Falling in love (in this case with a person, not a place) and making a long-distance relationship work can be one of the many wonderful side effects of traveling and studying abroad. But once you get home, it can be difficult to keep physical distance from turning into the emotional distance. The good news is that you won’t have to wax so much or clean your house every little bit, but you will need to work hard and have determination and optimism to turn that temporary distance into a permanent love story.
However, nothing is impossible, and these tips can help your burgeoning romance, regardless of the miles that separate you. (An expert in great distances tells you, a little effort works very well).
1. FIND THE BEST TIME TO COMMUNICATE (FREQUENTLY)
Although texting and emailing always work, sometimes you need to talk and have a conversation in real-time. Depending on the distance, it may take a while to find the best times to talk, but with practice, you get to perfection and funny voice messages can make up for missed calls and a lack of sync. And no, it doesn’t matter if you can only call on Sunday mornings, the key is to make time for the other person.
2. FIND THE BEST MEANS TO MAINTAIN YOUR RELATIONSHIP AT A DISTANCE
Once you have organized the hours, it is also important to find the right means. Fortunately, it has never been easier or cheaper to be in touch with the world: you usually only need a Wi-Fi connection to talk and send messages on Skype. It has to be a communication tool that the two of you can access easily, and don’t forget that using multiple media will make communication that much more exciting.
3. USE YOUR CREATIVITY
Record an audio message at night, write a letter, send a postcard, or send a food box or song recording. Use your imagination and find new and surprising ways to let your partner know that you are thinking about him or her. This does not mean that you have to clean your bank account: you do not have to hire a plane to write poems in the sky, how about hiding post-its with affectionate notes during your next visit?
4. DON’T AVOID ARGUMENTS IN A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP.
When weeks or months pass before you see each other, or when you, speak different languages, it is easy to ignore problems or concerns. Nobody wants to spend time arguing if they only have 48 hours to be with the other person, but avoiding confrontations and arguments can be harmful in the long run. It’s best to talk about the things that bother you before they become huge obstacles in your relationship. But don’t argue through text messages or email (you have to read too much between the lines), discuss things in person or over the phone as soon as it arises. Having said that…
5. TALK THINGS OVER
Always try to be honest and open about your feelings. Not knowing where your partner is at some point or who they spent Saturday night with can lead you to overthink and have unnecessary fears. The fact that social media makes it easier to see (or imagine) how much fun someone has had doesn’t help much. You must trust each other enough to share your thoughts and feelings and find a way to deal with jealousy, anxiety, or doubts together.
6. SEE THE GLASS HALF FULL
You’re going to live your usual life at the same time as you have a long-distance relationship, and that can be both a blessing and a curse – you may feel like you’re missing things because it’s harder to do what normal couples do, like going to pick up your partner from work or eat together. However, it can also be a great advantage to have time for yourself: if you have to study or work for long hours, you will not disappoint your partner by having to cancel plans for dinner or a movie, for example.
7. DO BORING THINGS TOGETHER
When you only see each other a few times a year, it will always be like a vacation. Well, it will probably be a vacation because it will be when you can miss work or class. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing and sleeping, having a late breakfast, and visiting places, but it’s also good to do boring things, you know, everyday things like doing laundry, running errands, or mowing the lawn. Try to make day-to-day activities fun and exciting when you do them together, it’s the best way to test a relationship, right?
8. KNOW WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN
Depending on the free time and the money it costs, it can be difficult for you to be together. Not knowing when the next time you see each other will be can interfere with your feelings and your life plans. So it’s best to set a date as soon as possible after you get home. That way, the two of you can plan and take advantage of flight deals and promotions, plus you’ll have something to look forward to! (Surprise visits are great too, of course, so do come if you can.)
9. DO THINGS TOGETHER
Desperate situations require creative measures to spend time with your partner: you can do things together even if you are not in the same place. Thanks, video calling features. Today there is no excuse not to share screen time and cook, eat, go shopping or go for a walk with your partner using video chat. Don’t forget that you can also watch the same movie while talking or chatting.
10. WEAR SOMETHING THAT REMINDS YOU OF YOUR PARTNER
There will be some moments when no calls or messages make up for the fact that you are not together. It will help you to wear your favorite shirt or drink from your favorite mug. Those memories may be cheesy, but they work. A sample of your favorite perfume or laundry detergent can make time zones disappear for a moment, don’t be embarrassed to use those methods if you desperately need to feel close to your partner.
11. MEET THE PEOPLE AND VISIT THE SITES.
The more you talk and get to know each other, the more you will mention people or places that the other person does not know. Whenever possible, introduce yourself – with a photo or in-person – to the people you associate with or the places you go to most frequently. In this way, everyday conversations will make much more sense and you will feel more that you are part of your partner’s life, despite the distance.