How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work

June 28, 2008 at 11:31 am (Encouragement, LDR, Love, Relationships)

It’s hard enough to make local relationships work, but having miles, States, and sometimes even an ocean between you makes it even more difficult. However, successful long distance relationships can and do exist. Here’s how to give yours every chance to survive and thrive.

STEPS:

  1. Ask the important questions at the onset, to make sure you are both clear on the parameters of the relationship. These can be difficult and awkward questions to ask, but will save you great heartache and misunderstanding down the line. Example: “Are you open to the possibility of relocating if the relationship should become more serious?”
  2. Communicate in some way every day, more than once if possible. Since you won’t be seeing each other, it’s important to establish and maintain an emotional connection. These don’t have to be long, in-depth conversations (though those should occur sometimes). Tell each other about your little triumphs and tragedies. Ask for advice. Use an instant messenger program or VoIP for real-time chat, or web cams for that visual connection, but while instant messaging and e-mails play a large role in long distance relationships, remember that they can in no way replace verbal communication. E-mail is great so make sure you use it, especially if long-distance phone calls put a strain on your budget.(Even though phone calls might get a little too expensive, there are special cards if you are to call each other from different countries, there will be no problems with costs since it is very cheap. We highly recommend you get one of those cards, it will be a lot cheaper and from experience E-mail and instant messages makes it easier to misunderstand each other.) Write love letters. Send small gifts or flowers for no reason. In this case, quantity is as important as quality. You may discover an advantage over others whose partner is close at hand – you don’t take communication for granted!
  3. Take advantage of the benefits a long distance relationship offers: more time with friends and/or family, no arguments over toothpaste caps, the pleasure of seeing your sweetheart again after a long absence, time to mull your options (rather than snapping at your partner impulsively) before you respond to that email s/he wrote that seemed so rude the first time you read it, etc. Most important, being far apart gives you a chance to maintain your individuality – something that can get lost in the shuffle when couples spend all their free time together.
  4. Pursue common interests, even if it means pursuing them apart. If there’s a movie you’re both interested in seeing, watch it individually and then call each other afterward and talk about it. Read a certain book at the same time. Stargaze while on you’re on the phone. Set your watches to go off at the same time every day, and synchronize your alarm with that of your partner. Make it a point to think of each other when your watch goes off, and revel in the fact that he or she is thinking about you, too. Find creative ways to bond.
  5. Avoid the temptation to be controlling. People have free will and no one can or should control another person. As long as you are both interested in being in the relationship, you will stick with it and distance will not make a difference. As soon as one of you decides the other is not a good match – or someone else is a better match – your relationship ends, whether you live 3000 miles apart, two streets over, or share the same bed with your wedding picture on the wall. You are going to have to trust each other completely if this relationship is going to work.
  6. Talk about your future together. Assuming that ultimately you’d want to live together, discussing how you’re going to get to that point will help you prove to each other that the relationship is going somewhere and that your efforts and frustrations are not in vain.
  7. Know when to say good-bye. While this is tough in any relationship, this can be especially hard over long distances. When communication becomes one-sided or sparse for too long and for no apparent reason, when arguments (yes, you’ll have them) become too frequent, when the whole thing just seems like more trouble than it’s worth, it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship. Either you’ll decide to go your separate ways, or you’ll get closer for having overcome another obstacle to your happiness together.
  8. Remember things will get better with time, and even the relationship will become better. Have hope.

