I’ve been judged more than once for being in a long-distance relationship, hearing things such as,
“It’s not a real relationship.”
“You don’t even know them.”
“That won’t last long.”
On the contrary, we have been together 10 months, and are stronger now than ever before. It is the most real and loving relationship either of us have ever been in, and, in my opinion, something worth fighting for.
I’ll admit it hasn’t always been easy, but what relationship ever is? They all have their own set of challenges, and I believe that, although difficult, being long distance actually has its perks. Some of these include:
- It gives you the opportunity to know if you and your partner are emotionally and mentally compatible before jumping into physical contact (sexual compatibility). Some people stay in bad relationships merely because there is good sex, but that is not so with long distance partners.
- It’s an opportunity to be more romantic (mailing love letters, writing poetry of longing.. )
- The physical moments you do have together are a lot more precious (such as the first time you get to stare into each other’s eyes and hold each other after months of anticipation).
- You get to see if your love lasts the test of distance.
Here are the ways my partner and I have remained satisfied and fulfilled in our long-distance relationship, and how you can do it, too:
Make time for each other
“Out of sight, out of mind,” they say, which is why it’s so important to communicate often and prioritize the relationship by balancing it with your other priorities.
Open communication is very valuable in long-distance relationships to maintain trust and to keep the connection alive.
Of course, life can get chaotic at times, making it impossible to have the opportunity to look at your phone — let alone make a phone call — every morning and night.
Some days, all you’ll have the time for is a quick phone call or two to remind them of how much you love them, and that’s okay. It shows your partner that you are still thinking of them and making time for them despite being busy, which provides reassurance. As long as this isn’t a daily occurrence, it should not affect your relationship negatively.
As wonderful as it would be to talk all day every day, that isn’t a realistic expectation to have (although I do cherish those days very much). But when it is a possibility, there’s nothing more wonderful than starting the day with a mug of coffee and a phone call with my beloved, and nothing more calming than falling asleep on the phone together in the night.
Send Snail Mail
Snail mail is one the best ways you can feel close to your partner; to hold something they once held.
Handwritten letters and homemade / sentimental gifts are great for cheesy romantics like myself, and being long distance makes them all the more special to give and receive.
If you are both willing, send each other mail and small gifts as often as you can. I recently sent my girlfriend a symbolic necklace, which she wears to keep me close to her heart and to remind her of us.
Here are some gift ideas for when you’re stuck:
- ‘Open When’ letters
- A homemade bracelet or necklace
- A homemade knit cap or scarf
- A locket with pictures of you both on either side
- A plane ticket
- flowers from a local florist
- A gift card to their favorite restaurant (or, if you can, send them food directly)
- A perfume or cologne you use so they can know what you smell like (you can even spray it on the letters you send them)
- A painting of them, you, or both of you together, that they can decorate their wall with
- A self-care box with their favorite tea or hot chocolate mix, coloring book, face masks, scented candles, bath bombs..
- Snack food (if you’re in different countries you can include snacks that they can’t get, like Canada’s famous Coffee Crisps).
Send Reminders of Love
(Words of Affirmation ad Receiving Gifts)
When you’re not busy sending physical reminders of love, there’s plenty of ways to do so online:
- Write poetry for and about them
- Make your partner a playlist
- Send romantic images
- Send sexy and intimate pictures
- Compose sweet good morning texts
- Photoshop pictures of the two of you together (me and my girlfriend kissed in front of the Eiffel Tower)
- Record voice memos where you tell them everything you love about them
You can also just send pictures of your daily life, whether it’s grocery shopping or brushing your teeth, to allow your partner feel closer to you; as though they are with you. Couples are not only present for the extraordinary things in life, but also for the mundane things.
Visit Each Other and Plan Your Future Together
If you’re both dead set on staying put, your relationship probably isn’t going to last long term. Ideally, one or both of you will be flexible and willing to (at least consider) moving to be with their partner.
