How to make your long distance relationship work.

Going into my freshman year of college I read countless buzzfeed lists telling me everything that I could ever need to know about college (not). I was told if I wanted to make friends then I had to rush a sorority, that if I wanted to fit in I had to drink, and if I started a long distance relationship with my boyfriend that I would regret it. (Spoiler alert: all were false.)

I didn’t rush and I have made great friends (many of them who are in sororities and love it, but it just wasn’t for me), I don’t drink and no one has cared about that and even if they did then they’re obviously not worth my time, and I am still with my lovely boyfriend and as hard as the long distance relationship has been I don’t regret a single day of it.

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Last summer when that awkward, “So…what are we going to do about this whole being 6 hours apart thing…?” conversation came up I had already thought a lot about it. My philosophy on the ordeal was we might as well try the long distance relationship – the worst that happens is that it didn’t work out. But luckily, it has. With that said, it hasn’t been for a lack of trying on either of our parts. After a year of a successful long distance relationship I thought I could offer some advice for those of you debating whether or not it’s something you’d be able to handle.

Do you want to be in a long distance relationship?

So, that probably seems like a very obvious question, but there is more to it than just can you handle not seeing them very often. There are other things to consider – how often will you be in contact? Are you going to be jealous if they go out? Do you trust them to be faithful? How long will you go between visits?

So you decided to try it?

Good for you! I wish you the best, but there is some work that you’re going to have to put into it if you want for your long distance relationship to work. I promise you though if it’s the right person every second of hard work will be worth it.

Communication.

You absolutely need to make sure that you guys are communicating, and communicating well. When you’re only talking through the phone or computer it’s easy for things to get lost in translation, so make sure you are relaying your emotions clearly so that there is minimal risk of miscommunication. Skype is a great tool for communication when you’re far apart because you’re not only able to hear each other, but you can pick up on visual cues, too.

Calling.

To go along with communication – you guys should be calling each other instead of just texting. Texting isn’t very personal and you may find that it is far more difficult to spark or maintain a meaningful or deep conversation simply over text. Personally, Chris and I call each night but I have friends in long distance relationships who are happy just calling a few times a week. Find a schedule that works for you guys and stick with it.

Together time.

Be invested when you guys are talking. When you don’t get to spend real time with each other and aren’t talking as often it’s important that you don’t take the time you do have for granted. When you’re on the phone or skyping try not to be multitasking, your relationship deserves your undivided attention.

The little things.

When you’re together it’s easy to do nice little things for each other, when you’re 400 miles apart you might have to be a little more creative. I gave Christopher a big box of handwritten notes to take to college with him and read when he needed them. I also recently bought some stamps and envelopes to send him letters, and he’s got a fun surprise coming in the mail to help him with the stress of finals.

Dates.

You can still have romantic date nights from different colleges. Chris and I like to have Jimmy Johns dates, we both order the vito and eat it together on Skype. It’s silly but it’s nice to feel like we are together. For some of our dates I’ve dressed up, and some I keep it casual, but putting in the extra effort like it is a ‘real’ date like we would have when we were together is fun.

Snuggle Buddies.

As cheesy as it may be, this is one of my favorite tips. Chris and I exchanged some of our best night time snuggle items with each other. I gave him my embroidered blanket I got as a senior gift for Cross Country, and in return I got a huge, incredibly lovable, stuffed dog wearing a t-shirt Christopher wore when he played t-ball as a kid.

Have I told you lately…

Remind them how much they mean to you. When you are so far apart, even if they know you love them with all your heart, it’s still a good idea to remind them, because who doesn’t want to hear that they are loved?

Keep them up to date.

You are going to change while you are apart. Maybe you’ll find a new passion, or pick up a new hobby. Perhaps you’ll get interested in a cause or a movement. Whatever changes go on in your life while you guys are apart – fill them in. Being in a long distance relationship is no excuse for them not to be privy to the new and exciting things in your life.

On the flip side of that.

Understand that they may change, too. Don’t expect them to put their life on pause just because you aren’t together. Naturally, your significant other is going to grow and develop, just like you. Be interested in what they have to say and really get excited for the new things happening in their life, even if you can’t be there to experience it with them.

Be understanding.

