In the not-so-old days, long-distance couples had no choice but to rely on snail mail and expensive calls placed with tethered landlines to stay in touch with one another. Today, things are much different. Now, long-distance partners have social media, video chat, and much more to catch up with each other as often as they want. While that’s true, people who are romantically linked but living far apart can still benefit from some long-distance relationship advice in many cases.
According to the most recent data about LDR couples, about 14 million couples or 28 million people living in the United States are in a long-distance relationship. Approximately 10 percent of all marriages in the U.S. start off as LDRs. It’s estimated that almost 75 percent of all college couples claim they were in a long-distance relationship at some point in their collegiate careers. With the stats just mentioned being pre-pandemic numbers, it’s likely the current stats regarding LDRs are even higher these days.
With so many people having experience with LDRs, it’s only natural that couples often research long-distance relationship tips. If you’re in a long-distance relationship, you’ve come to the right place for some advice about how you can make your relationship work in the short and long term.
Long-Distance Relationship Advice
Maintaining an LDR can be difficult under the best of circumstances, but it can be even harder if you and your partner live in different time zones, you have opposing work or school schedules, or you simply prefer to check-in at different times of the day. Given those challenges, it’s vital that you and your love interest schedule time to communicate with each other.
The key to establishing a pattern of communication is to choose a time and means of communicating that are mutually convenient and satisfying. If you don’t invest time in making mutually agreeable arrangements, it can increase the chances that you and your partner will break up if one of you starts to feel like the communication between the two of you is neither convenient nor supportive.
Don’t Overdo It
While you might be tempted to check-in with your partner during your spare time, you should avoid reaching out too often. If you contact your significant other too much, it can breed mistrust because your partner may not think you feel they’re faithful or committed to your relationship. By reaching out at all hours of the day and night, you’ll come across as clingy and possessive, and talking to you may become a burden rather than a pleasure for your partner.
Establish and Respect Boundaries
For a long-distance relationship to work for both parties, the individuals involved must set personal boundaries. Depending on the nature of your relationship, not seeing other people might be the first boundary you set. From there, you may want to set other limitations, such as your significant other not calling you during hours when you’re normally sleeping.
Whether it’s long-distance or an up-close situation, a relationship without boundaries is like a game with no rules. You want to win with your partner and setting boundaries will help the two of you to do just that.
Even after you establish a communication schedule and some boundaries, you need to remain flexible. You may have to change the time and date for a phone call if your boss suddenly needs you to work late, for example. If your partner is going through a difficult time, you may want to stretch or temporarily suspend a boundary and allow him to call, video chat, or visit more often than you would otherwise.
Do Things Together
Although it might seem counterintuitive, research shows that a lot of long-distance partners enjoy equal or higher levels of trust, devotion, and satisfaction compared to couples who are geographically close to each other. You can increase the chances that you’ll be happy in your long-distance relationship if you make it a point to do things with your significant other.
- Share a Scratch-Off Adventure
If you’re trying to think of something you can do with your long-distance partner but you’re drawing a blank, we encourage you to get the Adventures From Scratch: Date Edition. This book includes more than 50 challenges for couples. Some of the adventures are romantic, while others are perfect for a couple’s first date night.
Adventures From Scratch offers creative activities that are a blast, whether near or far. Use the book to make the most of any quality time you have together. While at a distance, you can tear out challenges and mail them to your SO. The two of you can connect on a digital platform like Skype to have some fun!
Additionally, this book includes other ways to develop your bond and build your relationship! Use “Cascading Conversations” to prompt meaningful discussions between you and your mate. Send “I Love You” cards to express how you feel.
- Challenge Your Partner to a Virtual Game Night
You don’t need to be overly competitive to enjoy playing games from time to time. If your girlfriend shares your affinity for games, consider challenging her to a game night. Let’s Roam has more than 15 virtual game styles on its platform, so you have plenty to choose from. You can invite others to play with you and your girlfriend from any location in the world.
- Celebrate Special Occasions Virtually
Does your SO have a birthday coming up? If so, we suggest you book a virtual birthday party with Let’s Roam. A digital birthday celebration with Let’s Roam allows you and other partygoers to celebrate your partner’s big day while you have a ton of fun and share some laughs.
