How to Survive a Long-Distance Relationship

Long distance relationships can be a pain. Nowhere is this more clear than during the first few months of freshman year when hundreds of relationships crash and burn. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Whether you’re high school sweethearts or you’re both still in the honeymoon stage, here’s how to weather the storm that is a long-distance relationship.

Step 1: Communication

Like every strong relationship, communication is key. Whether it be over the phone or through video chat, take time to actually talk to each other. While our decade has gifted us with a thousand means of communication, sometimes the best method is simply to take it old school and appreciate the sound of your partner’s voice. Whereas texting can lead to miscommunication and limited conversation, calling up your S.O. not only leads to more direct communication, but will also bring the two of you closer together.

Step 2: Make Time for Each Other

When you are in a long-distance relationship, it can be easy to lose yourself in your own life or fall out of contact with your partner. Thus, it's important to find a balance between independence and commitment. So, schedule a date night or a weekly video chat where you eliminate outside distractions and simply enjoy each others’ company. You can watch a movie at the same time, play a board game, or just have a conversation. Catch up on each other’s week, ask how they’ve been, share what you’ve gone through the past few days. Not only is it relaxing to simply share your concerns with someone who cares for you, but it also deepens the your mutual bond with each other. Make sure you are checking in with your partner and reminding them that they still matter.

Step 3: Put in the Work

Part of the reason long-distance relationships are so hard is because they require a little extra TLC. You need to actively work to maintain and develop your relationship. That means balancing your checkbook and planning time to visit each other, working to communicate, and enjoying your time apart. Both partners need to put in equal effort to keep the relationship strong and so, both are equally responsible when issues arise. Only by working together can a long-distance relationship survive.

Step 4: Recognize It’s Okay to Fight

Everyone fights sometimes and long-distance relationships are no exception. It is especially important to fight fair and talk about it after. Unlike in a regular relationship, there is no kissing and making up or hugging it out. When you and your partner do have a fight, make sure to communicate your feelings clearly while using language that demonstrates how you feel without accusing the other person. Check in with each other and talk about how each issue makes you feel and how to move forward. Most importantly, listen to what your partner has to say and take their words and feelings to heart. Empathy is key!

Step 5: There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Relationship or Perfect Person

As the saying goes, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” However, it also makes the mind go blinder. It can be easy to turn your partner into the “perfect” S.O when you aren’t confronted with their quirks and shortcomings on a regular basis. So, it is important to keep a clear mind and hold your partner to realistic expectations. Remember that distance doesn’t eliminate mistakes, but nor does it demand perfection.  Be forgiving of your partner, especially when you two are no longer long-distance. It takes time to adjust to being back together after so long apart, so give each other the chance to remember what it feels like to be together. You won’t find that perfect rhythm in a day and it may be different from what it was before. But remember that long-distance is a chance to grow and change with your partner. Give each other the time and space to grow together instead of apart.

Step 6: Enjoy the Time You Have Together

Be it a few hours or a few days, cherish the time you both have in person. Get to know each other in new ways. Go out and do something you both enjoy. Practice being in love. Most importantly, don't feel pressure to be in the relationship you were before. Always move forward. If you can do these six things, your relationship won’t just survive despite the distance — it will thrive.