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Being away from your partner isn’t easy. With time, physical separation can lead to emotional distance, misunderstandings, arguments and sexual frustration. Managing a long-distance relationship is a skill you must learn if you want to make sure that you and your partner can last the distance.
To help you in your journey, here are eight steps you can take to give your long-distance relationship the best shot:
- Define your relationship.
- Express yourselves openly and freely.
- Schedule the best days and times for you to talk.
- Arrange your visits.
- Make a plan to manage your long-distance relationship until you can be together.
- Create a timeline.
- Agree on how long your long-distance relationship will last.
- Engage with life outside of your relationship.
Let’s explore them one by one, but feel free to jump to the area you are interested in the most.
1. Define Your Long-Distance Relationship
When defining your long-distance relationship consider the following:
- The type of relationship you want.
- Your personal and relationship goals.
- Personal space, boundaries and expectations.
One of the first things you want to discuss with your partner when defining your relationship is the type of relationship you want to have. In a casual relationship the level of commitment is generally less than in a serious relationship.
The more casual your relationship is, the less commitment you should expect. If you want a serious relationship, you must be comfortable with giving more time and resources to this relationship. And, it is also normal for you to expect more commitment from your partner. So, having a discussion about the type of relationship you are planning to have, will help you and your partner set realistic expectations going forward.
If you are not sure how serious your long-distance relationship is, take a look at this article.
Apart from discussing the level of commitment, it is also a good idea to talk about your personal and relationship goals. While you and your partner may have different personal goals, your relationship goals need to be the same. A healthy relationship should help both of you achieve what you want in your personal lives, as well as outside of your relationship.
Having clear goals goes a long way towards making a long-distance relationship work. Knowing exactly what you want and what your partner wants will help you set expectations that both of you can achieve and be happy with. Not meeting your expectations because you didn’t set your goals or something didn’t work out will leave you feeling disappointed.
For guidance with setting goals for your long-distance relationship, this workbook will help you out.
And while things don’t always work out, the way you think, being mindful about what is working and what isn’t will help you adjust to the situation, manage your expectations and avoid unnecessary disappointment.
One of the key goals to have in a long-distance relationship is moving in together. If you and your partner are serious about being together, living together and potentially having a family is only possible if you have a specific date and realistic plan (more on this later) for closing the distance.
To have a happy relationship, you and your partner must have clear personal boundaries. Without boundaries, it is way too easy to encroach into each other’s personal space and become needy.
At the same time, you run the risk of having too much space, becoming distant and losing emotional connection. This is particularly true for long-distance relationships where there is a tendency to compensate for the lack of physical intimacy by keeping in touch more often than needed.
When setting your personal boundaries, respect your own needs and preferences, as well as your partner’s. That said, be mindful that feelings, needs, circumstances and preferences change. To keep on top of these changes, express yourselves freely and honestly and take the time to hear each other out and understand both points of view.
Openness and understanding will go along way towards creating harmony in your relationship and will allow you to be flexible and adaptable as you go through challenges together.
2. Express Yourselves Openly and Freely
The key component of a healthy communication is openness and freedom of expression. The more you get to know each other, the more trust you will have.
With greater trust you can discuss a wider variety of topics. Once you’ve gotten to know each other well and have decided to have a serious relationship, as a rule of thumb, keep all topics open for discussion.
Feel free to express your needs, doubts and concerns and welcoming the same from your partner. Reciprocity is the main rule of communication.
Avoid ignoring each other’s messages and calls, especially when you have them scheduled. If you are the one getting in touch outside of your schedule, ask yourself if it is an emergency. If your partner is trying to get in touch with you outside of your schedule, try to respond anyway, even if it is just to say that you are busy or ask if there is something important.
Sometimes, you may want to express yourselves and share your feelings without talking. When you’re together, you can just sit next to each other and hold your hands. In a long-distance relationship, this can be achieved by having a virtual sexual experience in any shape of form that is appropriate based on your relationship. This is where technology in the form of sex toys comes into play, particularly the ones that can be controlled remotely by your partner via the Internet.
