Few of us consciously set out to date someone on the other side of the world from us, because we know how tricky and heartbreaking that could be. But when we fall into a long-distance relationship purely by luck, we tend to get caught in two minds – what do we do?
If this has happened to you, you’re probably in need of some long-distance relationship advice.
Distance Can Work
I’ve seen friends and colleagues cope with long-distance relationships, and I’ve also been there myself. The first piece of long distance relationship advice that I’d like to share with you is that it’s 100% possible for a long-distance relationship to survive.
As long as you are both committed to making it work, and as long as you do the right things, you can enjoy as fruitful and as lasting a relationship as those lucky couples who happen to live two blocks from one another.
Back In The Day
My experience with long-distance relationships goes back to the beginning of the Internet chat room. Sandy, my friend was fresh out of college and feeling lost in life. She was spending most of her time on chat rooms in her bedroom, and although she had no idea that she wanted to get anything out of this other than just fun, she ended up chatting to a guy who lived in Ecuador, a place her parents had never even heard of.
They chatted a LOT and really got to know each other. His name was Miguel and he liked to go topless horseback riding apparently (IDK).
Since she lived in Ireland, you can already see that this was a logistical nightmare. She was surely heading nowhere if she ever got emotionally involved.
Sandy Fell Hard
Which she did! After just two weeks of chatting to Miguel the Topless Horse Rider online, she told me that she couldn’t get him out of her head. They had started emailing and swapped pictures (quite a feat in the old days when pictures took longer to upload than a 3-hour movie does these days!), and they were talking for at least four hours a day.
“But he lives in Ecuador,” I kept saying. “That’s practically another planet, Sandy. In fact, I’m pretty sure it IS another planet!”
Her parents thought it was in another universe.
I could see from the look on her face that this pained her, but I could also see that she was determined to make it work.
She and Miguel did make it work, and the two ended up meeting and marrying.
I learned a few things from my friend’s experience, not least that a long distance relationship can work out, no matter how far apart two people are.
My Own Experience
I needed to use what I learned a few years later when, against my better judgement, I found myself falling in love with a guy I met online.
It happened totally out of the blue.
I’d been watching a live stream on the Internet and I got talking to a man in the chat box at the side of the video. Somehow, over the course of the next few months after lots of direct messages, Skype calls, drunken heart-to-heart talks with my friend, and a wretched series of texts from my loser ex-boyfriend who wanted to take me to a soccer game to show his love for me, we fell in love.
It didn’t matter that we lived so far apart – we were in love and made a pact that we would do our best to make this work.
I think I had it easier than my friend had it in 2002. Back then, Internet connection was still slow. Many of us relied on dial-up, which sometimes didn’t connect.
Today It Is Easier Than Ever
Now, we have instant messaging. We have live video apps, such as Skype. The world is more connected, and people seem more willing to travel to meet people they met first online.
It’s so much easier to build a long-distance relationship, and the stigma that was once attached to it is peeling off.
Indeed, according to statistics, 14,000,000 people are in a long-distance relationship. That’s a lot, and these numbers alone prove that what our parents and grandparents would have deemed impossible is totally possible.
Anything Is Possible
Look, if you want something enough, you’ll have it. If you want your very own Miguel in Ecuador or Helga from Sweden, you can have them.
9 Pieces Of Long Distance Relationship Advice For You
Here is some long-distance relationship advice that has worked for me, and can work for you too!
1. Make Sure You’re Both Committed To Making This Work
A long-distance relationship isn’t going to work if only one of you truly believes it can. If you’re convinced you can make something out of this, while they’re hesitating and saying “we can see what happens” in a half-convinced tone, it just isn’t going to work.
You have to treat a long-distance relationship exactly like you would any other relationship. It has to be worked at. It doesn’t come gift wrapped with a cute note attached. It comes as a jigsaw puzzle, and it takes the two of you to piece it together.
Be All In
Belief is super important here. I’m a firm believer in the remarkable power of belief. If you believe you can do something, you really will do it.
This piece of long distance relationship advice applies to all relationships, not just for those far away.
Make sure you are both committed to this and know deep in your hearts that you want it enough and are prepared to do whatever it takes to make this a success. Then, you can move on to the next tips.
2. Play Games
Playing online games together is something that was a bit tricky to do back in 2002. My friend says that she and Miguel tried to play Solitaire together online, but that Miguel would always mysteriously lose his Internet connection whenever she was winning. Hmm!
Today, a great way to stay close to your partner who lives in a different country is by playing online games with them.
Types Of Games To Play
There are plenty of games to choose from, including Battleship, Scrabble, Uno and chess, while you could also take a few quizzes together and see how you do.
I think this is great long distance relationship advice, because games are a fab way of having fun together despite the distance. My partner and I would spend countless hours falling asleep together while playing games, and it’s a great way of passing the time.
Top tip – manipulate time zones so that you play them when they’re tired. It’s a great way to score victory! 🙂
Go On Video!
To bring up my own personal experience, my partner and I were just chatting when we realized we were falling in love with each other. We hadn’t video called at this point, yet we still felt a deep and tremendous connection.
When we did eventually video call, things got even better. All of a sudden, he was fully human. I could see him, listen to him. I could wave to him, smile at him and watch him reciprocate.
It might sound crazy when you consider that I have lived with humans for twenty-seven years, but Skyping my man from a few thousand miles away was an incredible experience that I’ve never had before.
