“Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it sure makes the rest of you lonely.”
-Charles M. Schulz
Distance makes the heart grow fonder…well, maybe for a bit. But after your heart has grown as much as it can, it might start to disconnect. If you are wondering how to make a long-distance relationship work, it takes work. Just like any relationship, you have to foster it and keep it alive. But being in different places can put additional speed blocks to a secure connection in your way.
If you have found the person you want to be with, however, and are willing to put the effort in, it is possible to have love flourish even if you aren’t in the same local. These are the musts of how to make a long-distance relationship work.
One of the biggest things lost when you stay together when you aren’t physically together is just that, the loss of the physical nature of your union. And since most people require skin touch to create a connection, you must find other ways to break through to one another’s soul.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open – Find Your Best Modality
Communication in a relationship can be difficult when two people are sitting in the same room. When they are halfway around the world, the cues that you give to one another are all but gone. We tell people how we feel through many different avenues, and one critical one for couples is through touch. Since you can’t show love via skin contact, you have to find another way to both send and receive messages of love.
If you are a texter, and she is a phone talker, then you are going to have to find a happy medium where you can both create a way to communicate with each other. If communication breaks down, it is nearly possible to keep a relationship alive.
Send Gifts Often
It isn’t that you have to spend a fortune sending your significant other lavish gifts, but it is essential to let them know that you are thinking of them so far away. Sometimes it can feel like out of sight, out of mind when people aren’t living next to one another. Make a special point to send their favorite song via text, a sweatshirt, so they keep warm, or even a card with a special saying.
Going the extra mile to put some time and effort into showing you care will mean the world to someone who is feeling disconnecting and missing you miles away. When possible, send your little bundle of joy via snail mail. Opening a mailbox and seeing someone went through the hurdles of involving the post office can really make someone’s entire world.
Visit as Much as is Feasible
Sure, there are logistical reasons that you might not be able to be in the same place. But if you want your long-distance relationship to work, then you have to take every opportunity you can to fit visits into your budget and your schedule. If you put aside a weekend to meet up in between, it can completely restart your relationship.
And most likely, just one visit can help to rekindle your love and hold you over until the next time you can be together. It only takes a day or two to remember all that you miss about someone. Surely, you can take a one day trip without suffering too much…and you will gain immensely.
Texting and phone conversations are very important, but being able to see someone physically is critical. After a while, if you don’t see someone face-to-face, it becomes difficult to feel permanence. We begin to forget the things that we love about people when we don’t see them often.
A ten minute FaceTime session can mean the world, and remind the other person of all the things you love about the way they look, and, most importantly, the mannerisms that they miss so terribly.
Sexting…Yes, it Really is Important
Part of a healthy relationship is sex and skin contact. Although you can’t have much of that when separated, there are ways to improvise. Dirty talk can help to keep you both less starved for sexual contact. Or, if you are comfortable, consider other ways that you can sexually interact.
Thanks to smartphones, videos, and so many different ways to keep in touch, without really touching, your sex love doesn’t have to suffer while they are not physically in your life.
Let Them Know how you Feel
Being in a long-distance relationship is often isolating and lonely. You have someone that you are paired with, but they aren’t really “there.” It is hard to be in a relationship with someone who is gone all the time. So it is vital to let the other person know how you feel about them. It isn’t enough to tell them, “I love you” or “I miss you.” Those are standard phrases that will quickly lose their value if you don’t tell them precisely what you love, what you miss, and why you wish you were there with them.
Be very descriptive about how you feel with someone. Again, since you can’t rely on nonverbal cues to tell someone your feelings, this is where you have to step up to the plate and communicate your love in more explicit, concrete, and verbal ways.
Fill Them in on What You’re Doing
You might think that you don’t have much to talk about. After all, you are away in another place, doing something entirely separate from your relationship with someone else. The thing is, whatever it is you are doing is still a part of your life. And therefore, it is a part of theirs too.
Try to let them into your new world and tell them all the things that are going on, regardless if you think they are meaningful or not. It can start to feel as if you are living two separate lives, and if that happens, soon enough, you will be. Attempt to meld what you are doing in your new surroundings without each other, or you will just be living simultaneously together, and that can’t, and won’t last.
Compliment Often – You Can’t Overdo it!
Touch is such a vital part of making each other feel good, loved, and secure. So you have to find different ways to make them feel good. Compliments never get old, nor does telling them how much they mean to you. You can’t overdo it, this I promise! Think about whatever it is that you miss and tell them so. If you miss their smile, confess how it lights up your life.
Do Things “Together”
Sure, you aren’t in middle school anymore, but you can still do things together that are somewhat silly and childish. If your thing is watching a television show, then set aside that time to watch it together. You can text one another as if you are sitting in the same room and share something from so far away. Sometimes it is the most insignificant thing that can light and warm a relationship’s heart.
Know What the Plan is
If you have committed to a long-distance relationship, don’t go into it blind. When someone is far away, and your communication is limited, then it is easy for misunderstandings to happen! Have a concrete plan about what your expectations are, what you need from your partner, and what is, and what is not acceptable while they are gone. If you think that they should be calling every day and they only call once a week, that can create resentment. Also, if they want to talk once a day, and you just really don’t have that much to say, then arranging to have fewer conversations, but more in-depth, might work better. The key is to have an understanding about how to meet one another’s needs and stick to it.
There is nothing worse than being apart, and then when you do communicate, only getting negative vibes. I know you miss them, but don’t make every conversation about how horrible things are, how much you miss them, and all the rotten things you are going through.
No one wants to contact someone who is going to have nothing but gloom and doom to talk about. Try to keep it light and not so morose if you’re going to have “time together” that is meaningful and something that you mutually look forward to.
See the Potential Upside
Sometimes we can begin to lose ourselves in a relationship. If you have been together for quite a bit, think about all the things you love to do by yourself. A long-distance relationship isn’t just about trying to keep things together; it can also be about finding you that you might have been missing.
If you have to be alone, make the most of it. If you can, then it won’t feel as if you are losing something, you might find that it is a positive thing for you to learn to stand on your own again.
Have a Goal – What is the End-Game?
A long-distance relationship with no end game can feel empty and ridiculous. I mean, if you don’t really have a plan to reunite and be in the same place, what are you really doing? The goal of your long-distance relationship should be to hold you over until a time when you can be together.
So make sure that you know what the goal is, what time limits you are setting, and what you want for the long, long-term, so you don’t feel like you are wandering aimlessly through the time you are not physically together.
No relationship is easy. And to make them work, you always have to work on communicating and show each other love. When someone physically leaves, and you have to keep the magic alive, it can be especially challenging. If you are wondering how to make a long-distance relationship work, it takes a lot of attention and even more putting yourself out there.
Let your significant other know that also if they aren’t next to you, they are always in your heart. They need to know that they still hold that place.