WRITTEN BY Felicia Kashevaroff
Miles Apart, But Close at Heart: How Do We Make Our Long-Distance Relationship Work?
You may know that I experienced the heartache and struggle of an unbalanced relationship, This is ultimately what led to the end of my marriage. But you may not know that I’ve been in a successful long-distance relationship for several years now. This has taught me invaluable lessons about love, connection, and yes balance.
Because my partner and I don’t see each other every day, we need to take extra care to keep our connection strong. Long distance relationships face a number of extra challenges, like logistics, lack of physical intimacy, and difficult communication. The most critical agreement we have is that each of us apply equal effort to maintaining and growing our connection, which isn’t always easy, but totally worth it.
Here are some of the steps we take to maintain a successful long-distance relationship.
1. Daily Rituals for Connection:
One key aspect of our successful long-distance relationship is our daily rituals. Despite the distance – with my partner in Northern California and me on the central coast – we never fail to start and end our day with thoughtful text messages. These aren’t just routine texts; they’re check-ins that keep us connected at the start and end of each day.
How did you sleep? What do you have going on today? How was your day? Are you home yet? How did that important meeting go? I love you. I miss you.
2. Staying Connected Throughout the Day:
Another thing I cherish is how my partner stays connected with me throughout the day. We;re both incredibly busy, but every day we make sure to connect at least once throughout the day. Whether it’s a simple “I love you” text or a photo of something that makes us think of the other, these small gestures make a big difference in feeling seen and loved.
3. Attention to Details:
Paying attention to the little things is crucial in a successful long-distance relationship. My partner and I take care to remembers things that the other one likes or cares about – like our we incorporate them into our communication when we’re apart. We might share an update on a news story one of us has been following, or pick up a favorite snack to share during our next visit. It’s about celebrating each other’s preferences and interests, regardless of distance.
4. Communicate Clearly:
Communication is challenging for most couples but it can be even harder when your relationship is long-distance. We communicate the simple and the mundane daily occurrences, but we also share our hopes and dreams with each other, even when we’re apart. We also address any challenges that come up immediately. If one of our texts hits wrong, or one of us is feeling sad and lonely, we immeditely jump on the phone and work through the issue until we both feel heard.
5. Build and Maintain Trust:
Trust is extra important in a successful long-distance relationship. The key to trust is to establish clear boundaries around what is okay and what is not okay in your relationship. We also always leave each other the space to ask difficult questions and have hard conversations if one of us is feeling insecure. Another critical element of trust is to do the things you say you’re going to do. If you said you would call or text, do it. If you made plans to be together, do everything in your power to honor those plans.
6. Shared Interests and Activities:
We make sure to spend time together on shared activities,even when we’re apart like watching movies or shows that we both enjoy, or listening to audio books. We call it being together apart and it can bridge the physical gap in a long-distance relationship. It’s one of our favorite things to do when we’re not together.
7. Valuing Each Other’s Time and Efforts:
Respecting and valuing each other’s time, especially when busy, is a cornerstone of a successful long-distance relationship. We always encourage each other to pursue our professional success and other passions without ever making the other person feel guilty for the time spent working, networking, or socialzing.
8. Planning and Research in the Relationship:
Taking the initiative in planning dates, trips, or even simple outings is a wonderful way to show care in a long-distance relationship. My partner is the BEST at this, he’s always on the look out unique places and activities that make our time together special, like restaurants, parks, hikes, museums and more. In past relationships I did most, if not all of the research to plan dates and activities, so his active participation in making future plans makes me feel so loved. We also are clear to schedule out our time together well in advance so each of us know what to expect.
9. Keeping an Eye on the Future:
Ultimately our goal is to be together full time, so we check in often about the long term goal and make short term goals to get us there. Life can be tricky and put obstacles in our way, so it’s important to practice patience when plans get derailed. However, we make sure to make new plans that get us closer to the final goal of being together.
Are You in a Long-Distance Relationship? Need Help?
These are just a few ways my partner and I have made our long-distance relationship successful and fulfilling. It’s about the small, everyday actions that show love, respect, and appreciation. I hope these insights help you in nurturing your long-distance relationship.
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