How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work

Keen Category: Love Advice

Illustrated map of the United States, with a heart in San Francisco and a heart in New York City connected with a dotted line

A relationship is tough enough when you see your partner everyday. Imagine if you were separated by hundreds (or thousands) of miles. How hard would it be? What pressure would the distance put on the two of you? What temptations would be lurking that never befall a couple that is already living together?

The biggest advantage to a long-distance relationship is that you have a lot of time to yourself. If you are an especially busy person with a career or are pursuing a serious avocation that requires a lot of time alone, such as composing or making art, a long-distance relationship may be ideal. If you need a lot of attention or crave physical intimacy on a daily basis, a long-distance relationship is likely something that you can handle only for a short duration. Most people fall somewhere in between, but with foresight, structure and communication, a long-distance relationship may be manageable for a while and optimum for your lifestyle as it exists now.

Here are some tips from couples just like you who survived and thrived in their long-distance relationships.

John and Cindy: Be Clear and Honest About Goals

She lived in Boston, he had gone to school there, but was now a lobbyist in DC. They met at a friend's wedding on Cape Cod and got a little too frisky a little too fast and fell in love over a long weekend. When a business trip took him to Boston two weeks later, they spent a month in pure bliss.

When he went back home, she worked up the courage to confront him. Was this relationship between them just for pleasure and would they be dating others or was the goal to eventually get serious and work toward the marriage and family that Cindy envisioned for her future?

Cindy was able to get clarification of John's goals for the future and an affirmation that the relationship meant more to him than just an airplane-assisted booty call.

Additional Hint: Coordinating extended vacations. Planning can maximize your together time, as scheduling vacations months ahead can give you something to look forward to and to plan as a couple. Of course, you will have to discover a little bit more about each other: Do you like hiking in the hills or gambling in the casino? Cruising the Caribbean or road-tripping the minor league ballparks?

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Reginald and Monique: Frequent Visits and Not Always From One Side

Reginald and Monique lived in Atlanta and had been dating three months when Monique got a promotion to her law firm's office in New Orleans. Reggie had a good job with growth opportunity that he did not want to jeopardize, but he didn't want to lose Monique. The couple realized there would have to be frequent visits. Monique got her hours solidified as Monday through Thursday, which allowed her to travel to see Reggie on weekends. But two had to play at this game. Monique made it clear that Reggie would have to come to her town as often as she came to his. They both realized that despite the travel, their appreciation of their weekends together actually made them closer to each other than they had been when they lived three miles apart.

Additional Hint: Daily contact. Reggie switched his phone and internet plan in order to make sure he and Monique had open lines of communication at all times. It has never been easier or more affordable to keep in touch over long-distances.

Helen and Eugene: Clarifying What Monogamy Means

When Helen and Eugene finished school, each took jobs in different cities and vowed to stay together. Helen worked in Cleveland while Eugene got a prestigious position in New York City. Their careers were demanding and they could only see each other two or three weekends a month. But love came quite easy to them because they had already tackled one of the biggest issues that plague long-distance relationships: the limits of interacting with the opposite sex. Helen and Eugene had made sure to clarify to each other that monogamy was central to the relationship and that since even dinner out with an available person of the opposite sex could lead to a mental barrier being removed, that it was best to have strict standards of behavior while apart. Both of them have been shocked to find how easy it is to adhere to this code of behavior. Having fewer choices actually makes life easier for the both of them.

Additional Hint: Helene makes sure to have a "reality check" with Eugene every month or so. She makes sure to clearly ask him if he is still up for the partnership despite the obstacles.

David and Rebecca: If You're Supposed to Be Together Forever, How Long Should You Be Separated?

David and Rebecca had been dating for a year and a half and had talked about moving in with each other when David got a dream job offer: to assist on a movie shoot for four months. He left cozy Portland for Southern California with the knowledge that he would be back in four months. Rebecca was comforted in knowing that he was coming back soon and it made the lonely nights go a little faster. Some delays in shooting led to the production running a month and a half late. David made sure to fly her down in order to be clear that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. His care and consideration about maintaining communication about the end of the separation was what made her hang in there for the final few weeks.

Additional Hint: Clarify why you are apart. David knew he had to explain in each conversation with Rebecca that he was following his dream and that he intended to take her with him. The mantra helped to soothe her, but it also made him accountable to the bar he set for himself.

Joyce and Abel: Integrating Each Other Now for the Future

Joyce traveled for work much of the time, but had never left her childhood city of Houston. She is a part of her community and has an extended family throughout east Texas. Abel has lived in Denver for ten years and loves it. He travels for work all the time – that is how he met Joyce, as they both work booths at major conventions. Their on-the-road romance took off and they started spending their downtime at each other's houses. One thing Joyce insisted on before taking the relationship further was to make each other an integrated member of their lives. She wanted to meet Abel's friends and eat with him at the restaurants he liked to go to with coworkers and buddies, just as she wanted to reassure him of her commitment by taking him to a family reunion barbecue. You cannot switch your life off for your long-distance lover. Make sure that you and your partner are parts of your complete life; it strengthens the bond and commitment between you two and you both get to meet some pretty cool people.

Additional Hint: Joyce's religious commitments made December a very important month. The holidays are more important to some people than others – be clear about your holiday priorities with your long-distance lover way before the actual time period is upon you two.

Are you in a long-distance relationship, or are considering one? While these couples have been able to make it work for their specific situations, every situation is different. If you're looking for advice about your specific long-distance relationship, consider giving a psychic a call. They will be able to not only give you an impartial viewpoint your friends and family can't, they can leverage their intuitive gifts to give you that additional insight.

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