If you’ve ever been in a long-distance relationship, you know how challenging they can be. If not, chances are you’ve known a friend or family member who has.
Many couples, given the choice between a long-distance relationship and breaking up, decide to go their separate ways instead of trying to make it work. Why? They’re familiar with the problems long-distance relationships are known to cause (loneliness, jealousy, etc) and assume that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
If you’re faced with a similar situation, don’t give up just yet. Here are a few ways to avoid location-related issues in any long-distance relationship:
You and your significant other should always know when you’re going to see each other next. Having a specific date to look forward to makes being apart more bearable, and you can count down the days together. If you can swing it, try not to go more than a month without an in-person date. This step is particularly important around the holidays; make sure to plan far enough in advance to avoid sold-out trains and overpriced flights.
Take advantage of technology.
There are so many great technologies available today that enable you to have a face-to-face conversation with someone anywhere in the world. If you both have iPhones or iPads, try scheduling weekly FaceTime calls. If you have computers with webcams, Skype is a great (and free!) option to explore. Seeing your partner’s facial expressions will take your phone calls one step further and make your conversations more personable.
Send each other snail mail.
Whether you ship a small gift or write a letter the old fashioned way, sending snail mail will let your partner know that you’re thinking about them. Since most people don’t receive a lot of hand written letters, opening one from you will be a highlight of your partner’s day. Try to send at least one letter or gift a month, not including holidays and birthdays.
See how your other half lives.
It can be hard to feel immersed in your partner’s life if you can’t image them filling out paperwork at their desk or making dinner in the kitchen. Visit your partner and ask for a tour of their office, their house/apartment and their favorite local spots. Knowing where they stop for coffee every morning will help you feel connected to their life, even if it’s hundreds of miles away from your own.
Long-distance relationships are challenging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work. As long as you and your partner are committed to your relationship, your geographical differences shouldn’t be the end to your relationship.
Honesty and open communication are important in any relationship, but they’re absolutely essential when two people live in different places. After incorporating the tips listed above, have a frank discussion with your partner about what is and isn’t working, and then figure out a plan to close the gaps. If you continue to put your relationship first, your time and effort will pay off.