Ah, the sweet sting of a long-distance relationship.
When I was 19 I was low-key dating this guy who was going away for the summer (and for the record, it was never going to last). We weren’t exactly in a relationship at the time but things were heading that way and I had a serious case of the feels.
I was on the hook, heading straight into the worst long-distance relo of all time. I invested three months of time, energy and emotion only to get dumped in the fall when he came back.
Though our romance wasn’t the stuff of movie magic, I did learn a thing or two about how to treat your partner – and yourself – when in a long-distance relationship.
I’ve learned the hard way what not to do so you and your S/O don’t have to. A long-distance relationship doesn’t mean the death of your coupledom, in fact, it might even make you stronger.
Here are 26 things you can do to ease the sting of your two hearts being far apart…
1. Lies have no place in your long-distance relationship
While the distance may make it seem like a little white lie will go undetected, I assure it’s never good. The thing about lies is that one leads to two and two leads to many more and you’ll soon find the distance between you growing as the dishonesty stacks up. If you’re in a relationship dedicated enough to go long-distance, chances are your partner will notice.
2. Don’t skip date night
FaceTime is a godsend for your long-distance relationship. Light up some candles, dress up and share a meal with your S/O. Your partner might not be physically there but eating together will make it feel like you’re spending quality time together.
3. Technology isn’t the only way to stay in touch
Skype, SMS, and Snapchat are all fabulous ways to keep in touch with your long-distance partner but there are times when a text won’t help you feel closer. Keeping physical things, like one of their jumpers or cologne is a great way to keep the one you love close when it feels like they’re a world away. Studies show that the smell of your partner can reduce stress, even when they aren’t there. If you needed a reason to steal one of their jumpers, this is it.
4. Learn each other’s schedules
It may sound strange but knowing where and what your partner is doing can alleviate a lot of tension. That way no one gets left hanging and you can block in what time of the day is good to catch up. Different time zones don’t mean you have to operate on different time, ya feel.
5. Enjoy your alone time!
When you’re used to spending all your time with someone, getting into a long-distance relationship can be really lonely at first. Don’t think of alone time as a bad thing. Learn from it! Being your own best friend is one of the most important things in this life so use the extra time to practice self-love. After all, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else (Can I get an AMEN!).
6. Long-distance relationship L-O-V-E (if you know what I mean)
The spark doesn’t have to fade because you’re in different cities. In fact, a lack of intimacy is what could lead to your long-distance relationship’s demise. Try using couples sex toys and good old fashioned phone sex to keep the lust alive.
7. Forget what you thought you knew about long-distance relationships
Throw traditional relationship rules out the window. Expectations in terms of contact and intimacy need to adjust in order for your relo to last. If you’re expecting it to be the same when your partner lives thousands of miles away, you’re in for a rude shock.
8. Be comfortable not knowing
The reality of the situation is that no matter how connected you are, you are never going to be able to keep track of your partners every move. You’re going to have to get comfy with not knowing exactly what they’re up to. See # 9.
9. Trust is THE most important thing
If you’re having some trust troubles in your relationship, chances are it won’t last long distance. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy but you’ve got to have complete faith in your partner. Trust in them and trust that the distance will make you stronger – chances are, it will.
10. Be consistent
Texting each other good morning and good night is an easy way to set up at least two points of contact per day. Even though you shouldn’t be texting non-stop, being consistent with the times you are communicating is important. Don’t drop off the grid without letting your S/O know first.
11. Make a trip to see each other…
Set aside a weekend to be reunited with your love!. This will make it easier to push through the nights when your long-distance relationship gets lonely and break up the time until you are (hopefully) permanently reunited.
12. …But don’t go overboard planning for it
Chances are when your S/O gets back in town they’ll have a dozen people chasing for a catch-up. Be sure to organize a lovey-dovey date night but don’t expect to have all of their attention for the whole time. I know it sucks but be prepared to share!
13. Boring details aren’t so boring
The mundane everyday things in your life are probably the things your partner misses the most. Chances are they will experience some kind of homesickness so keeping them informed of the little details will ease their pain (and yours).
14. Don’t get into sketchy situations
Just because your partner can’t see what you’re doing, doesn’t mean you get a free pass. Be considerate of situations that may make them uncomfortable. Drinks with a new workmate may seem innocent to you, but staying out late could lead your S/O to draw other conclusions. Open communication is key here.
15. But also don’t put your life on hold
Your partner may not be nearby but life doesn’t stop for anyone. Keep yourself busy and don’t wait by the phone. Your lover will text you when they can. Until then, the world is your oyster!
16. Set an end goal
It can be really helpful to establish what your goals are so you aren’t stuck in long-distance limbo forever! Don’t underestimate the power of a count down. Will you and your partner live in the same city ever again? Asking yourself what the end goal is can help bring everything in perspective.
17. Set up some ground rules
Make sure before you start your long-distance relationship you know EXACTLY what you expect of each other. Decide beforehand whether you are exclusive or whether it’s ok to see other people. Being sure of where you stand will save some sticky situations later on.
18. Don’t communicate too much
Obsessively texting your partner 12 hours a day isn’t the fuel for a long-lasting flame. Stay in contact but don’t excessively message them. Learn the difference between checking in and checking up on.
19. Don’t pretend like everything is fine if it isn’t
Just because you’re far apart doesn’t mean you should put off having a fight. If there’s something bothering you, address it and move on. If you don’t, the rift combined with the distance could make it much harder to come back from.
20. On that note, don’t go to bed angry
Don’t hang up the phone until you’ve made up. It’s important that you voice your concerns and argue it out when necessary but the physical distance makes it ESSENTIAL to make up before you hang up.
21. Do things together
The beauty of Skype is that you can spend time with your S/O despite dramatic distances. FaceTime while you do your groceries, while you cook dinner or even while you eat! It will make the lonely moments feel a little less lonely.
22. Love Letters
Snail mail is sexy. If you’re going to be apart for a long time, it’s important to keep the romance alive. Sending love letters or thoughtful gifts is a tangible way to stay in touch and make great mementos for when you miss them.
23. Share hobbies
Keeping up with the same books and TV shows is an easy way to stay close and maintain common interest. Bonus tip: if you start a Netflix series together, don’t watch ahead without them. It’s a recipe for relationship ruin.
24. Things might not work out, and that’s ok
Truth time: not every relationship is going to last and the same goes for the ones that go long distance. Don’t be afraid to call it if you have any apprehensions before or during your time apart. Being together, apart is certainly not for everyone so don’t force it if it doesn’t fit.
25. The FOMO will freak you out (at first)
While you or your partner are stuck in the same old routine, the other is likely off experiencing new things in a brand new place. It’s easy for jealousy to slip it and you might find yourself obsessively checking their social media, downing a pint of ice cream and watching Bridget Jones. The FOMO WILL fade, it just takes time and a WHILE lot of patience.
26. Don’t expect it to be easy
I’m not going to lie to you, long-distance relationships are hard work. You’ll miss them like crazy and the dichotomy of being alone but in a relationship never gets less weird. The good news is, if your relationship can survive long distance, it can survive anything. Think of this as the ultimate endurance race, winner takes all.
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