All couples have a time where they sit down and discuss their future together, and long-distance relationships are no exception. Along with “who should move and where should we live?” You can ask questions like:
- Do you want children (or pets) some day? If yes, how many?
- Would you prefer to live in the city, a suburb, or the country? Buy or rent?
- Do you want to have joint or separate bank accounts? How will we handle finances?
- Are you open to marriage counselling if we need it?
- Are you more introverted or extroverted? How often do you like to go out and travel?
- How can we work together to manage conflicts?
- What are your emotional and sexual needs in a relationship? How much “you time” do you need?
- What are your deal breakers?
It’s good to meet a few times before permanently flying across the country — or the world — to be with someone. Frequent visits are very valuable in long-distance (and all) relationships, and are crucial to get to know each other in a physical sense to see how compatible you are (and to see if the person behind the screen is really who they claim to be).
My girlfriend and I are still waiting for Coronavirus to end and for the borders to reopen so we can visit each other. In the meantime, we will be focusing on what we can do to be close (the other options listed) and brainstorming plans for our future.
Have Virtual Dates
These are very important to get to know your partner better, to see their facial expressions, mannerisms, and to get a sense of what they will be like in person.
I was in a long-distance situationship for almost a year, and we never once had a video call, let alone a phone call. I was always craving more, feeling like I only knew a shadow version of her; an image of her I had created in my mind, but she was adamant on avoiding communication apart from texting. It became very unfulfilling after a while.
My girlfriend and I have video calls as often as we can (when her computer isn’t broken), and that’s when I feel closest to her.
Here are some virtual date ideas for you to have if you aren’t in the mood to just sit and chat:
- Binge watch a Netflix series or watch a movie together (me and my girlfriend are watching The Witcher currently).
- Have a dinner or brunch date by making or ordering the same meal and eating together on a video call).
- Go on a walk or nature hike together.
- Pull an all-nighter together (do your nails, freeze your bras, wear cute onesie pyjamas, make friendship bracelets you can later mail to each other.. )
- Have an art date (me and my girlfriend had a Zoom call and drew each other).
- If you have any hobby that you share, whether it be music, art, writing, singing, knitting, or crafting, do it together!
Engage in Sex and Touch Talk
This isn’t necessarily important to everyone, but to most of us, we have sexual needs that are cannot be fulfilled from afar. Phone sex, sexting, and watching porn together are great placeholders to keep you sexually happy until you meet in real life, whether it’s for the first time or again. Sending nudes is risky, however, so it’s good to wait until you have established a strong relationship and can trust them and their character before doing so.
You can also ask each other some spicy questions to get to know each other sexually, such as:
- How much sex do you want in a relationship (how high is your sex drive)?
- What’s your favorite position?
- What is your favorite time to have sex?
- What are your top 3 sexual fantasies?
- (If you’re into BDSM take the test together and discuss your results)
- Are you more dominant or submissive?
- What turns you on?
- Do you like music playing in the background? If so, what genre?
- What toys do you like to use / want to use (if any)?
There’s more to “touch” than sex, though. Tell your partner that you want to hold their hand when you’re on a walk, that you want to cuddle them to sleep and play with their hair, that you want to be near them and warm each other up, that you want to put your hand on their thigh under the table when you’re at a restaurant. These comments go a long way, especially when your partner’s love language is touch (like myself).
(Acts of Service)
This is one of the harder love languages to satisfy long distance, but it is doable. Here are some acts you can perform, even from afar, to show your partner that you are there for them:
- Be available for them when they need emotional support. (Tip: sit with them in their discomfort and pain, don’t try to fix them or the problem).
- If they’re going through a hard time and need to focus on themselves more, send them a care package.
- If they had a long day, send them food so they don’t have to worry about cooking that night.
Long-distance relationships may be lacking in some (physical) areas, but they can still be just as fulfilling if both partners are willing to put the time and effort in.
I am so fortunate to live in a time where the internet exists; where I can connect with people — and find love — anywhere in the world.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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