Ask anyone who is in one, and they will tell you it’s not easy to make a long-distance relationship work. Long-distance relationships are tricky and even messier than regular relationships, in most cases. They require immense patience, faith, trust, and maturity to keep them going strong and healthy.
It can be really hard to not see your partner and not be with them physically on a regular basis. One needs to have immense emotional maturity, faith, and the ability to deal with lonely nights to make a long-distance relationship work. But with people becoming more ambitious and career-oriented, long-distance relationships are the order of the day.
So, what exactly does it take? With the help of dating coach Geetarsh Kaur, founder of The Skill School, which specializes in building stronger relationships, let’s take a look at the tips on how to make a long-distance relationship work, so you don’t let a little bit of distance get in between you.
Do Long-Distance Relationships Work?
There is really no direct “yes” or “no” answer to this question. Because some people have survived long-distance relationships spanning years. In the case of others, a relationship crumbles the moment it becomes long distance. The reason could be loneliness, infidelity, or just the fact that a couple drifted apart. It usually depends on how people perceive their long-distance relationships.
Some people learn to be independent, patient and develop a focus on hobbies or learning new things. Others let loneliness, insecurity, and lack of touch get to them. Geetarsh sheds light on whether such a relationship truly is possible or not, and what it takes:
“It’s possible, but with a lot of complications. A lack of communication may lead to tiredness, it may cause insecurities, and time management may suffer as a result. However, what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder isn’t just an old cliche, it’s a very true phenomenon. The distance between you two will only make you more excited to meet your partner again. You’ll always be looking forward to spending positive time with your partner and there’s always going to be a layer of excitement.
“Plus, you usually do things in such a dynamic that you wouldn’t do if you two were in the same city. Whether it’s constant video calls or sending cute pictures to each other and communicating more often, these little things can make all the difference. Since the spark is always there, it’s always possible to make a long-distance relationship work even with a time difference.”
There is no denying the fact that because of gadgets long-distance relationships are much easier now. You can be in contact with your partner through the day and video calls and texts certainly make things easier. It is also extremely important to stay emotionally connected in a long-distance relationship.
So, if you’re saying things like “I love him but I can’t do long-distance” or if you’re trying to figure out how to make a long-distance relationship work during COVID, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get right into all you need to do.
8 Ways To Make A Long-Distance Relationship Work
There is no denying the fact that it is possible to make a long-distance relationship work but one has to put in that extra effort to keep things on track. The mistakes people make in a long-distance relationship can have an adverse effect in the long run. But all you need to do is to follow some of the rules to make things seem effortless. Though it may look like all the distance and the time will get the better of you, it’s really not as difficult as it may seem. Here are 8 tips that will help you make a long-distance relationship work:
1. Communicate regularly
Good communication is the key to any healthy relationship. To stay emotionally connected in a long-distance relationship, you need to really let your partner know about your feelings and emotions. If you have a bad workday, your partner should be there to lend an ear, despite the distance.
In the physical absence of your partner, it is inevitable that you will have mood swings. In that case, you need to share those feelings with your partner and keep the emotional intimacy going. The daily exchange of texts and messages along with video calls whenever possible will keep you connected to your partner and will take the edge away a bit from the physical distance that separates you.
Related Reading: 15 Benefits Of Long Distance Relationships
Geetarsh talks about how “communication” in itself won’t solve all your problems, you must also look after the quality of communication you establish. “Communication has four T’s: timing, tone, technique, and truth. You must make sure that you’re wary of your choice of words along with the tone you employ,” she says.
“Since you are unaware of your partner’s circumstances, it’s going to be difficult to judge their mood. Miscommunication between moods can often result in a lack of communication. Perhaps you wanted to share some exciting news, but your partner hasn’t had the best day. Perhaps you want to talk about the future, but your partner is angry and wants to talk about that fight you two had.
“Try to gauge your partner’s mood according to how they’re communicating with you and the things that may have happened to them or to them. Even if you want to share positive news, it may turn out disastrous if you don’t time it right or if you don’t use the right words,” she concludes.
Of all the things to make a long-distance easier, effective communication always tops the list. Make sure you and your partner both know how to talk to each other. Use the right words at the right time, and your dynamic will flourish.
2. Meet as often as possible
This will keep the physical connection alive and take care of both your sexual needs. Sex and physical intimacy is the first thing to get impacted so make sure to meet one another as much as possible. Not meeting your significant other is the worst mistake one can make. Work out your finances and ensure that you can fly down or take a train ride every few months to meet your partner.
