Despite how many millions of souls are out there, finding one you connect with can be difficult in our fast-paced world. That’s why, when an opportunity comes along, we jump at the chance to build something special, even if it means a long-distance relationship.
Starting a long-distance relationship can seem really daunting, and it’s not for everyone. You’ll have highs and lows, just like any relationship, but the distance gives you an opportunity to learn to truly treasure your time together.
If you both follow the tips below you’ve got a great chance at making your long-distance relationship work!
Meet As Soon As Possible
Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but it’s critical for those who have only met online or via phone through friends/family.
First, you don’t want to get catfished, right? Second, you’ve got to find out if you have a physical connection and chemistry in person. It’s surprisingly easy to create false feelings because you anticipate how great he’ll be in real life when you’re feeling lonely.
Trust me on this—I had a friend of a friend on Instant Messenger (back in the day!) who I had fun conversations with and flirted with sometimes. Suddenly, he decided to travel halfway around the world to visit us. The flirting screeched to a halt for me as soon as I met him at the airport.
I’m certain that trip didn’t turn out how he expected.
Set Ground Rules Together
Establishing open, honest communication at the beginning can make or break your long-distance relationship. As soon as you’ve both decided to make a go of this relationship, you’ll need to decide the boundaries and rules of the relationship that matter to each of you.
- Are you monogamous (dating only each other)?
- Does that refer only to sex or kissing too?
- Are there specific times of the day or week that are not good to contact each other? (standing board meeting or family game night)
- How often will you get together?
- Will you meet halfway or trade off visiting each other?
- How often will you communicate each week?
- What form of communication do you need the most? (texting, video chats)
- If one of you doesn’t make much money, how can you compromise to make sure you still meet up without either of you feeling guilty or used?
Knowing the expectations of your partner to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship is vital for making it work. Once you know where each other’s heads are at, you’re in a much better position to spend time building the relationship rather than trying to guess what he’s thinking.
Be Trusting and Trustworthy
Because you’re not hanging out with your boyfriend often, it can be so easy to fall into the trap of wondering if he’s being faithful or not. This is your chance to show that you’re a mature adult with strong emotional intelligence who can trust their partner.
Believe me, he’ll be so much more appreciative of you in his life if you aren’t constantly nagging him with questions about who he’s with, what he’s doing, and who that girl in the background is.
You’ll be happier too. Without focusing on the negative, you’ll spend your time thinking of fun things to share with him or ask him when you talk again.
On the flip side, you need to make sure you don’t give him a reason to suspect your faithfulness too. If you’re out partying all the time and posting pics of you with a bunch of guys, he’s going to wonder if you’re serious about building a long-distance relationship or not.
If either of you find yourself wondering if the other person is cheating, start an honest conversation about the situation. Then be willing to make some adjustments if necessary.
It’s not about changing for someone, it’s about being mature enough to say, “I understand that when I do X, it can look like I’m not prioritizing you. I’ll try to do X better to show that I respect what you and I are trying to build together.”
That’s the way to build a lasting long-distance relationship.
Mix Up How You Communicate
Do you find that you’re texting your long-distance boyfriend all the time but almost never talk? Time to change that! Healthy relationships thrive on having several strong forms of communication.
Think of how great it would be to hear your boyfriend’s voice just before you went to bed. It’s probably not feasible to do this every night when you’re several time zones apart, but it’s a great idea to do sometimes. (Nothing is great when it’s done too much, right?)
Imagine how surprised he would be if you suddenly send a short, light-hearted email to his work. He probably didn’t expect to see your name pop up in his busy inbox, and he may really appreciate your effort to send a note that brightens his day.
People in long-distance relationships have it so easy compared to just 5-10 years ago. There are so many ways to communicate: text, phone, chat, email, Facetime, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.
Pick something new and try it out! Keeping things fresh helps to keep a long-distance relationship healthy!
Try a Video Chat Date Night
I love this method of building a long-distance relationship. It’s about as close to spending time together in real life as you can get.
Decide on a day when you’ll dedicate a couple hours together over whatever video chat method you want. Then plan the activity. You can go big and plan to leave your houses together while you grab dinner (or breakfast) at each of your favorite restaurants, or make the same meal together and eat it.
Ramp up the together time by choosing a show or movie to watch together. (Thank you Netflix!) It can be fun to pretend like your boyfriend is in the room with you while you laugh about the same comedy movie together. (I’ve even done this one with my sister-in-law who lives in Singapore when my brother is away on business, and she just needs an adult to hang out with!)
With how easy this is thanks to technology, I recommend trying this out to build your healthy relationship at least a couple times per month.
Don’t Text All Day Long
This is a good tip for any couple, even if aren’t in a long-distance relationship. If you start to feel like you’re running out of things to talk about together, take a look at your existing communication pattern.
Texting is great for sending a quick, sweet message to someone, planning logistics and timing, and notifications about your status (running late).
A major reason to avoid long texts is because when you’ve texted all day about your day, suddenly you have nothing much to talk about when you finally get together or call each other. You’re all talked out. Talking is such a crucial way to build a bond that you don’t want to prevent that foundation because you text or DM everything.
Texting and messaging are not great for long conversations. In fact, they can be terrible.
Without being able to hear your partner’s voice, you can totally and completely misread a text’s true intentions. The result can be anything from a cringe to anger to hurt feelings. And trying to explain the text all over again by text will get you nowhere.
