When you’re miles apart from the one you love, it can feel like your heart is split in two. But fear not, because, with these 11 steps to a healthy long-distance relationship, you can bridge the distance and build a love that transcends geography.
Long-distance relationships can be both exhilarating and exhausting, an exciting adventure and a daunting experience. Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been together for years, the distance between you and your partner can bring both freedom and uncertainty. However, with a little effort and the right help, you can turn the miles between you into opportunities for growth, connection, and intimacy.
Picture this: you’ve found the person of your dreams, but life’s circumstances have conspired to separate the two of you by hundreds or even thousands of miles. You’re left wondering if your love can withstand the test of distance and time.
But, don’t despair, because in this article, we’ll give you 11 practical and effective steps to help you maintain a healthy long-distance relationship and keep the flame of love burning bright, no matter how far apart you may be.
Step 1: Establish Trust and Open Communication
Communication is key in any type of interaction and is particularly significant when trying to make a long-distance relationship work the best way possible. The good news is that today you have many options to stay connected, no matter where you are in the world.
Whether it’s through video chatting, phone calls, messaging apps, or snail mail, make sure to stay in touch regularly. Set a schedule or routine that works for both of you.
Be honest and transparent
Avoid assumptions and misinterpretations
In a long-distance relationship, it’s easy to misinterpret or make assumptions about your partner’s actions or words.
Begin by creating the space and taking the time to hear each other out. Make sure to clarify any misunderstandings to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
Share your daily life
Share your daily experiences, routines, and struggles with your partner. Talking about your feelings, doubts and concerns will help you create a sense of shared intimacy and connection.
Support each other
Make an effort to be there for your partner, especially during difficult times. Listen actively and offer emotional support and encouragement. It is best to handle a difficult situation right away and your partner will be more ready to approach you knowing that you are there for them.
When you’re in different time zones, it can be difficult to coordinate schedules, but making an extra effort to consider each other will help keep your relationship strong.
Remember, you can always seek help from a professional relationship coach who specialises in long-distance relationships. They can provide you with personalised advice and support.
Step 2: Show Your Love and Appreciation
In a long-distance relationship, it’s easy to feel disconnected from your partner, but there are ways to show your love and appreciation from afar.
Consider sending surprise care packages, writing love letters, or planning virtual surprises.
- Make an effort to share how you feel with each other, even when it’s difficult
- Listen actively and empathetically to your partner’s worries and concerns
- Stay curious about each other’s lives, even when you’re apart
- Create meaningful rituals, such as saying goodnight and good morning every day
- Focus on building trust, intimacy, and emotional support in your relationship
- Make it a point to talk about just how much you appreciate having the other person in your life.
Going the extra mile to show your partner that you care will help them feel valued and appreciated. When you are physically apart, small gestures can go a long way and will help you both feel more connected and supported.
Step 3: Set Communication Expectations
Setting clear expectations in long-distance relationships is important because it helps to build trust and understanding. Make sure to discuss expectations for frequency and methods of communication.
- Agree on how often you will communicate (e.g. daily or weekly)
- Decide on the best methods of communication for both of you (e.g. phone calls, video chats or a messaging app)
- Establish rules for communication, such as not interrupting each other and being fully present during conversations
- Make a plan for what to do if one of you misses a scheduled call or message
- Be open and honest about your thoughts and concerns
- Listen to what your partner has to share
Being on the same page and knowing that you are talking about the same things, makes it much easier to build understanding and resolve conflicts.
Step 4: Manage the Distance and Time Difference
When you are ready and eager to keep talking after a good night of sleep, your partner might be tired from work and might be looking forward to some rest.
So, until you get to be in the same place, this extra consideration can go a long way and could even save your long-distance relationship in the long run.
Create a routine
Create a routine that works for both of you and helps you manage the time difference. This will give you a sense of stability and predictability. Pick a time that works for both of you to connect, and stick to it. Decide when it’s appropriate to talk about difficult topics, and when you just want to connect and catch up. Depending on how much personal space you need, you may also agree to not contact each other during certain times or for a set period.
Be willing to adjust your schedule or routine as needed to accommodate each other’s needs and preferences.
Keep each other informed
Communicate your plans and schedules with your partner so they know when to expect to hear from you. This can help to manage expectations and avoid unnecessary worries.
Managing the distance and time difference can be challenging, but it’s important to be patient and understanding with each other.
Plan your visits
Plan visits to see each other in person as often as possible. This will help you maintain emotional and physical intimacy with your partner.
If you’re struggling to manage the distance and time difference, a professional relationship coach can provide you with personalised advice and support.
Step 5: Plan Your Visits and Discuss Future Goals
In a long-distance relationship, it helps to plan your visits and set future goals as a couple. Here are a few practical tips to get you started:
- Talk about your future goals as a couple, and make plans for the future.
- Visit each other as often as possible, and plan activities you can do together when you’re geographically close.
