OK, so successfully managing a long distance relationship can be hard – really hard. But if it’s a period in your life that needs to be accepted, and you honestly want it to work, then the following are 5 tried and tested tips for not only surviving but actively enjoying your long distance love.
1. Communicate communicate communicate
Texting, Skype, FaceTime, etc. Communication means lots of things. But the technological means aside, what it actually means talking – properly talking – about your needs, wants, hopes, and desires. And this means during the tough times too, as well as the good.
It means being true to yourself and your partner’s needs by being open and sincere. Of course, this means listening as well as talking, because you need to keep that spark going by finding out, understanding, and respecting his or her point of view.
Just because you’re far apart, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to build respect and trust. Never, ever, stop expressing your feelings and making loving comments. Remember, being apart means that the body language that we humans depend on for a huge amount of communication is not there a lot of the time.
2. Set some ground rules
So, at first, making a set of ground rules might sound a bit ‘heavy’. But actually, what this does is ensuring that you both have the same outlook on what is or isn’t acceptable in your relationship.
For instance, if the two of you have a casual relationship – perhaps it’s still in its fledgling stage – what are you actually hoping might happen? When it comes to loving long distance, there’s not the option of simply seeing how things go, as you would do if you both lived in the same town. If you’re hoping that it’s going to develop into something more serious (such as eventually living together or marriage), then the time to talk about it is now – not later.
Knowing that you’re both on the same page when it comes to your hopes for the future is a huge asset for the chance of any such relationship going the distance.
3. Visit each other as often as possible
The cost of traveling to see each other can often be prohibitive. So you need to become truly savvy finding the best deals possible. If you need to use air travel to visit your partner, then the website skyscanner should be on your favorites list.
In addition, check out the best frequent flyer programs (see travel blog View From The Wing for the lowdown on the best and the worst frequent flyer programs and how to manipulate them to your own advantage).
Don’t live quite far enough apart that you need to take to the skies? Then Megabus is for you. Showing you the most economic fares from A to B, both in the US and around the world, again, this website should become your best friend.
And don’t forget to check out loyalty cards and credit cards that offer points when using them that can be used towards travel. With a little creative thinking and forward planning, it really is possible to bring travel costs down to a minimum. And just think, the less you pay for each trip, the more trips you can make! The effort it takes really is time worth spent.
4. Stay Honest
Of course, honesty is vital in every relationship. But the specific problem that can occur when you live and communicate long distance is that it’s really easy to hide emotion. Let’s face it, a Skype conversation isn’t quite the same as a post-coital chat… And FaceTime might not seem the best outlet to say that you’re in need of a hug right now.
Talking about the ‘stuff’ – in other words, your emotions – both big and little is something that you need to ensure you do. If you’re feeling vulnerable – say so! (Within reason, of course. No one likes needy…).
And while spontaneity is great (and needed), try to schedule regular calls where you can talk to your partner in private, with no chance of someone gate crashing your Skype conversation, or photo bombing your FaceTime. That way both you and him/her can truly be yourselves without the worry that someone else might overhear. Privacy is privacy, after all. It just takes a little more planning when you’re talking long distance.
5. Use social media wisely
OK, so we’ve already touched on tools such as FaceTime and Skype. And when it comes to social media, this can be a great asset to the long distance relationship – especially if you’re both living in different time zones.
Don’t want to send a text that might wake them in the middle of the night? Simple. Just tag them in a Facebook post that’ll make them laugh. Feeling a little lovesick? Check out your other half’s Instagram or Twitter feed… Scroll through their newsfeed and ‘like’ some of their posts. Re-share memories when they come round to an anniversary. Social media is such a cool way to stay connected.
And if you’re looking for inspiration for a great post to put on their wall, check out Best Wall on Facebook for some ideas.
Of course, we’re going to add a word of caution to your social media activities. Do try not to get obsessed with it. After all, no-one likes a Facebook stalker. And save the truly lovey-dovey stuff for private messaging between the two of you. A solid relationship just doesn’t need that. As tempting as it can seem to proclaim your love to the world, a solid relationship simply doesn’t need constant public reassurance.