Short absences can keep a relationship fresh and exciting. That’s why people say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” But when you’re supposed to live far away from your special someone for months or even years, that gets a lot harder, doesn’t it? That’s when you’re living separate lives from each other, which doesn’t really give you a close connection.
Long distance relationships can be really tough on both people. So does that just mean there’s no hope and you shouldn’t bother? No. If you don’t have a strong connection to the person, you might want to move on. But if he’s worth it to you and both of you could see a future together, it’s worth a try. If you both have the right mindset and you rely on certain tools to help, you could make it work and actually have a stronger relationship.
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How to Spend More Time Together
When you’re in a different area from your boyfriend, you don’t have a lot of shared experiences together. You do separate things with your time. And you might find it harder and harder to make time for each other as other things take over your focus. Plus, when you miss your boyfriend and haven’t seen him for ages, you might start to get tempted by somebody who is around. What you need to do is get creative and find different ways to stay in touch.
Let’s talk about some techniques that could help you.
Fortunately, we have a lot more ways to communicate these days than people did in the past. That makes long distance relationships easier. And technology can actually help people have better intimacy and communication. Since people in long distance relationships have limited interactions that happen through technology instead of in-person, they tend to focus on what’s important and be more open. Communicating through text and mobile encourages people to share more and use “uncertainty-reducing strategies” that could help both people feel better in the relationship but can also lead to intensified, usually idealized interpersonal perceptions .
Here are some different ways to use technology:
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- Use Live Video: Use Skype or FaceTime to talk to each other. This can help you see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices and gain more of the context of communication. You can have conversations, introduce friends, show each other things about your life and even have video sex if it works for you (yes video sex can be an important substitute for the real thing). You can even play games over Skype. This is great for couples who are stimulated visually.
- Call: Use the old-school method of talking on the phone to stay in touch. You’ll hear each other’s voices and be able to focus on the conversation to communicate well. Phone sex might feel more comfortable than by video if you’d rather not look at each other during long distance sex. Whenever the other person doesn’t pick up, leave a sweet or sexy message.
- Text: Send each other messages throughout the day to touch base and share news about your life. You can also sext each other. Texting is a great way to communicate when you’re out and about and to leave messages when the other person is busy.
- Use Private Messaging: An app like SnapChat gives a good way to communicate without anyone else seeing your messages. If you’re nervous about having phone or video sex or sexting, you might feel more comfortable sending photos and videos you know will disappear.
- Send Long Messages: You might want to send your partner emails or Facebook messages if you have a lot to say. You can fill each other in on all of the details of your lives.
- Connect on Social Media: Connect with each other on Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms so you can see what the other person is sharing and simply have another way to stay in touch.
Use technology to get in touch randomly and also set up times when you’re both free and can really focus on each other. You might even want to plan a regular “date night” every week when you don’t make other plans. Make sure you give each other your full attention when you’re communicating and eliminate all other distractions .
Use Snail Mail
While it’s great to use modern ways to stay in touch, there’s something to be said for old-fashioned letter writing. It’s very romantic to write a love letter expressing your heart and fun to receive a random letter in the mailbox. Mix letters in with your other kinds of communication once in a while. Sending mail could be one way to improve non-physical intimacy. This attribute was one of the skills that a study found people gained in a long-term relationship .
Try sending surprise gifts and care packages that would make your special someone smile and show him that you care. You could also get his roommates, friends or nearby family members to help you do something special for him. For example, they could decorate his room for his birthday and say it’s from you. It might not be a good idea to show up unannounced because a visit could disrupt your boyfriend’s life, but you could plan a visit and set up a surprise activity for the two of you during it .
Do Activities “Together”
Plan dates where you both do the same thing at the same time and interact by phone or video. You could watch a movie together, spend time in nature together, read a book out loud to each other, listen to music, eat the same dinner or find some other activity you both enjoy .
Support Each Other
One of the benefits of being in any romantic relationship is that you have someone to lean on. Even if you don’t see each other in person, you can give each other emotional support . Talk to your boyfriend about your problems and let him do the same with you.
Get Face-to-Face Time
On top of FaceTime, get some real face-to-face time. Make visits a priority so you can see each other from time to time. With the distance between you, there’s sure to be plenty of passion every time you get together in person! Each of you could visit the other at your homes, and you could also plan trips to visit a different area.
You can meet at random times that work for both of you and also plan to sometimes get together for holidays and special occasions like your anniversary. Visits can also help you have more realistic ideas of each other rather than an imaginary and idealized romance .