Video Cements Your Connection
It brought us much closer together and started to convince me that we could actually make this work. I’m not saying that a video call is just as good as them being next to you actually in the flesh, but it’s a very good second. All of a sudden, you can hear them breathe, watch them break out into laughter, and even blow them a kiss. Suddenly, you don’t feel so far away from them.
How Often Should You Do It?
You can Skype your partner as much or as little as you want. My long distance relationship advice is video calling three to four times a week, as it will help you retain a closeness that you need more than ever in a long-distance relationship.
It’s also something you can look forward to and, at times, you really will feel as though you’re hanging out together.
Also, do stuff you normally would at home while on video. Cook, fold your clothes, make coffee. Why not? You could even watch movies together. It’ll go a long way toward strengthening the bond.
4. Always Talk To Them About Your Feelings
Long distance relationships, like all relationships, are fraught with ups and downs. There will be ups, but there will also be downs.
There is no long distance relationship advice out there to prevent the downs. Sorry.
And when the downs come around, it will feel like this really sucks. You want them to be lying next you in bed at night. You REALLY want to lay your head on their chest like a doe lays its head on a deer. But you can’t, and it sucks. It sucks, it sucks, it sucks.
I know it does. I’ve been there. Believe me, the sucky parts are SUCKY.
Don’t Keep It Inside
The worst thing you can do during these down moments is to keep your thoughts, feelings and fears bottled up inside.
Instead, you have to let them out. Tell your partner that you’re having a rough time at the moment and miss them.
Don’t worry that they might get annoyed and suggest that you call it quits. Keeping your feelings locked up inside is a heck of a lot worse than talking things out.
5. Do What You Can Do…
… and make sure they do what they can do.
What I mean by this piece of long distance relationship advice is that there will be things you’re really good at in a relationship and things they’re really good at.
For example, maybe you’re the best at leaving your partner lots of loving text messages throughout the day. While they might be really rubbish at texting back, they might be much better at calling first.
Maximize Your Strengths
Maybe you’re good at sending cute things in the mail while they’re better at knowing exactly what you guys should do on Skype tonight.
Whatever your strengths are in any relationship, make sure you use them here. Be at your best, and hopefully they’ll be at their best too.
6. Be Reasonable About When You Communicate
Nothing can interfere in a long distance relationship more than time zones – well, with the exception of naysayers who insist right from the start that this could never work.
Time zones are an issue. Miguel somehow had to struggle through the night to talk to Sandy *there is a 5 hour time distance between the two countries(, and she admitted that it put a strain on things.
It’s important that you discuss healthy communication routines. The last thing you want is for arguments to arise because you’re not “putting in the effort” to talk to them.
Schedule your chats and calls. Be aware of each other’s time zones and lives away from the computer and this relationship. Have some sensitivity.
Neither of you is going to be available on tap, so it’s important that you reduce anxiety by talking about when it’s a good time to chat and when it’s not a good time to chat.
Keep Yourself In Check
It’s really easy to forgo all other aspects of your life because you want to talk to them so much, but eventually this can take its toll, especially if you find yourself playing online Scrabble until 4am even though you have to be on the train to work at 6am!
7. Make Sure You Both Have Virtual Space
It says they’re online, but they’re not replying to you. What could this mean?
The problem with long distance relationships is that everything happens online. This can cause frustrations when you know they’re active online but not replying to you. What are they up to? Why aren’t they replying? Are they ghosting you? Talking to someone else?
Are They Bored With You?
Before you let your imagination run away with you, it’s important to remember that, just as you and your ex-partners did separate things in real life, so you and your long-distance partner will do separate things online.
This really is an invaluable piece of long distance relationship advice. Respect the fact that you are not their only concern online. You’re a big concern, but not their only one.
Similarly, it would be very unhealthy if you put them at the center of your online universe. Make sure you carry on as you were doing.
It could turn this relationship into an obsession, which may turn out to be its undoing.
8. Treat It As A Normal Relationship
Of course, there are differences between a long distance relationship and a “normal” one, but it’s important that you largely treat it as though it’s the same. That’s probably one of my biggest pieces of long distance relationship advice.
What I mean by this is that you should always find new things to talk about. There will be lulls in your conversation, but this happens in all relationships. Don’t get frightened by it. Just come up with new topics and avenues.
Also, you shouldn’t shy away from asking the tough questions. They might live in another country, but you can still ask them the type of uncomfortable questions that you would ask any other partner.
You should be able to talk about everything.
9. Realize How Much They Mean To You
Some people just enjoy the attention they get from people online. It’s a lot different from the attention we get in real life.
So how do we know we really like this person online, or if we’re just enjoying the attention during a somewhat lonely or disillusioned period in our life?
Hot To Know What’s Right
It’s not always easy to make the distinction. But a rule of thumb when it comes to long distance relationship advice is to learn how to live without them for a while.
How does it make you feel?
Do you feel as though you need them?
Or do you feel as though you want them?
Often, it’s when we want someone that we know we’re actually falling in love.
When you need someone online, it usually means there is a hole in your life that is being conveniently filled by someone who you can just switch on and off whenever you want.
If things are going badly in real life, you can turn to your online friend/partner for some company. When things are going well in the real world, you suddenly don’t need them.
But when you want someone – because you love them – you want them no matter what’s happening in other areas of your life.
Hopefully you found my long distance relationship advice helpful. Good luck!
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