Guide To Long Distance Relationships

Men's Dating

Guide to Long-Distance Relationships: Benefits & Tips

Ashayla Blakely

Written by: Ashayla Blakely

Ashayla Blakely

Ashayla Blakely is an experienced storyteller who has fun writing authentic and relatable content for DatingAdvice.com. As a hopeless romantic, Ashayla has always enjoyed sharing good conversation and advice about dating. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Telecommunications from the University of Florida. She is currently enrolled in the graduate program at Florida State University's film school. You can often catch her with a script in her hand, calling out the shots in her many directorial roles on set.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com. When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major at the University of Florida, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to DatingAdvice.com.

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Long-distance relationships (LDRs) occur when two people in a romantic relationship are geographically distant from one another.

Couples separated by distance face a unique set of challenges that they have to learn to overcome. As scary as that may sound, LDRs can end happily ever after if you’re both committed to doing the work

The purpose of this guide is to help you gain insight into what long-distance relationships entail and how you can successfully navigate them with your partner. 

Motivations | Characteristics | Benefits | Tips

Why Couples Encounter Distance

Whether it’s due to your family, job, or school, multiple situations can cause your relationship to transition into a long-distance connection. 

Life has a funny way of showing us that we are not always in control of our lives. Sometimes an unexpected element can change the dynamic of your relationship. 

Job Opportunities

Jobs are a common reason why couples decide to maintain long-distance relationships. Healthcare workers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and other professionals may have the opportunity to travel over the course of their careers. 

Relocate for work

Work-related travel can include short-term trips (which last for a couple of days), or it could be a longer duration or several months or years. 

In some cases, job opportunities result in the relocation of the employee to a different city, state, or country. 

New job opportunities are exciting, especially if there are a couple of more zeros included in your paycheck. But you can’t ignore the sad feelings that come with knowing that there will be distance between you and the one(s) you love. 

Relocating often isn’t a temporary situation. It’s during these moments that you and your partner have to discuss what this transition will look like and if it’s worth pursuing. 

Military Families

Most military members will have to experience some type of travel. Traveling to different bases, attending special events, and being stationed in other countries can be part of serving in the military. 

Military families

Military spouses make a huge commitment and sacrifice because their partner’s schedules are not predictable or routine. 

Not everyone is willing to be Savannah Curtis in “Dear John,” and that’s totally understandable. You can go weeks or even months without seeing or talking to your partner in the military.

It’s not ideal, but if you’re committed to your relationship and understand the bigger picture, you can overcome the distance. 

Immigration

From taking a trip across seas or meeting on an online dating app, there are plenty of stories of people finding love outside of the borders. 

Immigrant life

The immigration process is not easy for anybody. It requires a great deal of paperwork, persistence, and luck. 

The uncertainty of immigration can spell trouble for a relationship. You may not know when you and your partner will be able to share the same ZIP code. 

According to Immigration for Couples, the best way to overcome immigration worries is by navigating the present with an eye on the future. 

Many online resources offer personal support for people transitioning into long-distance relationships due to immigration. 

Family Obligations

Some family obligations can require a couple to temporarily live in different cities. 

People have certain obligations that can come in the way of roaming the world with a lover. 

Being the primary caretaker for your grandmother, running a business with a sibling, or wanting a certain school for a child’s education are all reasons why people may not be able or willing to move and therefore get into LDRs. 

Key Characteristics

When my boyfriend and I transitioned into a long-distance relationship, it was bumpy at first. We had to adopt or amplify certain habits to make sure our relationship worked. 

Communication, trust, and emotional investment can help long-distance relationships thrive. 

Clear Communication

The phrase “communication is key” isn’t just a line your therapist uses to encourage you to open up. Communication is so important for relationships to grow and function in the long run. 

Poor communication is the number one reason why couples split. A YourTango survey found that 65% of marriages ended in divorce due to poor communication. 

Communicate

To create a strong foundation for your relationship, you must practice healthy communication techniques.

Learning how to communicate with your partner in a conventional relationship is tricky, and it can be even more challenging in a LDR. Couples can practice healthy communication techniques to help their relationship grow. 

Establishing regular communication channels from the jump is the best way to sustain a long-distance connection. Couples can use video calls, phone calls, or texts to stay in touch. 

Zoom became my best friend when I got into a long-distance relationship. The video call app helped us stay in communication in a convenient way. 

Every couple should communicate, but how much is totally up to them. Couples should set communication expectations about when they want to hear from each other. 

I know one couple who made a rule to send “good morning” and “goodnight” texts every day, even if they’re busy. 

Of course, talking to a significant other shouldn’t be a chore, so be careful about forcing it.

Trust

Trusting your partner is crucial. Any healthy relationship requires trust for it to grow. Easier said than done, right?

It’s not always easy to trust others, especially if you have trust issues due to past trauma. But it is every couple’s responsibility to put in the effort to build a foundation of trust

Couples in LDRs should watch out for feelings of jealousy and insecurities. 

Trust

Your partner may develop new friendships or have a busier schedule than usual. Outside factors can impact the relationship, so trusting one another is imperative.

Instead of being jealous that your partner has new friends, you can rejoice knowing that they aren’t lonely. Trust allows you to be more supportive and attentive to your partner’s needs.

You can maintain trust in your relationship through consistency and reliability. Being consistent with date nights and available for phone calls can help strengthen your relationships. 

Emotional Connection

Staying emotionally connected to your partner from a distance will not just magically happen. The hard truth is that couples have to put in the work to stay in tune with each other’s emotions. 

Long-distance relationships grow more intimate when couples celebrate milestones and get creative with virtual dates. 

