6 Practical Tips for Long Distance Dating

A couple who's long distance dating hugging on the beach together.

Whether you’re split up for college, career, or number of other reasons, long distance relationships aren’t easy. The miles between you and your partner can really start to wear on the relationship, but hard doesn’t mean bad and it certainly doesn’t mean impossible. When they work, long distance relationships (also known as LDRs) can reaffirm your commitment to one another and strengthen the relationship.

That said, they do take work, but there are ways to ease the process. Here are six practical tips for long distance dating to make going the distance manageable:

Call and Communicate
Of course, you knew this one already, but we couldn’t make a list about long distance dating in good faith without including the most important tip of all: talking. Communication is important in every relationship but this goes double for couples in long distance relationships. Without the physical intimacy that comes with normal relationships, you’ll have to text and talk in overtime to compensate for the lack of physical company in long distance relationships.

It’s important to be in touch with your significant other on a daily basis, unless otherwise specified. Texting is most people’s primary form of communication, so do it frequently and creatively. That said, texting isn’t a substitute for talking on the phone. It’s important to set aside time to call your partner and give them your undivided attention. One-on-one conversation is a good way to get intimate, something long distance couples commonly struggle with. Plus, don’t you want to hear your partner’s voice anyway?

Don’t worry about running out of things to say—share everything from the mundane to the life changing. Without regular updates on day-to-day happenings, your partner has no way of knowing what’s going on in your life. Don’t let them be the ones to find out that you went to a concert through Facebook. Last thing anyone needs is emotional distance to add on top of the physical.

Allow for Space
This may seem contrary to the last piece of advice on this list, but bear with me. Long distance relationships are a balancing act of close contact and space. You want to make sure you know what’s going on with your partner, but not so much that it’s suffocating. There aren’t many benefits to distance, so use the few that it offers, namely space. It’s great to be in contact, but also allow yourself to spend uninterrupted time with friends and family, or even alone as needed. Committed relationships take time, and long distance relationships can free up some of that time. So go ahead and use that time and encourage your significant other to do the same.

Visit Frequently
This one, of course, varies in practicality depending on the actual distance in question and financial situation, but by all means it’s important. If communication is the lifeblood of a long distance relationship, then visits are the bones. Visits are the way distance couples break up the long slogs of time apart. During visits, they get to enjoy the quality time that normal couples often take for granted. Depending on the distance, long distance couples should try to visit together as often as possible. Physical company doesn’t quite have a viable substitute, so getting as much of it in as you can will only help strengthen the relationship.

Make use of this limited quality time. Try to keep the arguing to a minimum. If your relationship has been having some recurring issues, this could be a good time to reassure your partner that you care. Treat your partner and keep things romantic.

Virtual Dates
Unfortunately you can’t be together all the time, but online dates are a great way to share experience and fill the mileage between you and your partner. Candle lit dinners over Skype or watching Netflix together on the phone are both good ways for you both to build some memories to look back on even when you’re not in the same locale. Having regular virtual dates is also a great way to reaffirm the relationship and show off your creative side.

Giving Gifts and Sending Letters
It’s the thought that counts with this one, and sending gifts and writing letters to your significant other is quite the romantic thought. The gifts you send don’t have to be expensive just thoughtful references to past conversations or a few bags of their favorite cocoa powder. It’s always nice to open a present, and this little surprise is just a way of letting your partner know that they’re on your mind.

In sentiment, letter writing is similar to sending a gift. You may be asking, why not just text? It’s a fair question. Well, there’s a few reasons. First, writing a letter gives you the time to sit down and be thoughtful about what you want to say. There’s intimacy in carefully constructing a long form communication. It also shows that you spent the time to sit down and organize your thoughts, seal the paper, and send it off. Lastly, it’s just plain fun to receive mail, especially from someone special to you.

Have an End in Sight
For most couples doing long distance is a temporary but necessary evil. That means there’s an end in sight. Where and when is yours? This could be a few months or a few years depending on whether your partner is on a long business trip or finishing up a degree. Whatever the case may be, try to remember that this is only a temporary arrangement, and, at some point, you’ll be reunited. Reminding yourself and your partner of that is a good way to keep the passion alive while long distance dating, even if the end isn’t close in sight. Feel free to mark off the days on your calendar for fun. It’ll make every day feel like a little accomplishment.

If there’s no current plan for a future reunion, it’s time to start planning. Long distance can be managed if both people are in love and impassioned, but the goal is to be together so make a way to be together. Even if the date is a moving target, it helps to keep the love alive. So get to it, and you’ll be in each other’s arms before you know it.

At the end of the day, long distance relationships are no walk in the park. They can be stressful, hard work, but for the right person they’re totally worth it. There’s no way to make it totally easy, but love and that little bit of extra care make it worth it. Follow these practical tips for long distance dating, and you’ll be on your way to making the time apart fly.

Alex Bocknek

Alex Bocknek is the senior editor of The Date Mix and works at Zoosk, the online dating service. He’s also a recovering music critic and an aspiring fiction writer (probably lost) on the way to an independent bookstore near you. He can be found occasionally musing about politics, philosophy, and love in the modern world.

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