Let’s talk about it: relationships take work. To maintain a healthy relationship, you need trust, patience, and lots of communication. And when it comes to long-distance relationships, they’re the true definition of a labor of love.
Why The Long Distance Relationship?
Couples get into LDRs for different reasons. For example, you might meet your beau while on a trip away from home and decide to continue the connection when you return home. Or you may have already known your partner before they had to go away for business. No matter the reason, LDRs are a common reality for many couples.
An increase in dating apps is another reason for the uptick in LDRs. Dating apps allow users to match with singles from all over the world. Because of this, more and more people are finding themselves falling for someone on the opposite side of the world.
Long-distance relationships often get a bad rep for being unsustainable. Even hearing that you’re just considering an LDR is cause for concern for some loved ones. While navigating these relationships can be challenging, it isn’t impossible. There are plenty of couples with success stories following their long-distance relationship. According to a research study by KIIROO, there’s a nearly 60 percent success rate for couples in long-distance relationships.
A study conducted by the popular dating app, OkCupid, found that nearly half of men and women are open to an LDR. And with more people focusing on traveling, long-distance relationships are starting to become a common theme in the dating landscape. Here are seven ways to maintain your LDR:
Set An End Date
For a long-distance relationship to work, there must be a mutual understanding regarding how long the distance will be a factor. It’s easier to maintain a long-distance relationship when you have a date to look forward to.
Whether you met your partner before they went away for travel or while they were already away, it’s a good idea to talk about when you can expect to be together long-term.
Couples who plan to be long-distance for several months should set dates for when one partner can visit the other. Long-distance relationships may be common, but they shouldn’t be permanent.
Get Creative With Quality Time
Sometimes talking on the phone for hours at a time can get boring. You might not always have new things to talk about, so you end up recycling old conversations. To spice up your time spent together, get creative with how you do it.
Schedule a date night over FaceTime, complete with dinner and wine. You can order food from apps like DoorDash or Uber Eats so that you and your partner can share the same meals as if you were really together. You can also play board games or watch movies over Zoom as a creative way to spend date night.
Websites like Eventbrite or Yaymaker offer various virtual events like painting classes, comedy shows and even dance parties. Getting creative with your date planning is a great way to bond while trying something you’ve both never done before.
Focus On Yourself
When you’re in love, it may feel like the world revolves around your partner. This feeling is often compounded in long-distance relationships. As a result, many women tend to worry about what their partner is up to, often forgetting to take care of themselves.
Remember that you and your partner are individuals with separate goals and desires. It’s important that you both pursue your personal interests so that when you meet again, you’re better than when you left each other.
If the reason for the long distance is because of work obligations, it’s especially beneficial to allow your partner to focus on their work and cultivate relationships with their colleagues. Being supportive of each other while you focus on yourselves is a great way to encourage a healthy dynamic in your relationship.
The most critical part of maintaining a long-distance relationship is communication. Because your partner is not readily available to you, keeping all lines of communication open is essential.
Lack of communication is a common complaint many people have in long-distance relationships. For some, frequent communication means daily morning and night texts, while others may prefer weekly phone calls to feel emotionally satisfied. Whatever it means to you, it’s important to communicate your needs to your partner.
You and your partner may not always see eye-to-eye on how often you’d like to communicate. Like other aspects of a relationship, compromise is key. If you can’t meet each other somewhere in the middle, it may be time to evaluate how much of a priority the relationship is to you.
Give Each Other Space
Due to feelings of isolation and loneliness, many couples in long-distance relationships ramp up their communication. While this might work for some, many couples eventually begin to experience feelings of relationship burnout.
It’s easy to feel insecure in a long-distance relationship because you don’t have immediate access to your partner. However, it’s good to allow yourselves time away from each other so there’s something to miss.
Spending all of your free time checking in with your partner is not healthy and can actually drive them away. The key to a successful relationship is having a healthy balance between the time spent with each other versus the time spent away. This can help to avoid feeling overwhelmed or smothered, which can lead to resentment.
Create A Schedule
For those with busy schedules, create a plan with days and times that you and your partner should communicate. It’s a great way to prioritize your relationship while being able to tend to other life matters.
If you’re busiest on weekdays, you can schedule a regular weekend phone call to guarantee that you’re making time for the relationship. Similarly, if you’re busy on weekends, perhaps a weeknight date over FaceTime can help spice up the relationship.
Adhering to the schedule is important because it shows that you prioritize the relationship. However, if you find keeping up with a consistent schedule challenging, you might consider healthy ways to manage your time better.
Nurture Other Relationships
While you or your partner is away, you can focus on cultivating or nurturing other relationships. It’s common for women to become so emotionally invested in their romantic relationships that they forget about their other ones. Being in a long-distance relationship is the perfect time to focus on other meaningful relationships with friends and family members.
Send a text to an old friend or call your favorite cousin to catch up over dinner or drinks. You can also use apps like Bumble BFF to make new friends in your area. Spending time with loved ones is a great way to pass the time as well. Eventually, you and your partner will be back together before you know it.
This is an especially good time to spend with older relatives and loved ones. Bringing a couple of groceries over or taking them out to breakfast is beneficial for you and your elderly loved one, who may be grateful for the company.
Talk About Your Feelings
Maintaining the spark in a long-distance relationship can be tricky. It’s easy to feel distrustful or upset with your partner if you’re not being emotionally fulfilled. This is why it’s necessary to check in with each other when you’re feeling particularly lonesome.
Have regular conversations with your partner to nip the negative emotions in the bud before they grow into resentment. Before having a heart-to-heart, remember to go into the conversation with an open mind. It’s easy to become accusatory when you’re feeling neglected by your partner.
Instead of pointing the finger, calmly explain your feelings with the intention of moving forward from them. The purpose of the talk is to make your partner aware of how you feel so that you both can adopt new habits that will cultivate a stronger relationship. If you’re feeling really angry, it may be best to wait until you’ve cooled down to avoid making hurtful comments against your partner.
Surprise Each Other With Gifts
Nothing says ‘I’m thinking about you’ quite like a surprise gift in the mail. Part of maintaining a healthy relationship is celebrating your loved one. This is particularly important for those whose love language involves gift-giving. To keep the momentum of the relationship going, consider purchasing a thoughtful gift to surprise them.
If you don’t know the exact address where your partner is staying, you can still send them a sweet surprise. Mobile apps like Goody and Gyft allow you to send handpicked gifts to your loved ones right to their phone. All you need is their phone number.
For those on a tight budget, a handwritten letter is a thoughtful and romantic gesture that many appreciate. Spritz some sweet-smelling perfume onto the pages of your letter to remind them of home.