TIPS:

  • A long distance relationship is no different from a proximal relationship in that they both require a great deal of work, excellent communication, patience, sacrifice and understanding. But you will have to work extra hard to maintain the communication and to stay focused enough to not let your daily life interfere with your desire to be with the other person. Don’t forget them or you can forget the relationship and it will all be over.
  • One of the hardest parts of a long distance relationship is connecting when one person gets busier than the other. If this happens in a relationship it is important to maintain communication. If you are the busy person, try to warn your partner ahead of time that you will be working many hours and may have limited time. If you are the not-as-busy person, take advantage of the time by picking up a new hobby, getting in shape, reading a new book, etc. Flexibility is very important.
  • It helps to have a solid time in the future for when the long distance part of the relationship will end, no matter the time length. Without it, the relationship can begin to mold into something that is always distant – even with great communication. With it, each person can see the point at which the distance will end and work harder to keep emotions readily available.
  • When talking to your partner, take note of things they enjoy the most (hobbies, day-to-day activities, etc.), and do a little research on it so you have more to do when you see them next. For example: If your partner likes to dance, find the location of different clubs where you will see them next. If you don’t know how to dance, take lessons and you will impress them by your willingness to make an effort on their behalf.
  • Buy a game that you can play together over the internet, such as a MMORPG (massively multi-player online role playing game). You will be able to chat while playing and it will give a greater feeling of togetherness.
  • Mail each other scented clothes.
  • Send each other spontaneous ecards.
  • Make a creative countdown and mail it to your partner to enjoy until you see each other next. For example, create a photo calendar, with something you add for each day to describe what you love about them.
  • Do not set unreasonable expectations for your visit. Fantasizing about the visit is fine, but not out loud or by email to your partner. Instead, enjoy the excitement of the surprises to come.
  • The Long Distance Relationship Guidebook is a well-balanced, practical book for couples in long distance relationships who need some guidance.
  • Buy a webcam so you can chat face to face and see each other, so when you meet you will remember what they look like.
  • Consider the fact that living far apart gives you both a chance to grow as individuals. Some couples break up to “find themselves”, but in a long distance relationship you both have enough space to do your own things and still have a connection.

WARNINGS:

  • Remember, every kind of relationship takes hard work and dedication to your loved one or partner, whether it’s long distance or proximal. If you and your partner are willing to take these steps, then expect bumps and turns in the road. These bumps and turns will only help contribute towards a relationship.
  • Long distance relationships are not for the faint of heart. They can be very trying – but so can proximal relationships.
  • Long distance relationships can and will test you and your partner; you need to trust him/her entirely as paranoia can play a major part in the demise of your relationship. Also, these kinds of relationships can bring a lot of disappointment and heartache–depending on the time you spend away from each other it is VERY important that if you want this relationship to work you must make a great effort not to drift apart.
  • Long distance relationships are difficult, as you are emotionally attached to a person you cannot touch or comfort (hug, kiss, hold hands), and this can hurt your heart and wreak havoc with your emotions. The only way to make these relationships work is if you and your partner honestly believe you will be able to survive without each other for a considerable amount of time without the need or desire to be with someone else.

Source: WikiHow.Com

 

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27 Comments

  1. Jessie said,

    I can say that this past year was the most trying time in my dating life! For a little over a year my boyfriend and I lived literally across country, him in CA and me in FL.
    It made me laugh to read that you suggest a MMORPG! We have been playing WOW for 6 months for that reason!

    The year was hard, but I believe it was worth every lonely night. We got to really know each other so well and with out having the physical temptations.
    I think it would be best for all couples to spend a great time apart!

  2. Rachel Warren said,

    I have known my boyfriend for for almost six years and we have been dating now for over two years,he lives in Louisiana and i live in Georgia. I have to say that it has been one of the hardest things i have ever been through but if you know its the Lords will than it is also one of the most fulfilling and wonerful things to do. We fell in love at the same time and we were in completely different states and we had never kissed or anything we didnt have to have lust to have love. Its just amazing because that just goes to show that anything can happen if your in Gods will.

  3. Michael said,

    What will you do when your friend says lets just be friends and leave it at that.

  4. Gordon said,

    I fell for this girl who lived in Texas and dating her has been the hardest thing ever. i live in Virginia so it is quite a ways apart but I am falling in love. Seeing her has to be the highlight of my month I see her about 1 time ever six months but i love that time we spend together. I know God has a purpose and he put us together for a reason and we both read this and loved it.

