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how to make long-distance work

How To Make Long-Distance Relationships Work

To some, long-distance relationships are a deal-breaker. But if you’re currently in one, do you find yourself struggling with how to make long-distance work?

With the proliferation of online dating apps and communication platforms, there are a lot of ways to start a committed and stable long-distance relationship. Maybe you’ve met your potential soulmate online and currently live far away from them. Or, it could be that one of you had to temporarily relocate due to unavoidable circumstances. 

Regardless of the motivator for your distance, it can often feel like life is putting your relationship through trials and tribulations. That’s a valid and completely natural feeling. 

However, the amount of shared commitment to the relationship is what will dictate its chances of success or failure – regardless if you’ll be apart for days, weeks, or months. 

But before we move on, here’s a question a lot have think about before being a long-distance relationship:

Can Long-Distance Relationships Really Work?

Long-distance relationships can definitely work. While it’s true that not all of them can, the overarching answer is a resounding “yes.” The key is in the couple’s willingness to increase the relationship’s potential. For instance, by…

Building the Foundation for Your Relationship

As you often hear, the underpinning of healthy relationships is mutual trust. Without it, not even the shortest-distance relationship could be sustained for too long. 

If both of you have confidently built that foundation together, you have higher chances of staying together. Think of trust as the “building blocks” that support it: without trust, a short blow is all it takes to tear everything apart.

Going Beyond Physical Relationships

Physical touch is a human necessity, and a lack thereof is the biggest downside to long-distance relationships. Therefore, valuing sex over a deep emotional connection is an unmistakable sign that things may not pan out. 

When you want to make it work, even distance has its bright side. Less opportunity for physical touch means there’s more opportunity to strengthen your emotional bond. It means you’ll be falling in love with who that person really is, which makes physical touch that much more special when it happens. 

how to make long-distance work
Less opportunity for physical touch means there’s more opportunity to strengthen your emotional bond.

Knowing You’re Both Growing as Individual Beings

In relationships, it can be extremely common to foster codependency. This is unhealthy for both of you, as it could put your true selves in the background. 

On the flip side, distance encourages you to be yourself, to follow your own personal preferences, and to grow closer to your own identity. Of course, it’s important that you and your partner share common interests – but not to the point of ignoring your own.

How to Survive a Long-Distance relationship?

The key to making long-distance relationships work is learning ways how to survive it. Know that every relationship, long-distance or not, will have bumps a long the way. Distance may be a part of it, but for others who are committed to be with each other until the end, know these important things.

1. Respect the Reason You’re Apart

What compelled a long-distance relationship in the first place? Whatever the reason, it supports the greater good of your bond. 

Let’s say your partner got a well-paying job offer in a different state. This will add to your shared income and help you live a financially comfortable life. Plus, it won’t last forever and you may be able to relocate soon.

Now, compare that to a couple who is together 24/7, but argues about money all the time. See how distance isn’t the problem at all in this situation?

2. Communicate. But Don’t Overdo It

Being on FaceTime for hours may seem like the reasonable thing to do when you’re far apart. But there has to be a limit to your interaction, as both of you have responsibilities outside of romance. 

As for the “right” amount of daily calls and texts, there isn’t one. You should take time to discuss it and reach an agreement about what works best for the couple. Whatever you decide, make sure to be intentional about your communication to make up for the lack of physical touch. 

3. Let Them Know You’ll Be There for Them, No Matter What

Infidelity and lack of trust are some of the common struggles of people in long-distance relationships. “The reason most of us get into a relationship is so that we can have a person by our side who is there both emotionally and physically to weather the storms of life with,” says relationship therapist and expert, Dr. Dana McNeil.

Due to the limitations of physical aspects, the emotional side of your relationship needs to do some heavy lifting. To do that, you can do things that are closest to real-life encounters. 

how to make long-distance work
Do things that are closest to real-life encounters

Do a Netflix watch party. Create a playlist with songs both of you love and listen to it while chatting. Play games together. Above all, amp up your connection by making those encounters a priority. 

4. Concretize Plans for Being Together Whenever Possible

Saying “I wish I could be there” holds no power when compared to making concrete plans to see the person you love. These plans should be tangible, like browsing tickets, scheduling dates, or discussing the things you’ll do once you’re in each other’s arms. 

When you’re purposeful about meeting your partner soon – whatever “soon” looks like to both of you – this can remove some of the weight of being apart.

How Couples Therapy Can Help You Survive This

A couple can definitely navigate the challenges of long-distance relationships without the help of a therapist. However, sometimes feelings like anxiety, jealousy, or trust issues can get out of hand.

You should know that it’s okay and even advisable to ask for help, especially from therapists who have specialized in the Gottman method. The main focus of these therapists is to help couples rebuild trust in their relationships, giving them the necessary tools to steer through any issues that may arise. 

how to make long-distance work couples therapy
Asking for help doesn’t always mean your relationship is in trouble.

Just a quick reminder that asking for help doesn’t always mean your relationship is in trouble. It simply means you’re mature enough to fight for it. By relying on a Gottman-trained therapist, you’ll develop skills to strengthen the ground successful relationships are built on.

Long-Distance Relationships Can Work…Only If Both Of You Are Willing to Make It Work

Without combined effort, no relationship, physical or distant, will ever work. It all starts with securing your emotional connection and progressing from there. 

Some days will feel lonely and be much harder than others. When this happens, remind yourself why this had to happen and what both of you are fighting for. 

Finally, remember the biggest silver lining in this whole situation: being apart will make your moments spent together even more magical. 

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