Long-distance relationships are hard! There is no simple path to maintaining a long-distance relationship, either. They need care and attention like any other relationship, but there’s that extra layer of special care that needs adding when distance is involved.
With that in mind, try these 8 techniques to keep things going well:
From the start, it is going to be important that you outline the contact you’re going to have between you. It isn’t something you want to try on the fly, as there are too many moving parts – get it decided upfront.
Will you email daily? Have nightly calls? How about using WhatsApp, social media, and texting? Become clear about how and when you’re going to talk – and don’t be afraid to prioritise each other.
The way you contact will be important so don’t rely on text alone. Afterall, only 7% of our communication comes from the words we use. Another 38% of our meaning is in the tone we apply to things – so switching from texts to phone conversations is sensationally beneficial! Of course, don’t neglect the other 55% – body language. We can’t get past that too easily via distance, by through video-calls and messages you can be closer and clearer than any other method.
Problems fester. No one needs a public service announcement for that, so from day one agrees to open communication without judgement. This way, we aim to avoid anger and resentment which leads to a breakdown of trust.
Trust & honesty is the backbone of long-distance relationships
No relationship will thrive without clear and open conversation. That doesn’t make it easier to discuss challenging issues, though. What can help, is having this early conversation to make a reference point in the future: “You remember how we agreed to open mention things that were getting to us… well I’ve been struggling with something in our talks…”. It’s only a minor step, but a powerful tool.
When your lives are not side-by-side, you’re not likely to be as aware of how the other person is changing, developing and growing, as you would if you shared a house. By adding this goals discussion, we’re pushing beyond that surface chat and helping keep the communication deeper. Your goals need to be clear as a couple and as individuals.
Do you plan on moving in together in future? Will you be living closer but with other people? Is there a marriage, children, at the end of this road? Are you both looking at the same long-term outcomes?
Serious discussions about your future are essential, but you’ll also want to talk about fun plans. The next time you see each other, what do you plan to do? Consider making reservations for a spectacular day or night of dining, dancing, and entertainment.
The media we absorb shapes much of our lives. Whilst you can’t do it together all the time, you can enjoy and discuss the same shows, novels, or films!
Not only is it about having the same interests, but if you grab your laptop or tablet, you can even stream the same show together, with the other person on camera. It’s not snuggling up on the sofa with each-other, but it’s a great second option.
Don’t got OTT either – one or two is plenty! You still need your own lives, interests and such – confining most of your viewing habits to someone else’s schedule is another simple way to build resentment.
Talking daily can get boring, fast. Make new ideas and fun activities something you do with intent. Perhaps you will create something for your loved one, research online activities, do something that will make them smile.
Have you ever considered making a video of your favourite moments together? Singing your song and sending it to them? Taking a pottery class with friends and sending them the results?
Make Royal Mail your friend! Popping down the post office every couple of weeks is a tiny step to take for the happiness it’d create! Maybe a batch of homemade brownies, or their favourite sweets from that old-fashioned sweet shop down the road?
Of course, you could skip the Post Office altogether and send flowers, have Amazon deliver a new book, or even arrange a pizza delivery when they’re working late.
The value here is on the thought – letting them know how they are occupying your mind, and that you’re keen on keeping the relationship fresh!
When you’re a long way apart, this can be difficult, time consuming and expensive, but it’s worth it for love! Try looking into half-way points for places you can meet. Perhaps there’s a nice B&B, an amusement part hotel, or even friends/family you can stay with?
Where it’s possible, make time for trips to the other’s home, too. It will help you interact with their lives and help them feel connected to you everywhere. Not just through an iPhone!
Don’t let your own experiences about loved ones and daily life fall by the wayside in long-distance relationships. Allowing your conversations to stick to things you have in common happens, but push through it – even when it may feel like a “You had to be there” moment.
Division in relationships causes separation. It’s important to continue to understand the life your partner lives and for them to understand your own.
Give your relationship time, patience, and care, and you’ll soon see that distance is not an insurmountable obstacle.
Articles that TJ writes for The Love Coach cover all steps in the cycle of love and include tips and advice for many dating or relationship issues. Her experience as a Love Therapist, Love Coach and Life Coach bring a real-life approach to everyday situations.
Remember life is for loving – that includes yourself!