Long distance relationships

9 Essential Tips for Long Distance Relationships

In an increasingly globalised world, and the advent of online social platforms, relationships are increasingly extending beyond borders and time zones. Long-distance relationships, though challenging, are a testament to the age-old adage that love knows no boundaries.

As technology bridges the communication gap, couples are finding unique and innovative ways to grow closer despite the physical distance. I’ve made a small guide to navigating the dynamics of long distance dating relationships, so you can deepen your understanding, and make sure your relationship thrives.

1. Accept things as they are

There’s nothing wrong with having a long distance relationship, so don’t try and make it into something it isn’t. View at as a natural stage in your evolution, just like you might start with texting on a dating website. Enjoy the relationship for what it is, and allow it to evolve naturally.

You can use this time apart to hone your communication skills, develop trust, and strengthen your emotional bond, creating a solid foundation for your future together. If you find it difficult to accept things as they are, perhaps worrying too much or trying too much to control, consider exploring Mindfulness, which can keep you calm and centred.

2. Talk about your relationship

Have a conversation about what it’s like to have a long distance relationship. You’ll both be able to handle aspects of it differently, and can learn from each other. Once you name the limitations and difficulties, things get a whole lot easier, and you can use the shared experience to bond.

Be honest with your partner about your expectations, and whether you see the relationship as permanent or something more temporary. You’ll have to make an extra effort to be yourself and allow vulnerability, as it can be challenging when you’re not together in physical space. Talking openly about your goals and dreams will promote an atmosphere of trust, and will minimise any chances of misunderstanding.

3. Set the Rules

Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes for the expectations you have for each other. Are you planning to move closer to each other at some point? If so, when will that be? In the meantime are you allowed to date other people? It can be difficult to talk about what you really need from any relationship, but especially in long distance ones, you both need to be clear from the beginning.

With time, the dynamics of the relationship might shift, requiring some rules to be revisited. Regular check-ins on these agreements can help things go smoothly, and prevent future confusion or resentment about your partner’s behaviour. Just like a regular relationship, the ground rules and boundaries should come from mutual respect and understanding, with each partner having their turn to both listen carefully and to talk openly.

4. Do things together

Watch movies or documentaries at the same time, so you can share your thoughts and any funny moments. You could establish a regular date night to look forward to – it could be a dinner date, or you could play an online game, or read to each other from the same book. You can even go on a date together, perhaps a walk, or to a place that neither of you have been to before.

Modern technology offers myriad ways to do things together, even when apart. Watch the same movie, cook the same meal while video chatting, or start a book club for just the two of you. The activities can be as diverse as your interests, but the key is to make memories together, irrespective of the distance.

5. Share your interests

Keep each other in the loop about what you’re reading, or what you’re watching on TV. Explore a new subject together, maybe a hobby, or researching a new music genre. It will help build a base of shared experience, and give you something to talk about, and look forward to sharing.

If you’re from different countries, perhaps meeting on holiday, try introducing each other to your local cultures or traditions. This will not only broaden your horizons but will deepen your connection, as you invite your partner into your world.

6. Visit Whenever You Can

Any distance relationship needs a certain amount of in-person time, so make sure you schedule regular visits. It will give you something to look forward to, and motivate you to stay on track if you’re feeling lonely.

When you visit, prioritise quality time together. These moments are precious, so make the most of them by creating memories and immersing yourself in each other’s lives. Take the time to talk honestly and openly about how you feel with each other and what you expect from the relationships in the future.

7. Don’t be afraid to hang up

Make sure you’re only talking to your partner because you want to, and not because you think you should be staying in touch. Don’t make communication become a chore, be spontaneous, and give yourselves permission to hang up when ever you feel like it.

On the other side, if you find yourselves cutting conversations short or avoiding them altogether, take a look at any potential underlying issues, and discuss them together.

Balance is essential – while you shouldn’t force conversations, regular communication is crucial to maintaining intimacy in a long-distance relationship. Periodic breaks can be refreshing, but intimate communication remains the lifeline of your connection.

8. Surprise your partner with a care package

In this digital age, the charm of snail mail has a special place for long distance couples. One of the joys of snail mail is its tangible nature; receiving a package you can hold, open, and discover offers a closeness that digital messages can’t emulate.

Stuff the box with their favourite snacks, other letters or cards penned by you, and little things that remind them of shared memories or inside jokes. You could include a book you recently read and loved, a perfume that reminds you of them, or a trinket from a local store. Every item tells a story, and when your partner unpacks the box, they’re essentially unwrapping your thoughts, affections, and the effort you’re investing in them.

Sending mail through the post is great way of feeling more geographically close, physically bringing a bit of your world into theirs. And you don’t have to wait for special occasions – there’s nothing quite like a random surprise to make your long distance partner feel valued and cherished.

9. Find creative ways to stay in contact

With many long distance relationships, there’s the challenge of keeping a strong despite the geographical distance. For long distance dating partners, being creative with the way you stay in touch is key. You could spend time together on a video call during your lunch break. It’s a chance for an intimate conversation, where you can talk about your day, or how work’s going. Spontaneous video chat sessions will help you share your daily life, can can really inject more intimacy into the relationship, keeping the spark alive.

A messaging app is great for sharing all the little things that happen throughout your day. Or you could get creative with short videos or pictures which can lead to interesting conversations for your phone calls. Look for your own ways of adding more communication channels, to stay connected in your own unique way.

Conclusion – Long Distance Relationships

As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, but maintaining a long distance relationship does require a degree of effort, creativity, and clear communication. While there will be challenges, with the right tools and attitude, it’s entirely possible to close the distance and stay connected.

Many couples have proven that with mutual understanding, emotional connection, and a shared commitment, you can really make a long distance relationship flourish.

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Daren Banarsë MBACP

I'm a licensed psychotherapist and counsellor, with a private practice in Central London. I treat anxiety, depression and relationship issues with trauma-informed therapy. I have a background in music and the arts.