There’s absolutely no denying that long-distance relationships of any kind can really suck. They are portrayed as completely miserable and hopeless in movies, gossip from your best friend, or even personal experiences of your own. When we picture long-distance relationships, we imagine lots of tears, tissues, and tiresome efforts to keep a relationship going that was never meant to last in the first place.
However, this stigmatized prototype of the brokenness of long-distance relationships is not the reality for a lot of couples. There are plenty of methods, strategies, and techniques that have been successful in allowing many long-distance couples to stay together, and more importantly, happy.
I have, personally, never experienced what it feels like to live the life of a long-distance girlfriend up until a few weeks ago. Leaving my super sweet boyfriend in California to come back to school in Boulder was definitely harder than I ever could have imagined, and I certainly cried a lot more than I thought possible. In these last couple of weeks, I have learned a lot about my relationship and have brainstormed a few tips and tricks to make the distance positive, instead of seeming like a death sentence. These methods and strategies have greatly helped my relationship, and I can only hope that they benefit any long-distance situation you may be experiencing as well.
- It’s OK to be busy.
Understanding that you both have other responsibilities like school, work, family engagements, and other involvements on the side is key in any relationship, especially a long-distance one. There is a fundamental difference between being busy compared to being distant. Just because your partner may get hung up with homework or has to clock in for an overtime shift does not mean that they love you any less or don’t care about talking to you. Healthy people have goals, responsibilities, and want to work hard to be successful in all of their involvements. Understand that their other commitments are nothing against you. Dating someone with a strong work ethic and positive motivations is far better than the latter. Let them be successful, let them get their work done, and trust that when they have the time to engage with you, they will.
- Communicate, but give space.
I have heard countless times the struggle and inevitable demise of so many long-distance relationships is because they refuse to talk through things, or talk too much about something too small. Conflict is a normal part in every relationship and is not inevitably negative. Communicating your needs while also being understanding of your partner is so important. When conflicts arise, if you choose to share how you feel in a fair, honest, and loving way, you can expect your partner's response to mirror your approach. Communicate your conflicts in a healthy way, but also understand that we as humans need space from time to time. As long as the space doesn’t involve being ghosted for hours or days at a time and he or she gives you a heads up if they need a moment to themselves, give it to them! It’s normal!
- Learn new ways to make time for each other.
Now that you and your significant other won’t be spending as much physical time with one another, try and find ways that you both can keep things romantic and fun. There’s a bunch of ways you can still spend quality time together.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Set up a time to facetime or call every night.
- Do a watch party through Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc and watch a movie together.
- Cook dinner together over Facetime and create a virtual date night.
- Send cute reminder texts that you’re thinking of them and miss them, it goes a long way!
- Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
There is a lot of unknown territory in every long-distance relationship. Adjusting to a new virtual rhythm and feeling so far away can be hard for any couple. Be patient, give yourself and your partner time to find a flow that works for the both of you, and trust that you won’t be far forever. This is temporary. Choosing to stay with a mentally healthy person who loves you, cares for you, and wants what’s best for you will always be worth it in the grand scheme of things. At least that’s how I feel about being with my boyfriend.
Long-distance does not have to be a death sentence for every relationship. Try these tips out and find what works for your relationship. It’s all about what you make of it. Don’t accept anything less than what you deserve and trust the process. You got this, girl!