Successful long-distance relationships are an art form that requires practice, trial and error, and an immense amount of dedication. They are challenging, and couples must be willing to get pretty creative, in every department, from communication to sex. Pretty much everything about this venture is going to be different than your previous conventional romantic relationships.
Don’t fret, though! Just because something is challenging doesn’t mean it is not possible. With a few tweaks, you can make it not only manageable but enjoyable. That being said, it won‘t come naturally and easily. You are going to need some tips. Good thing we have gathered all the best long-distance relationship tips to help you two give it the best go possible. Let’s dive in!
Disclaimer: Remember that every relationship is different. The nature of a personal relationship is that it is made up of two different people. Some of these tips may work wonders for your romance. Others aren’t going to work for you at all. They are general guidelines, but all good relationships take a little trial and error. The important part is to land in a place where you both feel loved and fulfilled.
Make your time together count!
When you don’t get to see each other often, it’s even more important to ensure you spend quality time together. With your copy of Adventures from Scratch, you and your love will always have something fun to do on date night! Each book includes 50+ ideas that will bring you closer, and when you’re apart, use the “Reasons Why I Love You” cards, conversation prompts, and other interactive elements to communicate and connect. Grab your copy today!
The Best Tips for Long-Distance Partners
1. Set clear expectations.
Some of the best relationship advice we can give you is to learn to communicate effectively. Communication is even more important in a relationship with little to no physical touch. You can decrease the fighting quite substantially by setting clear expectations with one another from the get-go! Relationship experts agree that unmet expectations are one of the primary causes of discord in a relationship. If you are on the same page from the beginning, you give less room for this to become an issue. There is no worse feeling in the world than to commit yourself fully to another, and then realize on a Saturday morning, that they didn’t know you were exclusive and spent last night with someone else. This kind of stuff is destructive to your mental health, and it is mostly avoidable with good communication.
Sit down with your partner and both of you lay out what you need from each other. Have the exclusivity conversation. Discuss your physical needs and your expectations for communication. Discuss how and when you will have video calls (bear in mind the time zone difference), and then do your best to stick to it.
2. Have virtual date nights.
To make a long-distance relationship work, you need to have date nights, just like you would if there were no physical distance. This means that you turn off all distractions, you get dressed nicely, and you pick something special to do together. Obviously, you will be doing these things virtually, via some sort of video chat-Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.
Dating someone online isn’t going to lead to that epic good night kiss of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an intimate experience together. You will likely video call several times a week, but make you set aside one night a week for an actual date, not just the normal chat about the day while you watch TV or whatever. It should be planned, and your partner should be your focus for the night!
3. Keep it interesting.
The same old date every week is not good for any relationship. While there is something comforting about your favorites, make sure to spice things up a bit. Don’t just Netflix together every Friday night. Plan something inventive. Consider taking a cooking class together and preparing a meal simultaneously. Have a virtual game night. Incorporate personality tests or relationship quizzes every now and then. Add in an at-home l scavenger hunt, a murder mystery, or perhaps a strip poker. The ideas are endless, so get creative!
4. Get some help with planning.
If you aren’t the most creative soul and thinking of fun dates is like pulling teeth, look to Adventures From Scratch: Date Edition for some help. Our dating adventure book is full of expertly crafted date ideas meant to increase your emotional connection and provide tons of laughter. Out books include 55+ date ideas, “Why I love you” cards, and conversation starters to help keep the communication flowing. It’s easy to use. You just scratch off an adventure. Grab your phones, and set out to do it together! Most of the adventures don’t take a lot of planning, so you can just scratch and enjoy!
5. Vary your communication.
You need to check in with your significant other regularly, but you don’t have to stick to the same video chat every night. Surprise your loved one with a handwritten letter. Keep a healthy text feed throughout the day, and have a good old-fashioned phone call every once in a while. Varying your communication styles will keep things interesting, much in the same way that choosing innovative dates or trying a new sex position does. Talking to one another is your lifeline in an LDR, you don’t want your communication to become stale and boring.
6. Carefully communicate.
We would never suggest that you “walk on eggshells” with your SO, however, when there is a lack of physical touch and body language, you need to be extra careful about the words you use. Text messages can get easily misconstrued, as it is impossible to decipher tone. Because we live in a world of keyboard warriors, we are much quicker to insult or throw out a text message that sounds harsh without thinking about it as much as we would in person. A lot of people write things on social media or send text messages with wording they would never use in a conversation. When you are communicating with your loved one, it is important to think about what you say. Much of your conversation in a long-distance relationship will be via text, so be clear, concise, and think it through.
