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How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work

Published:
April 29, 2024
April 29, 2024
Read this article to find out how to make a long distance relationship work and nurture that connection with your partner.

If you are in or have been in a long-distance relationship, I applaud you my friend. They are hard AF to maintain — I say that because I know from experience. 

Although we are no longer together, distance was not the issue for me and my ex; other factors came into play. But we learned a lot about each other and ourselves, and it was one of my most meaningful relationships. We dated for seven years, and more than half of that time was long-distance. Even though it felt like we were worlds apart, we made it work for a while.

If you’re currently in a long-distance relationship, here are a few suggestions I recommend that can make the time apart fly and the distance feel shorter.

Build that trust

When we first started dating, I studied abroad in Italy for five weeks. And that was only two months into our relationship, so the waters were being tested — not to mention the six-hour time difference as well as not having WiFi unless I was in the hotel (the school didn’t even have any internet access)!

We knew we wouldn’t be able to chat for hours everyday, so we figured out a consistent way to check in with one another instead. I would text him once I woke up to let him know I’d be thinking about him all day until I’d be able to have WiFi again. He would text me before he went to sleep so I would have a nice “good morning” text message to wake up to. By acknowledging the challenges and setting our expectations when it came to communication, we were able to sustain our relationship through the distance.

It clearly worked because once I returned to the States, he picked me up from the airport and we were inseparable from then on.

Make time for FaceTime or Zoom dates

Seeing your S.O.’s smile and facial expressions can make the time go by quicker until you’re reunited next. When I was in Rome, I wanted to enjoy my time and not feel stuck to my phone, so he and I FaceTimed once a week. 

According to Forbes, “Hearing the voice of our loved ones versus a text conversation reduces our blood cortisol levels, which are a marker of stress, and heightens the release of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone associated with bonding.” The next best thing to spending time in person with your partner is talking face-to-face — even if it’s through a screen!

Buy tiny gifts

Even if your love language isn’t gift-giving, it’s a fun way to show someone you’re thinking of them — and there is a budget-friendly way to do it. When I was dating my ex, I would purchase little things that reminded me of him. The gifts consisted of tiny knick-knacks, like a bracelet that had his favorite colors. I bought him my favorite perfume so he could spray it on his pillow — that way when we were apart, he could hug his pillow as if he were embracing me in a hug. 

He bought me a Vogue magazine because he knew how much I love fashion. And you don’t even have to spend money for these gifts — he once made a YouTube video for me for my birthday since he couldn’t spend my special day with me. The video included pictures and videos we took of each other and on our past dates. 

Bonus tip: Keep these small gifts for the next time you two reunite. Overall, it doesn’t matter if the item is cheap, because it’s the thought that counts. 

Write letters and send care packages

Snail mail FTW! I love to write letters and cards to family, friends, and loved ones. It shows you put a lot of thought into it, and it’s fun to think about the reader smiling at the details and tidbits you’re writing out for them.

Letters are also more personal than texting. Those types of messages can be quick; letters take time to think about what you’d like to say. There’s also something extra-sentimental about re-reading letters from your beau, especially if there’s a big time difference between you two. 

Additionally, sending along little trinkets of things your S.O. loves can show how much you are thinking about them. You can send her or him memories, like a Polaroid from when you two first met, a takeout menu from your favorite restaurant, favorite snacks, or even a bracelet that has the coordinates of your first date

Just imagine receiving a big care package filled with tokens and letters, and you read on the label that it’s from her/him. The smile and happiness overload kick in! 

Take notes

Jot down notes in your phone when they mention something in-person, on Facetime, or in a letter/text, etc. Note things like…

Her go-to coffee order is a vanilla latte. 
His love language is physical touch.
Her favorite flowers are daisies.
He’s looking for a new dress shirt.

Plus, this is a good space to write the small things you love about them: how one side of their smile goes higher whenever they smirk, when they play with your hair while you drive, and more. All of these can make those sparks fly even more!

Keep that communication flowing

If you have a busy day ahead of you, a simple voice memo or text will help your partner know you won’t respond immediately to their messages, but they’re still on your mind.

For example: “Hi love, I have a crazy work day ahead of me. In case I don’t respond to your messages, know that I am thinking of you and I can’t wait to talk to you later tonight.”

It’s that simple.

Make plans for when you reunite

Once, I took an entire Saturday creating a scavenger hunt for my S.O. And to see the smile on his face like he was a little kid again looking for treasure made my heart melt when the day finally came.

Making plans can be an exciting way to make sure the time spent together is worthwhile. Even if you don’t know when the next time you’ll see each other will be, it will keep the connection alive and electric.

***

You may think I wasted seven years of my life on someone who didn’t turn out to be my husband, but I don’t have any regrets. By investing time in my long-distance relationship, I made it meaningful, despite the eventual outcome.

Despite the bad rap they sometimes get, the truth is that LDRs can work as long as you both put in the effort. So if you’re doing the distance, and feeling the struggle, try out these tips and remember — a good relationship is worth fighting for!

Creators:
Makaela Douglas
Published:
April 29, 2024
April 29, 2024
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