Long Distance Relationships: 10 Tips for Making it Work

Long distance relationships. Sometimes in life, relationships have to adapt to the way life goes, and sometimes, that means choosing to have a long distance relationship. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a long distance relationship. A lot of people are in them, and they stay together through the period they are apart and manage everything just fine, but don’t let this fool you into thinking it is always easy. Just like a relationship where you live five minutes away from each other, long distance relationships still take effort, work and commitment from both people. For those of you who are in long distance relationships or have been in one before, I’m sure that you can agree that it is not always easy. Sometimes problems crop up, and there are issues or concerns, and the distance makes it harder to deal with them. The trick is not to let the distance become the problem.

I have been attending a ten-week short course at Oxford University for the last nine weeks and my boyfriend of almost two years is back in South Africa. I, after all, am taking a gap year this year and this is not the only period I will be away from home, and thus away from my boyfriend, so we both had to decide if we were going to try a long distance relationship. Now, I know that this isn’t as long distance as when people go to university in other countries, and they don’t see each other for months, but it is still a long distance relationship, and after going through this period apart and speaking to others in long distance relationships, I have learnt these ten tips to make it work. My boyfriend and I are still very happy in our relationship (having not seen each other in over nine weeks) because we have learnt these tips through the experience, so I hope that for all others looking for advice on getting through long-distance relationships, you find this post informative and helpful!

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Be dedicated to making it work

This is the most crucial thing the two of you can do when you are about to embark on having a long distance relationship. As much as it is not always easy, it is possible to make it work. The trick with that though is that it can only work if both people are dedicated to making it work. Long distance is a different kind of relationship and commitment altogether, and if the both of you are not willing to work through the tough times, or make things work, then it is doomed to fail. Before you start your long distance relationship, you both need to talk and see if you are both willing to be dedicated to making it work. If things are not working in the future, then that is a different conversation, but there is no hope of it even starting well if that dedication isn’t there. If you are both going to commit to this dedication, then that is the first step to having a healthy long distance relationship, no matter what happens.

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Make communication a priority

Just because your partner is living thousands of miles away, that doesn’t mean that you guys have to talk any less than you usually would when living nearby. You don’t have to plan out when you talk to each other, but you should commit to speaking as much as you can (without it being every hour of the day). Your conversations don’t have to be serious all the time either – have fun and relaxed conversations as you would when you lived close to each other. Having strong and open communication lines, especially when they are a mix of serious and fun discussions, will not only make your relationship stronger but it will also make the strain of not being able to spend physical time together a lot easier. Distance doesn’t mean less talking – it gives you an excuse to talk more (again, not necessarily every hour of the day) so pick up that phone and get talking. You’d be surprised what that communication can do in uplifting your mood.

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Take advantage of technology

We would all be foolish not to take advantage of the fact that we have instant communication at our fingertips almost 24/7. In the past, long-distance relationships were held together by letters or visiting, and it could be a long time before you heard from your partner. We don’t have that problem anymore. All we have to do is pick up our phone and send a text, and our message is sent and delivered almost instantly. If you are in a long distance relationship – make technology work for you. Just because you are in separate places, that doesn’t mean you can’t still message, talk and even see each other. There is WhatsApp, email, instant messaging, video calls. It’s no longer the middle ages or even the 1900’s – if you are missing your partner, there are so many ways of getting hold of them in spite of the distance, so the only thing stopping you from talking as much as you both want is bothering to pick up your phone.

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Do things together

Okay, I know that this one sounds a little crazy, but bear with me for just a second. Just because you guys are far apart, that doesn’t mean that you still can’t do things together. If there is a movie that is coming out that both of you are excited to see, then arrange to go out and see it at the same time, then afterwards you can call and talk about it. Or, if going out is a bit too much effort, have a movie night over the phone. Choose a movie to watch, and then just say 1, 2, 3, Play! And start watching at the same time. That way, you can both enjoy watching a movie together and still talk and joke about things, as if you were sitting next to each other. It may sound a little strange, but it’s an excellent way to keep your relationship strong if you can still do activities together, even when you aren’t in the same place.

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Don’t just text

As much as texting is convenient, a relationship is not going to last on only text messages, because that is not the same as talking. Texting is also quite superficial in that it is the easiest communication method where you can hide behind a screen. Instead of just texting, make plans to video call once a week, for example, so that you can see each other’s faces instead of just reading messages. Even calling for 10 minutes every night is better than texting, because you get to hear each other’s voices. Hearing each other’s voices and seeing each other’s faces is an effort to keep your relationship strong because then the only difference between when you are in the same place, or a different place is that you can’t touch each other. At least with this, you can still hear and see each other, keeping the sadness of missing each other a little bit more at bay.