What else can you do with your partner when the two of you are physically apart? You can watch a movie together using a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Max and discuss the film after it ends. Here are some additional ideas:
- Take a virtual cooking class together
- Have a book reading using a platform like Facetime or Zoom
- Engage in some sexting
- Enjoy a romantic digital dinner
Make the Most of Your Free Time
People in long-distance relationships sometimes discover they have more free time compared to involved individuals who live near one another. You should use that spare time to invest in yourself, get to know yourself better, and appreciate your unique self. By doing so, you’ll position yourself to focus on and understand your partner better when you’re together.
Depending on the relationship expert you ask, you might be told to act like you’re single during your downtime. While you might be eager to heed that advice, you need to exercise caution and avoid doing things that might make your partner uncomfortable or suspicious. If you’re tempted to do something that your partner might not be comfortable with, discuss it with him beforehand so you can reassure your boyfriend your intentions are pure.
Modern technology makes it a breeze to talk to your loved one in various ways. You can have face-to-face conversations using Facetime or Skype or you can place a traditional phone call to catch up. However you choose to communicate with your SO, make sure you share details about your daily experiences.
As you chat with your partner, don’t settle for generalizations like you went to dinner and had fun. Make the event come alive for your girlfriend by describing the restaurant, telling her about the food you ate, identifying the people you dined with, and explaining how you felt about the meal and the eatery’s ambiance.
Make Sure Your Plans Are Aligned
Bela Gandhi, the founder of Smart Dating Academy, claims It’s important for you and your partner to have a long-range plan to end the distance between the two of you at some point if you’re long-distance relationship is going to last over the long haul. With that in mind, you should prioritize coming up with a plan.
Developing a plan to end the distance between you and your long-distance love isn’t enough, however. You need to revisit that plan and tweak it whenever necessary as your circumstances change. Including an end date for being apart will help you and your partner stay committed to meeting that deadline and it will help keep frustration over being separated at bay.
Break Up Alone Time with Intermittent Visits
Even though technology allows distanced couples to keep up with each other’s activities in real-time, you shouldn’t rely on technology exclusively to sustain your long-distance relationship. Whether they talk to a clinical psychologist, a dating coach, or a relationship expert, some long-distance couples ask how long they can go without seeing their partner. According to dating expert and relationship coach Rami Fu, couples shouldn’t spend more than three months away from each other if they can avoid it.
Visiting your partner on occasion at least will help you both to remember why you fell in love to begin with. It will also allow each of you to see how the other has grown and changed. While sexting and phone sex are fun, they’re no comparison for the good nights of physical sex you can have when you visit your SO.
Give Your Partner Reminders
When you know you’re going to spend a period of time away from your partner, make sure you leave some reminders behind. Do you have a favorite sweater that your partner loves seeing you in? Wear it the day before your departure and lay it on your partner’s pillow the next day before you head out the door.
While you’re gone, spritz a “thinking of you” card with your familiar cologne or perfume and send it to your partner via snail mail. Want to up the ante even more? Navigate to Amazon and look through the care packages the retailer has on its site. Pick one that’s sexy or loaded with your partner’s favorite things and have the retail giant ship it directly to your love.
Prioritize Meaningful Conversation
In general, distanced couples don’t have as many opportunities to communicate as couples located close together. For this reason, you should do your best to prioritize infusing every conversation you share with your partner with meaning.
Instead of reviewing the minutiae of your day in mind-numbing detail, tell your SO about the moments that were most special to you. Have you started listening to a new podcast? Let your love know why you chose that one and invite him to listen to the broadcast with you.
Don’t let what you think are the boring details of your day be a mystery to your boyfriend. Share enough for your boyfriend to be in your life even though he’s far away. Sharing meaningful details about the people and activities that are part of your daily life will help keep you and your partner close even though you’re not physically so.
Cling to the Positives
Although long-distance relationships certainly have their challenges, they also have a powerful set of positives. For starters, an LDR can help you and your love appreciate each other more. Being apart can also inspire you to make more of the time you do get to spend with your partner. Similarly, putting some distance between you and your partner can deepen your fondness for one another and strengthen your relationship.
Keep Things in Perspective
When they live a distance away from them, some people start to idealize their partners. If you want your long-distance relationship to last, you should avoid doing that. Research shows that couples with too much idealization in their romantic relationships are more likely to break up due to an unstable bond.
If you only focus on your SO’s positive attributes and behaviors, you might end up being severely disappointed when the two of you reunite. Rather than creating a fictional perfect image of your partner, keep things in perspective and paint a realistic mental picture. Remember, you fell in love with your imperfect SO just the way she is, so how bad can a realistic mental image of her really be?