To spice up your long-distance relationship, there is always an option of virtual sex during your video calls and sexting randomly now and then.
In a long-distance relationship, you can maintain an emotional connection through effective communication and trust. But the emotional connection doesn’t replace the need for physical intimacy.
To manage a long-distance love relationship, you can send handwritten letters and gifts to your long-distance partner, which will give them something tangible to connect with you physically.
You can always send each other romantic love messages to remind your long-distance partner, much you care about them. Writing a handwritten letter and attaching a photograph can be a more personal and meaningful expression of love for your long-distance partner.
Miscommunication is by far the biggest challenge in a long-distance relationship. In a regular relationship, you see your partner every day. This gives you an opportunity to talk to each other face-to-face.
Talking to a person in front of you gives you a lot more information about their feelings and intentions than talking to them online.
In a long-distance relationship, your communication relies on texting, phone calls, and video calls. The clarity of your communication depends on how well you can express yourself through texts and on the phone. You can learn more about online communication in this article.
When you have your partner in front of you, you can kiss them, hug them, and feel them. None of these is possible during online communication.
Most people don’t take care when writing text messages. They use a lot of shortcuts and abbreviations. Many text messages don’t have proper grammar, spelling, nor do they include the correct punctuation. All of these things can make it very hard for the person receiving the message to fully understand what the person sending a message wants to say.
Miscommunication can lead to misunderstanding. Misunderstandings can result in confusion and unnecessary arguments, which are also hard to resolve when your partner isn’t in front of you.
When it comes to communication in a long-distance relationship, you should take the time to learn how to communicate effectively with your long-distance partner. You need to make sure that they understand what you mean and vice versa.
You must agree with your long-distance partner on how often you can talk to each other. Excessive communication is one of the main challenges in a long-distance relationship. Couples spend a lot of time messaging or on the phone in an attempt to feel more connected.
This only works for the first couple of weeks. After that, excessive communication can result in boring conversations and a boring long-distance relationship. This will make your relationship a lot harder to manage. Click here to learn about common problems and how to fix them.
3. Schedule the Best Days and Times for You to Talk
When it comes to communication in a long-distance relationship, scheduling and topic selection are equally important. In terms of frequency of communication, you want to make sure that you talk enough to maintain emotional connection yet not too much to become needy.
Excessive communication can lead to a waste of time and boring conversations. While it is understandable that you would like to spend more time together, in this context, self-restraint can literally save your relationship.
Agree on the means and frequency of communication that works for both of you. To do that, have a separate discussion about the best ways you would like to communicate and how often you need to talk to maintain emotional connection while you are in a long-distance relationship.
While there is no hard rule on the right amount of communication, you can talk as much or as little as you need to feel connected.
Staying emotionally connected can be quite challenging in a long-distance relationship. So, to help you out, we’ve written the whole article on this topic, which you can find here.
If you are unsure whether or not you are having the right amount of communication, ask yourselves if you are emotionally connecting, discussing your relationship, sharing your feelings or are you just killing time and talking about nothing?
If it all possible, try to set certain days and times that are convenient for both of you, so you can communicate regularly. Sometimes, consistency and predictability mean a lot in a long-distance relationship as they provide reassurance and better understanding of what is going on between you and your partner.
If you find it challenging to communicate effectively with your long-distance partner, here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started.
4. Arrange Your Visits
A realistic plan for a long-distance relationship should include when are you going to see each other. To maintain physical connection you would want to visit each other as much as you can.
However, when making plans for your visits, do not promise things you are not sure you will be able to fulfil. Promising your partner you will come to visit every month when you may not have enough holidays or money to do it won’t help your relationship. Instead, it will start destroying trust.
Another key component of a healthy long-distance relationship is making the most of your time together. A worthwhile visit should include enjoyment and fun as well as deep and meaningful conversations about your life and your relationship.
Going for a couple of weeks without seeing each other is more manageable than not seeing each other for several months at a time. If you’re not in a position to see each other regularly, you may want to reconsider your relationship as a whole.
