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3 min read

How to Make Long Distance Relationships Work

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A long-distance relationship can feel exhilarating, but at the same time challenging and scary. When you've met the perfect partner, you may be willing to engage in a long-distance relationship in hopes of making it work. And while there may be a level of extra effort and self-awareness involved in maintaining a long-distance relationship, there are ways you can improve your chances of success. In this article, we will discuss how to improve a long-distance relationship.

What are the rules of a long-distance relationship?

There is no hard-and-fast set of rules for making a long-distance relationship work, but it is important that you and your partner start on the same page and stay connected. Have a discussion about how you want your relationship to work, a timeline regarding your time apart, and any expectations you have regarding your long-distance partner.

Some may choose to be exclusive in their long-distance relationships, while others may decide that monogamy is not for them. But that's just one piece of the puzzle (albeit a large one for many long-distance relationships). However, there are several other things to discuss. How often will you see each other? How often will you talk on the phone? Share how you can best feel an emotional connection to your partner, and agree on the hows and whens of making these things happen.

Tips for Making a Long-Distance Relationship Work

To keep things connected and fresh in your long-distance relationship, here are some effective strategies from relationship experts.

Try to have something to look forward to together

This can be as simple as a video chat after a long day, or a plan to meet up for a weekend at a cabin. Having something to look forward to and experience together can be a good way to feel connected.

Discuss communication needs.

What kind of communication do you expect, and how much? One partner might want a good morning text, while the other partner prefers phone calls. Modern technology gives us plenty of options, from messaging apps to video chats. In a long-distance relationship, you must discuss these things to ensure you feel the same way about them.

Stick to your ‘meeting' times whenever possible.

If you have plans to call, visit, or message each other, remember that missing those time zones can feel devastating to your partner if they are expecting to hear from you. Emergencies happen, but for the most part, you should be able to stick to a pre-arranged schedule of communication.

Set some ground rules to manage your expectations.

Compromise is key when it comes to the dynamics of long-distance relationships. Talk about what you expect, but be ready to listen to what your partner has to say. You don't have to want the same things, but you should be clear on each other's desires and expectations.

Avoid excessive communication.

If you are geographically close, you wouldn't continually communicate with your partner, so keep that in mind in your long-distance relationship. Receiving texts every 5 minutes from a partner can be frustrating for people, so don't go overboard.

Try to communicate regularly, and creatively.

Shake things up by communicating in a variety of ways. Video chatting is good, but so are texts, phone calls, emails, and even snail mail.

Don't neglect the mundane.

In a long-distance relationship, it can feel like you should make everything big and romantic. However, just as in any relationship, you should check in on the daily routines. Get to know the office gossip, and how your partner feels about that weird neighbor.

Find a way to hang out together while apart.

In long-distance relationships, keep the love alive with remote hangouts. Practice a new hobby together, do a crossword puzzle, or share a breakfast date.

Focus on the positive aspects of long distance.

Long-distance couples may have certain advantages over geographically close ones. Long distances can make visits exciting, and feel fresh and vibrant for longer. Research has also found that those in long-distance relationships are better at certain types of communication and that some actually prefer this setup. In fact, an Ohio State study found that about a third of long-distance couples ended within three months after reuniting in the same city. Keep the positives in mind when thinking about your relationship.

Learn how to address important issues both remotely and in person.

When you are in a long-distance relationship, it can be important to learn to tackle big issues from a distance. Spend time talking about the future and your expectations, even if you aren't physically in each other's company.

Enjoy your alone time and your time with your friends and family.

Even in a long-distance relationship, it can be essential to ensure that you aren't neglecting your own social life and activities. Spend time with friends and family, and make sure that you are taking care of your own needs.

Plan a date night.

A date night in a long-distance relationship can involve almost anything. Share a dinner over video chat. Play an online game. Do an art project together. You can even talk dirty and indulge in phone sex.

Make each other a part of family and friend gatherings.

As part of a long-distance relationship, you can still become a part of each other's lives. Get to know each other's friends and family, and take part in activities together when you're in the same city. You can attend family holidays together.

Long Distance Relationships Can Work

Long-distance relationships aren't doomed to fail; in fact, many people have been found to prefer a long-distance relationship. Long-distance couples can stay connected through a number of avenues, and if you begin with a solid foundation and understanding of expectations and a long-term plan, then there's no reason that a long-distance relationship can't work for you.

If you find that you are apprehensive about making long-distance work, then meeting with an Austin couples therapist as an individual or a couple may offer some guidance and confidence for success.

Book a Couples Therapy Session in Austin Today

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