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By ☆ Published: March 11, 2016, 2:02 am (updated 7 years ago)

Survive Your Long-Distance Relationship

Can you survive a long-distance relationship? It can be difficult but rewarding, especially if you follow these tips to strengthen it.

Even though it’s been years since my husband and I lived in separate cities, I can still feel the aching feeling I had every time we said goodbye. The reunions were so sweet, but the departures felt as if we were breaking up.

Surviving a long-distance relationship can be an indicator of a good relationship, but it can also teach you things you didn’t know about yourself. It’s a learning process for your partnership.

Want to know how to make it through together?

Give each other space.

This probably seems crazy. “Give each other space?” you’re probably thinking. “But we’re already apart.”

When you’re in a long-distance relationship, the impulse to stay constantly connected is strong. But that can make you crazy and drive your partner away.

This is the best time to learn how to respect each other’s boundaries before you’re sharing a space. Don’t text, email, or call constantly. Set a schedule so that the other person can still have a normal life without worrying that they’re not getting back to you.

“Leaning on your partner too much is bad to begin with, but is multiplied when you have limited contact with each other,” my sister-in-law Kim L. said. Kim spent a year apart from her boyfriend after college.

Find shared interests.

While you’re apart, it can be hard to find things to talk about. The usual “how’s your day” conversations grow stale in the face of distance.

“After two weeks of being apart, it can be hard to find things to talk about on the phone — we just want to see each other again,” said my friend Brad Z., who spent months studying abroad in South Africa while his girlfriend was in the States.

That’s why it helps to do things together. That can be going to see the same movie when it opens, even if you’re in different cities. It can be sending articles the other person might like or listening to a new album and discussing it.

Constantly reminding the other person that you miss them makes for a boring conversation after a few weeks.

Make a life for yourself.

Instead of being sad that you’re apart from your partner, focus on what you can do by yourself. A friend of mine joked that she always got more studying done when her boyfriend was away. I used my time to watch “The Golden Girls” non-stop and spend as much as I wanted in antique bookstores and beauty stores.

“I wish I could go back and tell myself that it would be over soon and to enjoy Arizona rather than come home every night and remind myself how many days were left until it was over,” said my friend Audrie O., who spent a summer apart from her now-husband on an internship.

Finding your own network is also crucial if you’re an extrovert. Relying on one person for companionship is always bad, but it’s even worse if that person doesn’t live near you.

If you’re an introvert, use this time to recharge and focus on cultivating your hobbies and passions.

The good news is research shows that couples in long-distance relationships learn to communicate better than couples who aren’t. They also foster more trust, better discussions and greater intimacy.

“The distance forces you to focus on your friendship and your communication with the other person,” said my friend Joe R., who spent years in a long-distance relationship. “I think that these things lead to long-term success, because they kick in when the excitement and the newness of the relationship starts to fade.”

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Survive Your Long-Distance Relationship was last modified: January 13th, 2017 by Zina Kumok

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