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Survive and Thrive in a Long Distance Relationship

Surviving a long distance relationship has its ups and downs. Regardless if the person is a state away or a continent away, being apart comes with major challenges. Whether it’s your boyfriend/girlfriend, or simply a friend that lives, or goes to school, far away, keep these tips in mind to maintain a happy, healthy relationship, despite the distance. 

Communication:

Social media and technology has made the long-distance relationship (LDR) completely possible, and sometimes even better than regular relationships. Could you imagine being in the same situation 100 years ago and only being able to write letters, then wait weeks for a reply? Thankfully for LDRs, we live in a world of texting, FaceTime, and Snapchat, so there’s always an opportunity to connect.

Every cliché and advice column preaches that communication is key. For an LDR, communication is more than key; it’s crucial. In a relationship study by Li Crystal Jiang, Ph.D., of City University of Hong Kong, and Jeffrey T. Hancock, Ph.D., of Cornell University, they found: “Oftentimes, long-distance couples try harder than geographically close couples in communicating affection and intimacy, and their efforts do pay back.” Therefore, it’s important to establish communication methods that work best for both sides of the relationship. Some people love texting, while others hate it, and some people have never once used the actual “phone” app.

Texting is probably the easiest communication method. Its advantage: Texting requires the least amount of effort and planning. It’s pretty simple to casually text your LDR throughout the day and doesn’t require a chunk of time set aside to exclusively talk.  People tend to catch me looking down at my phone with a goofy smile on my face when my boyfriend sends a cute text or funny gif. However, texting the entire day risks the conversation running dry and not having as much to talk about when you actually pick up the phone to call.

Snapchatting is also an effortless way to communicate through your LDR. Challenge yourselves to see how long you can keep a snap-streak going. Send Snapchat videos of fun, little bits of your day and play around with all the different filters and face swap options to guarantee a good laugh for both sender and receiver. Snapchatters beware: Constant Snapchatting will absolutely drain your phone’s battery for the day, so if your snap game is strong, you might want to carry around an extra phone charger.

Call me a grandma, but being in a long-distance relationship has made me love good old fashion phone calls. Of course, a majority of these phone calls aren’t old fashioned at all, considering they’re over FaceTime or Skype, but you know what I mean. Being able to see, or even just hear a person’s voice, brings them so much closer to you; it feels like you’re simply hanging out in the same room. Phone calls and video chats have the potential to be so much more than a simple “Hi, how are you?” Let them know all about your day, tell funny stories, set your laptop in the kitchen and hang out while you make dinner, have a “date night” and watch a movie or TV show at the same time, attempt the “try not to laugh challenge” on YouTube together, or find a random game online that you could play together. Be creative! Just like in normal relationships, putting in the extra effort and thinking outside the box will be so rewarding. 

Sending mail & packages:

You know those little boxes outside of your house or apartment that collect paper (usually bills)? Well, they’re called mailboxes, and once upon a time, they collected fun letters and cute packages. Crazy, right?! Continue to embrace your inner grandparent-ness and try sending something to your LDR via snail mail. A goofy handwritten letter or a care package can go a long way. Ordering food, or online shopping, delivered to their house, those are more sweet surprises that they’re sure to love. 

 

Visiting:

Depending on how far the distance, coordinating visits may prove to be the most challenging aspect of the long-distance relationship. If possible, plan road trips and book plane tickets in advance in order to have a set date to look forward to. However, sometimes the LDR is too far or too expensive for travel plans. As impatient as you might feel in these situations, it’s important to remember that a reunion will happen eventually. In the end, all the waiting will be completely worth it.

Final considerations:

Through my long-distance relationship experience, I’ve learned the importance of ensuring busy schedules, time differences, and most importantly sleep, are all taken into consideration. While it’s tempting to stay up late talking on the phone or get distracted texting when you should be studying, don’t put their or your productivity and energy at risk. It’s important that both sides of the relationship continue to go out, have fun and live everyday lives.

Finally, remember that it’s okay feel sad, happy, unsure, mad or excited. It’s okay to feel exactly how you’re feeling at any particular time. Missing each other is a given, so always enjoy and take advantage of the opportunities you have with one another.

Long live the long distance relationships.

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