How to Deal with a Long Distance Relationship & Keep Your Sanity

Relationships are tough enough when you live nearby. Learning how to deal with a long distance relationship takes practice and patience, but it can be done.

We all know by now that dating and relationships are not all sunshine and rainbows, but like anything else worthwhile they require hard work. If you’re far away from your lover, learn how to deal with a long distance relationship and make it last.

Not only can a lack of communication become a major issue, but trust, jealousy, and romance can all get in the way of your relationship.

Is a long distance relationship worth it?

I did not tell you all of that to scare you off. A long distance relationship may be more difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it to try.

Ask yourself if that relationship is worth the extra effort. Some people have serious trouble communicating with their partner when they live together. Living a country or more apart won’t help. Even just an hour of driving to get to one another can be a lot for many couples to endure. [Read: How to make your long distance relationship work]

But if this is someone you truly want to be with and someone you see a future with, trying harder can actually make you stronger as a couple. You must decide if this is something you and your partner can do.

How to deal with a long distance relationship

Before I offer you tips on how to make your long distance relationship not just work, but also thrive, I want you to answer one question. How long will your relationship be long distance?

If you are in a monogamous relationship with someone and you are planning to spend your lives together, a long distance relationship has a goal. There is a light at the end of that long distance tunnel. But, if one of you is taking a job somewhere else and you don’t know the endgame, it probably won’t work.

As much as we may want it to be, life is not a romantic comedy. If you are in a long distance relationship, your partner won’t take a red-eye to you in the middle of the night to profess their love and announce they are moving across the world to be with you. That is just not reality. 

So, before you even take these tips on how to deal with a long distance relationship, think about that. Once you have, I hope these tips and helpful hints are in fact helpful for you and your far away partner. [Read: 13 signs you need to end your long distance relationship right now]

#1 Set alarms. Whether you and your long distance partner are in varying time zones or not, it is always smart to set an alarm for their schedule. I am not saying to set an alarm for when they go to work, have lunch, and go to yoga. But if they wake up at 4 am your time, wake up and send them a good morning text and go back to bed.

Showing that you are thinking about them even by setting an alarm and sending a text is a lot when you are dealing with a long distance relationship. Knowing one another’s schedules, at least roughly, can make communication a lot smoother. [Read: 11 sweet and intimate ways to show how much you care]

#2 Plan virtual dates. Clearly being long distance means you won’t be seeing your partner in person multiple times a week as a nearby couple would. So, plan virtual Skype or FaceTime dates and stick to them. If you video chat every Monday and Wednesday, don’t cancel.

This is your partner. Whether they are with you physically or not doesn’t change that fact. Put that effort in and live up to your word. And try not to just sit in bed talking about your day or catching up. Make it a date. Both have coffee or dinner together and even light a candle to set the mood. [Read: 10 things to never do in a long distance relationship]

#3 Plan real dates. When you do see each other whether it is on the weekends or once every other month, make plans. Don’t just wing it. You want to get the most out of your time together. So do what you love the most.

Of course, you will want private and intimate time, but plan dates, outings, or activities like you would if you lived near one another. Explore each other’s cities and see where you may end up potentially.

#4 Talk every day. Missing just one day of communication can throw a long distance relationship off. Long distance relationships are already at risk for a lot of hurdles, but missing out on your daily check-ins just to say “I love you” or goodnight can mean a lot more than you might think.

If you have time to have coffee, go to the bathroom, or watch a cat video on Facebook, you can text or call your partner. Even leaving them a voicemail saying you miss them and won’t have much time to talk today is a sign you are thinking about them. [Read: How to spice up the boredom of a long distance relationship]

#5 Make the most of the time you have together. As I said about planning dates, make the time you spend together count. Now, I don’t mean put a ton of pressure on yourselves to make that time perfect. That is unrealistic.

I know in a long distance relationship you look forward to your rare time together and put a lot of effort into it. Remember this is also your time to have serious talks about your future plans.

#6 Don’t fight via text. All couples fight. Those who live together and those who are across the world from each other all have fights. But, when texting is your main form of communication, misunderstandings are a lot more likely to occur.