- Discuss your long-term goals and aspirations as a couple, and make plans for how to achieve them
- Be open and flexible to changes and unexpected developments in your lives and relationship
- Make a plan for how and when you will eventually close the distance
Having something to look forward to can help you stay focused and grounded. This can make a massive difference when you are filled with uncertainty, worries and doubts about the state of your relationship and where it is going. It will also give you a chance to work together towards a specific point in time.
Step 6: Stay Connected and Keep Things Interesting
No matter how long you have been in a long-distance relationship, it is important to maintain a strong emotional connection.
Until you move in together, physical intimacy depends on the frequency and quality of your interaction during the visits. Let’s take a look at some ideas you can apply today to spice things up a little.
Plan virtual dates
Plan fun activities you can do together, like watching the same movie or cooking the same meal over video chat. This helps to create shared experiences and keeps things interesting.
Share your hobbies
Sharing your hobbies and interests with your partner can be a great way to bond and learn more about each other.
When you take an interest in what your partner enjoys, it shows that you value their individuality and are willing to invest time and effort into understanding them better. Likewise, when your partner takes an interest in your hobbies, it can make you feel appreciated and understood.
By finding common ground in your hobbies and interests, you can also create opportunities to spend quality time together. This can help strengthen your relationship and provide a break from the stresses of everyday life.
Plus, trying out new hobbies or exploring shared interests can be a fun and exciting way to create new memories and experiences together.
Ultimately, sharing your hobbies and interests with your partner can help create a sense of unity between the two of you.
So, whether you enjoy cooking, hiking, playing music, or any other activity, make sure to share it with your partner and explore this new hobby together!
Surprise each other
Send spontaneous love letters or small gifts. This shows that you care and can help to maintain the excitement and romance in your long-distance relationship.
Make time for each other
Set aside the time to talk, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Make an effort to pay attention, listen carefully and engage without having to interrupt the other person.
Explore new things together
Try new things together, like learning a new skill or taking an online course. This can help to create shared goals and interests.
Staying connected emotionally comes down to your ability to express yourselves and listen to each other. The last thing you want is to have boring conversations, which is a sure way to get fed up with your relationship altogether.
Many long-distance relationships become boring when one partner stops making an effort and the other partner feels disconnected and alone.
If you’re struggling to maintain an emotional connection, a professional relationship coach can provide you with personalised tips and advice.
Step 7: Make Time for Each Other
It can be tough to find time for each other when you’re in a long-distance relationship, but it pays to at least make the effort.
Here are some tips to help you spend quality time together:
- Plan activities you can do together online
- Set aside time to talk and catch up.
- Schedule virtual date nights to watch the same movie, play games, or try new hobbies together
- Get creative with long-distance date ideas, such as ordering food from the same restaurant and eating together over video chat
- Make an effort to share your daily stories with your partner, such as sending pictures and updates about your day
- Plan surprise care packages or letters to send each other
- Create an environment where you don’t have anything to worry about, so you can give your full attention to your partner, rather than multitasking or getting distracted
When you’re spending time together, make sure you’re fully present and engaged. Get rid of any distractions and pay attention to each other. It’s essential to make the most of the time you have together, no matter how limited it may be.
Step 8: Take Care of Yourself
Being in a long-distance relationship can be tough on you, so try to take care of yourself where possible. In the course of your relationship, you may feel like you are losing yourself and stirring away from achieving your personal goals and ambitions.
If you find yourself in this predicament, try to readjust by using the following:
- Pursue your own interests and hobbies, and encourage your partner to do the same
- Take time to be with your family
- Make new friends while maintaining a relationship with the old ones
- Set personal goals and work towards them, whether it’s advancing your career or learning a new skill
- Be your own person and maintain your independence, while still prioritising your relationship
- Avoid relying solely on your partner for emotional support and maybe talk to your best friend instead.
When you’re happy and fulfilled, you’ll be better equipped to handle the challenges that come with a long-distance relationship.
Having reliable friends you can trust can make a huge difference in helping you feel emotionally grounded.
Step 9: Get Creative and Have Fun Together
Play online games together
There are many online multiplayer games that you and your long-distance partner can play together, even if you’re in different time zones. This can be a fun way to spend time together and feel connected.
Start a virtual book club
Pick a book that you both want to read, and set a goal to finish it by a certain date. Then, schedule a video call to discuss the book and your thoughts about it.
Take an online class together
Whether it’s cooking, painting, or learning a new language, taking an online class together can be a fun way to learn something new while spending time with the person you love.
Watch movies and TV shows together
Use streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. You can even use browser extensions to synchronise your video playback and chat about the show in real-time.
Share your favourite music
Make playlists of your favourite songs and share them with each other. This is a great way to learn more about each other’s tastes in music and discover new artists.
Don’t forget to have fun! Long-distance relationships can be challenging, but they can also be a great opportunity to get to know your partner on a deeper level.
