Wednesday, June 15, 2011

12 Tips for Making Long Distance Relationships Work

Long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart. Just like any proximal relationship, they require dedication, communication, patience, trust, and of course, compatibility. If you’re about to be deployed, move off to college, or have met someone online and are willing to put work into a long distance relationship, here are 12 tips to give it every chance to thrive.

Talk about it beforehand. Ask the important questions, like whether or not they’d be willing to relocate if the relationship grows more serious. Although it may seem awkward, it’s best to also set the ground rules for whether or not you’ll be dating exclusively.

Make a goal. What do you want out of the relationship? Having goals in mind for the relationship will help steer you in the right direction, and will help your LDR succeed.

Maintain contact. This is extremely important! Call or Skype one another at least every two days, and feel free to text, email, and tweet to fill the voids. Especially take advantage of video chat, too.

Do things together. It may sounds strange, since you’re so far apart, but these days you can plan to have virtual dates to maintain closeness. Think about watching a movie together on Netflix or play a game online. Loving From a Distance has an awesome list of 99 activities and ideas for LDR couples.

Don’t be controlling. This will just drive your partner away. Being in a long distance relationship requires extreme trust, and it can take time to build.

Talk about the future. This is someone similar to creating goals together, but maintaining that momentum while you’re apart. Talking about the future will push you forward.

Visit. Visit one another at least every 6 weeks if you can — every situation is different. Skype and video chat can maintain things for so long — until someone can manage to integrate touch and smell into tech, in-person visits will have to do.

Be trusting. Again, it takes a lot of trust to maintain a successful LDR. You’ll both be leading separate lives while you’re apart, and you may start hearing about some of your partner’s new friends — don’t be overly paranoid and suspicious. Do keep your eyes open, but don’t be naive.

Care packages. Send your partner a care package while they’re away to show that you’re thinking of them. It could be as simple as a letter with photos or their favorite candy. You should also send them away with some kind of object that reminds them of you, like a shirt — smell is a powerful sense that triggers memories.

Spice it up. Long distance relationships can go bland quickly, so be sure to spice things up when you can. When you visit, consider meeting halfway, so you can both get away from your daily grind. Instead of the usual methods of communication, consider something like a handwritten letter or sending flowers.

Be positive. Have hope! Don’t focus on the negative aspects of your long distance relationship, because, let’s face it: They’re not always fun. It’ll make things worse. Use the time apart to grow personally — explore your hobbies and and interests. Exude positive energy to keep your partner’s spirits up, too.

Be there. Not literally of course, but be there emotionally for your partner. This is a big part of what makes a long distance relationship work. Ask them how their day was, listen to their concerns, and just keep lines of communication open! You’re not in close proximity physically, so you have to make up for that.

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