Table of Contents
Surviving a long-distance relationship can be challenging. But, you can do things to turn the survival of your relationship into an enjoyable experience. Here are the most essential tips to help you survive your long-distance relationship.
- Reflect on why you are in this long-distance relationship
- Remember how and when you started your relationship
- Discuss your expectations from each other and this relationship
- Create a meaningful connection with your partner
- Work on your communication to maintain an emotional connection
- Agree on how long your long-distance relationship will last
- Agree on the means and frequency of your communication
- Visit each other regularly and frequently
- Set the dates for your visits
- Set a date to move in together
Let’s have a look at each one of these tips in more detail.
1. Reflect on Why You Are in This Long-Distance Relationship
When long-distance relationships last a long time, the challenges and unresolved problems accumulate, turning this experience into a struggle.
When you find yourself struggling in your relationship more often than not:
- Remind yourself why you are in this long-distance relationship with this person. It will put things into perspective and give you some clarity if this is the relationship you want to have.
- Discover what is important for you and your partner. Both of you have certain preferences. Things that are important to you may seem trivial to your partner and vice versa. Therefore, it can go a long way to let your partner know what is important to you and for you to consider what is important to them.
- Know what is important to you and how much. Often, relationships become saturated with compromise and you ask yourself if it’s even worth it.
In any case, continue self-development. It will encourage your personal growth and will make your relationship more exciting.
If you would like to dig deeper to assess how healthy your long-distance relationship really is, this workbook is for you.
2. Remember How and When You Started Your Relationship
When you find a partner, it is easy to forget who you are and what you want. In doing so, you risk neglecting yourself, you life goals and ambitions. At some point you may lose your life’s direction and this in turn will negatively impact your relationship.
In the first few months, you learn all there is to know about each other. For the rest of your relationship, you think there is nothing else you can learn.
A relationship is a union of two people, two individuals. You chose your partner because there is something special about them. So, you wanted them to be part of your life.
They have also chosen you because you are unique. What makes you unique and special are your life’s experiences, values and beliefs, how you deal with problems and how you treat other.
So, you figured out what you want, great! Now it’s time to share it with your partner.
3. Discuss Your Expectations from Each Other and This Relationship
Do not expect your partner to guess what you want and how you want it, tell them. To get what you want, you need to know what you want.
You may have an expectation that your partner should be able to guess what you want before you even know what you want. This alone can create a great deal of confusion. In a long-distance relationship, you have time for yourself. Reflect on what do you want for yourself and for your relationship. Get clear on your needs and desires.
Try this instead:
- Make a list of things you want in your relationship.
- Apply a scale of importance from 0 to 10 to each item.
- At the top, are the things you want, no matter what.
- At the bottom, are the aspects of your relationship that you are ok to be flexible about.
When setting goals and expectations try to be specific and clear about what you want and expect from your partner and your relationship.
A plan can help keep your long-distance relationship on track.
Without a specific plan, do not expect anything specific to happen.
People erroneously believe that to make your relationship work, you need to compromise what you want and try to do what your partner wants. In fact, it is the opposite.
4. Create a Meaningful Connection with Your Partner
After being with a person for a while, you may have an idea that you know all there is to know about them. So, you stop learning anything else about your partner.
This leads to empty conversations about what you have eaten, who you saw and what you did and does not create a meaningful connection.
We experience life through feelings. The fun part is that feelings change all the time, as they are influenced by the environment, thoughts and circumstances.
Next time you talk to your partner, ask them how they are feeling at that moment. You may hear something like ok, not bad, etc.. This is the first sign that your partner may not know how to express their feelings.
A lot of us are illiterate in expressing how we feel. Yet, without this, emotional connection is next to impossible, particularly in a long-distance relationship.
- Learn to talk about your feelings.
- Openly share your thoughts, feelings, doubts and concerns
Some people believe that if they think something, their partner should know it. As a rule of thumb, consider that if you do not say it, your partner will not know it. Say it or write it down in a letter or a text.
Knowing your own feelings, needs and preferences will bring depth to your personality. Sharing them with your partner will help you create a meaningful connection, and it will bring understanding to your relationship.
