Long distance relationships are certainly a challenge and can often be frustrating, but with lots of work and patience, they can be so rewarding. I was in a long distance with my boyfriend for an entire school year, as he was a freshman at Benedictine and I was still a senior in high school. Here are the most important tips I learned for maintaining a healthy relationship:
1. Find the right balance
The most important skill you can have in a LDR is knowing the right balance between the relationship, friends, and school. Spending every waking moment skyping with each other compromises your focus on school and makes it difficult to make friendships. On the other hand, spending the majority of time with friends and neglecting time for the relationship can entail frustration. At least at the beginning of my LDR with my boyfriend, the first couple months were a struggle to find the right balance, but by the end of the year, we had a good balance and rhythm down. Give it time!
One of the benefits of a LDR is that if you really make an effort, your communication skills will be amazing. With the distance, all you really have is communication, and if that doesn't have a solid foundation, you are in for some rocky times. Don't hold anything back. Be honest. Share your feelings and worries. And always be respectful of the other's concerns.
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3. Pray together
This seems fairly obvious, but with limited time together, you can forget this one fairly easily unless you have a solid prayer life already established in the relationship. Need I say more? Prayer together obviously brings you closer together and allows for God to provide abundant graces for the two of you. Make this key in your relationship!
4. Be creative with your time together
My boyfriend and I often had study dates over Skype, watched Netflix together, and/or had long talks, but when this becomes habit, variety is needed. Try to google and discuss various things you can do together that count as quality time. There are thousands of articles out there to help!
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5. Don't live for the next time you see each other
It's so easy to live purely for the next time you see each other and to forget the present, but we only have the present to live in. Don't ever slip into thinking "it will get better once we are together again" or "life will be so much better once he/she is back." Happiness lies in the present, and a LDR can be a great experience if you choose to make it so. We can easily idealize those times when we weren't in a LDR relationship with our boyfriend/girlfriend, and once we are actually back together, it can be a let down and there can be frustration.
Sure, long distance relationships are hard, but they can bring you two together and be a time of growth and maturation. Embrace it and make the most of it!
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