Emily Waddell, 22.03.2018

The ultimate guide to surviving a long distance relationship

The three P’s of relationship advice should be preparation, preparation, and preparation. Well, that’s three words written three times but the rule stands – especially when it comes to long distance relationships. Yet, most people don’t prepare at all when they start a long distance relationship. They then find themselves having some serious relationship questions that need answering.

If you’ve found yourself falling head over heels with someone who isn’t exactly within walking distance, then you’ll need to prepare if you’re going to go all the way. We have trawled the web and asked the experts to bring you the ultimate guide to surviving a long distance relationship. So discover with these top tips and tricks and find successful long distance love.

1. How do you make a long distance relationship work?

The truth is, unfortunately, there is no simple tip to making a long distance relationship easier.

However, it is a myth that they are ‘harder’ than traditional relationships. Most couples who are in long distance relationships (LDR) argue about similar things to couples in geographically close relationships (GCR). The difference is that LDR couples experience these disagreements separately. Making it more tricky to patch things up after a tiff.

Making a long distance relationship work requires trust, openness and communication. Psychotherapist Hilda Burke also recommends understanding each other before embarking on a long distance love affair “In any relationship both parties should have roughly the same goal as to what they want the relationship to be... it’s good to have the comfort of a sense of a shared vision.”

Man messaging his long distance love

2. Don’t base what a ‘healthy’ relationship is on other people’s lives

Never compare your relationship to other people.

From the outside lots of ‘healthy’ relationships look perfect, however, it doesn’t mean you have to start comparing your own in order to be more like them.
Find what feels like a healthy relationship feels like to you and your partner. If that means calling every single day, or only speaking once a week on the phone but texting constantly, then decide for yourself. What is good for other couples, won’t necessarily work for you - especially if you’re in a long distance relationship.
 

3. Communicate: Ask questions, answer thoughtfully

When you’re in a long distance relationship, relationship advice will be thrown at you from every person in your life. Communicating with your partner is one of the most important and probably the most clichéd of them all – but it’s true.

If you’re having a tough week and your partner texts you something flippant, or doesn’t contact you for a while, remember to communicate how you’re feeling.
It’s easy to forget when you’re not there that they have a whole other life they’re juggling. So don’t expect comfort or advice without asking for it. Most relationship problems wouldn’t exist if couples were open and honest with their feelings. So, make sure your partner knows how you are and what support they can provide you with.

4. Don’t make it a job, make it a hobby

When you’re used to a conventional relationship, a long distance relationship can seem like a lot of work. But, it doesn’t have to be like that.

Figure out a way to make phone catch-ups or texting second nature. You don’t need to have a long intro to a phone call or a ‘how are you?’ to initiate texting. Instead, just pick up and call whenever you feel like it or send a text to tell them about something funny only they would get.

At first, it may seem a little hyper-organised to remember to send your partner a picture of your pet every day, or take a photo on your walk to work. But this is a core way to make a long distance relationship work, soon it’ll be easy and you’ll have created a specific way to touch base without it seeming like another job to do.

Easy ‘keep in touch’ messages to try:

  • Send a picture of your lunch.
  • Snap a photo of a cute dog you see.
  • Send some juicy office gossip you can’t share with anyone else.
  • Send your horoscope that day and ask theirs.

5. Don’t make it a chore, make it a habit

Put aside specific time to ‘hang out’ over the internet, an ‘online date night’ is crucial to make a long distance relationship work.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re together? Cooking? Watching movies? Discussing literature? Hiking? Anything you can do in-person, you can easily do online; it just requires a bit more preparation.

Once you’ve done it once, it’s the perfect way to stay in touch and make it an addition to your day rather than more work. So pop open a bottle of wine, set up your laptop and start whipping together some meatballs while your partner grills some vegetables and tells you about their day. Easy peasy long distance love.

Some ‘online dates’ to try:

  • Watch a movie on Netflix over Skype; it’s easy with a syncing app like Netflix Party which is easy to set up.
  • Organise to do your weekly shop at the same time and video call while you do, it’s harder to buy too much or overindulge when someone is there!
  • Set up a Bluetooth headset so you can talk while you go for a jog or in the car on the way to work.

6. Use inspirational relationship quotes to guide you

Use these handpicked relationship quotes about long distance love to inspire you, comfort you and, keep you motivated when things seem tough.

"Morning without you is a dwindled dawn." - Emily Dickinson

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” - A.A. Milne

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” Tennessee Williams

“Love is what you've been through with somebody” - James Thurber

"I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)." E.E. Cummings