Being away from the person you love is not easy. Lack of physical intimacy and a different style of communication can take its toll on your relationship. While long-distance has its challenges, it also presents certain opportunities often overlooked by most couples.
To survive a long-distance relationship, you need to know how to maintain an emotional connection with your partner. The lack of physical closeness creates a desire for touch. So, the first step is to recognise how strong is this desire and how much it affects your relationship.
Take a look at what’s going on with your desires, feelings and behaviours regarding your long-distance relationship.
5. Work on Your Communication to Maintain an Emotional Connection
Without effective communication it is pretty much impossible to survive a long-distance relationship.
A long-distance relationship without communication isn’t worth your time. Communication is the only way you can maintain a connection in a long-distance relationship. If you don’t talk to each other, you don’t have much of a relationship.
Suppose you are in a long-distance relationship without communication. It can be due to your attachment to this person or a fear of being alone. Whatever your reason, it’s best you face your issues and resolve them.
Staying in a relationship that isn’t working is a waste of your time. Resolve your issues or find yourself someone who can contribute to your life, rather than take the time away from your life.
To improve communication with your long-distance partner, you should agree on:
- Means and frequency of communication
- Topics of conversations
To come to agreements both of you need to know what you want, and share it in a way that both of you can understand each other’s feelings and desires. Most people expect their partner to guess what they want before they even know it.
Assumptions and unwarranted conclusions can create a great deal of confusion. In a long-distance relationship, you have plenty of time for yourself. So, use this time to:
- Reflect on what you want for yourself and your relationship.
- Communicate what you want to your partner. If you don’t say it, your partner doesn’t know it.
- Listen to what your partner wants.
Some people believe that if they think something, their partner should know it, and there’s no need to express it directly. You should say it or write it down in a letter or a text. Follow the three steps above to do it properly.
While it is possible to survive a long-distance relationship, would you not rather enjoy your relationship if you can.
If you are serious about making your relationship work, communication is the very first thing you should be focusing on. While it may be hard to know where to begin, you can use this workbook to give you guidance and take you through the necessary steps.
6. Agree on How Long Your Long-Distance Relationship will Last
In a long-distance relationship, it is important to have a plan. The unknown can be exciting and scary at the same time.
Having a plan will put your mind at ease. It can reassure you about the state of your relationship and relieve the pressure of doubts. Try to avoid planning on your own and informing your partner of your decisions.
- Set specific goals and make a plan, together.
- Set the date for your next meeting and plan something exciting for the meantime.
- Plan your personal time when you are apart
- Agree on how often you see each other
- Moving in date
If you need help setting goals for your long-distance relationship, this guide will take you and your partner step by step through this process.
Make your plans together rather than making them separately and informing each other of your decisions as a matter of fact.
How do you make a plan where everyone needs are met, particularly the important ones?
When you are alone in a long-distance relationship, you may assess the situations in your mind. You decide what is possible and what is not before even talking to your partner.
Instead, use effective communication to hear each other out, develop understanding and come to agreements.
Approach it objectively, without emotions. Imagine you are trying to help another couple in exactly the same situation. You will see the difference it makes.
Here is a workbook for you and your partner to make a concrete plan for your relationship.
7. Agree on the Means and Frequency of Your Communication
Talking is one of the main ways of communication in a long-distance relationship. We’ve discussed how you can maintain an emotional connection. It is equally important to come to an agreement with your partner about how often you call each other.
You may wish to speak 10 times a day, while your partner may feel that 3 times a week is plenty. Doing so, you would appear needy and your partner could come across as if they don’t care about you.
- Agree on how often you speak
- Agree on when is the best time to call each other and how often
- To avoid misunderstanding, consider both of your preferences and find a mutually acceptable solution.
Some of the common problems in a long-distance relationship revolve around excessive communication or a lack of.
Our communication guide will help you and your partner bring up important conversations and give you an opportunity to make arrangements that work for both of you.
8. Visit Each Other Regularly and Frequently
How often should you see each other?
To answer this question, you should recognise the importance of physical intimacy for yourself and your partner.
Physical touch is a basic human need that is very important to us. However, the degree of importance varies from person to person.
