Expert Dating Tips To Make Long Distance Relationships ThriveAug 25, 2023
What a wonderful 2- week vacation I had with my manifested partner who lives 6 states away.
If you’ve ever met someone who lives further than most, you might think twice about starting a relationship. Your feelings are totally understood.
Being in any type of relationship has its challenges. Being in a long distance relationship has a unique set of challenges, interesting opportunities and wonderful rewards.
I should know as I’m currently in one with a wonderful man who lives over 1200 miles away.
If both of you go into it with an open mind, flexibility and a commitment to make it work, a strong and fulfilling connection can be better and richer than you’ve ever imagined.
As an experienced, certified dating coach, I've facilitated the growth of countless long-distance relationships for my clients, friends and family members.
The first couple I set up many years ago had to navigate not between 2 states but 2 countries and successfully made it work. They’ve been happily married for over 25 years and count both Toronto and Sonoma as two of their homes.
I’ve been able to distill valuable insights into strategies that can help couples navigate the complexities of distance and emerge stronger than ever.
Even if you’re not considering a long distance relationship, these tips are invaluable in any relationship.
Here's 10 ways to make long-distance relationships succeed:
- Communication is Key
Open and honest communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. It’s even more crucial in a long-distance scenario.
Be sure to set aside dedicated time for meaningful conversations. My partner and I use a mix of communication methods – texts, calls, emails and zoom chats – to keep the relationship vibrant and stay attentive and connected.
Knowing and understanding each other’s communication style is essential when coming up with a plan that works for both of you. For basic keeping in touch with your partner, texts work well as long as you both clearly define the time span of returning texts. If one person expects an immediate response and the other believes in a 6-8 hour grace period, that needs to be clearly understood.
Having different work schedules and conveying that at certain times one is unable to return texts can help ease discomfort in feeling ignored or abandoned.
I recommend connecting via zoom at least once a week. This is especially important when discussing touchy or heated topics. Please don’t attempt these types of convos via text because things will be taken out of context and conflict will arise.
- Establish Trust and Boundaries
Trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship and distance can either strengthen or challenge that trust. Be transparent about your activities and commitments, and encourage your partner to do the same. Establish clear, direct boundaries that ensure both partners feel comfortable and respected.
If going to the gym, studying, taking a course, having a daily call or meeting with a friend or family member is a priority, let the other person know so they can add it to a shared calendar. A shared calendar is a great resource for both when planning times to talk and traveling to visit one another.
- Create Shared Experiences
Even though you're physically apart, you can still create shared experiences. Watch movies or TV shows together with Netflix Party, cook together via zoom or FaceTime, play online games, or plan virtual dinner dates. These activities foster a sense of togetherness and shared memories.
Reading the same newspaper, magazine article or book can offer great topics to discuss. Sharing cooking recipes, sports interests and other similar passions can have it feel like you're together throughout the week. My partner and I share meditations, interesting articles and vacation plans to ensure connection.
- Visit Each Other Regularly
Whenever possible, plan visits to spend quality time together in person. Having something to look forward to can provide a sense of anticipation and excitement that sustains and enhances the relationship.
If you’re lucky enough to visit one another, aim for meeting up in person every 2-3 weeks, if possible.
- Set Goals and Future Plans
Long-distance relationships work best when there's a clear plan for the future. Discuss your long-term goals as a couple. Share how you see the relationship growing and evolving.
Begin the convo with where the two of you see the relationship in 3, 6 and 12 months from now. It’s important to see if you’re on the same page. Have the difficult discussion about whether you’ll stay living apart, live together (and a time period if moving in) or live together and keep your separate homes. Having agreement on a shared vision can help both partners stay committed and motivated.
- Cultivate Independence
While you're committed to each other, it's also essential to maintain your individual lives. Pursue your hobbies, career aspirations, and personal growth. Living separately can be ideal if you both have individual interests, passions and career goals that can take up a considerable amount of time away from one another. An independent, fulfilled you contributes enormously to the relationship when you’re both in agreement.
- Prioritize Quality Time
In a long-distance relationship, quality matters more than quantity. Be fully present during your interactions, whether it's a brief call, a lengthy video chat or meeting up in person. Put away distractions (turn off notifications and ringers on your phone), and be completely present while focusing on each other.
- Manage Time Zone Differences and Sleep Patterns
Time zone differences can be challenging, but they're manageable with proper planning. Use tools like shared calendars (Calendly and Google Calendar are my favorites) to schedule conversations and activities that align with both your schedules.
If you’re a HSP (highly sensitive person) and sleep or quiet time is important for your well being, set your phone notifications off for those times and convey that to your partner. Have your partner send emails instead of texts to connect when resting or concentrating with work. Being connected and feeling the other person’s energy through messaging is real. If you’re feeling distracted with numerous texts throughout the day or during downtime, communicate that with your partner. Without clear communication, you could begin operating at a less than ideal version of yourself and resentment can build.
- Express Affection Creatively
Physical touch might be limited, but you can still express affection creatively. Send handwritten cards and letters, surprise packages, or heartfelt voice messages. These gestures show that you're thinking about your partner even when you're apart.
Be mindful when sending surprise packages as delivery isn’t always reliable and you want to be sure the person is home and/ or the package is delivered to a safe, secure place.
- Practice Patience
Like more traditional relationships, long-distance relationships come with their share of ups and downs. Patience is essential as you navigate challenges and celebrate milestones. Be compassionate when noting that the two of you might have different values when celebrating certain days and months of togetherness.
Intimacy may arrive slower or quicker with long distance relationships so don’t be afraid of having ‘The Talk” surrounding it. Also, discuss expectations when meeting in person if it’s been some time before reuniting.
Understand that some days might be tougher than others, but commitment and perseverance will see you through and result in a beautiful relationship.
While long-distance relationships demand effort and commitment, they can also broaden and deepen your connection in meaningful ways. By prioritizing effective communication, trust, shared experiences, and future plans, you can create a relationship that thrives regardless of the miles between you.
As an experienced, certified dating coach who’s in a long distance relationship, I encourage couples to view distance as an opportunity for growth, self-discovery, and a stronger bond that defies geographical limitations.
Long distance relationships can feel risky but the outcome of a happy, loving and connected relationship is more than doable and well worth the risk.
That, I’m 100% sure of.
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