Updated on August 24th, 2018
Many people believe that long distance relationships are never going to work out. Your family may discourage it, and some of your best friends may advise you not to take it too seriously, in case you get your heart broken.
However, the extra distance also makes the simplest things the sweetest, being able to hold the other person’s hand, eating together at the same table, feeling each other’s touch, taking a walk together, smelling each other’s hair… these small wishes could suddenly mean so much more in a long distance relationship.
The very things about loving someone from a distance that can seem so painful and negative are really, in fact, a tremendous source of strength that can not only make the relationship more solid and the love more intense, but could end up challenging both people involved to become better, more grateful, and more patient in general.
Here are 21 tips to make your long distance relationship work:
1. More Time For Yourself
For most people in relationships, trying to maintain a balance between spending time together and taking time for yourself is an ongoing challenge.
We all know it’s important to spend time just doing you, but it can be all too easy for couples to become wound up in nearly every part of each other’s lives, which isn’t always a terrible thing, but everyone needs breathing room from time to time. It’s healthy.
When you don’t always have the choice to spend time together, time alone becomes built in. Even if you miss your person, there’s still a lot of value in that.
2. Avoid Excessive Communication
It is unwise to be overly “sticky” and possessive. You two don’t really have to communicate 12 hours a day to keep the relationship going.
Many couples think that they need to compensate for the distance by doing more. This is not true. And it might only make things worse.
Soon you would get tired of “loving.” Remember: Less is more. It is not about spamming — you are only going to exhaust yourselves. It’s really about teasing at the right moments and tugging at the right spots.
3. Surprise Visit
Do not attempt this unless you are in a healthy and trusting relationship. You do not want to be accused of trying to catch them doing something they should not be.
It goes without saying that the less people you tell the better; nothing is worse than a spoiled surprise. I only told my boyfriend’s best friend I was coming up so he could make sure he was out at the time I arrived.
But then that one friend told a couple friends, who told a few more friends. Although everyone kept the secret, I ended up with a group of people out with my boyfriend anxiously awaiting my arrival.
To add to the spectacle of surprise, try to plan it so your partner is out with his or her friends. Showing up at their door step can be romantic, but it is more fun to have a group of people witness their reaction.
I entered through the back door of the bar and his friends excitingly turned him around to face me. His reaction was absolutely priceless, and by far worth the 16 hour round trip. Get creative and have fun with it!
4. Open When Letters
If you’re going to be going long lengths of time without seeing each other, Open When Letters are a lovely way to offer a bit of encouragement and support to your partner.
And they’re super easy to make, especially since I have more than 150 topics available for you to write about!
5. You Appreciate Each Other More
It’s very simple: When you have to be without each other more, you take each other for granted less. That’s not to say that long-distance don’t fall prey to many of the same pitfalls that near-distance couples do, but there’s no denying that when you can’t physically be near the person you love for long stretches of time, you are way more likely to remember to be thankful for them when you can.
6. The Honeymoon Phase Lasts Longer
When two people meet and are crazy about each other, they often jump into a bubble of togetherness – they are so wrapped up in the intense happy, sexy, fun newness of their love that they don’t want to pull apart until they’re literally about to lose their jobs and their friends start to wonder if they’ve died.
This is a wonderful, enjoyable thing, partially because it never lasts. In a few weeks or months, the overwhelming feelings give way to a more stable, relaxed love (which is totally great in its own way.)
But in long-distance relationships, every time you see each other feels – even for a moment – just like when you first met. Other couples spend the rest of their relationships trying to recapture the magic they felt in the beginning, but you and your long-distance love have it built in to your situation.
7. You Build Your Own World Together
In most relationships, things are always skewed in favour of one of your worlds – one person usually ends up spending more time with the other person’s friends, or they take up hobbies that they other person likes, or spends more nights at their place.
It just happens. But when you live far apart, you create your own little world, just for the two of you: phone calls, texts, emails, Skype dates, the coffee shop near the airport where you always stop before saying goodbye again, the bed & breakfast halfway in between your cities in the middle of nowhere where you occasionally spend a weekend – because neither of you can live fully in the other’s world, you create a space for your love that is more equal and balanced and unique than most other couples get to experience.
8. See It As An Opportunity
View it as a learning journey for the both of you. See it as a test of your love for each other. As the Chinese saying goes, “Real gold is not afraid of the test of fire.” Instead of thinking that this long distance relationship is pulling you two apart, you should believe that through this experience, the both of you will be bound together even stronger.
9. Set Some Ground Rules To Manage Your Expectations
Both of you need to be clear with what you expect of each other during this long distance relationship. Set some ground rules so that none of you will do things that will take the other party by surprise.
For instance, are you two exclusive? Is it alright for the other person to go on dates? What is your commitment level? It’s better to be open with each other about all these things.
10. Try To Communicate Regularly, And Creatively
Greet each other “good morning” and “good night” every day — this is a must. On top of that, try to update your partner on your life and its happenings, however mundane some of the things may seem.