Of course, when it’s just not possible to see each other, you have to figure out how to be patient in a long-distance relationship. Life isn’t always like the movies, where you can manage to fly across the country to meet your loved one.
Even so, whenever you can, try to meet halfway for a short holiday or plan a road trip together. Sometimes you can go to see your partner or your partner can visit you. Plan surprises, that’s also vital. We know this is a drain on the finances but look at it as an investment for the relationship.
Meeting each other might be a bit more difficult when you’re trying to make long-distance work in different countries. In such cases, patience is going to be your best friend. Don’t let the irritation of it all get to you. Let the excitement of finally getting to meet your partner be a driving force that keeps you going.
3. Keep your expectations real
It is very natural to feel anxious, concerned, angry, or worried if there is a slight disconnect in communication; for example, when you don’t respond to messages/texts at the same time, same day, be realistic. S/he may be going through a bad day at work and is unable to reach out to you, or your partner may be going through some emotional low or work issues. Perhaps he/she may want to deal with some issue alone without involving you.
“If, for some reason, a partner doesn’t want to communicate, it may solely be because you might’ve failed to gauge their mood or they just want some space,” says Geetarsh, adding, “Maybe they’re going somewhere and you just forgot. The point is to give space to your partner, just because you’re in a long-distance relationship does not mean you have to match deadlines of how much you talk to each other.”
Be more accepting and manage your expectations in a relationship. That will save you a lot of heartache. Sometimes if a person is having a boring weekend at home and finds out the long-distance partner is having a great time with friends without them, they get upset and this could even start fights.
“One of the biggest problems I have seen is how young partners let the FOMO get to them. They assume their partner is out there having the time of their life without them, and they end up overthinking it for hours. It’s vital to not let that get to you,” says Geetarsh.
You can learn how to be mature in a long-distance relationship simply by keeping your expectations realistic. Don’t have a grandiose idea of what such a dynamic is supposed to feel like because of what the movies showed you.
Related Reading: 10 Thoughts One Has When Dumped In A Long Distance Relationship
4. Don’t try to control things
It is never easy to be far away from your partner. One tends to micromanage the relationship and make things go their way because of the paucity of time. Do not make the mistake of being a control freak. Let things unfold slowly. It will take you some time to get used to the distance. So be patient with yourself and your partner.
When your partner was with you, you probably decided together where you two would go for lunch. Maybe you decided on their outfit for that upcoming conference. But if you keep doing the same in a long-distance relationship, then it does get really tough for both your partner and you.
Perhaps you may even try to control things more when you notice your partner changing as a person. In such situations, learning how to be mature in a long-distance relationship and not letting petty things get to you will do you a lot of good.
You have to let go to some extent. Your partner’s going to have what’s available for lunch at the office cafeteria and they cannot always stick to the healthy salad you made for them at home. Accept that and stop fretting. You will be a happier person.
5. Establishing trust is how you make a long-distance relationship work
However tough it seems or hard it gets to be away from your partner, never distrust your partner or begin to lose faith in the relationship just because you can’t see him/her physically. Trust and faith are the pillars of strength in any relationship and have to be unconditional.
“The basic necessity for a long-distance relationship to survive is trust. There will be times where you may feel that it’s not going the right way but you can’t just hover around your partner. Don’t make the mistake of video-calling them out of the blue, in an attempt to see if they’re telling the truth about where they are. Especially when you’re trying to make a long-distance relationship work with a time difference, it’s vital to take a step back and trust your partner,” says Geetarsh.
People who have been in the thick of it will tell you that surviving a long-distance relationship is about having complete faith in your partner. If they say they have guests visiting, do not start questioning them about who their guests are, how many men and women are there in the group, and so on. When you let the doubts creep into your mind you make things extremely annoying for your partner. Accept that you will have separate lives in a long-distance relationship and that is completely fine.
6. Give your partner more space than usual
When you’re thinking about how to make a long-distance relationship work, perhaps adding more space to the distance between you two might be at the bottom of your list. But once apart, let the empty spaces around you feed the relationship instead of making each other feel claustrophobic. Find new hobbies or activities to enjoy your own company. Keep yourself occupied and get closer to your friends now that you have the time. Use this distance to grow as an individual.
You will be amazed that you will have so much to talk about and share with your partner, once you begin to do things alone or with friends whom you had not paid much attention to because of your partner being in town. You should try to be happy in your own world and let them be the same. There are a lot of things to do when your partner is not around. Maybe you can pick up some cooking skills or bake new recipes and surprise them when you are together.
