5 Things You Should Be Doing To Make Your Long Distance Relationship Work
When it comes to long distance relationships, people usually have a pretty strong opinion about whether they work or not. While many have positive and hopeful outlooks on them, it seems like I hear a lot more people making the case for why they don’t work.
"Long distance relationships are so hard. They never last. You can never trust someone who’s so far away. You’re always lonely. They’re a waste of time. Blah, blah and more blah.”
And while that is the reality for a some of those relationships, it doesn’t mean the failure to make it work is because of the distance.
Some relationships just aren’t meant to be, whether from close or afar.
The first year and a half of my relationship with Zaz was long distance and I credit much what we’ve built during that time to the fact that we just recently celebrated 5 years of marriage together.
An LDR requires intentional effort and creativity to work. It will test your character, strength and commitment.
So for all the other couples who’ve found someone worth sticking it out with, and just want to know how to make a LDR work, I want to take a moment today to make the case for how to do so:
1. Make Plans To See Each Other Early & Often
It’s one thing to be far away from the person you love, but something else entirely to not have any idea of when you’ll see each other next.
Just going with the flow and not knowing when you’ll see each other again is an easy way to get distracted and to begin feeling frustrated with the distance.
The point here is to always have something to look forward to.
And while visiting each other in your respective cities is great, taking the opportunity to travel to a different location altogether is also a great way to make the most out of the time away from home.
LDRs are all about the anticipation of your reunion. So make it fun and do it often!
2. Make Memories
There’s more to an LDR than a few scheduled phone calls and texts throughout the week.
You can choose to make the time you’re apart a predictable one where all you do is wait to see each other, or you can choose to make it memorable by creating experiences that you’ll both remember and cherish, even after you end the distance.
Schedule a date night and share a meal together over Skype. Start a hobby together. Go on a trip together to a neutral destination.
Keep things as interesting as you would if you were living in adjacent towns. Technology makes it super easy to normalize the distance between you, so take full advantage of it.
Take for example, this one long distance couple who live in Seoul and NYC. They take photos of the same things in their respective cities and merge them to create a montage of their shared experiences, even though they’re thousands of miles apart.
It’s simple, fun and creative and makes their time away from each other special and memorable.
3. Communicate Well & Resolve Your Issues
Out of all the qualities that being long distance helped my relationship with in the long run, communication is number one.
The limited physical intimacy forced us to focus on developing the friendship that every relationship needs as a foundation to thrive.
You don’t have to wait until you’re back in each other’s presence to get deep. You don’t have to wait to resolve your differences.
[I talk more about my experiences with how long distance benefitted our relationship in my free eBook, which you can download here]
Use this time as an opportunity to ask the tough questions. To have the conversations you know will deepen your bond, establish trust and create intimacy.
Those might be conversations about your future. Your insecurities. Your expectations from each other.
By the time you guys are together, you’ll have already done much of the heavy lifting needed to make your relationship last.
4. Have A Personal Life
It’s great to keep in touch throughout the day and have “us time” carved out often so you can connect with each other, but it’s just as important to maintain your own life and individuality during this time.
Some people end up sacrificing the life they have so they can come home to be on Skype every night with their partner.
And whether you’re long distance or not, that always leads to resentment and frustration down the line. Being in a relationship requires effort and sacrifice, but you should never have to sacrifice your own life to make it work.
So keep going to the gym. Enjoy your time with your family. Hang out with your friends. Focus on advancing your career. Do the things that make you happy.
Your relationship will be better in the end because of it.
5. Have A Plan To Close The Distance
Long distance should be treated like a season of your relationship and not treated like a type of relationship. That means to treat the distance as a temporary thing and have a plan to end it.
It’s important to have a shared vision for where you're headed in any relationship, but even more important when distance is a factor.
Like I mentioned before, one of the important elements of a LDR is the anticipation of a future where you’re both together. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel that keeps you motivated to continue putting in the effort to make it work.
So how can you expect to be excited about a future together when you’re unclear of what that future looks like? When there’s no clear end to the distance, it’s easy to get discouraged and want to throw in the towel when things get tough.
If you’re committed to each other, it’s important to have a plan, even if it’s just an ideal picture of when you’d want things to happen.
So if you’re in an LDR, I want to hear from you. What are you doing to make it work that should be added to this list? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!