So you’ve met someone online or at the birthday party of a mutual friend. Great! You’ve spent a significant amount of time with them, and you both decide you’re ready to commit to a serious relationship. Sounds fantastic except for one “minor” glitch: he/she lives 3000 miles away. What can you do to make your long distance relationship work?
1. Book visits in advance and on a regular schedule.
Not only will this make plane tickets more affordable, but planning scheduled visits will make the anticipation that much sweeter. Also, alternating who visits whom makes both parties feel equally committed to the partnership.
Open and honest communication about the schedule, your expectations, and the financial responsibilities that come with commuting is critical. If one of you has access to more resources, make sure it isn’t creating resentment down the road when the honeymoon period ends.
Also, get clear on how long you expect to commute and be honest with each other regarding the possibilities, or lack thereof, of moving permanently to be in the same city. If geography is truly not negotiable for you because of work, an ex-spouse, ailing parent or kids, consider that sometimes absence does not make the heart grow fonder and that it can contribute to feelings of sadness, regret and hopelessness. Ensuring you both have the same long-term goals is critical to the success of your LDR (long distance relationship).
2. Keep the romance fresh.
Even though you won’t be coming home to your partner, arriving to a bouquet of flowers or a thoughtful gift, care package or even a love letter (Yes, people, the U.S. Postal Service can help with this!) is a great way to keep you both thinking of each other. By acting like your love is brand new, you keep the relationship spontaneous! You want to make sure you remind your S.O. how much they mean to you, and it’s all the more important with them being so far away.
3. Fit in “ME” and “WE” time even when you’re visiting each other.
Don’t get in the habit of putting your life on hold every weekend to spend quality time with your partner. We’re hoping you’re seeing each other somewhat regularly, so feeling obligated to do the 24/7 thing week in and week out can be overwhelming to the host. Create individual “me time” to exercise, or consider getting a massage while he plays hoops with his pickup league on Saturday mornings. Include friends on your “dates” at least once per visit so that you get to know the people in your individual “worlds.” Creating a sense of commonality and community is essential even though you aren’t physically together all the time.
4. Do something together, even though you’re apart.
Just because you don’t live in the same city doesn’t mean you can’t do something together! Even something as simple as catching up on your favorite HBO show together on a Sunday night and watching it while you chat is a perfect example. Live texting about how you can’t believe that character just walked into such a disaster zone adds to the number of activities that you share and can talk about.
Don’t forget Skype, Facetime and other technologies that can help you stay connected visually even when you’re miles apart. While talking on the phone is great, actually seeing each other makes your connection that much stronger.
What long distance relationship tips do you have? Hope it will make your long distance relationship work.