It's all everyone says: "I could never do a long-distance relationship." They say they'll grow lonely, they'll grow apart from their partner, "It's just way too hard."
And it is. It's so incredibly hard.
Being in a long-distance relationship is probably one of the biggest tests a relationship can face because it's not easy in the slightest. You'll have a lot of lonely nights, send a lot of "I wish you were here" texts, cross off a lot of calendar days as you count down how long is left until you see them.
But it's not guaranteed for failure. Doing long-distance doesn't mean your relationship will inevitably fizzle out and you'll go separate ways, no matter how much your brain tries to trick you. All it takes is a mutual effort, determination, and love. Here are 5 tips for actually making it last, so it doesn't feel like homework:
1. Call each other frequently, no matter how busy your schedules are.
Whether it's a regular audio call during your lunch break or a FaceTime before bed, a phone call can really make a difference. It helps soothe you. If you're long-distance, odds are you don't see each other very frequently, or even at all. These little phone calls let you actually see them or even just hear their voice. Sometimes, that's all you need to turn your day around. It can make a terrible week infinitely better and leave you eager for the next call.
2. Keep each other updated on your lives.
It can be really easy to forget to tell your partner something because you don't actually see them throughout the day. You don't get to crawl in bed next to each other and just talk about your days in the dark anymore. By telling them what you're up to, what happened to you that day, or even just what you're thinking about, you keep them in the loop. You act as though they aren't actually miles away. You keep your relationship as personal as it was when they were right next to you. Being conversational through text constantly can get a little tricky and dry, but it's so important to keep it going.
3. Figure out who you are when you're alone.
After being in a relationship for a while, you can look back and see just how much your lives have intertwined. When your relationship transforms into something long-distance, you can be left feeling really alone and empty. There's this big void that needs to be filled. During this time apart, re-learn what you liked to do on your own. Don't forget about your partner, but spend time with friends you maybe haven't seen in a while. You're not single, you're just alone. You've got all this free time now so instead of spending it in your bed being sad, spend it rediscovering who you are and what you love to do. You may be part of a couple, but you're still an independent person.
4. Remind them how much you care.
It sounds so simple, but it can be easily forgotten. When you were together, you could snuggle on the couch and kiss all you wanted to show them how much you love them. When you're apart, you can't do that. You're just left with some (hopefully) blue text bubbles. Whether you text them "I love you" every night before bed or have Insomnia Cookies delivered to their house with a cute little delivery note, tell them how much you care. With so many miles between you, it can be easy to forget that they care about you just as much now as they did when they were by your side. If you always feel loved and cared for, you'll never feel like your relationship is a chore.
5. Talk about your future together to get through the hard days.
Odds are, you wouldn't agree to a long-distance relationship if you weren't planning on it being something long-term. They're too difficult to do it just for fun. When you're feeling lonely, it can be pretty easy to let your sadness bog you down about how things are currently. It can be all you focus on. Dreaming of that future together can be the sunlight on your cloudy day that you need to continue feeling hopeful. "There's only five more months until the rest of our lives" sounds a hell of a lot better than "We have to be apart for five whole months." You know your relationship is stronger than this. You know this time apart is bearable because your love is stronger than the distance.
Almost all of these tips tie back to communication. Strong communication in a relationship is how that relationship survives, especially a long-distance one. If you can communicate how you feel, what you're up to, or how much you love them, your relationship should be just fine. It takes two people to keep communication effective and it takes two people to keep the love in a relationship strong.
People always treat long-distance relationships as a chore. You may feel as though this distance is making your relationship feel like even more homework as the burden of the new semester begins, but it's time to regroup and rethink that.
Your relationship doesn't have to be rocky just because it's long-distance. You don't have to lie in bed and cry all night because your partner isn't there, even though it can be tempting. You don't have to break up just because the distance is "too hard."
If you put in the effort and you truly love each other, distance has nothing on you. Being miles apart won't be a burden, it'll just be something you have to get past.
Once you do, you can finally start your lives together, and just imagine how great that will be.
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