Staying connected in a relationship can present its challenges when you are in the same town, add hundreds or thousands of miles of distance between you and the love of your life, and you will have your own set of challenges.
First and foremost, many couples have had to be long-distance at some point in their relationship. And not only do they survive, but they frequently thrive! In fact, due to the unique set of challenges that presents itself in a long-distance relationship (LDR), couples can come out on the other side with a stronger foundation and a deeper emotional connection than those couples who have not experienced physical distance.
LDR couples learn how to stay connected through understanding each other’s love language and maintaining a solid emotional bond during their period of physical separation.
Being apart physically shouldn’t be a barrier to the success of your relationship. Deciding early on in your long-distance relationship to commit to each other and your individual needs and expectations will help ease any feelings of loneliness or lack of emotional intimacy.
Suffice it to say, staying connected is the cornerstone of the success of an LDR. Our team at Lovebox has researched the top 12 ways for you to stay connected and overcome the physical barrier in your relationship not just by surviving but thriving
1. Keep in Mind the Reason Why You’re in a Long-Distance Relationship
Constantly reminding yourself there’s an important reason there are many miles between you two right now will help you stay focused. By respecting the fact that your feelings of impatience will one day be a distant memory when you and your partner will be together in the end.
Maybe one of you is in medical school or is on a military deployment. Perhaps you have an aging parent or grandparent you need to stay close by to help. Whatever the reason you are apart if you both consider the why behind the distance you will end the race stronger and emotionally bonded.
2. Make It a Priority To Talk Every Day, Even if You Don’t Feel Like You Have Much To Say
Sometimes it may feel like you don’t have much to say to your long-distance partner. It’s easy to think you don’t need to call each other every day because there’s nothing new at work or in your personal life or maybe you are both too tired to talk. And some couples don’t feel the need to speak as much as others.
That’s okay! Usually, though, it’s essential to touch base at least once a day. Even if it’s a quick text to encourage your partner on a presentation they’re giving that day or just to say hello. Emotionally connecting goes a long way in increasing satisfaction and cohesion in a long-distance relationship.
3. Discuss Any Conflicts or Misunderstandings Immediately
All couples have conflicts or misunderstandings at some point in their relationship and must find ways to resolve their struggles and problems. However, it's easy for couples not in the same physical location to let these topics slip by or slide them under the rug. That’s because it can be uncomfortable to talk about sensitive issues over the phone or FaceTime.
But it’s vital you both take the time and effort to give each other the safe space needed to talk. You don’t want minor issues to turn into more significant problems that will one day be harder to discuss.
Talk now, and you'll reap the benefits in the long run. Give each other all the time they need to get comfortable sharing what is on their heart and mind. You and your partner will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulder and will feel more emotionally connected.
Insecurities, jealousy, and other tricky issues can worsen if they're left to fester. Although sharing negative feelings may be difficult, doing so in healthy ways is an overwhelmingly positive thing when making a long-distance relationship work.
If you do have these hard conversations, try to do so over a video chat so you can read each other's body language and facial expressions. This is so important when setting a mood and finding an understanding.
4. Plan Surprise Visits To See Each Other
Physical intimacy is important, especially for long-distance couples. A hug just can't be replicated over video chat, no matter how committed you are to spending time online with your spouse.
Planned vacations are a great time to spend quality time together, but there’s nothing better than knowing the person you love traveled a long distance to surprise you and spend time with you. Not only do surprise visits keep the spark alive in your relationship, but it’s also a great way to connect and stay updated on each other’s lives and activities. It could be for a birthday, anniversary, family event, or a random weekend that you can get away. You will both love every minute of your visit!
Tip: Make sure you double-check what your partner has going on during your visit before scheduling it. If they have a presentation at work, they need to prepare for it, or one of their family members may have surgery scheduled.
You don’t want them to feel like they cannot spend time with you if they have prior commitments. You both want to have a relaxing, romantic time where you can spend time together and enjoy each other’s company.
5. Support Each Other During Difficult Times
Supporting your long-distance partner during difficult times requires intentionality and patience. Intentionally responding to the need for you to be there for your partner shows them you will be there in times of need regardless of the ocean between you. It's not just about showing up during those milestones and special days, but being there when they need you across different time zones and separate daily lives.
The bottom line is: will you make your partner your priority?
Whether they have an important appointment with your therapist or news regarding a promotion at work, whatever it is, demonstrate through calls and texts throughout the day that they are on your mind. Schedule your day around their needs during trying times to show them support and love. Through acts of selflessness and other acts of approval, you will both feel an emotional bond and a more profound relational satisfaction.
6. Hide Love Notes in Each Other’s Apartments When You Visit
Snail mail isn't the only way to send love notes anymore. It’s always a wonderful surprise to find random love letters from your partner! When you visit each other, make it a habit to leave each other surprise love notes for after you’re gone. It could be something as simple as leaving a post-it on their bathroom mirror or a printed playlist on the kitchen counter. It’s such a sweet surprise to find an expression of love from your partner.
