The key to a successful long distance relationship

The key to a successful long distance relationship
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For a long distance relationship to work

Society’s collective imagination tends to have very little optimism about relationships separated by distance. After all, there’s a reason so many long-distance relationships fall apart sooner or later. Long distance relationships just don’t have the ease of contact that close relationships benefit from.

This means that those involved in a long-distance relationship must work to maintain the intimacy, but members of a close relationship can rely more on sharing the space to help them maintain that bond. Because insecure attachment styles are common, long-distance relationships may require both partners to reassure each other more consistently to compensate for the fact that they can’t spend time together. However, these unique challenges don’t mean that long-distance relationships are always doomed to fail. With time, effort, and a willingness to take a strategic approach, strengthening and sustaining a long-distance connection is more than possible.

Be conscious about communication

Discuss how often you would like to communicate with each other. If you have different preferences, try to find a compromise so that no one feels like they have to completely sacrifice their desires. When a person’s circumstances change significantly, don’t be afraid to reevaluate. Having different ideas about how much communication is desirable or realistic will strain your connection. Also, think about what kind of communication feels good to you. Text? video chat? E-mail? Social media messages? Calls? letters? Each of these methods has different advantages. Find the combination that best suits your relationship and watch your bond blossom.

Respond to bids for attention

In this context, “requests for attention” are all the different ways people make contact and try to make contact with each other. These can be obvious, like when your partner says they were having a bad day and asks you to call them. However, you can also be as subtle as your significant other sharing a funny video with you. Every time someone reaches out and hopes for some sort of response from the person they’re reaching for, they’re trying to get attention. While close relationships allow people to give physical responses to their partner, people in long-distance relationships must compensate using other methods. While it may be unrealistic to respond every time your significant other reaches out for attention, pay attention when they do and make sure you at least reach out to them. This lets them know that you care about them, even if you can’t always give them your full attention.

Verbalize the positive

Make a frequent and intentional effort to think about and share all the things, big or small, that you appreciate in your partner and in your relationship dynamic. Experiment with different ways of expressing your positive emotions. Text them first thing in the morning and let them know you love waking up thinking about them. Send them a letter (yes, in the right mail!) with your sincerest thoughts about your relationship. Share a picture of a fond memory you have with or about her, then express what you love most about it. If they’ve popped up for you during difficult times, circle back on them and tell them you really appreciate the fact that you can count on them. When both partners explicitly share their appreciation for each other, it helps them feel valued and secure in their connection.

Make special events a priority

In a long-distance relationship, special events can be a good time to really celebrate your connection. Give it your all when making festive plans for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, favorite holidays and other dates that are important to each of you. Special events are an opportunity to create strong, lasting memories that strengthen your bond. Remembering and commemorating significant events allows both of you to anticipate and celebrate each event as a couple.

Do activities together

Finding ways to share experiences with one another is a key element in keeping your long-distance relationship healthy. You can try playing games together on online platforms or you can even try non-digital games like 20 Questions. You can also simultaneously watch movies or TV shows while on the phone, enjoy a craft night together on video calls, read to each other, or cook a meal together while chatting. Making memories and experiencing new things together will strengthen your bond and make you feel like you have a life together, even if you are far apart.

Are you willing to put in the effort?

Long distance relationships are hard work. The cultural narratives surrounding them are generally pretty devastating. However, as anyone who has been separated from loved ones knows, sometimes they are the only option. Fortunately, long-distance relationships can be successful, healthy, and fulfilling when they are cared for and nurtured by everyone involved.

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