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As much as we wish we could try, love is something we simply cannot control. By that we mean, we usually can’t control who we fall in love with or even when. That’s probably why there are reportedly 14-15 million individuals who are currently in what they would consider being a long-distance relationship.
Not to say that these kinds of relationships aren’t challenging or even inconvenient (at times). But if you’ve recently met someone (maybe online) and there seems to be a real connection, if they live a long drive or plane flight away, don’t let that discourage you from seeing what could happen. It’s a myth that most long-distance relationships don’t last. The reality is the ones that do fail are due to the fact that the couple simply fails to prepare for a long-distance relationship.
Luckily, we’ve got some tips on what you can do to make your long-distance relationship much easier. If you follow these suggestions, we’re confident that your newfound love can—pardon the pun—go the distance!
Get on Google Hangouts.
We’re willing to bet good money that one of the reasons why it was so hard to make long-distance relationships last back in the day was because communicating was super-expensive (long-distance charges, calling cards, etc.). Technology has progressed now to the point where you can say “good morning,” “good night” and everything in between without using your rent money to pay your phone bill.
In fact, thanks to Skype and (one of our personal favorites) Google Hangouts, you can connect with your significant other, not only to hear their voice but so you can see their face too.
OK (sigh), these methods aren’t as good as seeing them in person, but they are the next best thing. And they’re free and it can’t really get much better than that…right?
Open a (travel) savings account.
Here’s a silver lining to long-distance dating that you might not have considered. If you’re someone who isn’t the best at saving money, now you have some extra incentive to start doing just that.
Seeing your boo doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. It only requires some patience and self-discipline.
You need patience and self-discipline in order to open up a savings account that is completely devoted to saving money for travel expenses. You can have your own account or you can open up a joint one (which is actually a good way to see how your partner manages money).
With money already designated for travel, you won’t have to go into your bill money in order to take a weekend trip or to go on a much-needed romantic vacation. You can explore your relationship without going into debt.
Amp up your text game.
Balancing schedules can be hectic for couples who live in the same city or even share the same living space. That’s why it’s cool that texting exists because even if you aren’t able to talk on the phone for long periods of time every day, you can at least take out a couple of moments on your lunch break to let your significant other know that they’re on your mind.
If you're someone who isn’t huge on texting, being in a long-distance relationship is a great motivator to amp your game up just a bit.
We’ll admit that it’s not the most personal way to connect, but it’s better than nothing. And, it’s extremely convenient. Send a message, wait for a reply, respond with a cute emoji and you’ll instantly bring a smile to your partner’s face.
Learn each other’s love language.
If you’ve never read Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, get a copy for yourself and then mail one to your significant other. It’s one of the best reads to ever happen to relationships.
The gist of the book is we all have preferred ways of how we desire love to be expressed to us. The categories he provides are Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Quality Time; in other words, the five love languages. The theory that he gives is most of us “give love” in the way we want to receive it, not in the way our partner needs it.
Discuss this with your own partner. If they are a Words of Affirmation kind of person, maybe handwrite them a love letter and mail it. If they are big on Quality Time, it looks like you’ll need to use your frequent flyer miles quite a bit.
(Whatever your “language” is, encourage them to become fluent in it too!)
Have “mile markers” for your relationship.
Remember how we said that the leading cause for why long-distance relationships don’t last is because couples don’t plan for them? You know how the saying goes—“fail to plan, plan to fail.”
When you’re trying to make your long-distance relationship work, it’s important to be proactive. By that we mean, don’t just plan a time to call them today or to go out to see them. Have discussions about priorities and goals that you want to set in your relationship.
Where do both of you want to be in six months or a year from now? If you’re on the same page about these kinds of things, you’ll definitely be on the road to success, no matter what kind of distance may be between the two of you.
Make total honesty a top priority.
Honesty is paramount in every relationship because without trust, you don’t have much. Being honest, in our opinion, is one of the most important ways to keep a relationship working. But when there is distance between you and the person that you care about, there has to be all the more effort put into the dynamic to ensure that you both feel comfortable—even if you don’t get to see each other as much as you would like.
Honesty is developed by telling each other the truth (including not lying by omission), being open about each other’s vulnerabilities, and also being willing to answer one another’s questions.
No, this doesn’t mean that you should feel like you can’t have a life apart from one another. But what it does mean is you’re on the up-and-up, so there’s nothing to hide. When you’re together and…when you’re not.
Learn—and discuss—your triggers.
This one is BIG. All of us have triggers—you know, the things that set us off, sometimes without much warning. (Kind of like pet peeves, only A LOT more irritating.)
Your trigger might be lying while your partner’s trigger may be nagging. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, it’s imperative that you both know what each other’s triggers are. It’s then important to put forth a concerted amount of effort to try and avoid “pushing” each other’s trigger buttons.
In a long-distance relationship, your time together is invaluable. It would be a shame to waste it by arguing over things that you knew would get on each other’s nerves before you started doing them.
(A perfect lesson to learn before saying “I do” to one another, by the way!)
If you get caught up in a routine of doing the same thing day in and day out, after a few months, it’s easy to get bored. This is even more so the case if you’re in a long-distance relationship where it can sometimes be easy to not make your relationship as much of a priority as you should since you don’t get to see each other on a daily basis.
One way to keep things fun and exciting is by bringing a little spontaneity into the mix. Surprise your sweetie one weekend with a ticket to come see you. Have their favorite meal sent to their job for lunch. Think of things that you can do that sends the message of “I may not be with you physically, but I am always in tune with you emotionally.” These are just a few ways to show and say I love you to your long-distance partner, be sure to explore more.
One of the most underrated qualities of a person’s character is consistency, wouldn’t you agree? It’s what makes them dependable and reliable. If they say they’ll call at “7”, they do it. If they say they will see you a week from Wednesday, it’s as good as done. If they assure you that they’ve got your back, they come through every single time.
Can you just imagine how much two people in a long-distance relationship need this as a foundational trait?
When you know that every day, no matter what, the person you’re with is a man or woman of their word, not only can it make it so much easier to navigate through a long-distance situation, but it can eventually make your relationship solid as a rock.
Live in the moment.
Love is patient. Love endures. If any kind of relationship proves this fact, it’s a long-distance one.
There’s something really beautiful that happens between two people when they choose to be patient and endure the challenging times together—they stop obsessing about the future and learn how to stay in the moment.
When that happens, it relieves a lot of stress. The good thing about when you prepare for a long-distance relationship is when you are relaxed and opting to take things as they come, you're are able to avoid one of the main things that lead to a long-distance break-up—pressure.
Not to say that you shouldn’t have goals (we’ve touched on that). Really, it’s all about balance. And, in order to make a relationship work and last, balance is key.
Take your love one day at a time. Watch how FAR that takes you.