Keys to Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship

todayFebruary 27, 2018 11 2

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By Claire Hansen
Blog Content Contributor

Once or twice throughout life we may find ourselves interested in a person who isn’t physically close to us. This can be a big predicament when feelings are involved. Trying to decide what’s best for you while also not wanting to let go of something you’re involved in can be a huge stressor on the emotions, especially knowing the risks you take by diving into a long-distance relationship. It’s a heavy weight to place on your emotions when the outcome seems so unpredictable. If long-distance is something you and your partner are having to consider, or even more importantly, if you’re already in a long-distance relationship, here are some helpful tips to know when it comes to making things work with a person you can’t see everyday.

Have good communication.

This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how much we can overlook the power of a five-minute conversation. When nonverbal clues aren’t an option, it can be all too easy to misunderstand what a person is saying. Having good communication is the number one key to surviving a long-distance relationship. That said, there isn’t one formula that works for everyone. It depends on the circumstances of your relationship, your individual schedules and the time you are able to set aside to talk to each other. Etching in a small block of time every day or couple days to catch up will keep things regular. It helps to hold it around the same general time each day so that you don’t forget or have to miss it. Writing down the talking points that come to mind throughout the day to refer back to when you talk will make the conversation lively and productive.

Make sure you want the same thing.

Obviously, it’s important to have a serious talk before beginning a long-distance relationship about the end goals and what each of you are looking to get out of it. The status and boundaries of your relationship need to be made very clear and agreed upon. Long-distance relationships typically don’t just “work”; they require planning and caution as you move forward with them. Having a foundation set before you or your partner leaves is the best way to ensure things will work out the best they can.

Have an endpoint in sight.

What’s even worse than just being in a long-distance relationship is not knowing when it’s going to end. In a lot of cases, this is an impossible determination, at least for the time being, but you can alleviate the stress by setting your own points of relief, such as planning a trip to visit them or reserving a spot for a lengthy virtual date.

Make it fun!

My boyfriend and I became long-distance after only dating for six months. This weekend, we celebrated our two-year anniversary. We have about six months of long-distance left to go, but take it as proof that this is possible! Photo by Claire Hansen.

Long-distance relationships shouldn’t feel like signing up for a year (or more) of torture. There’s actually a lot of fun to be had in them! When real dates aren’t an option, plan virtual ones, like watching a movie at the same time or cooking the same meal and sharing it over a candlelit FaceTime dinner. Writing love letters and sending care packages are also easy and thoughtful ways to keep the love alive. There are many opportunities long-distance relationships offer that regular ones don’t. They key is to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either; simple things like playing games together over an app, creating a countdown for when you get to see them next or digging up old pictures of the two of you can keep the fondness growing.

Above all these things, make sure your relationship has a strong level of trust before taking things across distance. Relationships of any kind simply do not work if you can’t trust the person you’re with. Also, embarking on a mission like this is the perfect opportunity to find your own independence. Rather than labeling it as a loss, see what you can gain from it for the time you’ll be spending with yourself that you didn’t have before. Use this time to better yourselves as individuals, so that you are better for each other by the time you are able to be together again. You’d be surprised at how enjoyable a long-distance relationship can be.

Featured image by Claire Hansen.

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  1. Ruth O'Hagan on March 1, 2018

    Thank you so much for writing this. Myself and my boyfriend are doing long distance and just celebrated a year together. It’s great to hear such a lovely and optimistic experience of long distance

    • clairehansennn on March 1, 2018

      Aww, this makes me so happy! I’m glad my experiences can help someone else with theirs. Best of luck to y’all!

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