People are always warning others of the dangers of a long distance relationship. And you know what? They’re right a lot of the time.
But sometimes just because you can’t be together right now it doesn’t mean long-distance isn’t worth a shot. Maybe due to work you’re going to be apart for a matter of months, or perhaps you met your partner while you were visiting their city.
Whatever the scenario, here are 11 tips to help a long distance relationship not only endure your time away from one another, but actually get the most out of your time apart.
1. Watch the Same TV Show
Sure, it’s romantic to assume that if the pair of you were together you’d be making passionate love 24/7, but it’s much more likely you’d be spending most evenings on Netflix (and we all know how important the streaming service is to forming relationships). Having a common denominator will give you something to chat about that transcends the time and space between you and it’ll make you feel like nothing has really changed.
2. Keep it Breezy
Normal conversations with friends are more about the weather or funny YouTube videos than a play by play of every single damn thing you’ve been doing. In other words, if you get too heavy all the time you’ll begin to dread your facetime sessions. The people I am still in constant contact with from the U.K. are the ones who regularly send me funny anecdotes, links, and vids when they think of me, as opposed to the ones who throw me a guilty “How are you, how’s life, is it snowy in Canada???” text once every three months.
3. Write to Each Other (No, WhatsApp Doesn’t Count)
Having said the above, with all this space apart and time to think, you’re bound to have some deeper thoughts about the relationship and each other. So use the time to rekindle the dying art form of letter writing, especially if you’re uncomfortable chatting about all your ‘feels’ on Skype. You could include pictures you found or printed off Facebook, or receipts and ticket stubs you found when you were clearing out your wallet that reminded you of an awesome night you had together.
4. Send Gifts
With online shopping only a click away there’s really no excuse not to send an occasional gift. Get Amazon to do the legwork, by picking a gift and having it sent directly to their doorstep. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose or expensive – just a little something that made you think of them or made you laugh. If they mentioned a book they really loved, find another by the same author and ship it over; it’ll be such an unexpected surprise that lets them know you were actually listening.
5. Take Up a New Hobby
Don’t squander all your newfound freedom moping. Use it to do the things you wanted to do but never got around to because you were busy doing couples stuff. You could join a class, get into cycling or yoga, or start your own blog – it’s important to do something for you so at the end of it you won’t feel like you wasted months apart with nothing to show for it. I went back to school to study Journalism when my S/O was an ocean away, which made me feel like I was taking control of my life. Needless to say, my assignments were always in on time.
6. Don’t Torture Yourself
By all means, go out and party with the girls/guys more than you used to and catch up with all the people you wish you saw more of. Just don’t think that because you are technically, temporarily partner-less, you have to indulge in around the clock mingling out of obligation. Your friends have your best interests in mind when they invite you to everything so you don’t feel sad and alone. But I made the mistake of going out way too much after my long-distance started, and ended up feeling teary on the dancefloor and at dinner parties with couples when I would have been far happier watching bad TV and eating my weight in Doritos.
7. Plan Frequent Visits
If you can, set up regular visits in each other’s cities. Plan fun things to do to make your time together memorable, but also allow for time when you just want to chill out in front of the TV and order takeout. Also, try to set aside the time to spend with just them – don’t invite friends along unless it’s a special occasion or everyone is on the same page. You can see them whenever, and unless your partner has expressly mentioned bringing your mates, they probably just want to spend all their time with you.
8. Have a Long-Term Plan
Romance and love is wonderful, but sometimes it’s not enough alone to get the two of you on the same spot of land. If work/visas/school is temporarily stopping you from being together physically, that’s fine – but just make sure that commitment isn’t the issue. As long as you have a plan to work towards so that after X amount of weeks/months/years you can be together, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work. However vague, future plans may make the present more sustainable.
9. Inconvenience Yourself Once in a While
If you’re working with a time difference there may only be a small window for video messaging each other, especially if you’re both working full-time jobs. While routines are good and important for carving out time to regularly catch up, it will feel like less of a chore if you try chatting at different times of the day. Wake up early to catch them before you go to work, or Skype them on your lunch break in the park.
10. Stick to Your Phone Dates
Try not to think of cancelling these dates as any less significant as bailing on a real-life meet up. Things will come up and sometimes it’s unavoidable, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s only a FaceTime and that rain checking on them is fine. If once a day is too time-consuming, reduce the frequency and chat for longer when you do – but whatever you do, don’t bail by text just minutes before.
11. Phone Sex – Have It
Mega cringe. You knew we were going to mention it – there’s just no getting around it really. Intimacy is important, and the next best thing involves getting hot and heavy over the phone or on Skype. Even if you can’t handle full on nudity or sex-talk face to face or voice to voice, the power of a suggestive text or WhatsApp can really remind each other how much they miss you. Just always double check you’re sending it to the right person or your friends may find out more than they bargained for.