For many couples there comes a time of inevitable distance. Whether you live in different cities or work frequently separates you, it’s important to be able to handle the challenges that a long distance relationship brings.
Some people are better at knowing how to make a long-distance relationship work than others, but if it’s a hard adjustment for you, know that you’re not alone.
I’ve been there (and currentlyamthere).
The truth is, it can be really difficult to go about the day without your partner by your side. It’s normal to want them there for the exciting game nights — and even the uneventful grocery runs.
It’s easy to become envious of the people around your partner because all you want is to be in their presence. You want their touch — whether it’s a hug or something more. It may feel unfair that you can’t have that right now.
Nonetheless, long-distance relationships are completely doable. If the love is strong enough it will get through the near and far.
I may be optimistic since I’ll be juggling a long-distance relationship for the next year, but a positive outlook on this trying time is the first step to making it work.
Every person has their own way of coping with distance in a relationship. That’s why you must be mindful of your own techniques as well as your partner’s.
There will be ups and downs and it’s important to be able to center yourself along this journey. Although it may be a new experience for you, there’s a lot of good that can come from such a relationship.
Remember that it won’t last forever — you will see your partner again. Until then, here are some dos and don’ts to knowing how to make a long-distance relationship work long-term. Follow these rules and you’ll be sure to come out on top.
1. Do: communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly.
When you’re in a long-distance relationship, communication is the most important aspect. Although we may think it at times, your partner can’t guess what’s going on in your head.
If something is bothering you, you have to say so. It’s never good to keep things bottled up, especially when at a distance.
Why add extra strain on the relationship if you can just say what’s on your mind? The distance is hard enough, you don’t need the stress of being mad as well.
2. Don’t: let the small things get to you.
It can be challenging to see the big picture. That’s why it becomes easy to let a small thing like long response time or lack of enthusiasm in conversation get you angry.
Trust me when I say this attitude is destructive. It’s pointless to let insignificant actions get the better of you. There are more important things to focus on like how much love you have for them.
3. Do: talk about your day-to-day.
Even though what they ate for lunch and watched on tv seem like boring details, it helps to be in the know of what your partner is doing with their time.
When you communicate what you’re doing, your partner can feel like they’re a part of your day. This makes the distance seem less dominant.
4. Don’t: limit communication to just texting.
It’s obvious that texting is the quickest and easiest way to stay in contact with your partner. While it has its perks, there’s a lot of room for miscommunication.
Going for a phone call or FaceTime allows for some of the things we miss most about our partner — their voice and face. You’ll also feel much more connected with them if their attention is undivided.
5. Do: assure your partner that you love them.
Being in a long-distance relationship takes away the normal forms of showing love. This can be difficult to change since it’s not what we’re used to.
But it’s very important to find new ways to assure your partner that you love them. Maybe send them a letter in the mail or reminisce on your favorite memory together.
You might need to hear and say “I love you” a little more in a long-distance relationship and that’s okay.
6. Don’t: assume your partner doesn’t miss you.
When I first had to deal with distance, I thought my partner didn’t miss me because he wasn’t struggling as much as I was. In reality, he missed me the same but handled it a little better.
Coming to this realization was necessary for me to feel less alone in my emotions. Even if your partner doesn’t share it, they miss you.
7. Do: take this time apart to focus on yourself.
Sometimes without even noticing, relationships shift the focus from “me” to “we.” While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can be easy to neglect your own needs.
Long-distance relationships allow you to put yourself first and do things alone that make you happy. They can be a chance to gain back your independence if you lost it or watch the teen drama that’s been saved on your Netflix list.
8. Don’t: beat yourself up for having a bad day.
Some days you might wake up and feel content with the state of your relationship. Other days it may feel like there’s a gray cloud above your head. Both of these are equally important.
Would you be mad at your partner for having a hard day with the distance? Probably not, so don’t do it to yourself.
Always remember how strong you are to be putting in this work for your relationship. A lot of other people wouldn’t have the courage to do so.
Isabella Pacinelli is a writer whocovers love, relationships, self-care, body confidence, women’s health, college, and entertainment topics.