“People struggle with the ‘how’ of it all,” says Geetarsh, talking about how personal space is a concept that’s easier said than done. “When they deprive their partner of healthy space, deep down, they know they’re making a mistake. They don’t like it when they nag their partner or get into an argument, and the root cause of all of it is trust issues. The idea is that you must not be possessive about your partner. Sure, it can feel like you’re drifting apart, but with the help of trust and respect, you’ll realize your bond is not that fickle,” she adds.
It’s important to be patient in a long-distance relationship. If your partner went out with their friends and didn’t text you till 2 A.M, let it go. You can always talk about it tomorrow. You’re probably not too keen on using your phone when you’re out with your friends either, are you?
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7. Be patient
Long-distance tests your patience and tolerance as no other relationship. Learn to be calm, collected, and patient even when things seem rocky between you and your partner. Most of the stuff is because of the distance, do not take it personally.
Another thing that you have to work on is not jumping to conclusions. A few minutes delay in replying to a text and you jump to the conclusion that your partner is ignoring you. You hear the voice of a man in the background while she is on the phone and you immediately assume the worst. While you’re thinking your partner is cheating on you, it might’ve just been the pizza delivery guy.
Especially when you’re trying to figure out how to make a long-distance relationship work in college, it’s vital to understand the importance of patience. Let’s just say your “hormones” will be driving you crazy, but try not to act on impulse. Keep calm and stay logical. That is the best way to work out a long-distance relationship.
8. How to make a long-distance relationship work: let love be your guide
“I love him but I can’t do a long-distance,” said Jenna, talking about how she might have to leave her partner Red, just because they now have to move to different cities. But of course, as Jenna soon came to realize, leaving someone you love isn’t easy, even if there are a million miles between you.
When Jenna and Red decided to make things work, they knew it wouldn’t be easy. However, of all the things to make long-distance easier, they realized that the only thing they could fall back to was the feeling of love they shared for each other. When you go back to what brought you together, it’ll help solve most of your problems. Remember love can help you get through anything, even physical distance.
It is important to keep in mind that you came together because you love each other. In times when you feel low, think of all the good times you spent. You can always talk about your next meeting and make plans often so that you have something to look forward to. Love is a strange emotion. It can keep you glued over a long distance no matter what. To make a long-distance relationship work you will have to depend on this emotion.
Related Reading: How To Survive A Long-Distance Relationship While Studying Abroad
Tips To Survive A Long-Distance Relationship
Whether you’re trying to figure out how to make a long-distance relationship work during COVID or make a long-distance relationship work in different countries, there are a few steps you can take to make things run smoothly. Geetarsh tells us that the most important thing you can do is find yourself outside of your dynamic. “Go out with your friends, pick up a productive hobby, try to find yourself outside of just your relationship. The more time you spend with yourself, the better it’ll be,” she advises.
To make sure you leave here with bite-sized information about what it takes to keep things going, here are a bunch of tips on how to make a long-distance relationship work:
- Schedule your video chats. You can have it at breakfast and in the evening when both of you go out for a walk
- Let your partner know in advance about your plans. You could be planning a movie with friends. But don’t let them call you and find out that you are in the movie theatre
- Don’t make the mistake of going out with the office hunk or touching base with an ex
- Send each other gifts regularly
- Keep them updated about new friends and colleagues. You can even introduce them over video chat
- You should have a goal on when the long-distance relationship should end. You cannot be in one forever
- Good communication doesn’t mean texting 24×7. Have quality communication instead
- Stop being possessive and don’t throw tantrums at the drop of a hat. You will both become exhausted
- Use this experience to become more independent and self-sufficient
To make a long-distance relationship work you have to be sensible and mature and do all the right things. Avoid relationship mistakes and you can enjoy your time together and time apart in a long-distance relationship.
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Quality communication and trust in your partner are ways to make a long-distance relationship work. Meet as often as you can and plan holidays together to bridge the physical distance.
According to a survey, 60% of long-distance relationships survive while 37% break up within 3 months of getting physically close. Researchers have found sometimes long-distance relationships have more longevity.
As we said earlier, long-distance relationships can last even if people do not see each other for a year or more. There are also instances when people have been in long-distance relationships for 20 years or more.
You should talk every day in a long-distance relationship. But a couple of times a day or even once in a day is good enough. Don’t be clingy by double texting your partner. Keep the space but do communicate every day.