Making it Work: 10 Long Distance Relationship Tips from the Experts

Sometimes certain circumstances will lead you and your partner to be different places around the world, whether you like it or not. Some long distance relationships (also known as LDRs) start off in person then have to make the transition to long distance because of family, school or work obligations, while other relationships start off as long distance when people meet online or in passing and start a relationship from different parts of the world. Regardless of the reason that you and your partner are distanced, it’s important to recognize that LDRs come with a unique set of challenges that should be considered and attended to over the course of your long distance relationship.

In addition to the usual relationship challenges of communication, compromise and conflict resolution, people in LDRs have to deal with finding time for one another, balancing a social life without their significant other and defining boundaries for themselves and the relationship. While every relationship has unique challenges, there are some overarching problems that present themselves in long distance relationships. Here are some relationship tips from the experts on making a relationship work, despite the distance.

1. Doing things together, while you’re apart

All the online streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBOGO and whatever else you watch on, provide hours and hours of content that you and your partner can binge together. Newer platforms like Netflix Party even allow you and your partner to sync your TV and movie streaming, so that you are watching together in real-time. This can make it feel as if you are sitting right next to each other on the couch, rather than feeling like you are a part.

2. Scheduling time to hang out

In addition to finding common activities to do, it’s really important to schedule one-on-one time, so that you can check-in and chat, just like a regular couple. Relationship check-ins are extremely important for any couple, but are especially crucial for long-distance couples, where you are less a part of each other’s everyday life. While it’s always fun to pick up the phone and give your partner a call out of the blue, it’s also important to schedule a chunk of time so that you can hang out for a while. Different platforms like Facetime and Skype are a great way to stay in touch with each other because you can see each other’s faces.

3. Finding the right amount of communication

As we discussed, scheduling time to hang out together is a crucial part of maintaining an LDR, but it’s important to set boundaries that establish an appropriate amount of communication. If you’re like me, you are not necessarily a texter, and the idea of being in constant communication (even with a significant other) sounds draining and borderline miserable. If you’re not like me, you might love sending and receiving texts throughout the day to check-in with your partner. For a lot of people, it’s important to hear from your partner in the morning, during the day and at night. For other people, the appropriate amount of communication might be somewhere in between these two extremes.

4. Going old school

Technology is making LDRs much easier these days. Being connected through phones, social media and other apps can help maintain your connection and really make it a lot easier to be far apart. And while all this technology is great, you should not rely solely on technology to stay connected to your long distance partner. The anticipation of writing and receiving letters is also a fun practice to indulge in during this age of instant and constant communication. It’s not necessary to write letters all the time, and it’s definitely not necessary to use them as your main form of communication, but writing letters can add a fun dimension to your long distance communication.

5. Respecting the reason for being apart

There are a million and one reasons that couples are a part, and most of them are not voluntary – whether it’s work, school, money, family – it’s important that you respect the reason that you two are a part. A lot of the time we don’t have much control over where we live, so making your partner feel guilty about not being near you is not a helpful exercise. In these situations, it’s extra important to respect the reasons for staying a part. Remember that you and your partner chose to be in an LDR together, knowing that it would be difficult.

6. Setting boundaries

It’s important to set boundaries in any relationship, especially in a long-distance relationship. Going back to the concept of the right amount of communication, it’s important to establish when good times to communicate are. Creating boundaries like, Friday nights are for the girls, or don’t call me during work hours is crucial to allowing you to both have lives outside the relationship. It’s also important to establish boundaries related to your social lives and visiting. Boundaries help establish and maintain trust in a relationship and trust is especially important in LDRs. Setting boundaries will make sure that both you and your partner are on the same page about what is and is not acceptable in your relationship so that you can be respectful of each other and the relationship.

7. Enjoying your personal life

Just like in a regular relationship, it’s important to maintain a degree of independence when you’re in an LDR. Though it can seem counterintuitive, it’s important that you prioritize your own needs over your partner’s from time to time which means that sometimes you might need to do some in-person socializing rather than staying in on the phone. Remember that it’s important that you maintain a normal life even if you are long distance.

8. Meeting up

All the modern communication is making it easier than ever for couples to survive and thrive in LDRs, but no relationship should be entirely long-distance. When you are in an LDR, it’s important to schedule times to meet up with one another IN PERSON, so that you can maintain a physical and intimate connection. Time and money are often huge constraints on how often you can travel, especially if you and your partner are ~ very ~ distanced, but it’s still important to schedule one-on-one time together. Picking a date far in advance and buying plane/train tickets early on can save you a lot of money, and make traveling to visit your partner much more manageable.

9. Talking about your future

When you embark on your LDR, it’s important that you and your partner are on the same page about what the future holds. Afterall, there’s no way you want to be long distance forever! You can plan as many fun visits as you want (and you totally should!), but at the end of the day, you need to end up in the same place as your partner. You may not be able to put an exact end-date on how long you will be apart, but you should discuss how you want the course of the relationship to go.

10. Getting some help!

Regular relationships can be hard to manage, and long-distance relationships can often be even harder. LDRs require a huge amount of open, straight-forward communication to properly work, and this can often be difficult to manage over the phone. Heck, it’s hard to manage in person! It can also be hard to establish boundaries and the right amount of communication if you’re doing long distance for the first time. Again, people have a difficult time doing this in regular relationships and believe it or not, distance does not make things any easier..... If you and your partner are having a hard time transitioning to a LDR, or are worried about whether or not your relationship will translate into a successful long distance relationship, consider turning to relationship experts.