How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work? The ULTIMATE Guide
Long distance relationships can certainly be hard, but today with the advent of technology, they’re becoming more common than ever.
Whether it’s couples that must temporarily separate because they have to relocate for jobs or the advent of new ways to meet people, like online dating services or trips abroad, long distance relationships are here to stay.
How to make long distance relationships work may seem like a challenge, but the very technology that has made them more common can also make them easier to maintain.
No matter if it’s your first time in a LDR or if you’ve had plenty of experience with it, chances are you might think that there are some secrets on how to make them work.
Well actually, if you follow closely the next pieces of advice, you’ll give your relationship the best chance possible.
Indeed, my love and I have survived a 3-year-long international LDR and these are specifically the keys that made it work for us!
1) Have no secrets
Just like any relationship, a long distance relationship must have loyalty, trust, love, and respect.
Both need to be very open about what the expectations are right from the start and honor them throughout the relationship.
You need to be open and straightforward about what both parties expect of the relationship in terms of staying faithful to each other. Surprisingly, not all people think the same about this.
So what is the best secret on how to make a long distance relationship work? Having no secrets at all.
Share everything and don’t keep anything from your partner.
It’s best practice to communicate thoughts or events that might cause a problem in the relationship even if you live in the same house, and it’s still the same in a LDR.
2) Let your feelings be known
It does you no good to bottle all of your feelings up. If you are unhappy with your partner, let them know. Don’t keep it all inside for fear of hurting their feelings.
They are supposed to be there for you, and a relationship is something that you both have to be working on.
You’re not alone in this.
The steps we advise taking are to address the problem, understand the problem, then both agree on the best way to overcome the problem.
Except that, how do you go about making a long distance relationship work?
How can you show your lover that you’re thinking about them, even if you’re in different countries?
It doesn’t have to take a huge chunk out of your day; nobody is asking you to compose a poem extolling the virtues of your loved one’s eyes or other body parts! It’s about sharing the little things that happen each and every day.
Maybe you’re having a turkey sandwich for lunch and you know how much he/she loves turkey – you could send a quick text (or even a photo if they REALLY like turkey!). Something along the lines of “Know how much you love turkey; wish you were here to share my sandwich”.
Now maybe you think that’s lame, but that’s exactly the kind of thing that will send a warm glow down your significant other’s spine.
Making a LDR work is down to connection. You don’t have to be in the same room to feel that special intimacy and you really can share your lives, even if you’re not living them together.
Making a long distance relationship work is not so difficult, you just have to want it to.
In general, you should make sure that you make it easy for both you to communicate daily. Get Skype and a phone app for couples for example.
Then, make sure you call each other every other day, if not every day. Call, text and make your partner a part of your life.
Communication is key!
For that, Skype is by far the best tool for LDRs, given the fact you can start video calls. This adds another level of intimacy (and LDR fun?) since you can now see each other when you talk.
I have been using Skype in my long distance relationship and it works great. Sometimes the connection isn’t the best but it gets the job done.
If the computer isn’t always available for one of you, you can buy Skype credit which makes it very cheap to call landlines or cellphones from a computer or smartphone.
Communication is one of the most important parts of how to make long distance relationships work.
Depending on schedules, you need to decide what both of you are okay with. It can be hard and difficult sometimes to be only talking via computers but you need to keep the bigger picture in your head and talk about the day to day things like you would in person.
You need to communicate your love for one another often and sometimes more than you would in person because much of the intimacy is lost due to the distance apart.
5) Trust your lover
Perhaps the most crucial rule (outside of communication) to a long distance relationship is trust.
Before you make the commitment, you should evaluate how much you trust your partner and set out the parameters of the relationship.
If you’re married you should already have a strong foundation of trust, and so building upon that trust with healthy communication will only strengthen it.
But a LDR that starts with no trust will slowly but surely turn to chaos.
6) Make long-term plans
We’ve found that by planning out the next visit before the current one has ended has really helped to give couples something to look forward to.
