The phrase “long distance relationship” is usually met with a great deal of skepticism and uncertainty. People tend to meet from around the world on apps like LOV Dating App (http://www.lovapp.co/imready) leading to long-distance relationships. Those who have never been in an “LDR” are often wary of the idea of not being able to see their significant other every day. However, factors such as study abroad, online dating, job transfers, and hundreds of other reasons make LDRs more common today than ever before. Nobody ever really plans to be in one, but once it does happen, you’ll soon find that, hopefully, it’s not as scary as people make it out to be. From my experience in a long-term and committed long distance relationship, here are my top 5 tips for making the most out the distance:
#1 – Make plans.
One of the easiest ways to speed up the calendar until your next reunion is to discuss date ideas for when you’re together. Like: a movie that will be in theaters, a concert that will be in town, or just something silly like a painting or cooking class that you’ve wanted to try out. The excitement of making plans for your time together takes the focus away from the physical distance and, in fact, makes you and your partner feel even closer.
Living in different cities also becomes an easy excuse to become a tourist in each other’s cities, so don’t be afraid to finally go on that double-decker bus tour or check out the art museum that you’ve never really gotten around to seeing. Being in an LDR, unfortunately, means getting significantly fewer dates together than geographically close couples, but it also means getting to spice up your dates to make the most of the time you have together. Alternatively, you can always plan for a lazy and cozy night of cooking and watching your favorite movies while cuddling, an experience that will feel all the more intimate and special because you don’t get to do it as often as you’d probably like.
Once your relationship has progressed to the point where you’re both ready to talk about it, distance also makes for an opportune time to start discussing your future plans together. Having an end goal, such as knowing where you’ll live together and when you’re planning on making it happen, speeds up your time apart and provides reassurance. The patience and time you’ve had to spend apart will eventually pay off.
Utilize apps and social media
#2 – Utilize apps and social media.
Technology becomes a crucial part of maintaining a healthy long distance relationship. While geographically close couples may often find that technology gets in the way of their alone time (like when one partner is texting or scrolling through Facebook at dinner – ouch), long distance couples can actually use it to greatly strengthen their relationship when they’re apart.
When you and your partner aren’t together, there’s a good chance they’re going to be on your mind a lot of the time and small things throughout the day will be frequently reminding you of them. So, when you see a picture on Instagram of a place you two have talked about traveling to, or when you see a funny dog video on Facebook (which you know they’ll love), tag them in the comments section. When you’re out for a walk or running some errands, send a quick Snapchat of your surroundings or something interesting you see. It’s a small gesture that shows them that they’re on your mind, even when you’re both busy with your separate lives.
Don’t be afraid to check out apps like Couple as well, which gives partners an exclusive and intimate communication experience as well as a few extras that texting doesn’t offer (like the “thumb kiss” feature, which is both cheesy and completely adorable). Using different apps and forms of social media gives long distance couples more ways to communicate and feel closer, both physically and emotionally.
#3 – Use FaceTime and Skype. Often.
Speaking from experience, FaceTime and Skype are gifts from the technology gods because they give long distance couples the opportunity to see and hear each other like an in-person face-to-face conversation. Texting is a great way to keep in touch during the day, but nothing compares to hearing the comforting sound of your partner’s voice and laugh. And seeing the smile that caused you to fall in love.
Because long distance couples don’t get to communicate as often as geographically close couples, it makes their conversations that much more meaningful when they do get to talk. When it’s time for my boyfriend and me to FaceTime every evening, we’re both so excited to tell each other every detail of our days that there’s never any awkward small talk or uncomfortable silences. Long distance couples learn how to communicate efficiently, an incredibly valuable asset to their relationship in the long term.
FaceTime and Skype also allow for creative and unorthodox “dates”, such as talking while watching the same sporting event on TV together – kind of like you’re sitting on the same couch watching it together. You can even use it when you’re at a concert or sporting event as a way to “bring” your partner with you, an easy way to show your partner that you wish you could be at that event together.
#4 – Take care of yourself.
Being in an LDR means a lot more free time when you and your partner would otherwise be hanging out or going on dates. While it can feel lonely at first, spending time apart from your significant other is a great opportunity to devote more time to yourself. Most people in relationships usually don’t have the time or extra energy to do spend time on themselves. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take yoga or spinning classes but never felt like you had enough time to do it – being in an LDR is the perfect time to get started and be a little bit selfish.
Unlike geographically close couples, you’ll also have more time to devote to the other relationships in your life. Relationships with your family and friends can often get neglected when couples prioritize spending time with each other over all the other people in their lives. Since you can’t be with your partner on a daily basis, you’ll be able to nurture other important relationships in your life and maintain a healthy interpersonal balance.
By taking care of your own interests, health, and needs, you’ll be all the more happy and able to share your mental and physical health with your partner in the form of selflessness and compassion. You might even be surprised by the confidence, maturity, and independence you gain while doing things without your partner, qualities that will benefit your relationship in the long term.
#5 – Be romantic.
It’s often easy to take a relationship for granted, assuming that the other person knows how much you love and care about them. With distance, however, less frequent communication and insecurity are added into the dynamic of the relationship and mean that a little bit more reassurance may be necessary to maintain the health of the relationship.
If you truly care about your partner and are serious about your relationship, this should come with ease – just be honest with your partner about all the love and feelings you have for them. Never skip out on a chance to send a quick “I love you” text or let them know when you’re thinking about them during the day, because it’ll bring butterflies to their stomach every time (trust me).
Feel free to be a little mushy too, because those gestures go a long way in making your partner happy, whether it’s by making them your #mcm or #wcw on Instagram, or surprising them with an occasional care package, hand-written letter, or flower delivery. It’s your chance to be creative and have some fun, and maybe even to get to try out some of those romantic ideas you’ve seen on Pinterest.
I’ve often heard the phrase, “Distance is just a test to see how far love can travel,” and I whole-heartedly agree. It isn’t always going to be easy, but if you’re with the right person, then you’ll make it work and it’ll be so worth it when you’re together in the end. Distance can be one of the hardest obstacles for a relationship to overcome, but if you and your significant other can survive having distance between you, then you can undoubtedly survive anything.
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