Maintaining a long-distance relationship isn’t easy, but it is possible. Couples need to go into this with a battle plan and really learn and understand how to do things like plan dates from the distance and communicate well. In this guide, we’ll offer 10 tips on maintaining long-distance relationships to help you get through your time apart.
1. Make a Commitment
Before you go your separate ways, you do need to have a discussion about whether or not to break up. It is necessary to ensure this is the right decision for the both of you.
When you both acknowledge that this will be difficult but you are both in it for the long haul, that will help you both maintain trust and focus when you’re apart. It might be easier for your emotions in the short-term to brush this off as no big deal and pretend that it’s going to be easy, but in the long-term, this will make things tougher for you.
2. Set Fair Expectations
It’ll make things easier on both of you if you can define your expectations before you go long-distance. How often are you going to meet during this long-distance period? How often would you like to call each other?
Having this discussion now helps you avoid arguments when you’re miles apart.
Be as generous as you can with your expectations and try to be forgiving if your partner misses your nightly phone call now and again. If your standards are too strict, that might weigh your partner down and demotivate them to stick it out with you. At the same time, do the best you can to meet your partner’s expectations if you agree they’re fair.
3. Mix up the Routine
It’s common for long-distance couples to have a routine for communicating, such as a set time to text each other or for a lengthy phone call. That’s fine, but it’s also important to mix it up a little bit. When a relationship becomes too routine, it becomes stale. It’s also become natural to take the things your partner does as part of a routine for granted and vice-versa.
4. Arrange Surprises
A tiny surprise or gesture can do so much to keep the relationship feeling fresh, exciting and unique. If you’re barely spending physical time together, you should be making more effort to keep the relationship strong.
5. Don’t Be Vague
This is an important tip for relationships in general, but it’s especially handy for maintaining long-distance relationships.
If you’re vague when talking about your day, especially when discussing social events or reasons why you can’t call them, it might give them a reason to assume you have something to hide.
Anything you can do to help curb paranoia in your long-distance relationship will make things easier for both of you. Since they’re missing out on the fun things going on in your life, why not be as detailed as possible when telling them all about it so they feel included too?
6. Use This Time for Self-Growth
After spending what may have been every waking moment with your partner, allowing yourself to find your own rhythms again as an individual is so important. Lean into the "single" life again.
Pick up old hobbies, do what brings you joy, and find yourself again as a person who may have a lot of newfound free time!
7. Count the Days Until You Can Visit
A difficult time is easier to ride out when you have something to look forward to. If there’s no end in sight, that’s when it can become too tough for people to keep going. So, when you’re in contact with your partner, make sure to remind them of the next time you’ll be in each other’s arms.
And, of course, do what you can to ensure this date is as near in the future as possible.
8. Use This Time Apart to Think Through Those Harder Topics
Sometimes space is best to tackle some of those more important compatibility questions. Use this time to get to know one another better by asking them thoughtfully important questions. While the other person may not offer the response you were hoping for, allow the space between you both to cushion any doubts while the news sets in.
Always sleep on any new information you may be processing about your partner. It is always best to go into an important conversation with level emotions.
9. Be Honest With One Another
It is not easy to be apart from your person for long periods of time, let alone having hundreds or even thousands of miles between you. If you are struggling with the distance and it is becoming too much to bear. Open up to your partner. Chances are, they feel the same way too. Once you both open up, you can make a plan to make the distance feel a little less wide.
This can be a really fun problem to solve! For example, plan a virtual date night! Get 2 matching date night boxes. Hop on Zoom with your boxes, plan to get dressed up, coordinate matching meals, and enjoy your time online together!
10. Have a Final Reunion Date
Yes, meeting up every other weekend can keep the flame burning for a long time. But, if there’s no set date for when the long-distance is over, it can put too much strain on the relationship.
That might be difficult to hear, as you might not yet know when you can be permanently reunited. Ideally, you want to at least be showing your partner the steps you’re taking to create a reunion date as quickly as possible.
Long-distance is not for the faint of heart. It requires two people who are completely committed to one another, and planning on keeping it that way. It is possible to keep love alive, even from states or even countries apart, if you are both willing to make some sacrifices.
Don't be discouraged, many couples have walked down this same path, and most say they have grown stronger due to this time part. You two may come out stronger on the other side after this test of love after all.