Full disclosure: I was in a long-distance relationship with my American boyfriend for two years before we moved to New Zealand to be together physically in 2019.
This meant that we only saw each other every two to three months when we first started dating by flying back and forth.
Sure, sometimes the time passed quickly. Sometimes it felt like slow torture. However, most of the time, I could deal with it.
How, you ask? Well, because I knew he was something special.
And it turns out I was right, because we’re now happily engaged and planning a wedding together! Hurrah!
If you’re currently in a long-distance relationship, I want to tell you that I feel your pain. I know more than anyone how tough it is on a person in every sense – mentally, physically, emotionally and financially.
That said, I also want to let you know that you will get through it.
After all, you won’t be long-distance forever. This is a temporary situation. And my fiancé and I are living proof!
That said, read on for my top tips when it comes to how to make a long distance relationship work.
1. Talk Every Day
How to make a long distance relationship work 101: communicate.
Whether it’s through Snapchat, WhatsApp or via Skype, talk to your long distance love every single day.
And texting is all well and good, but using your voice actually makes the conversation feel a lot more personal and binding.
It doesn’t have to be for long if the time difference makes it difficult for you both, but daily communication is so important in a long distance relationship. It bridges all those physical miles between you and helps you feel connected.
Also, make sure you say good morning and good night to each other without fail. This shows that you’re thinking of the other person as soon as you wake up and last thing at night before you go to sleep – and it makes you feel cared for.
2. Always Have a Plan in Place for the Next Visit
Back in the day, Nathan and I always had solid travel plans in place for the next time one of us was going to visit the other. I mean, you kind of have to – flights are expensive and they get booked up pretty quickly!
If you make a plan to plan your trips ahead of time, it always gives both you and your partner something to look forward to. Especially on bad days where you’re craving their touch or physical presence.
Counting down the days until the moment you meet face-to-face again is also kind of comforting – and it keeps you both going until that moment arrives.
3. Make Use of Technology
Listen, we’re so lucky to have the technology that we have nowadays so you might as well make the most of it!
For Nathan and I personally, FaceTime was a life-saver. We primarily used video chat to talk as we liked being able to see each other. It made us feel happier and more connected.
That said, we also interacted via social media by tagging each other in memes on Facebook (etc) which let the other person know that they were being thought of.
Either way, technology is extremely handy and we probably wouldn’t be able to have long distance relationships without it. Therefore, make sure that you embrace it with open arms.
4. Arrange Date Nights
In addition, Nathan and I used to have nights where we arranged FaceTime or Skype dates. This was so we could do the things we would have done if we were actually together.
(For instance, cook a meal, have a glass of wine or even watch a film.)
This helps to keep the spark alive and also makes you feel like you’re spending quality time together, even though you’re not actually with each other.
FYI, you can still be romantic in a long distance relationship. In fact, the whole “two lovers torn apart by geographical distance” thing can make your relationship seem even more romantic.
You know, like the olden days. Swoon.
5. Send Each Other Cute Gifts
Sending each other cute gifts when you’re in a long distance relationship is another way of letting the other person know that you’re thinking of them. This is regardless of whether it’s a special occasion or not.
The gift in question can be something virtual if you’re on a tight budget. However, receiving something physical through the post can mean so much more when you’re so far apart (like Christmas has come early!).
For example, I once sent Nathan these cute retro prints from Printiki (*) for Valentine’s Day. They illustrated our relationship and all the things we’d done and places we’d been together so far. And he really loved and appreciated them!
(You can use my code “5DT8ZG” at the checkout on Printiki’s website to receive free shipping.)
6. Have an End Goal in Mind
Presuming you don’t want to be in long distance relationship forever (I mean – who does, right?), make sure you’re both open and honest with each other with regards to your future plans.
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open, talk about adapting your situation regularly and both work towards a common end goal.
Sure, things might not seem clear at first. But if you both truly love each other, you’ll be able to work out a plan to ultimately be closer to each other.
7. Stay Positive
Finally, even though you’ll have days where you feel like packing it in, it’s so important to preserve a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) when it comes to how to make a long distance relationship work.
If you don’t stay upbeat and focus on your future with your partner, instead of how challenging your present is, you’ll struggle to cope.
Lean on each other, be there for one another and cry together if you need to.
And above all, always remember that this too shall pass.
How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work, Survive and Thrive
Long distance relationships are definitely challenging, but it is possible to get through them.
And sometimes you don’t even have a choice if you’re adamant you’ve met your one or you’re already married.
The trick is to stay emotionally connected as much as possible to make up for the physical aspect being missing. And if you’re successful, it’ll make your relationship even stronger as a result.
Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? What are your top tips in terms of how to make a long distance relationship work?