Long-Distance Love: Five Tips for Maintaining a Long-Distance Relationship

by Jessica Gregory

Just because you’re far apart, doesn’t mean you have to be apart.

It seems to be that time again. Midterms are over and we’ve settled into our routines for the year. We’re juggling classes, work, clubs, friends, and, if you’re like me, a long distance relationship. How in the world can we manage to keep that alive?

I won’t lie to you: long-distance relationships are challenging, but with these simple tips, you can handle the distance (and have a life where you are!).

Get in Touch with Your Emotions.

The physical element won’t always be there, so you will ultimately be forced to convey affection through words, gifts, and body language through the screen. Being aware of how you feel and accepting it will help you be honest about your role in the relationship. Amp up the emotional connection to whatever level you and your partner are comfortable with— show them that you care and send hugs with your words.

Talk, Talk, Talk!

If “short-distance” relationships need communication, long-distance ones need even more. We’re in a day and age where smart phones and social media make communication a whole lot more accessible, so use them! Send short updates about your life via your chosen social medium as often as you can, ask about theirs, and don’t forget those cute heart emoticons from time to time. Communication will bring their life and yours together and will also help in maintaining honesty and trust between you two. And please, don’t forget that it is absolutely okay to have a disagreement with your long-distance S.O. It won’t automatically ruin your relationship—in fact, it can make it stronger!

Spend Time Together (Even if You’re Not Together).

Guess what? You can go on dates long-distance. Time differences can sometimes make this harder, but you can still do it. For example, watch the same movie either together or separately, then talk about it. Perhaps join an online chatroom together, compete in little game competitions (we all love a good game once in a while), eat dinner while vid-chatting, or pick a DIY project and compare results. Get creative! You may have to sacrifice some time with your friends to be with them, but it is a necessary sacrifice if you want to keep that flame going.

Remember that it’s YOUR Relationship.

So many people will give you well-meaning advice. So many people will throw statistics at you on the success rate of your relationship or ask you how you can handle the lack of physical contact or tell you exactly why you aren’t being “smart”. Filter those voices out, because listening to those who aren’t in your relationship has its limits. Okay, so they’ve been through it before, but their relationship, no matter how similar, IS NOT yours. Their relationship’s failure does not spell doom for yours any more than their success means the same for you. You can talk every day or once a week if that’s what your relationship needs. You can visit every month or once every two years if that’s what you want. The relationship belongs to you and your S.O. and no one else, so enjoy and spread the love!

Jessica Gregory is a sophomore at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing. She is in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend of three years who attends Virginia Commonwealth University.

Image courtesy of The Root.

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