Written by Writer’s Corps member Julie Oltmann
It’s no secret that long-distance relationships are difficult. They take hard work, dedication, and commitment, and they can take some time to get right – a fact that can scare couples off from even wanting to try. We’ve all heard it: “Long-distance never works!” – but why is that? Time apart can be hard, especially if you’re used to being together regularly. You’ll need to figure out what works best for both of you…but just because it can be tricky to do doesn’t mean you can’t do it successfully! Check out the following tips to help make your long-distance relationship work for you.
1. Talk About How Often You Will Communicate
Communication is one of the 10 signs of a healthy relationship, and it’s absolutely necessary to make long-distance relationships work. So make time to be in touch with your partner on a regular basis and talk through your expectations and boundaries around communicating throughout the week. Knowing you have a Skype date every Friday feels good to look forward to, as does a morning text or DM via Instagram. More importantly, knowing your partner is generally unavailable in the afternoon or on Mondays will seriously help ease any mixed signals an unanswered text or unopened SnapChat video might cause.
While you are at it, consider what your wants and needs are. Are you the type of couple who wants to talk constantly throughout the day? How often do you need to travel to visit each other? And who should travel to meet whom? Getting clear about these items is an absolute must for any long-distance relationship.
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2. Set a Relationship Goal Together
Long-distance is easier for both partners if there is an agreed upon end date to the distance or a specific shared relationship goal in mind.
For example, if you attend different schools, will you include each other in post-graduation plans? And if you’re apart because of work, consider how your relationship fits into each of your career goals. These things can determine what you both want out your long-distance relationship. Again, communication is key.
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3. Enjoy Your Time Apart
Speaking of the signs of a healthy relationship… don’t lose sight of your independence! It’s easy to lose yourself in the excitement of a relationship, but are you postponing your goals for your relationship? Are you nixing your plans with friends because you’re playing phone tag with your S.O.?
Don’t put your life on hold for your relationship. And make sure you’re not holding yourself back from things you want to do even if you have to do them solo. Think about the priorities in your life and how you want your relationship can fit into them.
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4. Get Creative!
Long-distance relationships don’t have to consist of just phone calls and text messages. You may not be in the same place, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do things together! Think of creative ways to spend time together while apart… it’s easier now more than ever.
Ever heard of a virtual 5K race? It’s a race that happens virtually. This is not to say you and your S.O. should sign up,, but to get you thinking of all the ways you can participate in activities together online. Here’s another thought: schedule time to watch the same movie and skype in, try a new type of food and Snapchat your experience for your partner. Even chores can be fun! How about a laundry date, or Sunday grocery shopping trip via FaceTime? Technology can help you both explore your shared interests and activities together even while apart!
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Need to learn more? Visit the One Love blog for the latest healthy dating and relationship advice!