“Long distance relationships never work out” is what you often hear once you start dating. A lot of people have pessimistic views on how much distance a relationship can withstand, but it’s always nice to hope that love is stronger than other people say it is.
Unfortunately, what we hope for isn’t always what we get. Some relationships break up if the people involved are too far apart, and some people break off the relationship simply because they don’t like long distance.
This was the case for me in my first relationship. I was dating someone who lived in Ohio while I was in my hometown in Georgia. We were both in school and neither of us could afford to visit each other, but we did our best to text and Skype whenever we could. After a while, I realized that not being able to be physically close to my significant other made our relationship feel more platonic than romantic. So I broke it off and learned that too much indefinite time apart is not good for a long distance relationship (LDR), even if you do your best to communicate.
I still talk to my ex一even a couple years later一and we’re on good terms as friends. But seeing my best friend in a successful relationship with her boyfriend from California makes me wonder what the secret is to making it work.
After asking around, here are seven tips I’ve found on maintaining a healthy long distance relationship.
Before even thinking about a relationship, it is important to make sure you feel a connection with the person you want a LDR with. The attraction has to be more than just physical if you want the relationship to last. Make sure you have something in common that you can talk about while you’re away from each other. This ensures that each of you have something to contribute to a conversation, which will help you grow closer despite being apart.
It is important to always communicate with your partner about what you want from your relationship. Even if it may feel like what you want is understood, your partner may not know every detail. Make sure the both of you are on the same page about rules and boundaries. Are you both equally committed? Are you in an open or exclusive relationship? How comfortable are you with your partner hanging out with certain people?
Be sure to keep up with each other and what’s going on. Technology becomes your best friend in this instance. Distance can be a daunting factor to overcome in a relationship, so be sure to fill that void as much as you can by talking on the phone, FaceTiming, texting, or interacting over social media. Even just tagging your partner in a post so they see it is a good way to show them that you were thinking about them.
That being said, don’t obsess over communicating too much. Be obsessed with each other within reason. It’s okay to stalk your partner a little bit on social media just so you feel more connected to their life, but don’t call them every ten minutes demanding to know where they are, what they’re doing and who they’re with. Respect that and respect the fact that your partner has a lot of things going on. Make sure not to suffocate them and give them room to flourish. Additionally, talking about everything all at once leaves nothing for you to talk about later. Don’t rush to talk about everything as soon as it happens. Let conversation happen naturally and take the time to enjoy everything you have to talk about.
“I am currently in one and I feel that [it is] going perfectly fine for now,” said Jada Meredith, a sophomore early childhood education major. “My boyfriend and I know that I am in school about four hours away from home, so that is not something that bothers us because we both knew it was coming.”
Jada went on to say that being separated from her boyfriend doesn’t feel so bad because she talks to him every morning and knows that she will soon return home from school to continue their relationship. The two of them are a new couple and know that being in a LDR presents many challenges, but they get by with the mindset that only they can affect the way they feel about each other. They also take the time to call each other and schedule time in their day to talk around homework and other priorities.
This goes hand-in-hand with communication. Make sure you know what your partner is comfortable with and vice versa. Insecurity exists in all relationships, but it can be a big deal when you don’t see your partner often. There can be a disconnect if you’re not careful, so it is important to always keep in mind your partner’s comfort zone.
If you are looking for a serious relationship, consider whether or not a LDR is worth it or what you want. College is known as a time when young adults experiment, discovering who they are and what they want in their relationships. If you’re considering a LDR, think about if you are confident in yourself, your prospective partner and what you could get out of a relationship together.
Any situation can seem hopeless if there’s no end in sight一LDRs included. Being apart for too long without a promise to be together in the future can be daunting. Have a plan for your future so that you have something to look forward to. Are you eventually going to live in the same town? Will you move in together? Is marriage a possibility?
In the meantime, plan to see each other in the near future. Take turns driving to visit each other and plan in advance. You need to be able to trust each other in maintaining this schedule. Also, keeping schedules builds trust, which is paramount in building the foundation of a strong relationship.
“I’m currently in a long distant relationship right now,” said Cecilia Hernandez, a first-year sports management major. “We’re four hours away from each other and still together, but it’s definitely difficult.
Cecilia and her boyfriend make sure to constantly text and Facetime each other outside of class and work. Their biggest issue is trust as being in a LDR makes it difficult for them to keep track of each other, but they do their best and pray that their loyalty stays. They also make plans to visit each other, and, while Cecilia admits that this is different because of how long they have to remain apart, they seem to make it work. They have been together three years.
Even though you may have made plans, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll see each other enough to be happy. That’s why it’s important to show that you care, even if it’s by doing something small. This could include sending a care package, flowers or even a letter in the mail if you’re feeling romantic. You can get creative with what you do: just make it special.
Long Distance Relationships are a lot of work, but they can be worth it. There’s a reason why, as kids, we hear sayings like “love conquers all” and the phrase “true love.” People all around the world find love in a variety of situations if they work for it. What makes a long distance relationship any different?