Sometimes it might take them 30 minutes to text back, or maybe they’ll ask to postpone a phone call. Realize that just like you, they are living in a busy environment and there are a lot of distractions. Maybe they didn’t text back because a friend is telling a story and they don’t want to be rude, or perhaps they can’t call because they are studying for an exam – be ok with that. It’s easy to get wrapped up in yourself and want their undivided attention, but they are living a life outside of you, as well.

Get excited.

Whether the next time you see them will be in 1 month or 1 year – start counting down and getting excited. It feels so great to know that you’ll be seeing them ‘soon’  and it is even better when you can share that excitement.

“Missing someone gets easier every day because even though you get one day further from the last time you saw them, you are one day closer to the next time you will see them…” -unknown

Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? How did you make it work?

The best tips to help you succeed in your long distance relationship.

 

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  • Jenna

    These are great tips! I hope I will never have to be long distance with my relationship, but some of these tips are good even when you live close to each other.

    • Thank you! Long distance is hard, but the couples who are meant to last will make it through, for sure! Thank you for the nice comment, Jenna!

  • Morgan this is my favorite post from you so far, and that is saying a lot because I love all of your posts! My husband and I were in a long distance relationship for almost 3 years before we got married. He is in the military, and was stationed in Connecticut while I was living in Minnesota. Communication was absolutely critical in making sure that we stayed strong. Little gifts and notes were also very important to letting the other person know that you love them and they are always on your mind. 🙂 I am so glad that things are working out for you 🙂

    • So sweet, Megan! 🙂 Three years is such a long time, kudos to you! That is amazing! Just one year has been so hard, you guys must be a perfect couple! Thank you for your super nice comment!

  • Glued To My Crafts

    These are all great tips. I especially love them because with my husband being military – we are separated a lot. It’s tough, but you gotta make due. I’m glad things are working out for you!

    • Thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed it. And bless your husband for what he does, that is so great! I am so happy you stopped by and enjoyed the post, have a lovely day!

  • Allison Raines

    My boyfriend and I have been a long-distance relationship ever since we met — on Twitter! It was crazy when I asked my dad if Chris (our boyfriends have the same name!) could drive 12 hours from Illinois to Virginia, just so we could meet for the first time. That day was April 19, 2013. We’ve been officially dating since February 2013, but we’re so grateful that we’ve been able to spend so much time together in person. We spent our whole first year at college together, which was amazing, and I actually just got back home after spending four weeks at his house in Illinois! I agree with everything you talk about in this post; communication is key in every relationship. We have gone several days without talking on the phone, but then I start feeling empty. We now make it a regular thing to talk on the phone for at least 30 minutes every day. I’m happy to see that you and your boyfriend are making it work, despite the distance. Good luck! And thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Shae Blazier

    This is great! I’m about to move in and my boyfriend and I (who have been an hour apart our entire 2 year relationship) will now be three hours apart. I’ve seen so many posts about dumping the high school boyfriend just because of college and I think it’s absolutely ridiculous! People just need to let others do what they want.

  • Elizabeth Zmaila

    This is so great and reassuring! I’m a freshman at UIUC and my boyfriend goes to University of Iowa. We are just starting our long distance relationship and I am having trouble with the change. I love the tips in this article and will be sure to put them to use 🙂

    • I am so glad that this helped you! It is such a hard adjustment but it can totally be done! Long distance honestly brought my boyfriend and I so much closer, as strange as it sounds!

      And no way, I’m at UIUC, too! If you ever want to meet up shoot me an email! And my hometown is like half an hour away from University of Iowa, it’s a great school, too!

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  • Caroline Herman

    I am actually currently in a long distance relationship. We are coming up on our two year anniversary on April 9 and he lives 6 hours away. I was the one who had to move. We had been together for a year and 4 months when I found out that I was moving and he was the one who convinced me we could stay together and still be happy and make it work. We made a promise to FaceTime every night before we go to bed and he comes to visit me once a month or so.
    I think one key thing is to be planning ahead. Everytime he visits me we use the last day to plan the next visit and what we will do and all of that so we both have something to look forward to. It makes every day that we are apart that much more worth it. We also have plans to move in together around December or next spring sometime. Reading this post really made me feel alot better about the situation though. He just left again on Thursday and I have been a wreck. Everytime he leaves it gets harder but everytime he comes back to see me it is that much more exciting 🙂 Thanks for posting!