Now, you have twice more reasons to be excited about what’s next!
That being said, you should also think very hard about your future together. When is the LDR going to end? How is it going to happen?
If you both aren’t planning the relationship for the long term, it’s going to get very thin very fast.
Unless both you and your significant other like the idea of being permanently apart in your relationship, you should be moving toward having this “long distance” factor end so that you can be together permanently.
Truth is, you just can’t make your LDR work on a permanent basis; by their very nature, they are meant to be temporary.
Therefore, make definite plans (and set a deadline) to change this long distance relationship into a “no distance” one.
7) Organize frequent long distance dates
Planning a few long distance dates can be particularly pleasant and fun during those long periods apart from one another.
This can be anything from a romantic Skype dinner date to stargazing over the phone.
Remember to be inventive and you will always keep your partner interested.
By the way, it’s the perfect moment to try get intimate again despite the miles…
8) Don’t forget your LDR lover
Unfortunately, it can be very, very easy if you’re trying to maintain a long distance relationship to let the “rest of your life” get in the way.
Because your significant other isn’t right there next to you on a day-to-day basis, it can be very easy to forget to stay in touch.
Fortunately, e-mail, phone, services like Skype, and texting are all great ways to stay in touch, instantaneously.
Make sure you get in touch with your significant other (or he or she gets in touch with you) at least once a day.
9) Make truth and honesty paramount
When you date someone the old-fashioned way, you have no choice but to get to know that person.
It’s true that you can put on a “good front” for a short period of time, but chances are, once you start to spend more time together, you’ll see the real person come out.
If you don’t take care, a long distance relationship can be built on artificiality and pretending, simply because it’s so easy to pretend to be someone else.
In other words, you can permanently pretend to be the person you think your significant other wants you to be, instead of who you really are – and vice versa.
And of course, if your spouse or long-term significant other has had to relocate somewhere else for work or for another reason (or you have had to yourself), make sure you continue to be honest in your relationship, always.
You don’t want to come back together at some point, only to find that you don’t know each other anymore.
Don’t lie to your partner, but don’t lie to yourself either.
10) Spend time together physically as often as possible
You’re also going to want to establish times when you are able to visit each other.
Making long distance relationships work requires both parties to occasionally meet up with each other.
In my case, we met in cities all over Europe every 2-3 months when we could take a week vacation.
Deciding times when you can meet each other and deciding what is expected from the relationship is one of the first steps in how to make long distance relationships work.
At least once a month, more often if possible, make sure you spend time together physically.
While previously mentioned ways of staying in touch are certainly important to a healthy long distance relationship, when it comes to how to make long distance relationships work, there’s no substitute for the commitment you’ll make to each other if you agree to regularly spend time together in the same location.
It keeps that spark alive between you.
Every time a LDR starts, neither partner has any real idea about how to make this relationship work.
Perhaps they begin by declaring undying love and promising to speak every day on the phone, telling each other that distance is not an issue.
But if you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship, you know it’s not that simple.
Nobody is fully prepared for the loneliness and longing that comes as part of the long distance relationship package and no matter how much we think that we know our partner, the truth is that we don’t know exactly how they are going to deal with the emotions engendered by enforced separation or whether they truly have what it takes to make it work.
Despite our best intentions, the imagination tends to run wild.
We picture our significant other partying into the early hours (obviously with at least one member of the opposite sex!).
If we don’t hear from them at an appointed time or we can’t get hold of them when we really feel the need to talk, then they must surely have been kidnapped by a work colleague or being held to ransom by the cleaning lady!
There really is no easy solution to this problem.
But before you nod your head sagely and get on the phone to end it all, you should consider the most important question of all:
Do you love your partner?
If your answer to that question is yes, then your long distance relationship really can work out – just like any other relationship.
You just have to be committed to each other and understand one thing: communication is vital.
It is the lifeblood of your relationship.