If you are upset about something, text your partner that you want to have a video chat later that night. Then, discuss whatever the problem is face to face. [Read: Immature things that couples fight about all the time]

#7 Use all the technology available.  The world has changed a lot in the last 10 years. With all the technology available, long distance doesn’t even have to feel that way. Not only should you use video chats and texting as a way to stay in touch, but look at all the other things you have.

You can control each other’s lights from your phones. You can send your heartbeat via an iPad. You can send videos and photos of funny things you see at the store or at work. These may seem silly, but including one another in things only people nearby normally see can truly help you keep each other close by, emotionally. [Read: Long distance pillows and other really cool LDR essentials]

#8 Send gifts. Now, you know how to use all the modern technologies to make sure your long distance relationship is strong but bring it back to snail mail. Send each other handwritten letters. Send care packages of their favorite treats or a pillowcase with your perfume on it.

Send things that are inside jokes between you. These do not have to be expensive gifts, but small things that made you think of them since you saw each other last. You can make these a surprise or send one to each other every other week so you always have something to look forward to.

#9 Leave notes. When you visit, leave love notes around the house for them. Pop one in their fridge, in their medicine cabinet, and in their wallet or work bag. You can start with places they will find your note right after you leave and end with places they may not open for a few weeks.

These will make your partner’s day.

#10 Live in the moment. Although long distance relationships only tend to work out when there is a plan for the future, remember to live in the moment. If you are only ever thinking about when they move or you move, you will not actually enjoy each other.

Acting like you are waiting for your relationship to truly begin again once you are in the same zip code is not having a relationship. So remember to nurture and tend your long distance relationship now. Don’t just worry about what it will be in the future. [Read: How to get past long distance relationship anxiety and enjoy love]

#11 Be reliable. If you and your partner have a phone call every night at 9 pm, keep it. If you are running late let them know. Keeping your partner waiting for your daily call or chat is not only disappointing to them, but disrespectful to your agreement.

I know, that does not sound all that romantic. But, there is nothing more romantic than respect. When you are far from each other you only depend on one another for communication and if you fail at that, the trust goes. And without trust, relationships cannot work, long distance or not.

#12 Be available. You are probably in a long distance relationship because one or both of you has an important job or life change that takes up a lot of time. That is fair. Your partner should support you in that.

But that does not mean you can just slack in your relationship. You still depend on each other for comfort and venting. You cannot hug or kiss across the country, so making time for each other, even virtually is vital.

#13 Be thoughtful. This is key when it comes to understanding how to deal with a long distance relationship and still thrive. In person, you can touch your partner’s back, smile at them, or cuddle. All these things show you love them and are thinking about them. But they come naturally when you are in close proximity.

When you are in a long distance relationship, use all the resources you have available to show them you are thinking about them. Because it is not just assumed. Text them a funny meme, send a sexy Snap, ask how their meeting went, let them know how your friends are, go visit their family if you live near them.

You may not get the physical benefits of being a good partner when you are apart, but maintaining that level of passion and romance even when you are miles apart will make you a stronger couple once you’re together. [Read: How to show your appreciation to someone you love]

#14 Look at the benefits. I know, I sound so cheesy. Just give me a minute to explain. Couples that spend all their time together not only build up tension but can even get sick of each other.

Because you are far apart, the time you have together feels that much more special. And knowing you continuously miss them keeps your bond strong. Couples can see each other every day and still lack communication. Making a long distance relationship work means you are forced to communicate and work things out. [Read: How to fix a lack of communication in a relationship]

#15 Communicate voice to voice. I feel like a broken record, but this is so important. I know it is so easy to just text all day when you have a free second. You can say one thing and put your phone away. But actually hearing someone’s voice is so much more meaningful.

I do not care if you are bad at talking on the phone or don’t like the sound of your voice or whatever other excuses you have. If you want to make your long distance relationship work, all that goes out the window.

Looking at each other face to face, even virtually, and hearing each other’s voice is such a better way to communicate than with words on a screen.

Sure it is nice for a cute message throughout the day, but for any substantial conversations avoid texting. Trust me, you will see a difference in your connection, even overseas.

[Read: How to get past long distance relationship anxiety for a lasting love]

Hopefully, you will not need these tips on how to deal with a long distance relationship for much longer. Because you and your partner survived your distance and are together romantically and physically.

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