  5. sandrar said,

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  6. Grace said,

    I’ve just started a long distance relationship and it’s just so difficult. The worst part is that it’s indefinite and I can’t see when it’s going to end.
    Another big issue is that we’re both not open to relocate, as we are positioned in cities with great universities and are pursuing great degrees where we are. I’m currently in my second year of university and he’s about to start.
    Ah. Anyone have advice?

    • Katie said,

      I currently am in one of these situations. I am a sophomore in college and he is junior. In different time zones. It’s a struggle to know what God’s plan is. However, being faithful to God first and foremost (remember Revelation and the church in Laodecia forsaking it’s first love?). As Christian women, our first love must always be God.

      Now, that being said, you must also keep in mind that God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). When things are hard, and believe me, they will be, the commitment you have to each other and the love for God you both have should be able to pull you through, in most circumstances.

      God provides, this I know to be true. If He brought this man into your life, He has a purpose for it. Being faithful to God and him is the first step in knowing what your priorities are. Just because you are not open to relocating now doesn’t mean you will not be later. And the same goes for him. Long distance relationships work actually very well with college because one is not as likely to get distracted from doing two things: pursuing a degree and first and most importantly, serving God.

      I will be praying for you and him.

      Stay faithful sister,
      Katie

  7. Katherine said,

    I am oringinally from South Africa and so is my boyfriend. Sadly we started dating just before my family and I immergrated to the UK. He has agreed to follow me here but its taking FOREVER or at least what feels like forever. Having troubles with his Visa and I fear we will never be reunited again 😦 But he loves me as do I and we trust each other and full heartedly wish to be together so I just need to hold on a little longer. Thanks for the advice!

  8. Anand Kumar said,

    after reading ypur blog it made me understands the ways to like maintain a good distances relationship. i like i’m experiencing it for like almost 14months now and we like meet each other 6months once and after this its just gonna be more difficult. she’s in London and im in Malaysia.guess the only way that keeps us together the love we have for each other and i guess that is what matter the most..but u’re blog is just awesome!!

  9. Rich said,

    Thanks so much for this post… so helpful!
    There is another blog just started up this week on the topic of long-distance relationships in the church, hoping that people from all over the world will get in touch to share their experiences, making it a place where we people can go to be encouraged and get advice! Its at http://www.thehardyards.weebly.com and it would be helpful for some of you guys to give feedback! Thanks in Jesus x

  10. Val said,

    I’m in a long distance relationship and it is so hard, it seems like he is busy alot of the time and we never really talk like we used to, he does alot of ministry work which is good, but i kind of would like a least a little of his time, it seems like i’m the only one making an effort now, I trust him i really do but its so hard,

  11. Kasha said,

    Wow your blog is really inspiring. I recently emigrated to Australia from South Africa-leaving my partner there. he cant get a visa for Australia so we forced to be apart. We see each other 5 months out of the year and we been together for more than a year.

    Our saving Grace is that we both Christians and we get through each day on God’s word and promises.
    Thanks for the Blog, keep it up.
    God Bless

  12. Newell said,

    I met this girl when she came on a mission trip in the summer of 2010 to my church. Im from brooklyn, nyc and she lives 9 hours away from me in the country side of new york. We have been texting and talking on the phone for the past year and we have been talking about our relationship. We have both agreed to just be friends for now but we have huge plans for us being together in the future. We always talk about being together and when that will be. Its pretty hard but we have decided to really put this situation in Gods hands. Jeremiah 29:11. Im really praying about it and she is too. Anyone have any advice? anyone have a successful happy story similar to mine? I want to stay motivated. =))

    • Eric said,

      If you both have big plans for the future, you should ask yourself if you are only focused on her romantically, and see if she feels the same (in a non-pressuring way lol). If so, you might want to consider starting a committed long-distance relationship, because that could potentially eliminate some gray areas in your life. I have known a girl for about 1 and a half years at the university I just recently graduated at, and we recently started dating. It is a challenge to do long distance at the moment, but if your feelings for her are speaking towards making a plan for her, definitely follow your heart and what might be God’s calling in this situation – it’s definitely worth it!

