Long-distance relationships can last for weeks, months or even the whole duration of a relationship. There are many reasons why partners might be physically separated from one another, like moving away for school, having very different work schedules and, these days, being confined at home because of COVID-19. 😊
While it’s possible to adapt and make your relationship work at a distance, it’s not always easy for everyone. Here are some tips that you might find helpful.
Communication: when, how, and how much?
Choose the appropriate method of communication.
For example, it’s appropriate to send your partner a brief text message to tell them you’re thinking about them. But if you need to resolve a conflict or talk about something important, it’s probably better to do voice or video chat so you’re able to communicate your full range of emotions to each other.
Choose the right topic.
Talking to each other about everyday things can bring you closer together and help you avoid the pitfall of talking “only” about your relationship. For example, you can talk about what you did that day, what’s been on your mind and the other people you’ve interacted with. This helps your partner stay connected to your everyday life even if they’re not physically present. And if something is bothering you, don’t be afraid to bring it up, respectfully. Keeping things bottled up can lead to sad or anxious thoughts and make you feel even worse.
Choose the right time and duration.
Interacting at different times of the day and for different durations can add some variety to your conversations. For example, you can have a chat in the morning to start the day on a positive note, check in at 2 p.m. when you’re both taking a break, or talk about how your day went when you’re going to bed. The length of your conversation can also vary—sometimes you’ve got lots on your mind that you need to share, other times, a simple “hi!” is all you need to say!
Trust yourself—and your partner
Long-distance relationships require a certain amount of maturity and self-confidence. Not having your partner by your side can sometimes cause feelings of insecurity to surface. It’s important to be able to communicate these feelings to your partner so that your needs are met and you’re not alone with your questions and worries.
Living long-distance relationships
Since physical contact isn’t possible in a long-distance relationship, you need to find other ways to express your love and affection. The important thing is understanding what your partner likes. Do they like receiving regular phone calls, the occasional message, a letter, a simple video message? Knowing their preferences will help avoid creating emotional distance at a time when you’re physically distant.
Even if you’re apart right now, it can be reassuring to make plans and set goals together for your future. If the distance is temporary, talk about all the places you’ll go together once you’re reunited. Share information and photos and have fun planning the exciting experiences you’ll share.
Maintaining a long-distance relationship can be a challenge. But having lots of alone time can also be a great opportunity to cultivate other aspects of your life. When we’re young, our relationships can feel extremely intense and all-encompassing. It’s normal to feel that way when you’re dealing with very strong emotions, especially for the first time. But don’t neglect all the other important things outside your relationship, like your friends and family, your hobbies and interests and school. Being separated from your partner for an extended period of time lets you invest your time and energy in the other things that are important to you and define who you are. Seize the opportunity!
For example, you can watch a TV show together, take a break during the same time of the day or chat while taking a walk. When you make it a special moment, it can almost feel like they’re right there with you. Plus, you’ll have something to look forward to and you’ll avoid the frustration of trying in vain to reach your partner when they’re not available.
Intimacy and safety
Even when you’re apart, you can still share moments of intimacy by exchanging words of affection and confiding in one another. This form of intimacy is great for your communication. At the same time, the lack of physical closeness—cuddling, kissing, sexual intimacy—can sometimes be frustrating. It’s up to you to find creative ways to maintain intimacy while keeping yourself safe. For example, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of “sexting”.