To up the game, send each other pictures, audio clips and short videos from time to time. By putting in this kind of effort, you make the other person feel loved and attended to.
11. Get Acquainted With Apps
We do so much with our phones and with apps, so it should be absolutely no surprise that there is literally an app for long distance relationships. In fact, there are quite a few apps for LDRs.
From kissing with your thumbs (no seriously, you’ll just have to read about it!) to ways to countdown together to sweet selfie GIFs, these apps make sure that you’re using technology to stay in touch and not pull apart.
12. Get Creative On Camera
When John was in Afghanistan, I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing all of him and not just his head and shoulders, until he stood up one day to grab something to show me. Often, video calls can become static and rote.
We say the same things, in the same place, and days bleed into weeks that bleed into month. Every so often, change it up by using one of these strategies for your video calls.
13. Become A Budget Bawse
Long distance relationships can be expensive, especially if you’re able to travel to see each other. Use these freebies and cheap resources–like free books, fun games, and websites– to save money while you’re apart so that when you’re together you can splurge.
14. Love Letters
Technology makes it incredibly easy to communicate long distance, but there is nothing like receiving a hand written love letter in the mail.
Becoming pen pals with your partner provides a unique and intimate form of communication. Phones calls and webcam sessions come and go, but with letters you two will always have these precious pieces of the past to look back on.
A great way to countdown the days until you see each other again is to make your own little mailbox stuffed with love notes.
For Valentine’s Day, I sent my boyfriend a handheld mailbox and wrote out 91 reasons why I loved him for the 91 days we had until his graduation.
What kept our distance exciting was he was able to open a little reminder every day of why the wait was worth it.
Some were funny inside jokes, while others brought him to tears. Remember in the movie “Grease” when Marty sprays perfume on her love letters? It may seem old school, but trust me the extra hint of you will drive your lover wild.
15. Playful Pictures
Nude or scandalous pictures step into dangerous territory, but I am not opposed to the idea. We have all heard the horror stories of exes leaking old photos as revenge.
If you do not fully trust your significant other with your pictures, obviously do not risk it. But if you are in a committed, unconditional relationship, there are easy mistakes to avoid so your pictures do not end up in the wrong hands.
Make an agreement prior with your partner that the photos must be deleted after viewing them. By doing the same in your own picture gallery, you will never have to worry if you lose your phone. As an extra precaution, make sure you set up your key lock so no one can roam through your phone freely.
Before sending a picture to your lover, make sure they are alone. It is fun to be spontaneous and surprise them, but not when it surprises friends or strangers who may be in eye sight.
Believe it or not, you do not have to strip down and bare all to get your partner excited. The more playful the picture, the more you will have your lover asking for more.
Selfies can save relationships — yea I said it. Sending a cute or funny picture of yourself with where you are or what you are doing in the background can make your significant other feel like they are right there with you.
16. You Get Better At Communicating
Really, good communication is the only thing you have to have in order to make a long-distance relationship work. So many of the ways in which you keep each other present and involved in your day-to-day lives depends on communication – texts, phone calls, letters, etc.
If communicating isn’t something that comes naturally to you, just put a great distance between you and the person you love – you’ll get better at it in a hurry.
17. Talk Dirty With Each Other
Sexual tension is undoubtedly one of the most important things between couples. Sexual desire is like a glue that keeps both parties from drifting apart.
Not only is sex a biological need, it is an emotional one as well. Keep the flames burning by sending each other teasing texts filled with sexual innuendos and provocative descriptions. Sexy puns work pretty well too.
18. You Become More Creative At Showing Love
Long-distance couples are remarkably skilled at coming up with new ways to demonstrate their love for each other. When you can’t kiss, or hold each other, you put that same energy into making care packages of things you know they like.
You jump on Amazon and have coffee filters overnighted to their apartment because they mentioned how they keep forgetting to pick them up.
You send them a book you think they would like, and buy a copy for yourself so you can read along. In a million ways, long-distance couples get to experience a much more diverse, more creative kind of affection.
19. Do Things Together
Play an online game together. Watch a documentary on YouTube or Vimeo at the same time. Sing to each other on Skype while one of you plays the guitar.
“Take a walk together” outside while video-calling each other. Go online-shopping together — and buy each other gifts. You really have to be creative and spontaneous about it.
20. Create A Countdown
There are many free countdown apps that allow you to set an upcoming date to look forward to. Use a photo of you two, and set your phone background to your next special date.
Anytime you or your partner are feeling lonely or overwhelmed by the distance, check the countdown for a motivating reminder that it is only a matter of days.
21. Date Night
Skyping every night is excessive and unnecessary. Catch up at least once a day through texts, calls, voicemails or social media, anything to let your significant other know you are thinking about them. Limit webcam sessions to a couple times a week to make them more special.
If you Skype your partner too frequently you are more tempted to multi-task and browse on the Internet. Make your webcam sessions exciting by turning them into date nights.
Choose a night you are both free, buy the same bottle of wine, pick the same movie and spend a relaxing night together.