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Develop trust

Trust, along with honesty, is the most crucial part of a relationship, because if you don’t trust each other, then what do you have? Trust is an essential thing to develop in each other, especially in a long distance relationship because it almost acts like a coping mechanism. If you trust in your partner, that they are going to be faithful to you, and that they will continue to stay dedicated to working at your relationship, then you’ll find fewer problems in your relationship. Usually, most issues and arguments spring from a lack of trust, so if you trust your partner and vice versa, the thought of a long distance relationship will not be as scary and fewer problems will crop up for you both. With trust, your relationship will always stay strong and flourish, no matter the circumstances, so don’t let trust be sidelined.

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Live outside of your relationship

While being focused on your relationship is great and essential, you don’t have to let it (and missing your partner) consume everything you do. In actual fact, only focusing on your relationship and how far apart you are is only going to make you more miserable. Sometimes it can be hard to have a life separate from your partner when you are so used to spending most of your time with them (I definitely know how this feels). However, it is essential to also be able to have a life without your partner, as this can both be distracting from the fact that you miss each other but also beneficial for your self-growth. Go out and make new friends; start a new hobby or just spend time with other people. There is nothing wrong with focusing time on your partner, but you also need to have your own life. As much as you are one in terms of a relationship, you are still separate people, so it is vital to learn to be happy and comfortable having your own life before you start focusing on someone else’s life.

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Don’t compare your relationship to others

One of the worst things you can do in life for your self-confidence and abilities is comparison. By comparing yourself in any way to someone else, you instantly devalue your own skills, accomplishments and confidence. The same is true for relationships, especially long-distance ones. You can never compare your relationship to anyone else’s because everyone is different, and so is every relationship. Comparing yourself to a relationship where the people are living in the same city is silly because your long distance relationship is different so you will experience different issues. The same is true for comparing yourself to other long distance relationships because again, the circumstances are different, and you will experience different problems or successes. Stop comparing your relationship to others and focus on your relationship – celebrate the achievements together and get through the issues together because, at the end of the day, all that matters is you, your partner and your relationship. Everyone else’s relationships, successes and failures are irrelevant (not entirely because it is essential to be compassionate, but in terms of comparisons, then they are irrelevant).

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See the positives not the negatives

When things get tough, as things may in a long distance relationship, it is crucial to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Instead of thinking about how much you miss your partner and how lonely you are, instead think about how you get to have your independence, try new things, meet new people and experience different things on your own while still being in a loving and stable relationship. There are certain things that you can only do and learn when you are on your own and don’t have a partner just around the corner to help you. So take advantage of that during this time. I love my boyfriend, and I love spending time with him, but there are certain things I have learnt or things that I have experienced that I would never have had if he had been with me or if I was still in South Africa. This doesn’t mean that you have to go overboard, but there is nothing wrong with making the most of living life like a single person (going to specific events, spending time with friends and committing time to your studies – NOT acting like you are single as in you are not in a relationship) while you still have a stable and loving relationship.

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Go with the flow

This is one of the most important tips I can give (all of the tips are relatively significant, but I think this one is towards the top of the pile). Part of handling a long distance relationship is learning to just go with where life takes you and accepting the changes and differences as they come. Don’t get upset that your partner has started a new hobby, has made new friends or is spending a lot of time with his old friends. They aren’t replacing you; they are just adapting their life to not having you in the same city. The trick to making a long distance relationship work is accepting that things are going to be different – because let’s face it, they are. That’s not a surprise. You and your partner need to be accepting of the other’s potentially new schedules and commitments and be able to adapt to what comes. Take my relationship, for example. My boyfriend and I try to call every day even if it is only for a few minutes, but if either of us are too busy in the evening to fit in a phone call, then we adapt, and instead of getting upset that we can’t call now, we try to find a new time (like in the morning) to call. The only way to get through things together and successfully is to accept that for this time, things are going to be different, and learn to adapt to whatever life throws you. That way, you two will not only get through the long distance, but you will also form a stronger, flexible relationship that can make it through all sorts of challenges.

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Now that you’ve read these tips, I hope that you are all feeling more comfortable about embarking on long distance relationships if needs be and that by doing just a few things, you can still keep your relationship intact and even make it stronger. If you are strong apart, then logically you will be even stronger together, so don’t let the distance dishearten you. I hope that you all found this post helpful and informative for whatever your relationship situation is (this can even be adapted for friendships and family relationships), and if you are in a long distance relationship, I hope that everything goes well and works out for you. For my questions today:

  • If you’ve been/are in a long distance relationship, do you have any tips to share?
  • Would you like to see more relationship advice posts? If so, what types of advice/situations would you like to see?

Thank you all so much for reading – I am always so thankful for everyone who takes the time out of their day to read my blog. I’m sorry that today’s post was a little longer than usual. Please remember to like this post if you enjoyed it, and subscribe, so you don’t miss out on future blog posts. I post every Wednesday and Saturday. I hope you all have fantastic days!

Lots of Love

Blondey on a Mission xxx

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