7. Do little things together.
Whatever it is that you both love to do, arrange to do it together. If you both love crime podcasts, then listen to the same one each day and discuss it later when you have your nightly chat. If you love to read, then read the same books together. Go outside and stargaze during your evening conversations. Want to learn a new hobby, pick something you both want to learn and do it together. Eat dinner together. Some LDR couples even choose to fall asleep together and remain on the line throughout the night.
Doing little everyday things together strengthens your bond. It keeps your mind on each other. It creates plenty of conversation fodder, and it allows you to be a part of all the mundane parts of each other’s lives, just as you would if you were in a conventional relationship.
8. Have time for yourself.
There is a tendency in long-distance relationships to feel guilty for doing things without your partner. Many people feel that they need to devote their every free second to trying to connect with their partner. However, that isn’t mentally healthy, and it will have the opposite effect. Feeling bound to communicate with someone constantly and include them in every part of your life will generally end with you feeling resentment towards that person, which is the opposite of what you are going for!
The best long-distance couples understand that it is necessary to go shopping with your best friend. You have an identity outside of your relationship. Join the work afterparty. Go to the neighbor‘s barbecue, and don‘t feel guilty about experiencing parts of life without your partner. People in conventional relationships need their space. Distance couples are no different.
It’s important to check yourself on this one. Obviously, if your partner breaches your agreed-upon standards of fidelity, that can hamper your relationship…or end it. However, distance relationships are just as often ended by a breach of personal space boundaries. People don’t want to be smothered or chained. Make sure that you cultivate an environment of trust, and then let your partner breathe!
9. Show them you care.
Sending small care packages or gifts is a great way to make your partner feel special. Have a new book delivered to their home or have flowers delivered to their workplace. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, just something that shows them you are thinking of them. Let’s be honest, we all love a present, especially a surprise one on a random Tuesday!
10. Strive for a healthy sexual relationship.
This is where it really gets challenging. In some ways, the level of sexual intimacy in a long-distance relationship has to be even deeper and stronger than in a conventional one. You can’t just go upstairs and hook up real quick. You have to discuss your sexuality, which can be difficult for a lot of people. Phone sex can be really awkward. Many people don‘t feel comfortable in front of a camera, so performing in that way can be weird. It may take you some time to work out how to be sexy without physical touch, but it is important to try.
Just begin small. Start with “sexting” your partner intimate messages during the day. If you are sure your connection is secure, then send a few naughty pictures with. Just make sure to double-check you aren’t texting your boss or mom. You might consider opening a separate thread for sexting through a secure app like Signal. This way you don’t mess up and send your dad a nudie.
11. Get to know each other’s friends.
If you intend for your relationship to progress to something permanent, then you are going to need to invest in the people that your partner loves. Arrange to have virtual meet-ups where you hang out as friends. You can all compete in a virtual game night or murder mystery party for example.
You gather your friends. Your partner gathers an equal number of their friends, and you battle it out for the ultimate champion. It will be a blast, and you will get a new insight into your love by watching them interact with their peeps. Plus, when you get to a place where you can meet in person, you will already have a foundation to make the new friendships flow more easily.
12. Make a vision board.
Successful couples dream together! Grab a cork board and some push pins for each of your homes. During your date nights, talk about what couch you are going to get for your joint apartment someday. Print it out and pin it to the board. Find pics of your dream vacation spot. Pin it. Go on virtual house hunts and pin those too.
You can make a Pinterest Board if you don’t want to invest in an actual corkboard, but either way, the point is to dream about what you want your life together to be and manifest it. Keep your wishes in front of you where you can discuss them and make plans to accomplish your goals, together!
13. Plan to meet.
You can do the whole long-distance thing for a period of time, but in reality, you are going to need to see your partner in person. It’s important to develop a timeline that you can both live with and that works with your life. Until your meeting date, you can dream together. Plan where you will go, and what restaurants you will eat in. Talk about the activities in your destination, and make an itinerary. Travel planning is exciting at any point, but it is even more thrilling when you know your flight ends with some lovin’ from your boo. Keep up the anticipation in your relationship by planning regular trips to see each other.
