Although the figures can’t be entirely accurate, it’s thought that somewhere the region of 14 million Americans are in a long distance relationship. That’s an awful lot of people making it work despite the separation.
If you’re one of them, here are some great tips that can make such a relationship more likely to go the distance (pardon the pun).
Make sure you talk
Because, you know, technology can make communication somewhat impersonal. Texts, messaging services, social media – they’re all great ways to stay in touch, but nothing beats actually hearing the other person’s voice on a regular basis. But on the flip side…
… Use technology to your advantage
Flirty text messages, sending pictures and videos, an email describing your day – they can all be wonderful ways to keep the connection. This can be especially important if you’re both living in different time zones, so can’t have that ‘good morning’ or ‘good night conversation because the other person might be asleep (or vice versa).
But don’t constantly take up your partner’s virtual time. You’re both leading your own lives as well as being a couple. And, very importantly, don’t take offense or immediately think the worst if he or she doesn’t respond to you straight away.
Discuss ‘the rules’
We’re not talking anything too formal here. But if you’re spending time away from each other for an extended period of time, it’s important to know that you both have the same expectations. For instance, are you exclusive? How often will you manage to visit each other? These things are vital to understand for such a relationship to be successful. Don’t just assume – get these questions out in the open as soon as possible so you’re both clear about each other’s wants and needs.
Avoid danger zones
No-one’s going to try and pretend that having a long distance relationship is going to be particularly easy. One of the biggest dangers is that of feeling alone, or that you’re partner might be doing something you wouldn’t approve of. Such emotions could (it’s not inevitable, but the chance is there) lead to the possibility of seeking solace in the company of someone else.
If you know you get super-flirty after a few drinks, simply don’t allow yourself to get in this situation. And, if you think your partner would be upset by your actions – innocent as they might be – then avoid them. You know, things like socializing with that sexy guy from finance, or finding reasons that you and your hot business colleague just ‘have’ to go out to discuss work issues over dinner. It can be easy to fall into such behavior almost without realizing you’re doing so. Listen to what that little voice in your head is telling you – it really does talk sense.
And hey, if you really can’t get out of a situation that you think might cause your partner some worries, then simply tell them. Being upfront is always the wisest move, even if it whatever you were doing is genuinely an innocent occurrence. Which moves us smoothly onto our next tip…
A given for any type of relationship, but in a long distance one it can be easier to hide worries from your partner. If you’re concerned about something, tell him or her. If you’re feeling insecure, say so. Better out than in, and talking about them openly gives your partner a) the chance to dispel them and b) an insight into what is or isn’t considered to be acceptable behavior on their behalf.
An unexpected gift through the post, or something as simple as a postcard can be a delight to receive. It doesn’t cost much, but what it does show is that you’re investing emotional effort into keeping your romance alive.
Work at your other relationships
You know, the ones with your family and friends. The last thing that you should be doing is hiding away because your partner’s not there. Get out and enjoy the company of others you love. Go see your mum more often, go for coffee with your sister, play tennis with your cousin, have a boys’ night out at the big game…
Plan your next visit
Meeting up is, without a doubt, the best thing about a long distance relationship. And the anticipation of the next visit is a wonderful thing. If you’re miles apart, and perhaps have to rely on expensive modes of transport to get to each other, then set up alerts to let you know when there’s offers on. Sky Scanner is a great website to find the best deals on flights, both internally and internationally.
For bus and train travel, checkout Wanderu for the best deals. And if you’re looking for alternative methods of travel that help with the costs, then a great way of getting from A to B is by car sharing. This is available both in the US and in other countries around the world, and is great way of saving on travel costs.
And to finish: A word about Facebook (and other social media)
If you use social media, then of course you’re going to interact there. Liking each other’s Facebook posts and making comments is only natural. And of course you’re likely to share ‘in’ jokes. But be aware that everyone else can see this too. The last thing you want is to overstep the privacy marker, making your partner uncomfortable that you’re allowing others to see private stuff that should be kept between the two of you.
And it should go without saying that while social media is great, please avoid any ‘stalker-like’ behavior. If you think you’re going too far, just try to imagine how you’d feel if your significant other was acting in this way towards you.