Physical intimacy gives the reassurance that you are still a couple. Ideally, you may need this reassurance every day, but it may still be ok for you to be intimate say once a week. If this is the case, it is normal to expect for you to feel distant from your partner if you don’t get to touch them for more than a week.
To get help developing and maintaining intimacy with your long-distance partner, try this workbook.
Apply the scale of importance from 0 to 10 to your preference. Ask your partner to do the same and compare your findings. If your needs for physical intimacy are different, it can affect your relationship, so have a chat about it.
Seeing each other after some time can be very fulfilling. Naturally, you are looking forward to those days. It is far too easy to fall into a habit of waiting for your next meeting.
By actively waiting, I mean counting the days to your next visit. The more you focus on the waiting, the more you are reminding yourself that you can’t have something you want. You feel like your life is not enough. This is a first step to turning your long-distance relationship into survival.
- Next time you are together, set personal goals and make a plan of how you will achieve them before you meet again.
- Use the time apart to achieve your personal goals
This has a double benefit. First, you will be on track with your personal development. By sharing your plan and keeping them up to date with your progress, your partner will be part of it.
One of the things you need to do to have a healthy long-distance relationship is to know how to handle the distance. Since it is so essential yet such an overlooked aspect from long-distance couples, we have created this step by step guide for both partners to learn and discuss how the distance affects their relationship.
9. Set the Dates for Your Visits
To give your long-distance relationship the best chance at survival, you need to have a plan. In a long-distance relationship, it is essential to have a plan and a timeline.
Having a plan and a timeline will put your mind at ease. It can reassure you about the state of your relationship and relieve the pressure of doubts.
Avoid planning on your own and informing your partner of your decisions. Make ’S.M.A.R.T.’ goals and make a plan together. This acronyms stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound.
Set a date for your next visit and plan something exciting for the meanwhile. If you don’t have a specific plan and a timeline, do not expect anything specific to happen.
Planning is essential when trying to survive a long-distance relationship. This step by step guide will help you and your partner plan all aspects of your relationship to give you the best chance at making it work.
10. Set a Date to Move in Together
Long-distance can work pretty well for a new relationship. You can easily spend a couple of months getting to know each other online. There is much to talk about when you start a new relationship.
You can learn about each other’s past, explore each other’s interests, values, and beliefs. If your conversations flow and you enjoy talking to each other, you should meet each other in real life.
Until you meet a person in real, you are having a relationship with the idea yo have created in your head about this person, rather than with an actual human being.
After you meet a few times, provided you get along well, enjoy being together and want turn your relationship more serious, consider moving in together for a short while to see what it’s like living together.
To survive a long-distance relationship, first, let go of the idea that it is survival.
The distance makes it challenging to have physical closeness, leaving you sad, frustrated and disappointed, all at the same time. A long-distance relationship is a combination of a relationship and the distance. Often, it is a romantic relationship, and as such, you expect physical closeness.
The distance can turn the joy into sadness and your relationship into a struggle. But your long-distance relationship does not have to be a struggle. You can use the time apart to work on different aspects of your relationship. You are in a relationship to bring joy into your life and share it with the person you love.
It’s hard to maintain a healthy relationship without physical intimacy. So, how can you remain connected over the distance and survive a long-distance relationship?
While having its challenges, distance can be an opportunity to improve your relationship. Being apart also allows you the time to work on yourself, learn to connect to your partner in a meaningful way and by doing so, make your relationship not only healthy but also fun and exciting.
While apart, you can learn more about each other’s preferences and values. When you visit each other, you can test what you have learnt and see how it plays out when you see each other face to face.
- Continue your self-development.
- Know what is important to you and how much.
- Learn to talk about your feelings. Have a list of words that describe feelings in front of you.
- Always make your plans together.
- Agree on when is the best time to call each other and how often.
- Recognise the importance of physical intimacy for yourself and your partner.
- Use the time apart to achieve your personal goals.
To learn more about making your long-distance relationship work, check out this article. It covers all aspects of a long-distance relationship and has essential links to other articles and workbook suggestions.
If you are serious about your partner and your relationship and would like to work on each aspect of being in a long-distance relationship, here is our complete guide. It will help you and your partner address every aspect of your relationship step by step.