Step 10: Focus on the Positives of Long-Distance Relationships
- Stay positive and optimistic about the relationship, even when things get tough
- Celebrate the small successes and milestones, such as making it through a difficult time apart
- Practice gratitude by expressing appreciation for your partner and the good things in your life
- Avoid dwelling on negative feelings or frustrations, and instead, try to find solutions to move forward
- Use humour and lightheartedness to diffuse tension and make each other laugh
- Recognise that long-distance relationships can be tough and that it’s normal to experience challenges and difficult situations
- Be honest and direct about any problems or issues that arise, and work together to find solutions
- Make an effort to keep in touch even during stressful or busy times, such as final exams or work deadlines
- Practice self-care prioritise your mental health, and encourage your partner to do the same
- Seek support from family, friends, or a therapist if needed
Step 11: Reach Out to Get Professional Help
If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Experienced relationship coaches can provide you with the tools and strategies you need to make your relationship work, even when you’re geographically far apart.
At Couples Coaching Online, we specialise in helping long-distance couples build strong emotional connections. Our coaches are available for online appointments, so you can get the help you need from the comfort of your own home. Our primary objective is to get you to connect with yourselves and get on the same page with each other. Feel free to learn more about long-distance relationship coaching to see how it can help you make the most of your relationship while you are apart.
Maintaining a healthy long-distance relationship can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Whether you’re separated by distance due to work, family obligations, or other circumstances, following the steps in this article will help you stay positive and build a strong emotional bond with your long-distance partner.
Video chatting is one of the best ways to stay in touch. When you have some more time, there are many other activities you can do together – from online classes to movie nights.
Finding creative ways to do fun things as a couple will help you feel connected even when you’re apart. Long-distance relationships can be just as fulfilling and successful as regular romantic relationships. But you do need to go the extra mile with your communication and make sure you are talking about all aspects of your relationship.
Long-distance relationships work best for a short while until it is possible to close the distance. Many couples fail when trying to maintain their relationship for long periods without seeing each other. Without physical touch, the romance is lost and the relationship ends.
If you find yourself trying really hard to make a long-distance relationship work but feel like you are falling behind, consider getting professional help from a relationship coach.
With support and guidance that is tailored to your specific goals and situation, you can overcome any obstacles and make the most of your long-distance relationship.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you maintain a long-distance relationship?
Maintaining a long-distance relationship can be challenging, but there are many things you can do to keep your connection strong.
1. Communicate regularly, whether it’s through texting, phone calls, video chats, or even sending letters and care packages.
2. Plan regular virtual dates, such as watching a movie together or cooking the same meal at the same time.
3. Be understanding and supportive of each other’s schedules and commitments, and make time for each other whenever possible.
4. Keep the romance alive by sending sweet messages, surprises, and thoughtful gestures.
What are the red flags in a long-distance relationship?
Just like in any other relationship, there are certain red flags to watch out for in a long-distance relationship. These might include:
– A lack of communication or effort on one or both sides
– A pattern of breaking promises or not following through on commitments
– Constant jealousy or controlling behaviour
– A lack of trust or honesty.
It’s important to be aware of these warning signs and address them as soon as possible. Remember, a healthy long-distance relationship should be based on trust, respect, and open communication.
Is it difficult to maintain a long-distance relationship?
Maintaining a long-distance relationship can be challenging, but it’s definitely possible with the right mindset and strategies. It requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to put in the effort to stay connected. While there may be moments of loneliness or frustration, remember that distance doesn’t have to mean the end of your relationship. With a positive attitude and a commitment to making it work, you can navigate the challenges of the distance and come out stronger on the other side.
What is the hardest part of a long-distance relationship?
There are many difficult aspects of a long-distance relationship, but perhaps the hardest part is the physical distance itself. Not being able to be with your partner in person, hug them, or share experiences together can be incredibly tough. It can also be difficult to navigate different time zones, schedules, and commitments, and to balance your needs and desires with your partner’s. But with creativity, patience, and a lot of love, you can overcome these challenges and find ways to stay connected and close.
What are the signs of a healthy long-distance relationship?
A healthy long-distance relationship is characterised by several key factors. These might include:
– Regular communication and effort on both sides
– A sense of trust and respect
– Mutual support and understanding
– Shared goals and values
– The ability to work through challenges and conflicts together.
– You should feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and feelings with your partner, and they should do the same with you.
– You should also feel supported and uplifted by your partner, even when you’re apart.
What is an unhealthy long-distance relationship?
An unhealthy long-distance relationship can be characterised by several warning signs. These might include a lack of communication or effort on one or both sides, a pattern of breaking promises or not following through on commitments, constant jealousy or controlling behaviour, a lack of trust or honesty, or any form of abuse or manipulation. If you’re feeling unhappy, unsupported, or disrespected in your long-distance relationship, it’s important to address these issues and seek help if needed. Remember, you deserve to be in a relationship that is healthy, positive, and fulfilling.