11 Tips to Make Long-Distance Love Work
Make your relationship stronger
Relationships can be tough, even when the couple lives in the same city. But throw a few hundred - or thousand - miles into the mix, and making love work can become even more difficult.
It's a battle that a couple can win, however, if they do it right. Whether you've met someone online who lives in another city, or you've been dating and a job has taken one of you to another coast, an LDR, as a Long-Distance Relationship is commonly known, can still work.
Luckily, in the digital age we live in, it's easier than ever to stay in close contact with your sweetheart through Skype, texting and email. That said, some people refuse to even consider a long-distance relationship because of bad experiences in the past.
Those who have stuck with it, and made long-distance love work, have said that their relationship became stronger through the problems and stress that distance can create. Their relationships became more solid and their love more intense, and they became better people and more patient overall as a result.
Here are 11 tips from relationship experts on how to make your romance work.
Keep it temporary
Benjamin Ritter, a private relationship-and-social-dynamics as well as a writer and editor for AskMen.com, said the main rule of a long distance relationship is that the long-distance portion needs to be a temporary situation. When will you live in closer proximity to each other? If you can’t commit or imagine being with your partner long-term, then you should evaluate if your current relationship is capable of withstanding the change. You may want to consider ending the relationship or an alternative form of relationship (open, friends with benefits, etc.) or even not being in one. Decide if you should attempt a long-distance relationship and what type of relationship you want to continue.
Set ground rules
Be clear about what your expectations are of one another from the beginning. Don't wait to establish ground rules once trouble arises. Instead, let your partner know what you expect from them and vice versa, said Rhonda Richards-Smith, LCSW and a relationship expert based in Los Angeles.
Plan to see each other
Work together to determine the maximum amount of time you all will spend apart without seeing one another in person. Even if you live thousands of miles away from your partner, it's important that you sacrifice and make the commitment to meet up with one another at the mutually agreed upon times. Long distance relationships are hard work, but this is a great way to demonstrate your ongoing commitment to your partner, Richards-Smith said.
Ritter concurred, and said, “Relationships are made stronger through physical presence. Scheduling visits should be done in advance and take both partner’s situations into account; who has a car, a more flexible schedule, financially stable, lives on his or her own, etc. To make the process fair, if one person is making the effort to travel, the other partner should assist in other ways (provide rooming, pay for gas, etc.). When appropriate and for more excitement you can also plan a vacation from separate locations and meet at the destination.”
Enjoy your life right now
“Live your own life. Do not allow a long distance relationship to get in the way of your desired life experiences. A long-distance relationship is temporary, and also an opportunity to have time for yourself, and take advantage of opportunities. Take time for hobbies, learn how to be independent, and develop your own social circles. Make the most of the situation and do not lose sight of your life,” Ritter said.
Trust is essential
Ritter said, “The lack of proximity and involvement in your partner’s life may sometimes lead to misunderstandings and feelings of insecurity, especially when names of people you do not know are mentioned in conversation or risqué photos are posted on social media sites. Insecurities tend to arise when there is a lack of knowledge, strangeness or lack of commitment from one of the partners. Implementing the tips previously mentioned on staying in touch and involved in your partner’s life will help reduce feelings of insecurity. For example, meeting, befriending, and staying informed about his or her social circle will settle your imagination on who are what your partner may be doing. Stay secure about your relationship, and accept each other’s greater independence."
“Keeping your long distance relationship strong requires a commitment to scheduling communication, staying informed about your partner’s life, and interacting (substitute for physical interaction) from a distance. Set aside time to schedule phone calls, follow his social media sites, and participate in activities from a distance such as watching a show, or playing a mobile or online game together,
sharing new music, and even having a long distance competition,” Ritter said.
Know where you're headed
Suzanne Casamento, founder of Fantasy Dating, said, “Just like in any relationship, it's important to know where you stand on big issues. For example, if one person wants to have kids and the other doesn't, that could be a problem. That means you have to have ‘the talk.’ In a long distance relationship, ‘the talk’ sounds something like, ‘Can you imagine yourself ever living’ here?’ You need to prepare yourself, because you may get an answer you won't like. But whether or not you and your partner are willing to relocate is information you both need. Otherwise, you might end up wasting your time and a whole lot of airfare.”
Make each visit special
“It's also fun to make plans for the actual visit. Decide what restaurants you want to try or events you'd like to attend together. Don't forget to date. As tempting as it may be to lock yourselves in a bedroom for five days, get outside. Do stuff together. Date each other. Enjoy the romance of it all,” Casamento said.
“If you are not a confident person, a long-distance relationship will make you crazy. Not to mention make your partner crazy. You can't spend your time on the phone wallowing in ‘I miss you's.’ And you can't text your partner 67 times a day asking, ‘What are you doing now?” Casamento said.
“That kind of behavior is not sexy and it gets annoying really fast. A relationship requires faith that both of you are in
it together. You both need to believe that the other person is so nuts about you that they're willing to make it work,” she said.
Whether you greet each other with a good morning text or you chat every night before bed, it's important to find a consistent rhythm in your relationship, Casamento said.
Have fun with it
“When you don't see your significant other for long periods of time, it's a party when you do. The excitement of spending time together, not to mention the anticipation of finally getting to make out, is awesome. It makes every time feel like the first time,” Casamento said.