This article was written by Lynn Joseph on behalf of Sherley Altidor.
There’s a lot of advice out there on how to make long distance relationships work, but when it comes down to it, it really comes down to a handful of tips. You’ll be absolutely golden if you communicate with your partner, make time for each other, support each other, get creative with your dates, and remember to take the time to enjoy yourself outside of the relationship as well.
“But this all sounds like golden advice for any romantic relationship,” You say. Yes indeed, you would be correct. But when it comes to long distance relationships, you have to actually go that extra mile and really take a routine inventory on making sure that you are actually doing all of these things more often than a relationship that isn’t long distance. So let’s break down what all of this actually entails. Here we go.
Also read: How To Survive In A Relationship
Here are Five Ways to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work:
Set expectations for how often you communicate (multiple times a day everyday, everyday, every other day, every weekend, etc…) and respect the boundaries that you create together. Take into account time zone differences, work schedules, and the like. Be honest about your preferred communication style (text, phone, video) and respect your partner’s choices in this. Be very clear about the level of exclusivity in your dating and what those boundaries in your relationship look like.
It’s so important to be honest and vulnerable in relationships, especially in long distance relationships in order to reduce the chances of anything getting lost in translation and making sure you are both on the same page about everything. Don’t hesitate to check in with your partner to let them know how you’re feeling and to see how they are feeling. Check ins are key to making sure that everyone is on the same page about what’s happening in your relationship and in your individual lives and with that, needs, wants, desires, and expectations that may evolve over time.
Plan ahead of time when each of you will go to physically see each other in their respective home city or town. I’m not just talking about holidays and birthdays. Sit down and talk to each other about when you both are able to see each other. Take your work schedule, budget, and transportation (will you be driving, taking a bus or train, or flying) into consideration for all of these things.
Make sure that you are both financially comfortable with the amount of times that you are able to go back and forth to see each other. Be sure you’re including spontaneous visits as well and possibly any road trips or international trips. For international trips, make sure that you are looking into COVID restrictions and refund policies for that country before you book the flights and determine if it’s a country you wouldn’t mind being stuck in, in the not so rare case that the country shuts down for another quarantine. If you’re flying, now might be a good time to look into a rewards credit card from your desired airline.
That’s not to say go wild with the credit card. You do need to make sure that your credit is good and maintained at good for when long distance eventually dissipates and someone moves closer or you decide to move in together somewhere. So continue to be smart about any financial choices you are making, always.
When it comes to supporting each other from afar, there may not always be a way to physically be there for an important event in someone’s life. So if you know that something big is coming up and you want to physically be there, plan ahead to be there. That said, have a back up plan in case plans are diverted and say, there are cancellations due to COVID, whether or not the show must go on. And if the show is definitely not going on due to your partner catching COVID, send a care package filled with vitamins, supplements, electrolytes, bottled water, soup, medicine, a thermometer, pulse oximeter, and other things that may be helpful to them.
Also read: How To Love Your Partner
Figure out different ways to show your support from afar. Sending flowers or chocolates are always nice. But if there’s a way to be more personable and send a gift that correlates with what you’re supporting, that’s a great way to show that you put even more thought into your gift. Get edible image cookies or cupcakes delivered to your partner. If it’s your anniversary, you could make the image on the sweets of one of your first dates. Get one of your partner’s favorite celebrities to send them congratulations and well wishes via a Cameo video message. Yes, this exists now! Write a love letter and send it in the mail a week or two before your partner’s big day. It’s perfectly fine to have a routine of giving your partner what you know they love but don’t be afraid to shake it up every now and then.
Sure with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and others having watch parties available now, watching a movie together is easier than ever before. But that’s not all. Watch a Broadway show online, legally, via BroadwayHD. Get tickets to a virtual comedy show. It doesn’t even have to be a show local to your town! How great is that? Now you can see your favorite comedians from the comfort of your own home. Or better yet, take a virtual improv class! Take a virtual tour of a museum exhibition. There are hundreds of virtual exhibitions available now from all over the world.
Attend a virtual cooking class and make dinner together while apart. Make it a Master Class if you don’t mind the class not being with a live person you can ask questions to. That’s the trade off if you want Gordon Ramsey making dinner with you, after all. Have a wine theme for each month of the year and try new to you wines from all over the world or try a new to you wine from a Black winery every month. Start a book club together and have a book night once a month, possibly with the promise of watching a movie adaptation afterwards or attending a virtual reading by the author. Have a game night, with particular care in the games that you can play virtually (physically and/or online). Get virtual astrology readings.
There are so many different ways to have a fun and exciting virtual date, especially now since many companies and businesses are looking for innovative ways to stay alive during the pandemic. So don’t be shy about throwing out ideas with your partner and seeing how you can make the most out of virtual events and opportunities that are happening all over the world.
It’s so important not to get lost in your relationship, whether it’s long distance or not. Long distance is a great opportunity to take yourself out on dates and learn how to have enjoyable experiences on your own. This includes taking yourself out to the movies, doing a physical activity like going on a hike with friends, and taking joy in taking time to live out your hobbies and interests as you see fit. Don’t forget to treat yourself with just yourself. Don’t wait for anybody or depend on anyone else to be happy. Learn how to appreciate the time apart from your partner and being your own person outside of your relationship with them. Take joy in having agency and make a vow to yourself to never lose your independence (as far as you can control) and individuality. You’ll thank yourself in the long term.
So there you have it! Five ways to make a long distance relationship work. But this only works if you actually do the work. With long distance, checking in every month or so with your partner to make sure that you are both on the same page about all of the above and more, adjusting expectations as needed, is so important. Without doing the groundwork to make sure that you are both on one accord, it’s going to be very difficult to maintain any relationship, let alone one that is long distance.
So before making the decision to be long distance, ask yourself first and foremost if you are willing to do the work here for yourself and for your partner. Be honest and don’t waste their time if you’re not ready to dig deep, be vulnerable, and go out of your way more times than you may typically have for long distance. Not everyone is ready for a long distance relationship and that’s okay. But if you and your partner are ready to take that step, congratulations on moving into this stage of your relationship and hopefully that long distance won’t be long distance for too long.
If you’ve been in a long distance relationship, what’s your one piece of advice for others taking that leap? Be sure to leave a comment!
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