.

Now this is, without a doubt, the most important aspect in any relationship. If there is no trust between you and your significant other, it is likely that the relationship won’t last. You need to be comfortable with your SO going out for a night with the guys just has he needs to be if you want a night out with your girls because, let’s face it, we all need those nights.

No matter if you both are in different states, countries, or even continents, you need to know that there is nothing that can come between what you two have. Just remember that at the end of each night you will always have each other. You may not physically be able to be with each other, but there is someone who loves you and would never hurt you.

Remember that it is okay to have a good time without your SO. You each have to enjoy your time while apart because being stuck moping around will not make the time pass any faster, believe me. Don’t try to make each other feel bad for going out and having a good time with friends. You can’t have your partner on a leash. You each need your own space to enjoy yourselves and it really does help the time go faster.

2. Communication is important, but it’s okay to have some space.

Sometimes long distance can be a pain with time differences or schedules getting in the way, but there is always time to send a quick “I miss you” text. My boyfriend and I are going on two years of long distance and, with both of us working and the time difference, it’s not very easy to talk but we’ve made it work. There are the 2 am phone calls, texting during lunch breaks, and Facetime calls while at the gym.

But it is important to remember to talk when you both want to, not when it gets to the point where you feel like you need to. There is no limit set as to how many phone calls you must have in a long-distance relationship and sometimes there will be days when you go without talking on the phone and that’s perfectly okay. Talking every day because you feel like you NEED to will not help your relationship grow. Try setting aside one day a week that you are both free to catch up on everything that has happened. This may not always work but it’s a good thing to look forward to.

If one of you is having a hard day or is upset, don’t forget to talk about it. Holding problems in can take its toll on both of you and being so far apart can only add to that. Never let the other go to bed angry or upset, we are not promised a tomorrow so make things right today and work on being stronger together.

3. The little things really do matter.

Being in a long-distance relationship means that certain holidays, birthdays and anniversaries may be missed and yes that sucks but that is no reason to not try to make those days as special as you can from a distance. I enjoy sending cute “care packages” that I decorate depending on which holidays we are celebrating. But holidays aren’t the only days that you should make your SO smile and feel special.

Try sending them flowers on a random Wednesday or a small box of little things that say “thinking about you.” I can guarantee it will put the biggest smile on their face. Even the occasional “you are so beautiful” or “you mean the world to me” text will brighten anyone’s day. The little things really do matter and they make being in a long distance relationship just a bit easier.

4. Make sure to keep yourself busy.

If you are just stuck at home all day then your mind is going to wander and you will be stuck in a phase of depression. Keeping yourself busy is the best way to stop worrying about the distance. You will still be thinking of your SO and there will be the occasional thing that will remind you of them but if you spend the entire time apart doing nothing but worrying and wondering what they might be doing, you will be driven mad.

Take this time apart to rediscover yourself. Travel, explore nature, workout, find a job, take up a new hobby or sport that you enjoy, use this time to reconnect with some old girlfriends, or try something you’ve always wanted to do. The list is endless. Keeping busy is the easiest way to pass the time until you will be reunited with your SO. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

5. Always have something to look forward to.

The worst thing about long-distance is the uncertainty. “Is this person worth it?” “When will I see them again?” “Is being apart for so long making their feelings change?” The longer this uncertainty grows, the worse it will get. What helps is having something to look forward to, a goal or date to reach together. Things like planning a vacation together, job searching to be closer to each other, even talking about the future beyond this distance where it will just be the two of you together.

Trust me that even if the countdown begins at 300, slowly seeing the number decrease as the date nears, will improve your mood greatly. The minute you stop having a date or something to look forward to, you will just be stuck and the uncertainty about your relationship will come back even stronger.

6. Make sure there is an end to the distance.

Now this ties into the paragraph above but there needs to be an end to the distance. What is the point of a long-distance relationship if there is no hope that it will someday end? For these relationships to work there needs to be the possibility that you two will one day be together. Distance makes the heart grow fonder but if there is no end, it will slowly fade away.

Love is not enough. You both must have the same vision and shared interests. If one of you takes up a contract working overseas in China while the other is stuck working for a company in California for the next ten years, it is unlikely that the relationship will survive, no matter how much you love each other, because there is no end goal. You both need to be on the same page and that should be discussed at the start so you know what you are getting into.

My boyfriend and I had this discussion at the start. We had only been dating for six months before he moved away but we made it work. It helps now that we are both working in Europe so I can visit more often than most and even though we still go months without seeing each other, we both have an end goal in mind. We know which direction this relationship is heading and are both working to get there so yay for distance hopefully being over in a year!

I have had a lot of friends asking me if my relationship is worth it. On the one hand, yes it is worth it. But even if your relationship ends up sinking like the titanic, long-distance will help you learn more about yourself. You will learn what your relationship strengths and weaknesses are and it will only make you stronger.

If your relationship does last, it is still with thousands of miles between. So your typical movie dates become watching a movie at the same time while on Skype and your dinner dates become eating meals together while on the phone. You sometimes forget what it was like to actually BE with this person.

Yes you know their personalities and attractive qualities but long-distance can take away the sense of being in an actual relationship. That only comes back when you are with the person, face-to-face in close proximity. And yes, being apart for so long may cause you both to bicker about the little things but after some time you get into a groove and can become comfortable being back together. And this helps you build intimacy.

But I think the distance really helps you cherish your time together even more. Any little time you get to spend with them becomes your new favorite time, whether it be snuggling up on the couch or running out at midnight for some ice cream, it’s all perfect in your eyes.

I have yet to meet someone who enjoyed long-distance and I doubt I will because distance sucks. Is it hard? Yes. Does it work? Sometimes, yes. But it is the same for any relationship. There are ups and downs but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. Even if it doesn’t work, you will learn a lot about yourself in the process.

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