  13. A*LoveForChange said,

    I loved your page!…Is there a possible way to get your opinion on something? I have never done a long distance relationship..but I feel mine is a bit complicated..Need Advice.

  14. ashley said,

    Thank you so much for this post. As well as some of the comments that have been left. I live in Indiana and currently my boyfriend lives in Louisiana. We both separated to different colleges after high school, and it has been the most challenging thing for me to be in a long distance relationship with him. Especially since I have been so used to him being with me all the time-its definitely a big change for me. But I just have to trust God to know that He has a plan for the two of us. Being in a long distance relationship requires hope and faith. And you can’t have that without God in the relationship.

  15. Renewed Hope said,

    My parents gave me the rule to not date until I reached the age of 16. At that age, I chose to wait for the right guy whom I knew God would show me at the right time. I am now 20 years old. In May this year, God brought a man into my life whom I had “known” for several years. We went to the same youth group since jr high but had never once talked. Long story short, after 5 months of prayer, consultation with Godly family and friends, and getting to know each other for the purpose of a relationship, we decided it was time for us to take the next step. (Well he had decided earlier but I finally agreed). He is a college student in New York right now and I’m a college student in Illinois. He is also in the military and will be serving on active duty within the next few years. Basically, with both of our schedules, time together is very limited & given we’re both new to the life of having a relationship (he’s my first boyfriend and I’m his first girlfriend), it’s been an interesting journey. It’s been difficult also because I don’t really have any friends who understand what it’s like to have an actual long distance relationship. There’s some who have someone who lives an hour away. Also, there’s 1 whose boyfriend is also in the military and understands that aspect of our relationship.
    Basically, I’m not writing on here to complain! I’m so incredibly happy with him. He’s everything I’ve ever hoped for in the man that I date or marry. The reason I’m commenting is because it was such a comfort to my heart tonight to read stories of people who actually understand the difficulty of maintaining a long distance relationship. So, thank you! I needed it tonight! It was a blessing from God!

  16. Toyin said,

    I ,19, used to be in a relationship with a guy, 21 while still in high school but broke up in my first year of university cos i wanted to grow spiritually. We are getting so close now and he wants a relationship leading to marriage. We used to kiss e.t.c before but no sex. Am concerned that
    1. He has not grown spiritually as much as i have,(reflecting in our choice of songs) but we are both against premarital sex
    2. he’s now a junior while i’m in final year, but i don’t mind, i still love him.
    3. The relationship will definately be long distanced
    I have a level of peace but i want to be sure he is the one and i love him so much.

  17. Shelly said,

    Nice article..all I know is. put the lord first in everything! But even if I try, I still worry and lose my faith sometimes :(…So everyday I pray that He will be the faith that I need and the peace.

    • Shaamora said,

      I feel the same way Shelly. My long distance relationship just started on Saturday. Even though it’s only been a short time, I still wrestle with faith. For the past few months leading up to his departure, I’ve really struggled with faith but realized there must be some reason why this is happening in my life right now. I pray daily for revelation. It is hard but I love him and think he is a special person. I just think he is worth the risk.
      I will pray for your relationship as well. May God continue to strengthen you.

  18. Katie said,

    My boyfriend leaves for college this week and I’m so scared for him to leave. We’ve been dating for over a year now and we love each very much. We’ve gotten each other through some hard times in our lives. I know we are strong enough to make it but I still get scared thinking about it. I love him with my whole heart but it will be terrible having to live without him this year. It seems like he’s the only one who understands. I need him.

  19. smarb said,

    Hmn! This is gr8. I can’t bliv there is a package so amazing like this for me and my fiancee. We’ve bin in this ‘ship’ 4 about 6months now and is really a long distance relationship differnt state but its just bin God bcos He’s d foundation of our relationship.thank God

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  21. Geoffrey said,

    Thanks for finally writing about >How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work | Beloved Heart
    Musings and Journal <Loved it!

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