Emotional connection

“The minute you stop having some milestone to look forward to, the harder it will be to maintain the same enthusiasm for, and optimism in, each other. One thing that is true about all relationships is that if they’re not growing, then they’re dying,” said author Mark Manson. 

By investing in each other emotionally, couples create a safe space within the relationship. Many stressors can make it more difficult for couples in long-distance relationships to support each other. 

It’s nice to have emotional comfort from a lover, especially during a tough day at work or school. 

The best way to build emotional intimacy is by being present when your partner needs you most. 

Emotionally supporting your significant other means that you listen and offer support in words and deeds.

Benefits of Living Far Apart

While distance in a relationship is an obstacle, it’s not the end of the world. It might actually end up being a good thing.

Some perks come with living far from your significant other. It’s important to understand that LDRs offer an opportunity for your relationship to grow stronger.

Greater Independence

Once you fall in love, you may want to spend every waking hour with your partner. But be careful those loving friends don’t cultivate an unhealthy obsession and a lack of independence

A benefit of long-distance relationships is the opportunity to foster individual growth and development. 

Me time

Although I wasn’t too happy with the idea of my love being miles away from me, I started to appreciate the distance between us because it helped me to grow as a person. 

Distance forces people to focus more on themselves. Perhaps they take up a new hobby or become better friends with a neighbor. 

I did a “try a new thing a day” challenge and learned so much about myself in the process.

Couples in long-distance relationships also learn how to respect each other’s space and boundaries. 

Whether you have a certain cleaning or bedtime routine, there will be new things you and your partner will learn about each other through the distance. 

Time Together Is More Special

We all know the saying, “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” and I would say that it’s true! It’s such an exciting and refreshing feeling when your partner is visiting you after months of not seeing each other. 

Special visits

The quality time you spend is more special because oftentimes, it’ll be planned and highly anticipated. 

People in LDRs often go on unique and fun dates when they see each other. Make the moment special by planning where to go for a dinner date or what fun activities can make time together memorable. 

It’s rare to travel such a long distance just to stay indoors to Netflix and chill –– unless that’s your vibe! 

“Always set a date to meet each other. Even if it’ll be this week, this month, next year, or 2 years… it doesn’t matter. Set it as a specific goal in your LDR, especially if you’ve never met,” advised an anonymous contributor in a Reddit post

Tips for Higher Relationship Satisfaction

You want to thrive in your long-distance relationship, not just get by. People often settle for less when things seem a little off in their relationship. Instead of becoming complacent or dissatisfied, try these strategies to improve your LDRs. 

Use Technology to Bridge the Distance

Technology offers LDRs a true chance at staying connected. Couples can spice things up and find solutions together by watching movies, playing games, and getting creative by taking an online cooking class together. 

Use technology

Although it’s not the real deal, you can still feel as though your partner is with you while on FaceTime or a Zoom call. 

While technology is helpful, it can also hinder people from being present for their partner. Doing household chores or watching TV in the background while your partner is venting is not ideal. 

For long-distance relationships, couples should set time to remove all distractions and focus on their partner on the phone. 

“Distance is temporary but our love is permanent. Moreover, the longer you wait for something the more you appreciate and crave it. The same goes with long distance,” Ishita Tiwari in a Quora post

Address Conflicts Constructively

Conflict will occur in any relationship –– it’s something you can’t avoid! The difference between an LDR that will work versus one that will not is how those conflicts are resolved. Hanging up the phone on each other or not talking things out will soon cause your LDR to fizzle. 

Be constructive

At the beginning of my LDR, I would find myself projecting a lot on the relationship because of outside stressors. I would shut down when I was feeling sad and really just needed a hug. 

As you can imagine, that was pretty problematic. I had to learn how to communicate these frustrations and find other ways to still feel his love since physical touch was out of the equation. 

Don’t allow the regular frustrations of life to get in the way of the love in your relationship. By embracing honest communication and learning from your past challenges, your relationship will surely strengthen. 

“It’s not all romantic love letters and exotic adventures. There is a LOT of admin. Lots of research and planning. Not to mention the dodgy WiFi connections constantly halting your daily chat,” said blogger Suzy in Suzy Stories

Seek Support & Guidance Where Needed

It takes a village to make a long-distance relationship work. When you and your partner are struggling, it’s helpful to have outside support. 

Plenty of professional help and online resources are available to help you overcome feelings of loneliness, communication barriers, and other hurdles. 

Couples should seek help and advice from therapists or a trusted friend or family. Online resources can also offer guidance along the way.

YouTuber Matthew Hussey has created a large community by posting dating advice every weekend. 

Matthew shines a light on LDR red flags that can be signs of avoidance and noncommitment. He advises people to own their needs and get what they truly want out of the relationship. 

Committed Couples Can Overcome Any Distance 

When two people are truly committed to one another, nothing can divide them –– not even a great distance. LDRs are becoming more common as online dating is making it possible to meet singles all around the world. 

The likelihood of success in long-distance relationships can be rather high with the right mindset and support. 

It’s through open communication, trust, and perseverance that LDRs overcome the distance. We’ve heard countless success stories from couples who shared how distance didn’t ruin their relationship.

I do hope that one day my relationship isn’t confined to virtual dates or long text messages. But until then, I’m going to appreciate the distance and embrace our love from miles away. 

“I’ve had two LDRS now and honestly after the first one didn’t work out, I didn’t think I could handle another, but my partner is amazing and somebody who I considered to be my best friend even before we started dating so I knew it would be worth it,” said an anonymous person in a Reddit post