I’ve always been told (and reminded) just how hard relationships are, that they take serious work from both individuals involved. While the honeymoon stage is filled with rose-colored everything and blissful emotions surging through your body, once the newness dies down and reality sets in the real work begins. Any normal relationship requires a fair share of effort, but especially a long distance relationship.
Some relationships are long distance from the start, others after years of dating or even marriage due to a job relocation or life’s unpredictable struggles. Having a relationship over a long distance is one of the hardest things you can possibly do, because the backbone of a healthy relationship is intimacy and time together. When you’re left with hundreds of miles between you and the love of your life, sometimes the idea of “Is this even worth it?’ or “How do I make this work?” dominates your thoughts.
Long distance relationships can be successful, currently, there are 7 million US couples who consider themselves in one. If 14 million people can do it, there’s certainly hope for you. It might just take a little more work than the average relationship.
Here are six quick hacks to help make your long distance relationship work:
1. Make sure you always have something to look forward to.
Plan trips in advance, book plane tickets, even make reservations for restaurants you’ll visit together. Always having something to look forward to is a key aspect of making it work. Long distance can begin to feel stagnant when there’s no concrete plans for the future.
2. Make healthy communication your first priority.
There will be times when you feel lonely, isolated, or like your situation is unfair. (It’s good to try to stay away from the whole ‘why me’ pity party.) You might even find yourself taking these feelings out on your partner or acting out in anger. To decrease the likelihood that this will happen, honest communication is extremely necessary.
Be upfront about what you’re willing to spend on visits or trips and what you need out of your partner on a daily basis. Maybe that’s texting throughout the day, or even just two to three calls to check in. If you like your space, you might even be fine with communicating once a day or less.
3. Find something to share together, even though you’re apart.
Pick out a Netflix series to binge watch, but promise not to watch episodes without each other. Go to dinner at the same time. Or cook a meal at home and use FaceTime or Skype to chat while you eat. With the way technology is today, you can be hundreds of miles apart and still feel like you’re right next to each other. With that being said…
4. Don’t limit naughty time to just technology.
Do I really need to further elaborate on this one? (I’m not blushing, you’re blushing). Sure, sexting, Skype, and all those ‘digital’ means for getting it on when you’re not in the same room can ignite the fire in a relationship, but physical objects can make things fun too. Mail a sexy thong or lingerie with a note about how to save it for the next time you see each other. You can even spice things up with remote controlled vibrators, the other party can control. (Ya, that’s really a thing.) Sexting is so cliché, so to really make it work find creative ways to get physical even if you’re miles and miles apart.
5. Surprise your partner.
This can range from something serious, like a surprise trip, or something simple and sweet, like flowers and chocolates. I know if I was in a long distance relationship and dying to see my other half, a surprise trip would make my heart explode. Yet even something like sending a simple ‘thinking of you’ card, or flowers on a big day can ease the distance. It’s easy to do little things for each other when you’re constantly together, but when distance comes into play you really need to think outside the box. You know your partner best, and surprising them in any way possible will keep the spark going between visits.
6. Find ways to occupy your time and build a life of your own.
During the first few weeks or even months when a long distance relationship begins it’s easy to find yourself wishing time away. This is your life, the only life you get to live, don’t wish days and weeks by, or even find yourself drowning in wine to ease the pain of being apart. View the distance as an opportunity to focus on yourself and your life while still knowing you have someone to call or text at the end of the day. Go for a daily run or workout, make time for friends and family, and focus on work or things you’ve been wanting to do for a long time.
If it all works out the way it should, one day you’ll both be together in the same city. For now, enjoy the fact you have the space to be yourself without being single. If your love is meant to last, this current distance will only be a short phase in a lifelong relationship.