Anyone who has been in a long distance relationship can attest that the challenges are different than in other relationships. It can obviously be very difficult when you are not able to see, hold, smell, or just be with that person.
The good news is that technology makes it possible to engage with your partner more than ever before. With texting, facetime, and all of the other apps out there it is easy to talk 24/7 (not recommended) and send pictures and videos that make any distance seem not quite as bad.
The following is a list of ideas for you to keep your long distance relationship strong.
- Plan to do things together while apart
A couple of ideas would be to watch a show or movie at the same time together or plan to read the same book and talk about it after each chapter. This could be a really good way to feel connected and feel like you are doing something together.
In addition to these things it is also important to actually visit each other when possible. Making that effort will be an exciting way to hug, kiss, touch, and get through the long periods apart.
- View it as an exciting opportunity
Staying positive can be a challenge in a long distance relationship, but it is very important. Being mopey, disappointed and depressed will just bring both of you down. Try to be happy, grateful, and excited as much as possible.
Take time either by voice or in writing to discuss your plans for the future and see this timeframe as something that is leading up to thrilling things to come.
- Communicate regularly and creatively
The following are three great ways to stay in touch.
Video such as Facetime or Skype
Seeing each other’s faces while you are talking is a great opportunity to connect. Try to schedule these times regularly.
This could be by text or you could get creative with other messaging apps. Check in with each other and remind each other of your feelings. There are some apps to check out that could make this really fun and enable you to send cute things to each other.
This one is something people don’t thing much about anymore. Who doesn’t like getting something in the mail though? How exciting to see a letter or even a package from that special someone.
- Don’t Communicate too much
As important as it is to communicate regularly, it is also important to maintain some balance. If you are connected 24/7 this is not healthy for either of you. One thing that a lot of couples find to be helpful is to keep a physical object that reminds them of their partner. This could be a gift that you give each other or just a special something that makes you think of him/her.
- Be open and honest
Make sure both of you are on the same page. It is important that you set some ground rules so that you both have the same expectations. Are you exclusive? Are you allowed to date other people?
Even if you are going out with friends it can be helpful to let your partner know instead of them seeing questionable pictures of you on facebook later on. Keeping important information secret is just going to lead to issues in the future.
- Take care of yourself and spend time with family and friends
Just because you aren’t seeing each other regularly doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take time with family and friends. Actually, it makes that time even more important. It is good not to feel alone and isolated. Keep your husband/wife up to date on how your family and friends are doing
Also make sure to do things that make you feel healthy. Go to the gym, go for a hike, read, or whatever else you do to take care of yourself.
- Have a goal in mind
It is important that both of you are clear about the long-term plan. The chances for success in the relationship are much higher if you are both clear about what your goal is. Even if you don’t have a specific date and place where you plan to continue your relationship together, at least be talking about it.
It could be exciting to discuss what you want your life to look like in 6 months, 1 year, or even 5 years.
Hopefully these 7 tips will guide you in having a very satisfying long distance relationship. Open communication is at the heart of many of these points. Remind yourselves of what a wonderful opportunity this could be for both of you to clarify your goals for your relationship together and make it even more special when you can finally be together.
Shane Birkel is a licensed marriage and family therapist with offices in Dover and Portsmouth New Hampshire. He offers individual and couples counseling to people with relationship issues. For people in a long distance relationship, Shane also offers online counseling. You can check out shanebirkel.com, call 603-852-3654, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.