Long distance relationships (LDR) are hard! I’m not here to say they’re a walk in the park. There are certain realities you must face when you find yourself in a long distance relationship. LDRs also aren’t for everyone, and that’s also okay. Over 14 million couples define themselves as being in long-distance relationships. And, about a third of college relationships are long-distance relationships, while 70% of college students have been in a long-distance relationship at some point. So if you ever find yourself in one, you aren’t alone. Here are a few ways to make it work:
Stay emotionally available.
It’s better to over-communicate than to under-communicate. This doesn’t mean you should spend every waking minute texting one another, but rather, make the other feel emotionally part of your life. Let’s say something upset you at work. Instead of brooding about it and making the other concerned that you may be upset with him/her, you should clear it: “Hey, I had a bad day at work today and it’s made me a little moody. It’s nothing serious I need to talk about, but I’d like to hear about your day.” Think about how often we have moods that permeate the rest of our interactions. Moods like this become even more intense when the other person doesn’t have the normal body language clues to let the other know that it is something that will pass.
Use technology to be together even when you’re apart.
FaceTime each other. Stalk each other on social. Send all the selfies because they want to see your face. Play online scrabble together. Netflix and chill in sync with plug-ins like Showgoers. The world has gotten smaller with technology and capitalizing on as many means as necessary will only help you stay and feel connected between visits. Find as many creative ways to stay connected. Send each other items that remind you of one another. Sending a shirt that smells like you makes it feel like you’re there. Or a particular jewelry item that you hold dear.
Make visitation a priority.
I cannot stress this enough. Make arrangements to see one another. Alternate visits and set them up in advance. Having a date to look forward to makes all the difference. Plan a nice weekend together go out and explore, but leave room to do the mundane things like go grocery shopping or make a meal together.
Know your timeline.
It’s important to have a general sense for when the long-distance phase of your relationship will come to an end. An indefinite LDR is unsustainable for most couples. Have a plan on what the next steps will be. Are they moving back? Will you be moving there? Or will both of you move to a new city together?
And, above all, trust each other.
There are moments of jealousy and insecurity in even the most secure of relationships. But everything will be magnified in a long-distance relationship. Nobody wants to spend time obsessively checking Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and every social cyberstalking platform accessible to you. Or the whole, what are they doing? They’re not responding to my texts quickly enough! Is it that girl/guy in the background of that photo? If you don’t trust your partner or know you have jealous tendencies, you might want to reconsider if a LDR is really right for you. The two of you won’t make it very far if you don’t have trust.
Long distance relationships are never easy, but they do take a united front. Both parties need to be all in, and have one another’s interests at heart. Besides, if you make it through the distance, you’ll come out on the other side a stronger couple. Share your best advice for LDRs in the comments below.