Being in a long-distance relationship (LDR) can be incredibly difficult. You miss the person you love, but you have to deal with the miles and the time that separates you.
Still, it’s possible to make a long-distance relationship work. If you want to know how to make a long-distance relationship work, here are some tips that will help you and your partner stay strong.
1. Respect Boundaries
In a long-distance relationship, it’s easy to get jealous or insecure. After all, your significant other might be tempted to look for someone closer who can give them the time and attention you can’t.
To avoid this from happening, you should respect your partner’s space and boundaries. This means not only staying off their social media accounts but also not grilling them when they return home. By respecting their privacy, you show them that their life is still private—even if you’re part of it.
2. Create Goals Together
Another tip to make a long-distance relationship work is to create goals together. This way, you’ll be working towards something not only as a couple, but also as individuals.
Whether it’s paying off student loans or saving for a house, your goals bring you together. It’s also something you can work towards, even when you’re apart.
3. Have Reasonable Expectations
While it’s great to have goals and dreams when you’re in a relationship, it’s also important to have reasonable expectations.
For example, don’t expect your partner to drop everything if they can’t Skype you because you’re feeling lonely. Instead, try to participate in group Skype calls with your partner’s friends. Not only is this a good distraction, but you also get to meet people you might have something in common with.
If you absolutely need some time alone with your partner, remind them to bring their laptop along on their next trip so you can Skype.
4. Stay Positive
Another great tip for making a long-distance relationship work is to stay positive.
This means keeping an optimistic attitude and not complaining about the amount of time you spend together or the friends they hang out with. If you start to feel yourself getting negative, take a step back and remember why you fell in love with this person in the first place.
If you’re feeling lonely or sad because you don’t get to see your partner as much as you’d like, try to find things to keep yourself busy. Get a part-time job, take up a new hobby or go out with friends.
5. Use Social Media With Caution
While it’s tempting to use social media to stay in touch with your significant other, it can actually cause more harm than good in the long run.
Using social media to stay in touch is okay once in awhile—such as using Skype. However, using it too much can prevent you both from growing as individuals. After all, if you’re constantly seeing what your boyfriend or girlfriend is doing on a daily basis, you won’t have much to talk about when you do see each other in person. This also goes for reading their texts or emails. If you have a problem, talk to them about it when you see them next instead of scrolling up their messages.
The same goes for if they decide to scroll up yours. If you have something private to say to them, wait until you see them in person. There’s no need to risk having your words taken out of context.
6. Be Honest
Whether you’re mad at them or mad at something they did, it’s important that you’re honest with your feelings.
If you want to talk to them about something, you should do it in person when you see them next. Don’t write them an email or leave a passive-aggressive note. This will just cause more stress and unnecessary drama when you see each other again.
If you’re mad at something your partner did, be straight with them about it as soon as you see them next. Don’t hold it all in until you blow up in their face, causing problems for your relationship.
Whether it’s good or bad, be the bigger person and just let them know. It’s always better to communicate than to bottle things up.
7. Find a Way to See Them in Person
Even if you’re only seeing your partner for a few days every month, try to find a way to meet up with them in person.
Whether it’s meeting halfway or seeing each other in a different place each time, try to do something together that’s just the two of you. This will help you to feel closer to them and remind you why you’re in the long-distance relationship in the first place.
In fact, if you can manage it, try to spend at least a few days with them every month. Even an overnight visit here and there will help to keep that spark going and prevent your relationship from fizzle out.
8. Get Creative with Presents
If you live far away from your partner, consider buying something they can take with them on the road.
For example, if you know they have a chore that they hate, buy them something to help make it easier. Maybe they have to vacuum the rugs every week, so buy them a cordless model they can take with them.
Or maybe they have to do a lot of cooking when they’re on the road, so get them a new cookie sheet that won’t stick. There are all kinds of things you can give them that they can take with them, just be sure to personalize it with a nice note.
This is also a good present to give if you live far away from each other and can’t exactly bring your partner back a gift every time you see them.
9. Talk about Expectations
When you start a long-distance relationship, it’s important to make sure you and your partner are on the same page.
Are you in this for the long haul or is it just a temporary thing? Are you exclusive or can you still see other people? Are you working towards becoming more permanent or do you see this as just a fun way to pass the time?
Be sure to be upfront about your own expectations and then listen to what they have to say. Even if you don’t agree with them, just remember that this is something YOU both decided to do, so if it doesn’t work out it’s no one’s fault but your own.
10. Remember Why You’re in This
If you’ve made it this far, you obviously really like your partner and want the best for them. This is great and all, but remember that YOU need to be happy too.
If you find that being in a long-distance relationship isn’t for you, then it’s okay to just walk away. We get it, you don’t want to let them go and you think it will get better with time, but if a year has gone by and things aren’t improving, it might be time to consider cutting your losses.
It’s okay, we didn’t say you weren’t allowed to cry about it afterwards.
11. Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Sadly, long-distance relationships are difficult under the best of circumstances and the unexpected can happen at any time. Be it a serious illness, job loss or something else, these things can put a real strain on even the most stable relationship.
The key here is to stay as flexible as you can. If you have an argument and your partner just so happens to move back home, it might be best to wait a little while before making that drive across the country to see them. If they lose their job and money is suddenly tight, well, you get the idea.
Remember that it takes two people to make a relationship work. If you want things to succeed, you both have a responsibility to make it happen. While long-distance relationships can be hard, they’re certainly not impossible with the right amount of effort from both people involved.