14. Make TikToks together!
Are you even a real couple in today’s world if you don’t make a few social media appearances together? Of course, being facetious here, but if you are into the whole social media world, then do it together. Platforms like Instagram Reels or TikTok allow you to film videos separately from your home and one of you edit it into a cute video to post. There are innumerable couple’s challenges and dances for you to attempt. See how many of them you can master without being in the same place!
15. Open a joint account.
If your relationship is serious, and it’s looking like forever, consider opening a joint credit card or banking account. Obviously, this is after you have been dating for a while and are committed wholly to one another. By combining a portion of your finances, you can save up for your next trips and begin to collect points on a great travel card. This will help with the expenses of your in-person meetups.
This is a terrible idea if you are not on the same page about money. Money is a primary source of strife in relationships, and couple’s who do not agree on how to spend it, should keep theirs separate. However, if you are both responsible with money, you agree on how you will spend it, and you lay down some ground rules, a shared account can be a great way to build up your financial future, together.
16. Make a couple’s Spotify list.
There is something magical about sitting under the same moon, even when you are miles apart. It’s even more amazing when you can do it while listening to your songs. Hop on Spotify, or whatever music source you both love, and create a joint playlist. You can add songs that remind you of your partner, and send them a notice when you add a new one. This will give you a chance to have a mushy conversation about what song lyrics reminded you of them and why.
It’s actually a great way for people who have trouble expressing emotions to say what they mean. Songwriters are pretty good at the mushy stuff. They make it sound much more polished than most of us. Often they say what we mean much better than we are able to do ourselves.
17. Work on yourself.
The blessing of a long-distance relationship is that you have time to yourself. Use it! Take that yoga class. Learn a new hobby. Work on whatever it is that makes you feel successful and complete as a person. The more confident you are in yourself and your ability to do life alone (at least for a time), the easier it is to maintain a long-distance romance. Most mature partners won’t mind this at all. It shows that you are strong, independent, successful, and not clingy, which are probably reasons they fell for you in the first place.
18. You don’t have to talk every day.
It may feel like you need to have daily conversations when you are trying to cultivate a LDR. However, experts say that isn’t necessary at all. In fact, it might have the opposite effect of what you intended. If nothing happened today that is worth discussing, then you are going to be sitting on the phone talking about nothing, which is fine sometimes, but to some people, it can be a real downer.
Some people do not have an appreciation for small talk. If that is you or your significant other, then spread out your conversations. Speaking every 2-3 days instead will make for to talk about, and the time your do spend communicating will be more effective. It will create a little mystery and the chance for you to miss each other, which can be a healthy emotion.
19. Don’t do it unless it’s worth it.
Real talk here, if you are just looking to have fun or casually date, then a long-distance relationship is absolutely not worth the stress and effort. Do not enter into a LDR if you don’t think this person is your match! If you can’t see yourself spending forever with them, then don’t even pursue it. Go date locally for fun. It’s much easier.
20. Don’t skip the hard stuff.
All couples have disagreements. Prepare for them, and use them to your advantage. A fight does not need to mean a breakup. Couples who are prepared to disagree and have strategies in place for when it happens are often able to soar above the fight and come out stronger on the other side.
When things are good and stable, talk about how you will handle disagreements when they come along. Whether you choose to take a break to collect your thoughts and come back to discuss it later, or incorporate active listening techniques to control the argument, doesn’t matter. Just have something in place that you both agree on and utilize the strategies when the time comes.
Dating can be difficult in any circumstance, but distance dating is all the normal pitfalls x ten! If you find yourself in love with someone who lives in another city, don’t hesitate to pursue the relationship. It can be intensely rewarding, liberating, and functional. However, do your due diligence and give your relationship the best chance possible by instituting some of these tips!
Those of you who have had successful long-distance romances, drop your advice in the comments. We would love to hear your input!
For more long-distance dating ideas, check out our guide “40 Long-Distance Relationship Activities to Deepen Your Connection.” It’s full of fun and adventurous date ideas to keep the sparks flying!
Frequently Asked Questions
Long-distance relationships are more difficult. However, with a few expert tips, you can be successful. Establish clear expectations. Communicate often by several channels, and don’t forget to maintain a life outside your relationship.