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Wellness > Sex + Relationships

How to foster your long distance relationship

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

Long distance can be hard. 

Whether it be navigating different time zones, trying (and failing) to pinpoint overlapping free time, or grappling with the absence of touch (I see you, physical touch love languages,) LDRs can be a huge pain. In. The. Butt. 

But–they don’t have to be. Here’s the trick–

Learning how to communicate intentionally. 

I know, I know. It seems obvious, right? Everyone and their mother knows that relationships absolutely can not work–at least, not for the long term–if there is faulty communication. However, what really is intentional communication? Is it simply a text good morning? A wordless snapchat? 

I believe in order to communicate intentionally TWO things must be present: interest and authenticity. 

When you catch up with your long-distance partner, are you asking them how their day was because you care or because you haven’t talked all day? Perhaps, like I used to, you find yourself chatting with your partner about surface-level topics because you feel as if you need to check a box, as if you need to fill your “FaceTime every night” quota. 

It can be challenging to talk to your partner when you’re not physically having shared experiences. It can be easy to get stuck on a loop of how are you? and, so what’s happened since I’ve seen you last?  It’s important to remember that mindless conversation isn’t superior to no conversation. It’s okay to go a few hours without texting your partner. I’ve found that sometimes simply knowing that they’re out there existing is enough.

Now, having a schedule works well for many couples who operate on a similar day-to-day agenda.  For my boyfriend and I, this just wasn’t possible. Rather, I found that being spontaneous was much more beneficial. My interactions flourished when I stopped calling him at the same time every night and started to simply send him playlists out of the blue or text him when something reminded me of us.  Above all, the thing that I found to be most valuable in a long distance relationship was learning to become independent and learn how to love myself. 

At the start of my relationship, I was at a somewhat unstable and insecure point of my life. I was just about to start college in a new state and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. So, naturally, I found a lot of my self-worth in my partner.  As you can guess… that didn’t work out very well. I found myself feeling insecure once we went long distance and worrying incessantly about whether or not we would last through the year. I would feel guilt if I couldn’t call him one night, and feel anxious if he couldn’t call me. Not healthy.

Now, not only do I feel secure in my relationship, but I feel secure in my own identity–and those two facets aren’t as separate as some might think. Through a social media purge, an inward focus on self-help and non-toxic positivity, efforts to learn more about myself and the world around me, and improving communication skills I learned to become comfortable with the person I am–and now, I am able to relax and let life unfold. This has been the best possible thing for my relationship. 

Lastly, remember that we are all human. We make mistakes. Long-distance relationships take a bit more effort–and that’s okay. It is beautiful to love someone.  Inconvenience is a life-giving thing. 

 It will help you bloom. 

MSU Contributor Account: for chapter members to share their articles under the chapter name instead of their own.