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Distance is a challenge that many are not willing to take on. It takes two individuals with a strong desire to create an inviolable bond. It takes an effort to still remain present and engaged even though you are not physically there. Taking the time to maintain an emotional connection without face-to-face contact is imperative.

Being in a long-distance relationship myself presents me with the opportunity to share my advice and knowledge with others. I’ve been in a long-distance relationship for a little over a year now and I quickly realized that this type of relationship is NOT a walk in the park. Surprisingly, we met on Instagram after he decided to message me. I currently go to school in Florida while he attends school in Maryland, my home state, which made me question if a relationship with him would ever work out. However, I decided to give it a try.

We met in person for the first time December of 2017 and have been inseparable ever since. This is both of our first times attempting a long-distance relationship so we had to quickly figure out how to build a relationship together with no direction. So, I’ve decided to come up with a few ways to help others who are considering trying a long-distance relationship or are currently in one and having a hard time.

Communication
In order for distance to work, communication is key. Considering that you can possibly go months at a time without seeing your significant other, it is very important to share your thoughts and feelings. Making sure you allot time out of your day to catch up with your partner is also crucial. No matter how busy your day might be, there is no excuse for failing to check in and see how their day was.

Texting should not be your only form of communication. You are rarely able to tell someone’s tone over text, so it is also important to video chat via Facetime, Skype, etc.

Video chatting
allows you to see their face and hear their voice even when you are miles apart. Even a simple five-minute phone call would mean a lot to your partner.

Patience
Even though it is important to communicate, there are times where you are unable to talk all day every day. There might even be a time where you may want to talk to them about something and they are busy with class or hanging out with friends. Having patience with your partner goes a long way in these instances. Once you accept that your partner has a life too, you will be more understanding when they are busy (as long as the situations are reasonable).

Effort
The effort put forth in a relationship has to be 50/50. One person should not try to make the relationship work more than the other. Both partners have to continue learning about each other and making sure that their spark remains present. Effort means paying attention to someone and caring about things they are saying or upcoming events they are excited about. Putting forth effort also plays a role in how you make someone feel, it’s about all of the little things that make a person happy.

Loyalty and Trust
Long-distance will never work if trust isn’t present. Being able to trust that your partner will be loyal to you regardless of temptations that will come their way is vital. It would be very difficult to have a long-lasting relationship if it is filled with constant insecurities that are not discussed.You should always express your needs, expectations, fears, concerns, and at the very beginning of a relationship as well as throughout.

Build a Friendship
When you look at your partner as your best friend, you are able to be completely open and comfortable with them. It allows you to completely let loose! Being friends also provides a sense of comfort and understanding that you always have someone there to support you. Also, when you argue, you realize that it is a small bump in the road that can typically be solved without tearing the relationship apart.

Planning Visits
Unfortunately, you won’t always be present for every holiday, birthday, anniversary, or
important moment in your partner's life. This is why it is important to plan ahead to ensure that you won’t miss out on events that mean a lot to you. Visiting each other, and in my case during semesters, makes the time apart more bearable. Talking with your partner and coordinating a time to visit that would work with both of your busy schedules is also a helpful tip. Although surprises are always fun!

After a while, the distance shouldn’t be hard. It becomes second nature. It should not be looked at as if it is only a sacrifice because there should always be a compromise. Although it may require more effort than a typical relationship, it can also be more rewarding because it is such a unique experience. It pushes couples to grow and adapt in a variety of ways that can only fortify the bond they have created.

Advertising and Public Relations major at the University of Tampa
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