If I had a dollar for every long-distance relationship conversation that got totally messed up because it was all done via text…
So avoid the risk of confusion in your long-distance relationship and skip long texting conversations.
Keep Living Your Life
One of my biggest mistakes in my second long-distance relationship was deciding that I couldn’t keep spending money and going out with friends because I thought it wasn’t fair while he was struggling financially.
You are still you, no matter your relationship status. A healthy relationship requires each person to still be an individual. You have your likes/dislikes and activities that you love to do, so do them.
I can guarantee that you’ll be miserable in your long-distance relationship if you spend your time not doing things that you love to do. It’s a healthy self-care practice that your emotional health needs. Never let someone make you feel guilty for continuing your life and passions!
An amazing benefit to doing your own things is that you’ll have something fun to talk about with your boyfriend later! A great guy will love to hear about the things that make you happy and passionate. It’s sexy!
Send Each Other Surprise Gifts
This is one of my favorite ways to show your boyfriend that you’ve been thinking about him while in a long-distance relationship. When you hear him mention something that interests him, make an effort to find a gift relating to it and send it off.
If your gift will arrive within a couple of days, you can really ramp up his interest in you by including some homemade treats you made, like cookies or muffins or caramels. I love doing this because it shows you spent some extra time on a gift just for him.
Making your boyfriend feel special when he lives far away is a perfect way to boost the success of your long-distance relationship.
You can send your boyfriend something directly from Amazon or collect a few things from local stores that showcase what’s special about your town. Maybe you have amazing local chocolate truffles or beard oils.
He’ll be so surprised and delighted when he sees a package from you show up on his doorstep. Building that feeling of value is a great way to keep your long-distance relationship alive.
Visit Each Other As Often As You Can
Without physical connection, a long-distance relationship will struggle to survive. Find a way to plan regular visits together. It’s so important.
If one of you doesn’t make as much money as the other, it can be challenging to feel like you can both afford to travel often. For instance, if you make less, then what you don’t want is to make your boyfriend always do the traveling. You have to put in the effort too. There are a couple easy ways to do it:
- plan to meet at an affordable destination near you but far enough away that it’s a distance for you, then save up to cover your cost to travel there.
- find a workable compromise. For example, if you make half of his income, then agree that you’ll contribute half of your costs, and he’ll cover the rest.
Don’t let finances get in the way of seeing each other. Find ways to make it affordable with discount airline fares, Airbnb, or staying with friends! You don’t always have to go all out on a weekend meet-up. It can be simple because your focus should be on getting to know each other and building chemistry.
It’s important to spend time together and build your chemistry and connection. This is especially critical for anyone whose love language is physical touch!
If you don’t know what your love language is, find out with this easy quiz. Then share what each of your love languages are and find ways to meet those needs, even from a distance.
The hardest may be physical touch. The best ways to try to meet that need are to include lots of video chats and set a regular schedule for meeting up.
Communication will be the easiest with how much technology is available to use. But it only works if you both put in the effort. It’s a two-way street.
Acts of Service may be challenging as well, but you can do this when you’re visiting each other, or by offering great advice and support over the phone.
Gifts can be easy once you’ve got their address and can send them occasional care packages.
Quality time can be met by ensuring that you’re communicating often and setting aside time for regular video chat dates.
Be Honest about Your Feelings
There are plenty of memes about how a guy can know when his girlfriend is upset (even if he doesn’t know why), but they usually show him in the same room. It’s harder for your boyfriend to know if you’re struggling when they’re a thousand miles away.
Being honest about your feelings and thoughts is critical in any successful relationship, but especially in a long-distance relationship. If your boyfriend did something to upset you, don’t stew about it and get all worked up. Call them and explain what happened so he can have a chance to fix the situation.
If you’re concerned about how the relationship is going (or not), take some time to discuss it openly. Maybe he had to cancel the last two visits and you need to know if the excuses are real, or because he’s pulling away. Perhaps you wish he would make the final future plan with you, and he’s been scared to bring it up too.
Whatever your concern, bring it up in a constructive way – no whining. You’ll have much more constructive conversations if you talk honestly and maturely about your concerns and needs, and you’ll be amazed at how it can bring a long-distance relationship back on track.
Make a Plan for Your Endgame
Anyone can jump into a long-distance relationship and hope it works out. The successful ones are the couples who decide on a plan with a timeline.
Once you’ve established that this is a serious relationship that you’re both investing in and making work, it’s time to have an in-person conversation about how you plan to end up living in the same place.
I say “in-person” because this is a heavy conversation. You need to be able to look in each other’s eyes, read the body language, and have plenty of time to work it out.
There’s no one path for deciding how to begin living your lives in the same geographical location. So many things factor into it: careers, families, country restrictions, income limitations, future opportunities, and even climate differences.
You’ve both got to be really honest and open about what you’re willing to give up and compromise on. A crucial mistake will be one of you giving up everything because you feel pressured. Successful long-distance relationships work because couples agree to a plan for how to live together in the same city.
Couples who make their long-distance relationship work build incredibly strong bonds together. It’s not an easy path, but nothing of real reward comes without a little challenge. When both you and your boyfriend put in the effort, you can make your relationship shine and grow into something beautiful!
Share in the comments below something fun you do to surprise or help your boyfriend feel extra special during your long-distance relationship! Don’t forget to send this to the other girls in your life!