Depending on the need either of you have for being physically together, one of you, or both of you will start suffering because of being apart. In this case, the relationship will turn unhealthy.
If intimacy is an issue in your relationship, this workbook is for you.
5. Make a Plan to Manage Your Long-Distance Relationship Until You Can Be Together
For a long-distance relationship to be successful, you should have clear goals as well as a plan to achieve them. Your plan should be realistic and achievable rather than wishful thinking. The more practical and attainable your plan is, the less likely you are to be disappointed when something you want isn’t working out.
As a rule of thumb, your plan should include the following:
- Means, frequency and duration of your communication.
- Topics of discussions that address the issues and maintain emotional connection.
- Timetable of your visits.
- What you’re going to discuss and do during your visits.
- Moving in date.
- The amount of time and money needed for you to move in together.
Your plan should also include achieving your personal life goals and ambitions. A solid plan provides the much needed reassurance that can be quite scarce in long-distance relationships.
While some find planning daunting, a positive way of looking at it is to see it as an activity you can do together that can be fun and productive at the same time.
Many long-distance couples find planning their relationship challenging. If this is you, check out this step-by-step guide.
6. Create a Timeline
A clear and specific timeline is an essential part of a realistic plan. Mainly long-distance relationships fail because couples are detached from reality. With time, their reality becomes wishful thinking and unrealistic expectations lead to disappointment, struggle and heartache.
Although a timeline is something many long-distance couples fail to create, it can actually make or break your relationship.
In a nutshell, a relationship timeline consists of days and times for things you want to achieve as a couple. Feel free to read more on than that in this article.
7. Agree on How Long Your Long-Distance Relationship Will Last
A long-distance relationship is a romantic relationship where a couple is separated by geographical distance. Like in any romantic relationship, you would expect physical intimacy with your partner. But long-distance relationships work differently than regular ones.
It is harder to manage your long-distance relationship when you see it as an inconvenience. You can manage a long-distance relationship for a short while, but with time, it becomes increasingly more challenging.
The biggest difference between a long-distance relationship and a regular one is that you have a lot of time to spend by yourself. This gives you an opportunity to catch up with your personal life goals and spend time on your hobbies and interests.
Being away from your partner, gives you a lot of time to think. In a way, having time and space to think can help you reassess your life and understand what’s important to you. At the same time, if you have any doubts or negative thinking, being alone will make them more significant in your mind.
It’s a good practice to share what’s on your mind with your long-distance partner. If you feel happy and loving, sharing this with your long-distance partner will help you maintain a healthy long-distance relationship.
If you have doubts or insecurities, sharing them with your partner will help you find the best solution and fix the problems before they become too big for you to manage. On this note, take a look at this article to get familiar with how long long-distance relationships tend to last.
Long-distance relationships can work very well for a few months, but they aren’t meant to last a long time. After some time of being apart, the lack of physical intimacy will leave you feeling sexually frustrated and stressed.
Sexual frustration and stress will gradually replace the fun and joy of having a relationship. And after some time you might start growing apart, losing the connection to each other. To make your long-distance relationship work, you must know how to handle the distance the right way. This workbook will give you the necessary guidance.
8. Engage with Life Outside of Your Relationship
Many long-distance couples spend a lot of time texting and calling each other. This can create two major problems.
- Taking away time from your personal life
- Boring conversations
The best thing you can do to have a healthy long-distance relationship is to spend a lot of time on your personal life goals and spending a little bit of time sharing interesting things you have done with your long-distance partner.
Have extra time to spend on the things you like with people you like doing them with is one of the benefits of being in a long-distance relationship.
One of the challenges that couples in long-distance relationships face is trying to spend as much time together as they would as in a regular relationship. A long-distance relationship is different from a regular one, and it needs to be managed differently as well.
Here is a guide to help you and your partner manage your personal and relationship goals.
You can manage a long-distance relationship very well for a short while. To help you through this period of your relationship, consider changing the way you see a long-distance relationship.