Signs You are Surviving a Long-Distance Relationship
… rather than enjoying it …
- There is no plan to visit each other
- No plan for when you are together and what you do in-between visits, other than miss each other and wait for the next one
- While apart, you wait for the next visit, instead of having fun with your own life
- One of you wants physical intimacy more than the other
- You are not aware of this difference
- You don’t have an agreement on how to the person who wants more frequent physical intimacy can satisfy it
- One of you is calling more often than the other
- You are often sitting, waiting for the phone to ring or receive a text
- One of you makes final decisions
- You are not clear on the days and times to talk
- At least one of you is unable to express your feelings
- You mainly talk about who did what
- You feel distant from your partner
- You are compromising and expecting your partner to compromise
- You judge what’s important for your partner and they judge you
- You expect your partner to know what you want without telling them
- Trying to please your partner
- Feeling responsible for your partner’s feelings
- Thinking you know them inside out
- Trying to please your partner
- Thinking you know your partner inside out
- You are compromising and expecting your partner to compromise
- You judge what’s important for your partner and they judge you
- You expect your partner to know what you want without telling them
- You don’t have a clear plan for living together
- One of you is not happy with the frequency of your conversations
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I survive a long-distance relationship?
The best way to survive a long-distance relationship is to turn it from survival into enjoyment. If you find yourself trying to survive a long-distance relationship, stop and reassess whether it’s worth it or not. Relationships are supposed to bring you joy and fulfilment.
You can survive a long-distance relationship by working on your communication, having a plan and a timeline for maintaining physical intimacy through frequent visits. Poor communication leads to confusion and unnecessary arguments. Effective communication can help you resolve your problems and maintain the connection.
You can survive a long-distance relationship, but you should really enjoy it. If you miss your partner for the few months that you have to be apart, that’s one thing. However, if your long-distance relationship lasts longer than that, it will increase your suffering. It helps to know your reason for staying in a relationship that brings you suffering rather than finding a relationship that brings you joy.
If you are in a long-distance relationship, discuss with your partner what is working and what isn’t. Try to work out your issues and find solutions to the problems. When you do, you can shift your focus and mindset towards enjoying a healthy and happy long-distance relationship, rather than trying to survive one.
Will my long-distance relationship survive?
Whether or not your long-distance relationship will survive depends on how good is your communication. Poor communication can lead to confusion, unnecessary fights and arguments. At the same time, effective communication can help you maintain emotional intimacy and connection. Also, unless you turn your relationship around from survival into enjoyment, it will become harder to maintain and will bring you more suffering.
A relationship can survive long-distance if you see it for what it is, and know what to expect. Many couples expect a long-distance relationship to be the same as a face to face relationship, but it’s not. Maybe in your mind, you realise that things are different, but you may treat it in the same way in practice.
The first and by far, the most critical question is: what do you want from this relationship? It’s also important to know what your partner wants. Once you are clear on what both of you want, it’s time to understand what does a long-distance relationship mean to you and how does it align with the way your partner sees it.
Is it possible to survive a long-distance relationship?
It’s possible to survive a long-distance relationship if you know why you want your relationship to survive. Is it a temporary situation for a short period? Or Is it the type of relationship that you wish for at this point in your life? Whatever your circumstances, the key to a successful relationship is to be on the same page as your partner.
How to survive a new long-distance relationship?
When you’re starting a new long-distance relationship, you don’t need to survive it. You can spend the first few months of your relationship, learning about each other and having fun conversations. If you get on well together, you can visit each other. If you like each other’s company, then you can move in together and have a more serious relationship.
How do you survive a long-distance relationship for a long period of time?
Long-distance relationships are not supposed to last for a long time. If it’s a romantic relationship, you need physical intimacy. You can maintain a romantic relationship over a long-distance for a few months with frequent visits, sexting, and virtual sex. However, at some point, the lack of physical intimacy will transform your romantic relationship into a friendship. If this happens, go with it and remain friends. Friendship will allow you to maintain trust, and connection with each other, while being open to forming a romantic relationship with somebody who you can be with physically.
How to survive an international long-distance relationship?
One of the problems of trying to survive an international long-distance relationship is the time difference.
