The No. 1 Way to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work
If you do this one thing well, your long-distance relationship is bound to be successful.
Long-distance relationships pose a unique kind of challenge. Especially during quarantine, a lot of couples who were once living near each other had to shift to long-distance and quickly figure out how to make it work overnight. Of course, fostering a strong long-distance relationship requires the same things any healthy relationship does, but it also requires a bit more attention and care to keep the spark alive from afar. According to experts, the number one way to make a long-distance relationship work is setting aside designated times to talk.
Since communication is the main way you can demonstrate your affection while you're not physically together, it's important for long-distance couples to be intentional about it. "Communication is the deepest way to connect with your partner when you're not able to be together," says founder and director of Manhattan Wellness, Jennifer Teplin, LCSW. "Communication enables you to feel like you're experiencing daily life together, it enables you to share your commitment and emotions as well as enables you to support your partner from afar."
To optimize communication, Teplin suggests that long-distance couples "be available at agreed upon times to ensure that hours or days don't pass without connection." To keep things fresh, "get creative about how you communicate—using only one form (AKA texting) can get old quickly," says Teplin.
She also advises people to ask for what they need from their partner and not feel bad about it. You should also ask your partner about their communication preferences and try to find a compromise that works for both of you.
"A healthy amount of communication is important to keep any relationship going, and when you're miles apart from touching each other, relying on your conversations may be all you have," says Patricia Celan, MD. "One of the biggest reasons long-distance couples break up is that they grow apart and start living separate lives. Keeping in touch with your partner and prioritizing ongoing communication is key to making sure you stay significant in each other's lives."
Celan says that communication can be as simple as "sending photos and updates about the small things you're experiencing, confiding in each other when you need support, or reminding each other how much the relationship means to you."
If you communicate well, you may even find yourself happier with your relationship than your friends who live around the block from or even with their significant other. A 2012 study published in the journal Family Process found that long-distance couples are more satisfied with various aspects of their relationship. "Individuals in long‐distance relationships generally reported higher levels of relationship quality on a number of relationship quality variables, as well as higher levels of dedication to their relationships and lower levels of feeling trapped (i.e., felt constraint)," the study reads.
The truth is, successful long-distance couples understand the limitations they have, so they value the time they get with one another, which in turn strengthens their bond.
And to see what healthy relationships tend to have in common, check out The No. 1 Thing That Makes a Relationship Successful, New Study Shows.