How to Lead a Happy, Healthy Long-Distance Relationship

Have you ever fallen in love? Like truly, all the way in, just fallen for someone, Elvis Presley “Can’t Help Falling in Love” style? Well I have, and it happened my last semester of high school.

I know, perfect timing right? Right when we split ways for college: him to a school in Minneapolis and me to the University of Iowa. Peeerrrffffeecccttt. Nevertheless, this is what happened and I couldn’t do anything about it.

We tried breaking up so both of us could get “the college experience,” but mutually decided our college experience would be dating long distance. It’s been hard, in fact, it’s been a real bitch, but if you are finding yourself in a similar situation and want tips for the whole “long distance” thing, then you’ve come to the right place. I am about to give you girlies (or guys) three major tips on how to make long-distance work so that you can enjoy happy, healthy relationships.

Tip number one: COMMUNICATE.

I cannot tell you how important communication is. This attribute that luckily my boyfriend and I both possess, has saved us from so many fights, so much worry and so much stress. You’re going out with your friends tonight? Great, make sure to tell your SO (significant other) this information before you get distracted and don’t text back for three hours. You feel neglected and want to have a real conversation about it? Okay, TELL THEM so that it actually happens and you aren’t stuck wishing for it to just “come up”. (Conversations like that don’t ever “come up” without a fight to follow.) Or, you want a night just to chill and do homework or watch a movie alone? Make sure they know, because everyone needs their alone time. The key to communication is to not be shy. If this person is right for you, they should make you feel comfortable about your decisions, never guilty. Especially about going out. If your SO doesn’t want you going out, they don’t trust you... which leads me to my very next point.

Tip number two: TRUST.

Take it from me, you cannot have a healthy relationship without trust ladies and gentlemen. It does not work. Because you can’t see this person every single day, you have to instill trust in them so that you aren’t a head case. Don’t ever assume they “found someone else” or “they’re cheating on you right now” (at 2pm? Really, Suzan?). Chances are, they were working on a big midterm project and forgot to check their phone. Don’t get mad about this. With trusting your SO though, you have to give them reasons to trust you. Trust is earned, I believe, and they won’t trust you if you ignore them or give them multiple reasons to believe you don’t care. It takes time, but it feels so much better when you know you can trust that person, which makes for an even healthier relationship.

Finally, tip number three: THE LITTLE THINGS.

I know, it's cheesy. But, when I say the little things matter, wow do I mean it. The reason I am so in love with my boyfriend is because he goes a little out of his way to make the kindest gestures like opening the car door for me, showing up nearly every time he visits with flowers or writing little inside jokes or compliments on pieces of paper that he hides all around my room. These actions that take him no more than ten minutes literally make me fall more and more in love with him. So go out of your way to send a few extra emojis in a good morning text or spend three dollars on their favorite cookies you saw on your way out of the store (don't be cheap, Brad). Because contrary to popular belief, I don’t think chivalry is dead, it’s just shown in different ways these days.

All in all, if this person and you are meant to be together, things will work out. In my years of having a long-distance relationship, I have tried to follow my own advice that I have given you today because I think it’s pretty damn good. Being in a long-distance relationship blows sometimes, but as long as you communicate, trust that person and give them the reasons to trust you and along the way, buy them cookies, you’re looking towards a pretty healthy relationship. Don’t give up when times are tough because these are the moments that make the good ones that much sweeter.