Being in a long-distance relationship has its challenges. But it can also be an opportunity to spend time doing the things you like and work on your personal life goals.
To manage your long-distance relationship, you need to have good communication, a plan for moving in together, and a way to keep your long-distance relationship interesting, spicy, and fun.
The lack of physical intimacy during a long-distance relationship will make it hard to manage as time goes by. So the longer you are in a long-distance relationship, the more creative you will have to be and the harder it will get to manage. So, try to close the distance sooner rather than later.
Final tips on how to manage a long-distance relationship
- Understand why you are in a long-distance relationship.
- Agree with your long-distance partner how long the long-distance relationship will last.
- Set some dates for when you can visit each other and agree on the best ways to communicate that work for both of you.
- If your long-distance relationship is serious make a plan on when and how you will move in together.
- Spend most of your time living your life, doing the things you like, working towards your personal goals.
- Send random messages expressing your love and sharing something fun with your long-distance partner.
- Avoid excessive communication during your long-distance relationship and make your conversations fun and exciting.
- Be open and honest with your long-distance partner no matter what.
Clear, open and honest communication will help you maintain emotional connection, build trust, avoid jealousy and will contribute greatly to you having a long-distance relationship that is enjoyable and heartwarming rather than one that is filled with struggle and suffering.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I manage a long-distance relationship?
You can manage a long-distance relationship by agreeing with your long-distance partner how and when is the best time for you to talk to each other.
How to manage a long-distance relationship in college?
Managing a long-distance relationship in college can be challenging. You can manage your long-distance relationship by spending most of your time on your studies and college life and a little bit of time catching up with your long-distance partner. Avoid your long-distance relationship keeping you away from enjoying your college life.
How to manage study and long-distance relationships?
When you are in college or university, you must have a complete focus on your study. You should embrace creating new relationships and having fun at parties. If you are happy to do all of those and manage a relationship with your long-distance partner, that’s great. But if you struggle to combine your study and your long-distance relationship, you may want to take a break or end your long-distance relationship altogether.
What are the challenges of managing a long-distance relationship?
– Time difference
– A lack of physical intimacy
– Distrust and jealousy
What is the best way to manage a long-distance relationship?
The best way to manage a long-distance relationship is to realise that it is different from the regular relationship. To have a successful long-distance relationship you should understand how the distance affects your relationship. Once you know the different ways the distance affects your relationship, you can make a plan to manage it accordingly.
How to manage a new long-distance relationship?
When you meet someone new online, there is a lot you can talk about. You can spend a few months getting to know each other. Sooner or later you will have to meet in real to see what it’s like to be together. Before you meet you can learn about each other’s history, interests, values, and beliefs. If you find that you get on well together and your conversation flows, you can arrange to meet on neutral territory. Be honest and open about your likes and dislikes. If you try to be someone you’re not, it won’t work and will be just a waste of time for both of you. Getting to know someone new in a long-distance relationship is a lot of fun. Though you should remember that until you meet in real life, they will only be an idea in your mind.
How to manage time in a long-distance relationship?
1. Identify your personal commitments
2. Allocate your ideal times and duration for your video calls
3. Create a relationship calendar
4. Arrange the days and times when you are going to talk
5. Set a day for your weekly review
6. You can learn more about making your long-distance relationship work with time difference in this article.
How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?
If you are having doubts about your long-distance relationship and are not sure if you should try to fix it or let it go, here is our step by step guide to help you and your partner reassess your relationship and make an educated decision that works for both of you.
Relationship Coaching for Long-Distance Couples
Long-distance relationships are hard to maintain without knowing exactly what they involve.
However, once you understand what long-distance relationships are, what they are not and how to navigate them, you are a lot more likely to make it work.
We specialise in helping long-distance couples create and maintain a healthy relationship by building intimacy, trust and effective communication.
If you are starting a long-distance relationship or are already in one, send us a message to book an individual coaching session for yourself or a couples coaching session for you and your partner.