If you want to up your love note game, a great way to leave your partner a love note is with our Lovebox for Lovers. Our connected messaging device pairs with a free app beyond handwritten love notes and delivers sweet messages of affection, pictures, stickers, and postcards. Schedule your message for them to have something to open after you leave.
When you send it to them, the little heart will spin, letting them know you sent a love note. Then, after reading your message, they can spin the heart to send you a waterfall of hearts on your app. It’s a cute way to let your partner know how loved they are and how much you cherish them.
7. Start a Gratitude Journal Together
Even though there are physical barriers from being geographically separated and probably a few moments of frustration from time to time, there are still many positive aspects of a long-distance relationship that you can dwell on. First, start a journal of everything you are thankful for during your season of long-distance. Then, send it back and forth to each other, continually adding to your gratitude list.
It could be something as simple as being thankful to have this time apart, so you’ll appreciate the time you have together. For example, if you are a part of one of you to be in school, you could say you are thankful for this time to learn and grow in your professional field to be successful one day.
8. Learn Each Other’s Love Language
Knowing and appreciating each other’s love language is a fantastic way to connect with your long-distance partner! There’s no better way to express your love and plan your time together than in the way that your partner feels the most cherished.
There are five love languages including:
- Acts of service: Love is seen through actions instead of words.
- Receiving gifts: A gift doesn’t have to be expensive, just something that shows you love them.
- Quality time: Be sure to spend a set amount of distraction-free time on FaceTime or Skype and listen intently to your partner.
- Words of affirmation: Affirming messages such as encouraging texts, letters, or Lovebox messages.
Physical touch: Anything physical such as holding hands, cuddling, or even back rubs.
Learning more about each other’s love language helps you connect and bond with each other on a deeper emotional level. It may seem like a challenge now to find ways over long-distance to give and receive love based on love language. Fortunately, with modern technology and a little creativity, you can love your partner in the way they prefer to be loved.
For example, if your partner’s love language is acts of service to you and you know they’ve had a long day at the office, you could order their favorite food through DoorDash and have it delivered as soon as they get home from work. If their love language is quality time, then schedule an uninterrupted FaceTime to talk about it lately. And make sure not to look at your phone or get distracted while you’re with them.
9. Find Ways To Enjoy Your Favorite Activities at the Same Time, Virtually
Long-distance does make togetherness feel somewhat challenging. However, there are now endless ways to enjoy your favorite activities together, thanks to modern technology! If you’re a gaming couple, there’s plenty of options to enjoy from any part of the world. If you both enjoy cooking, you can FaceTime while cooking the same dish, then Netflix “party” the same movie or T.V. show.
You can also start reading the same audiobook and then discuss each chapter after you read it. Finding activities you can do together will make a world of difference to the overall satisfaction and connection you feel in an LDR.
It’s essential to find ways to hang out simultaneously to maintain a feeling of closeness with your partner even while you are miles apart. Thanks to our virtual world, anything is possible!
10. Constantly Find New Ways To Say I Love You
Couples in long-distance relationships find it easy to get into relationship habits without realizing it. A great way to stay connected with your long-distance partner is to find new ways to say how much you love and care about them.
If you always call, maybe change it up by handwriting a letter and mailing it to them. If you always text goodnight to each other, switch it up by FaceTiming or calling one night so you can hear each other’s voice.
11. Start a New Project Together
As essential as daily texts and calls are when you’re in a relationship where you don’t get to see each other every day, it’s always fun to start new projects you and your partner can work on together during long-distance.
For example, start a blog about travel if you both love to write and travel together. Are you foodies? Start an Instagram account for you to post pictures and reviews of new restaurants you both try as you travel.
Take pictures and write reviews of your current city’s best restaurants, bars, or coffee shops. You will enjoy reading about the incredible food each of you tries and following the other’s adventures as you expand your culinary palette.
12. Have a Written Plan for the Next Step in Your Relationship
Anyone who’s been in a long-distance relationship, whether for a couple of months or a couple of years, knows what keeps you going is the hope of eventually being together. Every long-distance couple’s plan is unique. There is no right or wrong step to take.
You both know each other and the needs of your relationship better than anyone! So do what is best for you both. Consequently, there needs to be some form of a plan (in writing), so you both have the hope that one day you won’t be apart from each other. Knowing a light at the end of a tunnel will help keep you both positive and hopeful that your time apart is just a fleeting season.
In short, staying connected with your partner will help your long-distance relationship not just survive but thrive. Due to long-distance relationships’ own set of unique challenges, couples who experience times of physical distance usually have a deeper emotional connection and a stronger foundation.
Therefore, by finding the best way to connect and emotionally bond with your long-distance partner, you are sure to make the time you are apart from each other feel like a distant memory when you are finally together.