In the age of Skyping, Facetiming, and instant texting, it seems that maintaining a long-distance relationship would not be that challenging. There is no need to wait for your loved ones to settle in with their desktop to check email. Instant responses are all that we wait for, which is seen as both a plus and a minus. But ask anyone who's actually in that long-distance relationship as technology can't make up for everything. The absence of regular physical proximity still seems to make long-distance relationships as emotionally difficult as ever.
But with the right mindset, the right expectations, and the right effort, you can have a relationship that thrives and becomes stronger over time.
These are some recommendations to strengthen your emotional connection, ease the ache of geographic separation, and help your relationship surpass that phase in life.
Set up personal boundaries and prioritise your schedules
One of the most significant pieces of long-distance relationship advice is to discuss and formulate personal boundaries. Personal boundaries play a huge role as conflicts start arising later in the relationship. It is understandable that one needs to compromise even in long-distance relationships but don’t put your life on hold for the same.
Rejoice and enjoy yourself with your friends, spend time with them. The better you know and would appreciate yourself, the better you can focus on knowing and appreciating your partner when you are together. You can even indulge in doing some things which the other person doesn’t like, maybe you love shopping and seeing movies but your partner doesn't like any of those things. You can take advantage of your time apart and discover a silver lining in your time away from each other.
Set up a time to speak to each other. Try not to schedule anything else at that time or if you have to, make sure that you talk at another time in the day but do not skip it. Your partner might need it, if not you.
Don't rely solely on technology
No doubt facetime, skype, etc have made the relationship easier, but you should not forget the power of having something physical that reminds you of your partner. You can keep a piece of clothing around that still smells like your partner, exchange some tokens that serve as a symbol of your commitment, All of these will be proximal reminders of their presence. Don't underestimate the joy of receiving something tangible which could include a funny postcard, a handwritten letter, an unexpected gift, or a delivery of your favourite candy, or cake.
Let those boring details become seeds of conversations
Don't make the mistake of thinking that the "boring" details of your day should be left out. You might think that no one wants to listen to the non essential details, but the point is just staying in each other's lives enough, and not making them feel left out. Communicate the contexts that make up daily living for you. This helps keep you close, even when the miles do not. It helps them to be a part of your life even from a distance.
Don’t indulge in idealising
Remember that your partner isn’t perfect and treat fights as part of the process. Don’t indulge in idealising your relationship and just remembering it as better than it is. When you would remember just the good things about your partner, you might get disappointed when you get the chance to see each other again and notice something bad. This does not mean that you start building bad notes in your head as well. Whenever you have a fight, talk it out, even if there is a difference in opinion. This will keep things in perspective. Use those fights as opportunities to have discussions to work through things as a team.
Go on virtual dates
Even if your partner is 8,000 miles away you can still go on dates. Decide days and special occasions when you both can have a proper date night. Eat and drink together, stream a movie, play fun virtual games. This will increase the bonding and also make you feel connected.
Let yourself trust — and earn that trust yourself
Trust is a two-way street. Look out for signs as broken trust can erode a relationship. Are you able to count on your partner in big and small ways? Are they there for the phone call when they said they'd be? Do they stick to the plans that were made to see each other or are they routinely pushing off the date?
Do they remember what's important to you, and listen to you deeply that makes you feel heard and understood? Ask yourself too, are you maintaining that trust in the relationship?
Place a time limit on the relationship
Communicate well with your partner as to how much time the long-distance will go on? Agree with your partner that if the relationship is worth staying in, and is working out, both of you would mutually decide and move to an agreeable location.
Long-distance relationships require a lot of effort, open, straightforward communication to properly work, and this can often be difficult to manage. If you and your partner are having a hard time transitioning, consider professional help and utilise the Happichat for addressing things that aren’t going well in a supportive and loving way. You can access the self-help content that is available in our curated content library to learn strategies to remain going.