Can Long Distance Relationships Work?

Can Long Distance Relationships Work?


Many couples nowadays experience the dilemma of long-distance relationships. Frankly speaking, my long-distance partner and I have had beautiful moments, feeling strong as a couple, while the distance also deepened our bond, but there were also heavy and stressful times.

Days felt long, I missed physical intimacy, and sometimes it felt like we lived in two completely different worlds. No matter how far the distance, how long the time, or the nature of the relationship, managing a long-distance relationship can be tough, but it can also yield many rewards. The time apart can be a learning experience both individually and as a couple. This includes learning to let go or understanding how much you want to be with that person.

Below are some suggestions on how to handle a long-distance relationship with your partner.

Tips for Long-distance Relationships

Share Your Day

Sharing my day and hearing about my girlfriend's day back home was a pleasure. We were on completely different continents, so knowing her plans for the day or the next helped me feel connected to her and vice versa. We also shared our days through photos, selfies, and even sweet compliments.

Avoid Important Conversations via Text

Daily communication is important, but under certain circumstances, whether it be work or time zone differences, it's not always possible. Therefore, it's important to have deeper conversations over the phone, or even better, via FaceTime or video call. This doesn't mean not texting throughout the day. These simple messages are a way to show your partner that they are still part of your day and can increase emotional connection and build partner responsiveness.

Ignoring your feelings while you're apart is the worst thing to do, especially if you're feeling uncomfortable, upset, anxious, or insecure about something in the relationship. It might be hard to not send a harsh text, but it's better to save it for the next time you're going to speak with your partner over the phone. Don't think this only applies to negative feelings. Sharing positive feelings, or something special that happened during your day, is more meaningful to share through a phone call with each other!

Manage and Communicate Expectations

It's better to discuss managing and communicating expectations before you or your partner leave, but it's important to know when expectations need to be adjusted. This is likely to happen, especially if you're apart for months or longer. Before my partner left for Japan, we agreed to talk every evening over FaceTime. However, as time went on, this didn't happen every night due to our changing schedules, but we made sure to communicate this in advance.

It's normal for communication dynamics to change over time, but being aware of when to adjust and ensuring you're both on the same page is crucial during a long-distance relationship.

Create and Maintain Intimacy

Creating and maintaining intimacy when apart is essential. Intimacy comes in five forms: emotional, mental, physical, spiritual, and experiential. It's a challenge to maintain all five during a long-distance relationship, but being open and honest with yourself and your partner creates opportunities to build different forms of intimacy. In a long-distance relationship, since communication time may be limited, choosing to talk about your feelings, whether comfortable or not, and listening to your partner's feelings too, builds trust in any relationship—long distance or not.

Be Creative with Dates

Just because you're far apart doesn't mean you can't have dates with your partner. You just need to be more flexible and creative. Always communicate and consider dates that you are both comfortable with. For instance, using interactive sex toys tailored for long-distance couples can enhance mutual pleasure and intimacy. Remember, trying new things with your partner also increases intimacy!

Give Each Other Grace

Again, long-distance relationships are not easy. Just like in any relationship, some days are harder than others, so it's important to be more understanding and forgiving on the more challenging days apart.

From experience, when I didn't have a good day, it was easier for me to feel stressed out and assume the worst. I learned this meant I needed to give myself that same grace. That could mean adding more rest, sharing your feelings with your partner, or taking yourself out on a date.

Be True to Yourself

A major lesson in long-distance relationships is expressing your needs and maintaining your own life while apart. Being true to yourself may be a difficult question to answer, but it's crucial not to let the relationship get in the way of your own life.

I had to ask myself this question because I simply don't like long-distance relationships. However, I learned more over time that I wanted to be with my partner, and the extra effort and harder days were worth it. Maintaining open and honest communication between you and your partner, but also with yourself, is key.

Navigating through long-distance relationships and discovering what works and doesn't work for you and your partner may be the most challenging part. It's healthy to be aware that communication and trust are tested during long-distance relationships.

However, it's important to learn as you go, what your needs are, your partner's needs, and how to communicate them. Being in a long-distance relationship can teach you many lessons about how you interact in a relationship, what makes you tick (and doesn't), what you love about your partner, ways the relationship can improve, and most importantly, how to take care of yourself.

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