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Ideas to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work

by Stacey Elkins, studioD

Relationships are hard enough without adding distance between you and your significant other. However, long-distance arrangements can work if you are both committed to making the relationship healthy and happy. Communication, quality time together, making future plans and maintaining your own personal life are key to having a healthy long-distance relationship.

Regular Communication

Make time to connect with each other regularly. You can make "dates" to talk on the phone, Skype or FaceTime. The latter two, along with other types of video chatting technology, make it possible for you two to speak face-to-face, even across a great distance. You can also email or send text messages. Communicate honestly and openly with each other. The satisfaction with the relationship is likely to be higher if both people are able to openly share their feelings, according to the Santa Clara University Wellness Center in "How to Survive a Long Distance Relationship."

Spend Time Together

Spending time with your significant other and sharing meaningful life experiences will help your relationship to grow, according to the article "Long Distance Relationships: Connecting from Afar" on TwoofUs.org, a website of the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. Make seeing your partner a priority. Due to both budget and time constraints of long-distance dating, you and your significant other need to discuss an agreeable frequency of visits, says Andy Merolla, Ph.D., associate professor of communication studies at Baldwin Wallace University, in his article "Four Tips for Navigating Long-Distance Relationships" on the website Science of Relationships. Discuss if you will be taking turns visiting each other, meeting half way or playing it by ear based on your schedules. Be prepared to be flexible. Some months may be busier than others and your schedules may not always allow for as many visits as you would prefer.

Future Plans

Dating long-distance indefinitely creates more stress and insecurity in a relationship, according to TwoofUs.org. Discuss your expectations for the relationship and what you need from it. Discuss how long you plan to date from a distance. The circumstances of the situation will likely play a role in this decision. For example, are you dating long-distance due to school or military obligations, or did you meet online? If you have always dated each other long-distance, is one of you willing to move in the future to be together?

Maintain Your Own Life

Recognize that you both have a life outside of each other and your relationship. Don't spend all your time waiting to hear from your significant other. Continue to have your own social life. Spend time with your friends and focus on your interests. Having your own life can help keep you from feeling the loneliness of long-distance dating and will give you more to talk about with your significant other, according to GoodTherapy.org correspondent Zawn Villines in the article "Are Long-Distance Relationships Happier?"

About the Author

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.

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