75% of engaged couples describe themselves as having been long distance at some point in their relationship. That might seem like a staggering number, when you consider how many people scream, “long distance never works!” from across the room. Check out my answer here, and then read the answer by Richard Davis.
But it’s not so staggering when you have to be long distance with your partner, and then one glorious day, you’re with them again! Then you know it was not only possible, but totally worth it.
Maybe you’re in that position, you’ve been in that position, or you know someone who is. This article is for you.
A Long Distance Relationship is Exactly What You Make of It
It’s true that a majority of long distance relationships fail, but it’s also true that the majority of all relationships fail. This is because, like any other relationship, an LDR is exactly what you make of it. You can choose to have a great relationship, or you can choose to have a crappy one.
How to Have a Great Long Distance Relationship
Every relationship needs four things to thrive: appreciation, connection, vision, and growth. Every relationship needs these equally, but how you go about achieving them in an LDR may differ.
Focus on the positive.
You have a great partner. Flaunt it! Don’t dwell on the fact that you’re not physically with your partner. That emotional road only goes one direction.
If you focus on the positives of the situation (you both have a person you love, you’re both progressing your careers or preparing for a future together), you’ll be a lot more upbeat about the sacrifices you’re both making. Your partner will take note and feel more appreciative and appreciated.
Did you know that faking a smile actually makes you more happy? It’s true! It actually changes the chemical makeup of your brain.
I don’t suggest going around faking emotions. Allow yourself to feel what you feel, but at a certain point, you have to choose whether you’re going to be happy or not. This is one way to turn a sad day, happy in an otherwise happy life.
Update your SO on the important things.
A lot of people these days are in constant communication. At the surface level, there’s nothing wrong with this, but on the backend, it can prevent each person from getting on with their day, and it can be a sign that there’s a lack of trust. Go out and live your life (and trust your partner).
Create a regular schedule for communication, but there’s no need to text every five minutes. Those conversations get shallow, and they pull you out of the world around you.
Do cute stuff.
Send stuff that doesn’t need to be replied to. Did you come across a quote or a meme that reminded you of your partner? Have you written a poem?
Chicks love poems.
And short ones really don’t take that long. It can show your partner that you’re thinking about them and that you care. You can make it a regular habit, or do a one-off, it’ll make your partner’s heart flutter either way.
Support a vision together.
Pick something to do together. This could be a business, a project, a book, or a health challenge…or, you know…anything else. The point is A, you’re actively doing something that draws you closer together, and B, you’re inspiring better conversations.
You will find that good conversation dies down in an LDR. For each example I have to draw from, it’s taken about a month. Talking about your day becomes same-old-same-old, and talking about your experiences isn’t the same as having them (that joke about Mickey Mouse and the barber just isn’t funny over the phone).
But if you can create or do something together, without being together, it’s easier to inspire that “experience together” kind of closeness.
Stick an expiration date on that LDR.
A painful long distance relationship, and no end in sight, is a deadly combination. Statistically, LDR’s begin to deteriorate after 4.5 months. But knowing exactly when you’re going to be together again can keep it alive (and happy) much longer. There’s no sweeter “vision” than being together again.
Visions give you something to look forward to. They give you hope for the future.
Talk about what you’ve learned, not just what you did.
Reflecting on things you learn in everything that you do will help cement them into your brain. This blog is a brain child of mine and Deborah’s life reflections. We wouldn’t have half as much information if we weren’t constantly talking about what brings us closer together, what pushes us further apart, and what helps us grow.
This is doesn’t even come close to being an exhaustive list. Feel free to add or take away from it as you see fit, but remember the most important thing. You need all four: appreciation, connection, vision, and growth.
Many long distance couples have vision, appreciation, and maybe even appreciation. They often lack growth from the beginning, and appreciation and connection tend to wane over time.
Don’t be like this with your partner. Insist on making priorities of all four pillars.
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