Relationship Rules and Boundaries
It’s important for people in any kind of relationship to agree on rules and to communicate with each other. Otherwise, you might find out the hard way that you don’t have the same ideas on what cheating is, for example. When you’re in a long distance relationship, it’s even more important to put effort into these things.
In the beginning, decide on rules and boundaries to your relationship. You need to be sure that you are both committed to staying together. Work together to agree on what’s okay and what’s not okay in your relationship. Will this be an exclusive relationship or an open relationship? What would you agree is cheating? Is hanging out with someone of the opposite sex cheating? Is sex without emotions cheating? Agree on definitions .
Also, it’s healthy for you both to have your own friends and activities. But make sure you communicate about them and are okay with each other doing this as long as they don’t break the rules. If this is not okay, there might be trust problems within the relationship. Trust is an important component to making a long distance relationship work .
Is Cheating Likely?
A study found that college students were slightly less likely to physically cheat on a long distance partner when the partner was 200 or more miles away, and significantly more likely to cheat when the partner was 11 to 200 miles away. The author suggested that maybe people who lived in that middle area did not make as much of a commitment or effort to make the relationship work as those who moved farther away .
How to Prevent Cheating
The relationship needs to be based on trust and a strong commitment. Also, you can avoid putting yourself into situations that could lead to cheating. For example, don’t have some drinks alone with someone you’re attracted to. Your partner can do the same .
People in long distance relationships have to adapt to new ways of communicating when they can’t always see the other person’s facial expressions or body language or sometimes can’t hear the way someone is saying something. We all know that words can be misinterpreted through text or email when we don’t get that extra context. In a long distance relationship, you can improve your communication by becoming better at reading context clues, understanding the way your boyfriend communicates and finding other ways to communicate better .
Couples in this kind of relationship need to communicate honestly and be open with each other about wants, needs, fears, and feelings. Both people need to be willing to communicate well and to listen to the other person.
If you’re feeling tempted to cheat, here are some ways to avoid making a mistake.
Here is some advice from people who’ve been in successful long-distance relationships.
Faq #1: Can my relationship handle long distance?
Not every relationship or person can handle long distance. People have different wants and needs with a relationship. Some people need those day-to-day interactions, constant touch, and the comfort of hanging out together. Some people need to communicate in person, and many people can’t go long periods of time without physical intimacy. And some people won’t be able to handle temptations in front of them when their significant other is far away. Think about whether your relationship could handle the distance and whether both of you would be committed to making it work.
Plus, not every relationship is worth trying to make it work. Maybe you’re in a relationship that you can’t seem to move on from even though you’ve gone in separate directions. If you feel like you don’t have that much in common or like you probably won’t make it for the long haul, you might be better off breaking it off and moving forward with your life instead of staying stuck in the past.
Interestingly, people are usually happier about the relationship if they have positive beliefs about it and feel like they’ll be in the same location at some point . Additionally, one study found that individual and relationship characteristics predicted relationship quality more than distance did .
Faq #2: Are long distance relationships really worse?
You might be surprised to discover that long distance relationships can actually be stronger than ones where the partners see each other constantly. A study found that people in long distance relationships reported better relationship quality than those seeing each other in person more, measured by factors like dedication and stability. The people in in-person relationships even had higher levels of feeling trapped, so long distance could offer more freedom and flexibility .
Faq #3: Will we definitely break up?
Most people think that a long distance relationship is a doomed one. But is that true? One study found no evidence that this kind of relationship was more likely to end. The study only looked at a three-month period and at college students but it still gives some hope .
A lot of relationships end up failing after the couple moves closer together, interestingly enough. So it seems like some people adapt to the distance and actually like it. A third of the couples who reunite and live near each other end the relationship within a timeframe of three months . Nonetheless, the partners might be able to make it work better by changing their expectations and creating new rules for the relationship.
Once again, communicating and having similar expectations might help the relationship. So while some people might actually prefer a long distance relationship and then not like living near each other, other ones are based on being apart only temporarily .
Faq #4: Can a relationship really be good without seeing each other?
There are some problems with being apart that could make a relationship unhealthy or not very strong. For example, partners could not know each very well, could have unrealistic ideas of the other person and could feel lonely and sad most of the time. It can be hard to fully communicate, feel connected and be intimate without being together in person. But these relationships can be healthier with a positive outlook and good communication .
So it looks like long distance relationships can be similar or in some ways even better compared to ones in person! But they can still be tough, especially if they go on for a long time. The important thing is to put in the commitment and effort. If both of you do that – and use the right tools and techniques to help – you can make yours work.
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