Navigating a relationship across city, state, or country lines takes an extra set of skills (trust me- I know!). Here are 12 ways to set yourself up for success with your long distance lover.
By Hailey Heil
When you and your partner(s) find yourselves in different locations, it can feel like a lot of things are out of your control. You can’t spend the time together that you’d want to and you’re forced to communicate through new means. But there are actually a lot of choices involved, even if distance feels like it’s restricting your options. Getting on the same page with where your relationship stands is crucial for maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship. Before you commit to being
star ocean-crossed lovers, ensure you and your partner are in agreement. Ask each other questions like: Are we exclusive? Or is this a don’t-ask-don’t-tell sort of agreement? How would you define our relationship? How often will we be able to speak to each other? When will I see you next?
However you have decided to define your relationship, stick to it- and trust that your partner(s) is sticking to it too. It’s easy to become curious about your partner’s day-to-day, and building trust will help keep this curiosity from turning into suspicion. You can establish trust by staying truthful and respectful in your communication. Remember that it’s okay to be vulnerable and share the concerns that are coming to mind. And it doesn’t hurt to remind your partner what it is about them that keeps you comin’ back for more.
Discover your strengths
You are each coming into the relationship with different strengths, and you should use those to your advantage. Maybe one partner is worse at keeping in touch, but when they do send a message it’s really sincere and loving. Maybe you aren’t good with your words, but you love sharing your day through photo updates. Know how you share and express affection and appreciate your partner’s own version of that.
Know the power of sharing details
Sometimes all of the “hey what’s up” can get old, but know that sharing details, even the mundane ones, is important. Filling each other in on your daily activities, moods, frustrations and funny moments all helps to strengthen your connection. These details also create the feeling that you are a part of each other’s lives, even when you can’t be there physically. Know that even when it doesn’t feel like an important update, it’s better than no update at all.
Switch up your communication source or style
Speaking of mundane, let’s not forget that this is the 21st century and we’ve got options. If you are relying on text messages to keep the love alive, think again. Your technological options could include phone calls, FaceTime, Snapchat, Intagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and more. Maybe you and your partner could incorporate GIFs or memes to keep things light and interactive. Maybe you both enjoy the same type of game app or get competitive on Words With Friends. Remember that in real life you see people in all sorts of different environments and situations, so don’t be afraid to break outside of your typical digital communication patterns either.
…But stick to a schedule
My only caveat to my “switching things up” statement above, is to have a scheduled time when you try to be available to one another, especially for a call or video chat. Being mindful of each other’s schedules and picking a convenient time and frequency for both partners cuts out a lot of unnecessary stress and hurt feelings. Having a routine when it comes to communication can also increase your sense of security, knowing that bit of time is something you can count on.
How to maintain intimacy
Interestingly, this is one of my most-asked questions, but one of the lesser-mentioned issues among myself and friends. First, don’t assume you know what your partner is looking for- ask. What turns them on? What have they been missing most since your last visit together? You could be surprised to hear them say “cuddling” rather than “your dick”. Maybe your partner is more visual and expecting some sexy photos or Skype Sex. Either way, know your partner’s comfort level before jumping into anything, because even if you’ve been intimate before, it can all feel new again when it’s through a screen. Lastly, don’t forget that anything that is shared online, even if it’s temporary or erased, can be shared/shown/saved in some way or another. Not all platforms are secure and the inter-webs can be a dangerous place- accept that there are risks! But maybe that’s part of the fun 🙂
How to prioritize yourself
Self-care 101 right here! To be the best virtual partner, start by being your best self. Make sure you have your own thing going on, whether that be work, school, hobbies, a fitness routine, volunteering, you name it. Having your own responsibilities and goals helps with more than just keeping you distracted from missing your boo, it builds your self-esteem too! Then, if your partner is being a [expletive word] you won’t feel like your whole world is falling apart- because you are the center of your world- not them.
Rely on your social network
Having a close circle of friends is beneficial for anyone with a heartbeat, but especially those in long-distance relationships. There might be times when you’re feeling alone or dateless, that it helps to rely on your friends for some extra lovin’. If you fill your free-time hanging out with friends, you’re much less likely to feel like you’re missing out on… whatever people with local boyfriends do, I don’t know, that’s not my expertise.
Exchanging gifts or personal belongings
Some people equate gifts with love, so if that is your partner, make sure the gifting doesn’t stop just because you are miles apart. Send a letter, a small gift, a Venmo for “drinks on me” whatever it is they need to feel special. If you aren’t big into gifts, try exchanging an item of clothing or leaving something behind that is personal to you. These little gifts or items help us to feel more connected and offer a friendly reminder that you’ll (hopefully) be together again soon.
Schedule visits in advance
If you are dating long distance and you are anything like me, you are likely spending a majority of the time obsessing over when you will see each other next. The easiest way to decrease anxiety over timelines and visits is to schedule them far in advance, preferably while you are still together. Having a plan or a date set provides comfort that you will indeed see each other again.
Establish an end goal
This is the biggie! If your relationship is hot and heavy but you don’t know how or when you can eventually be together, your future could be at risk. If at all possible, make sure you have an ‘end game’. If there is a reunion in sight, you can use this to your advantage to foster hope and ease each other’s worries. Even if it’s years away, establishing a goal to physically be together offers a giant sense of relief. Plus, you will be asked this question one million times, so it’s helpful to have a response locked and loaded. If your relationship is new or you are questioning when to have a more serious discussion about your plans, know that it can be less painful to be proactive than reactive. Have the hard talks at the risk of a little embarrassment, rather than devastation down the road.
Hopefully these tips were helpful in mapping out your long distance relationship. I wish you great success and a full phone battery!
Questions and comments are always welcome.
With Love and Light,
Learn more about Hailey and how to schedule a session with her now!