Conventional wisdom claims that long-distance relationships are destined to fail. However, the truth is that long-distance relationships can survive if you are willing to invest time, creativity, and thoughtfulness. Facing this challenge together can strengthen your bond and help you understand each other on a deeper level. Here are ten tips that can help you stay connected when there are hundreds or thousands of miles between you.
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#1. Send photos as often as possible
Trading weekly or even daily photographs can help you feel more in touch and emphasize the extent to which you are still part of each other’s daily lives. For example, some pictures can show your current outfit or location. In contrast, you might use others to illustrate that you have something of personal significance on or near you (such as a framed photo or a piece of jewelry from your partner).
#2. Keep time zones in mind
If you’re living very far apart, the time difference can add to the sense of isolation. Be sure to consider time zones when choosing when to call, and try not to wake your partner up or force them to wait up for you at painfully late times. If you plan your interactions around the obstacles presented by a time difference, you prove that you prioritize the relationship and care about what’s convenient for your partner.
#3. Send items in the mail
It is now relatively uncommon to receive handwritten letters, and it can be very meaningful to send such a letter to your long-distance partner. It demonstrates that you’re willing to put into making romantic gestures and also provides something tangible (i.e., your handwriting) that can enhance a sense of closeness. Sending small gifts can also be a great way to please your partner, especially if there are local treats that they love but can’t get in their current location.
#4. Discuss ground rules
It’s vital to discuss fidelity in long-distance relationships, as assumptions vary dramatically. For example, do you want to be entirely monogamous even if you are apart for a year, or do you find it acceptable to engage in casual encounters with other people? Discussing these issues ensures you are on the same page and helps to prevent needless jealousy or hurtful misunderstandings.
#5. Plan Skype dates
Although it’s fun to talk on the phone (and you don’t need to worry about whether your hair looks neat!), an audiovisual conversation feels much more like spending time together in person. Regular Skype dates help to remind you of each other’s unique mannerisms, and body language will communicate mutual attraction, interest, and affection, which are all things that can be harder to sense on the phone. The trick is to make sure that these dates are planned for times when you will be uninterrupted and can truly relax.
#6. Order gifts
Just because you’re miles apart doesn’t mean you can’t have flowers or delicious food delivered to your partner’s home. This is a particularly touching gesture around anniversaries or birthdays, but it is also worth considering any time your partner is stressed or needs extra support.
#7. Watch TV or movies together
If you have a shared love of movies or TV shows, you can watch them together and trade messages simultaneously. You can do so via texts or instant messages, and it can be great fun to exchange in-jokes, share ideas about the plot, and compare opinions about characters.
#8. Keep your promises
Being consistent and reliable means, even more, when you’re in a long-distance relationship, so be sure to stick to your agreements. For example, don’t stay out of touch for days at a time if that isn’t the established norm, and treat your Skype, phone, or chat dates as firm commitments in the same way you would treat dates in person.
#9. Play games together
Whether you enjoy word games like Scrabble or prefer traditional online gaming, playing games is a fun way to spend quality time with your partner. It also adds a little variation to your activities and is the perfect choice when you’re too tired to have a more intense conversation.
#10. Dream and plan for future
Finally, when you feel sad or lonely, thinking about the future can help to reassure you that better times are coming. These conversations can take the form of trading fantasies about your reunion or can focus on practical matters like how you will arrange to spend time together. For example, you might help each other find plane tickets, search for restaurants you want to try when reunited, or look at a range of potential vacation destinations. All of these pursuits can boost intimacy and make tough times more bearable.