Flirt with Others
Yes, you read that right. Flirting with others may benefit your long-distance relationship as long as you don’t let it escalate and your partner doesn’t feel threatened. Some of the most satisfied long-distance lovers use extra-relational flirting to keep the romance going in their own relationships. If your SO is okay with it, you two might be able to do the same successfully.
Keep Up with Each Other’s Social Media
Keeping up with your partner’s activities on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter is a good idea if you want things to stay fresh between the two of you. Like your partner’s pictures and posts. Tag your SO in a post that shows you’re thinking about him. Take a page out of Ryan Reynolds’ playbook and troll your SO online in a hilarious way he won’t forget any time soon.
Refrain from Spying
People involved in a long-distance relationship sometimes wonder if absence makes the heart grow fonder or if they’re out of sight, out of mind as the options relate to their SO. To avoid making yourself nuts, it’s best to believe the former rather than fret about the latter option.
Even if you’re worried about your relationship status, you should refrain from spying on your lover. Too many relationships, both long-distance and close proximity ones, are ruined when a suspicious partner spies on their SO. If you feel the need to physically spy on your partner, stalk your lover online, or look through their phone or email without permission, you may want to reconsider your relationship as there’s a huge difference between checking in and checking up on your loved one.
At a minimum, you should talk to your SO about your feelings of insecurity or worry. Maintaining an open line of communication can help put your fears to bed and it can identify the things that made you insecure in the first place. While the conversation might be awkward, it can help you and your SO to recognize behaviors and communication patterns the two of you can change so that you’re both more confident in your relationship.
Give Each Other Pet Names
It may seem insignificant, but one of the simplest long-distance relationship tips you’ll get is for you and your SO to give each other pet names. Doing so can bring you two closer together because only the two of you will know about them. That is, the pet names will be a secret until you inevitably use them in front of others.
There’s something meaningful and refreshingly familiar about moments when your partner uses a special name reserved just for you. When you hear your boyfriend call you by your pet name, it will warm your heart and remind you how much you mean to him.
Plan Good Night Video Calls
One of the most intimate things about being in a committed relationship is going to bed together. Of course, that’s not physically possible when you’re in a long-distance relationship, but you can create a facsimile of a shared nighttime routine using a platform like Zoom.
Choose a bedtime your partner agrees with and reach out to her close to that time every night. Wearing your pajamas and engaging in the same or similar bedtime activities can make it seem like the two of you are really going to bed together.
Tell People About Your Relationship
David Bennett is a certified counselor and an expert when it comes to relationships. Bennett advises people in long-distance relationships to tell others about their relationships, especially the people they’re the closest to. The relationship specialist also warns people that keeping a long-distance partner a secret or thinking of them as an afterthought makes it less likely that their existing romantic relationship will last.
Surprise Each Other
It can be surprisingly easy to fall into patterns that combine to make it feel like you’re in a relationship rut when you’re separated from your SO. You can prevent that from happening by surprising your partner once in a while.
If you do the bedtime video thing, get a new pair of goofy PJs that are sure to make your lover laugh. Are you going to Skype with your partner? Get a mask and greet him with a song playing in the background as you hold a handwritten sign that dares him to guess who’s really singing the lyrics. Make sure your sign promises you’ll deliver on something sexy if he guesses the right singer.
What else can you do to surprise your SO? Here are some ideas:
- Organize a night out with his buddies for him
- Send him some lingerie with a note that explains how eager you are to model it for him
- Visit Amazon and order some sexy underwear for your partner
- Send your boyfriend a basket of foods that are known to be aphrodisiacs
- Treat your man to a relaxing, well-deserved spa day
- Make arrangements so your boyfriend can do something on his bucket list
- Compile a slideshow of pictures that document your relationship with your partner
- Schedule a service to clean your boyfriend’s home
- Have groceries or a meal from your man’s favorite restaurant delivered to his doorstep
- Get your boyfriend tickets to a big game
- Send a limousine to take your SO to and from work for no reason
- Track down one of your partner’s old friends
Frequently Asked Questions
LDRs can absolutely last if you’re willing to put in the effort it takes to maintain one. Be sure to follow long-distance relationship advice from experts but, above all, listen to each other.
Maintaining an LDR can be tough, but it’s possible if you work at it. Follow proven long-distance relationship advice and celebrate time together with meaningful activities like Adventures From Scratch.
They say “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Don’t overdo it! Allowing each other some space and respecting boundaries is important. When you do talk, make the most of your time together!