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9 Keys to Surviving (and Thriving) in a Long Distance Relationship

Long distance. This phrase tacked on before the word "relationship" strikes fear and dread into any young lover's heart. This word almost seems like you're issuing a death sentence to your relationship, regardless how strong it might be. While you put on a brave face, your friends and family will start thinking about how they'll console you in the coming months when this long distance experiment inevitably fails. But all is not lost, if you put these 9 pieces of advice into practice, you and your long distance lover will have a fighting chance to not only stay together but thrive together.

  1. Talk everyday

    This sounds super cliche but maintaining communication is super important. While you might not talk every day in a non-long distance relationship, you have to make up for what you lose by being apart.

    I know that I say you should talk every day, but I don't mean that you should force conversation either. While you may think I just contradicted myself, I swear I have a point. You should make some effort to communicate every day even if you have nothing to talk about. The simplest way you can do this is by taking the time to message your long distance bae a simple "Goodmorning" and "Goodnight."

    Reaching out in this way will keep the lines of communication open even when you have nothing to talk about.

    One of the biggest reasons long distance relationships fail is because communication buckles. You need to keep communication open and honest to keep your relationships strong. This way when there are serious things you need to talk about, there isn't much of a gap that needs bridging. You will be able to freely communicate your concerns and needs without feeling awkward or needy.

    So make an effort to speak or communicate in some way every day. Let the other person know that you haven't forgotten about them.

  2. Find someway to do things "together"

    To keep your relationship healthy you need to do things somehow together. Yes, I know that the whole reason you can't do things together is because of distance, but thank god for modern technology, right?

    Set aside Skype date nights where you cook dinner in your own kitchens and eat together while video chatting. Download the Game Pidgeon app for your phone and battle it out via digital 8 ball all day. There are apps like Gaze that sync tv shows and movies for you so you can watch together in perfect unison. Play online video games with one another via Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii.

    Technology has made it easier to connect, why not use it to benefit your long distance relationship.

  3. Know the other's schedule

    The best way to make sure you can actually talk, make time for Skype dates, etc. is to know when the other is actually available.

    Give your partner an idea of what your average day might look like and ask them to do the same. This will make it easier to communicate and will lessen the chance of hurt feelings as a result of unanswered phone calls.

    While you might not be keen on doing this as it might feel like you're trying to, or your partner is trying to, keep tabs, it will benefit your relationship in the long run. Make it clear that you're not suggesting to do this because you don't trust your partner; you're doing it to make sure you're not calling them when they're at work or busy (which is especially hard to navigate if you're in different time zones). Afterall, you need to be transparent with one another and make sure the lines of communication between the two of you are open.

  4. Avoid "dangerous" situations

    Speaking of transparency… The second biggest reason why long distance relationships fail is infidelity.

    Yes, if you're doing long distance you are infinitely likely to be horny and lonely. The proper way to solve this problem is by reaching out to your partner for a little reassurance (sometimes in the form of sexting).

    When your bed is feeling extra empty, the last thing you should be doing is texting that hot guy from work or going out to the club in your sexiest outfit with less than pure intentions. These are examples of dangerous situations.

    A dangerous situation is a scenario where you are likely to cheat or do something less than chaste. Unless, you have agreed upon an open relationship before doing long distance, stay away from dangerous situations. Don't text your hot coworker past 7 o'clock. Don't go out with a cheeky drink when you're feeling horny. And don't download Tinder (even if you do nothing physically, emotional cheating is still just as hurtful).

  5. Keep momentos

    When you're feeling extra lonely, holding something that belongs to your lover can make all the difference. Exchange articles of clothing that you've washed in your detergent, sprayed in your favorite fragrance, and worn for a night (make sure it doesn't smell like B.O.). Our sense of smell is closely linked with memory, so when you're feeling lonely snuggle up to your boyfriend's shirt or your girlfriend's sweater and breathe them in.

    Pro tip: You can also wrap their article of clothing around a pillow for when you need to squeeze something.

    Guys, keep one of her rings on a necklace (man jewelry is in, okay). Girls, keep one of his hats or T's to wear when you miss him (boyfriend clothing will always be in style). Another thing you can do is send care packages and letters. Long hand love letters are a lost art, why not try to single handedly revive them with your partner? Send packages labled "Open when you're sad" or "Open when you're lonely (;" filled with something that might serve as the cure to those feelings.

    There is nothing that soothes the soul better than a package of your favorite chocolate chip cookies accompanied by a letter from your long distance bae.

  6. Don't keep score

    When doing long distance, it might feel like you're putting in a lot of effort to only get a little in return. It is not the time to start keeping score when you're away from one another.

    The best way to solve this is to be empathetic. Whether you're separated because of work or family things, you need to understand that the other person is busy. Keep in mind that they will eventually be less than busy and will then have more time on their hands.

    If these problems continue for a little longer than expected, the best thing you can do is communicate. Don't talk about feelings like this over text, make sure to skype.

  7. When you're together, make room for downtime

    It might be tempting to embark on some great adventure when you're finally reunited with your boyf/girlf, but make sure you make room for downtime.

    During your visits with one another, its okay to do some fun and adventurous things but you need to make sure you have time just to relax. Doing a whole bunch of activities with your S.O. will get exhausting after a while, especially if that's what you're doing everytime you're together.

    While you might want to do something crazy every time you're together, you'll find a lot of bliss in just being with one another. Lock yourself up in your hotel room and binge watch movies together. Take a long walk together. Have coffee together and don't even speak for an hour, just be.

  8. Skype is your filthy friend

    Let's be real: you can't go months and months waiting to see your lover in person to finally get it on. No, sir. You need to become masters at sexting and Skype sex to keep this thing healthy.

    Make sure you keep things sensual by getting freaky online and often. Start with a subtly sexy text to let your partner know that you're feignin' for some (digital) sexual healin'. Then make time to get it on via Skype, or Facetime, or Snapchat, or what have you.

    And don't be afraid to send some sexy pictures either. Just try not to get them fired.

    If they're somewhere with minimal privacy - such as working abroad and living with roommates - try to find some alone time or stick to steamy sexts, pictures, and voice messages that your partner can enjoy discreetly under their comforter.

  9. Always have something to look forward to

    One of the biggest things that make people question their long distance relationship are feelings of hopelessness. If there is no end in sight to the long distance-ness of your relationship, it might feel like there is no point to keeping it going.

    The best way to remedy these feelings is always to have something to look forward to. As soon as you see one another, plan your next visit. Even if it's several months out, that red circle on your calendar will give you hope.

    Schedule weekly Skype dates. Send care packages. And never forget to say "Goodmorning" and "Goodnight".