The more significant the time difference, the more challenging it’s to maintain the connection with your long-distance partner. One problem with time difference is syncing your schedules to talk at the same time.
Another problem with the time difference is that at the same moment you can be on different points of your day. For example, one of you may have a break at work and be eager to talk, while the other is busy after work and needs to have a rest.
To deal with time differences in a long-distance relationship, plan ahead.
Learn about each other’s schedules and the best times to talk. It’s better to talk less often but at the time that suits both of you. Trying to force the conversation when you are tired or busy, isn’t going to work.
How to survive a long-distance open relationship?
An open long-distance relationship is an option for some couples. Suppose you have a deep emotional connection and complete trust. In that case, you can consider an open long-distance relationship to satisfy your sexual needs.
Lack of physical intimacy is one of the biggest problems that couples face in a long-distance relationship. Without sexual intimacy, a romantic relationship becomes a friendship.
Suppose you are planning to stay in a long-distance relationship for a few months. In that case, you can maintain intimacy through frequent visits and open and honest communication. However, suppose your long-distance relationship lasts longer than that. In that case, a lack of sexual intimacy can become a problem that can ruin your relationship.
You may find yourself in a situation where you can’t visit each other, and your sexual needs are unfulfilled. Then perhaps consider becoming friends or having an open long-distance relationship.
To survive an open long-distance relationship, you need to be completely open and transparent with your partner. Open relationships only work when both partners agree to it. If only one of you is ok with an open relationship and gets to sleep with others, the other partner will suffer silently because an open relationship does not work for them.
You can always talk about having an open long-distance relationship and even try it. But if it does not work for either of you, you should stop it and find a different way to deal with your needs.
The only way you can pull off an open long-distance relationship is if you have an amazing understanding and communication. To help you out, check out this workbook:
How to survive a long-distance relationship in college?
College is a place of study, fun, and new experiences. Having a long-distance relationship in college can feel a drag. You may find yourself drawn in between trying to maintain a relationship with someone who isn’t there and enjoying your time with people around you.
Suppose you decide to maintain a long-distance relationship in college. In that case, you can try to survive it by balancing your relationship and your college life. However, it’s not going to be easy.
The more time you spend enjoying your life in college, the less time you spend with your long-distance partner, and the more distance you will have in your relationship.
At the same time, if you spend a lot of time talking to your long-distance partner, you’re going to miss out on getting to know new people, study, and have fun in college.
How to survive a long-distance marriage?
Sometimes the long-distance comes into your marriage due to job relocation or for some other reason.
Marriage is a more significant commitment than any other relationship. Nonetheless, a long-distance relationship works the same for married couples as it does for couples who are not married. You are still going to have a lack of physical intimacy and some breakdowns in communication.
If you know how to handle a long-distance relationship and deal with problems that come with being apart, you can maintain it for a few months.
However, you may start drifting apart if your long distant marriage lasts for too long. Once your feelings change, you may have to reassess your marriage.
How to survive a long-distance relationship sexually?
The only way to survive a long-distance relationship sexually is to schedule frequent visits and spontaneous trips together.
In between your visits you can talk dirty over the phone or have virtual sex. There are also some interactive toys you can play with online.
While these things can work for a few months, trying to survive a long-distance relationship for an extended period is not going to work. You can try to make your long-distance relationship last as long as you can, but if you’re unfulfilled and unhappy, then what’s the point?
Can a long-distance relationship survive cheating?
Cheating is a combination of lying and satisfying sexual needs. In a long-distance relationship, there is a lack of physical intimacy between you and your partner.
When your need for sexual intimacy becomes significant, you might be tempted to sleep with someone else. In these situations sleeping with someone outside of a relationship can happen to anyone. If it does, you should discuss it with your partner.
One thing that is worse than sleeping with someone else is lying about it. If you have trust in your relationship, you can find understanding and work through your issues.
The moment you start lying, your relationship may not even be worth saving.
Suppose cheating continues and goes beyond a one-off experience. In that case, that is a sign of a relationship that is no longer working. In this case, you should discuss your feelings and thoughts with your partner and re-evaluate whether to continue with this relationship or not.
The best way to handle cheating is to prevent it. And the best way to do that is to make sure you get to see each other frequently and make the most of your time together.