If there’s anything that I’ve learned from my experience in a long-distance relationship, it’s that it is probably one of the most difficult things to which you can commit. I’m sure you have heard the common warnings and constant sayings that long-distance relationships are terrible ideas and they never end well. Let me be the first to say that’s not necessarily true.
I met my current boyfriend online, and we’ve been in a long-distance relationship for a while now. That being said, I do have to agree that long-distance relationships are not easy and they’re also not for everyone. If you’re going to give it a shot, you have to commit—just like any other thing that you put your heart and soul into. Something that you should also keep in mind is that every relationship is different and people communicate their love for each other in different ways.
I have 5 helpful tips for maintaining a strong and healthy long-distance relationship.
Keep in mind, since every relationship works a little bit differently, not every single one of these is going to work for you. Of course, you can always tweak and tailor them towards your relationship and needs as a couple.
1. Have a specified or designated time each week that you can contact each other and spend some quality time talking.
Now, this can be in the form of phone calls or video chats. From my personal experience with the beginning of my long-distance relationship, we tried to make a habit of at least two Skype dates a week. It’s totally understandable if you can’t talk every single day. Plus, if you try to talk face-to-face for every conversation, you could run out of things to talk about and then you’re just staring at each other in an awkward silence struggling to come up with something to say. You might also have a very busy schedule, so Skype or FaceTime may not always be possible.
There are a lot of benefits to these planned times together; you and your partner can continue to get to know each other and share your day or even your week’s experience. It also gives you a break from constantly texting and changes up the dynamic of your communication.
2. Always be direct in your communication and messages.
Don’t try using vague phrases that contain subtext. I know we women like to be subtle, but when it comes to online relationships, that can be a huge downfall. The main reason for this is because most of your communication is through messaging or texting. Your partner isn’t physically there with you to hear your tone of voice, and they can’t see your facial expressions. Both are essential for relaying a correct message to your partner. When you eliminate those two things from communicating, it can sometimes create different meanings behind the words that you send. You never want to leave your partner feeling like there could be two meanings behind what you are saying. To minimize confusion, as well as any potential conflict, always be direct in what you say and what you mean.
Here are 5 helpful tips for maintaining a strong and healthy long-distance relationship.
3. Use vivid, vibrant, and detailed language.
When you’re in a long-distance relationship, there is no physical aspect in the relationship—especially if you don’t see each other for quite a few months at a time. A big part of not having a physical aspect in your relationship is that you’re both missing out on all the cute, tender moments most couples experience. If they were physically next to you, a way to express your love and affection for one another is by holding hands, giving each other a kiss, or something as simple as running your hand through their hair. You don’t get to do these things because of the distance. If you genuinely feel like you wish you could kiss that person or hug them after a rough day, then say that! By putting the emotions you feel into words, you’re able to build your connection with them from afar. They’ll be able to visualize and understand what it would be like if you were actually there. In a ‘round about way, you’re making up for the distance by using descriptive and vivid language.
For example, you could say, “I wish you were sitting next to me,” but this phrase is basic and kind of blah right? Instead, you should say something like, “I wish you were here to wrap your arms around me, pulling me closer to snuggle, while we sit on the couch watching a movie.” This sentence is full of imagery and communicates what exactly you wish you were doing with your partner. It’s a no-brainer to read a message like that and clearly picture it in your head. That is your ultimate goal when sending a message to your partner.
4. Allow each other to have space.
I’m sure this sounds kind of silly since you are already in a long-distance relationship. I get it, all you want to do is constantly message your partner and tell them how much you wish you were with them. Although that, in theory, sounds like peaches and roses in your mind, you don’t want to make your partner feel suffocated by you bombarding them with too much communication. Yes, there is such a thing as too much communication. That’s something I’ve learned both the hard way through personal experiences in past relationships and in my studies as a Communication Major in college.
In relationships, it is important for a pairing or coupling of people to have a good balance of autonomy and connectedness. If you or your partner feel like you must constantly be messaging, that can sometimes drain you both mentally and emotionally. It’s still okay to go out and have a girls’ night and tell your new boo thing that you need to hang out with your girls. It’s also important to not create a double standard; you should let your man have a guys’ night without giving him grief. Trust me; you’ll learn to have a lot of respect for one another when you both feel confident that you’re maintaining autonomy and still have space to hang out with your friends.
5. Be understanding and think positively.
There are going to be days when things come up that prevent you from having your date night. That’s life. The worst thing you could do is jump down the other’s throat because of one missed date night. Again, speaking from experience, it is hard sometimes to be understanding and forgiving. I struggled with this a lot in the first few months of my relationship. A lot of people think negatively of long-distance relationships and automatically assume that the second their partner doesn’t message them too frequently, it means they’re cheating on them. But I think that the odds of that happening are pretty slim. One way I have learned to combat this type of thinking is by reminding myself that my boyfriend wouldn’t be putting in all this effort and time to try and talk to me if he didn’t want to be in a relationship with me. Let’s be honest, long-distance relationships are hard enough as it is, but trying to cheat on someone while you’re in a long-distance relationship and not get caught…that’s just way too much work. I think your partner would rather drop the long-distance relationship altogether than go through all of that work to cheat and keep it from you.
Be that as it may, the main thing is that you have to be understanding when things come up or if your man gets busy and doesn’t message you as often as he usually does. You also have to take into consideration that with a busy schedule, sometimes it’s hard to have a longer conversation. Obviously, we ladies love to spend time talking to the men in our life. It’s not realistic to assume that you’re going to talk to him for hours on end every night. I mean, if they truly care about you, then they will want to spend just as much time talking to you as do them. However, if you both have a full calendar, and perhaps live in different time zones, it can be difficult to coordinate a time to chat. For the sake of your sanity and need for sleep, you must respect each other’s time.
Instead, you can think of it as, “I was given this precious gift of getting to talk to the man that I am totally in love with for 15 minutes of my day.” That’s 15 minutes you wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the power of technology and the internet—you gotta love it. Enjoy every single moment and cherish every message that you can exchange with your partner.
All that being said, these tips should be able to help strengthen and maintain your long-distance relationship. I’ll even give you a bonus: try to shoot each other an unexpected message on a busy day, just to remind your partner how much you care about them. I can say from personal experience, it makes your day to get a message that says, “Hey babe, I know you’ve got a busy day, and I hope it flies by for you. Just wanted to say I was thinking about you and miss you. Love you!” I mean, did anybody else just say “aw” and put their hand over their heart? I guarantee that even though your partner may not have the exact same reaction, they still had one similar and it made their day too.
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