Long-distance relationships don’t have to suck. Here are 5 ways to keep the romance from a distance.
If given the choice, we’re pretty sure no one would pick to be in a long distance relationship. Some say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but we’re calling bullsh*t on that one: being apart from the person you love is hard. And to make it work — and keep it a healthy, functional and sexual, you have to put in time, commitment and well, get a little creative.
The good news is you’re not alone. Over 14 million couples define themselves as being in long-distance relationships. If you’re a college student, the numbers are even higher: about a third of college relationships are long-distance relationships, and 70% of college students have been in a long-distance relationship at some point.
The other good news is that some studies actually suggest that long-distance couples feel more love for each other than those that are geographically close, and even idealize their partners more. On the other hand, the loneliness factor increases, and satisfaction levels are lower.
Here’s how to make sure you stay connected, regardless of how many miles or oceans separate you.
Keep Your Word
In long distance relationships, building trust is the most important element that will keep you happy as a couple. Because you’re not constantly around each other or even have the option to see one another on a weekly or monthly basis, it’s easy to let your mind wander or worry. However, to keep you both grounded and build the foundation your relationship needs, make concrete plans — even if they’re virtual! — and keep them. You should both be confident that you can rely on each other, even from so far away. By having something consistent — a call after work every day, a Skype sesh at nighttime, or just the agreement that you always text ‘I love you’ before bed — you build the legs your love can stand on.
Keep The Sex Alive
There are only so many dirty photos and text messages you can send before you start to feel burnt out and sexually frustrated. Instead of doing the same message, photo, right hand dance, try something else instead: try phone sex! Hearing each other’s breath, moans and talking to one another while you’re pleasuring yourself will make it feel about as real as it can when you’re not physically together. And when you’re reunited after a long sprint, get in as much intimacy as you can — and not just that gotta-have-you release — but make an effort for some romance, too.
Keep the Learning Process Going
If you’re in a relationship that’s not only long distance but also long term, you probably think you’ve learned just about everything you can about your girl. Think again: because you live apart, there are huge chunks of her days and of her life that you don’t witness. Without sounding like you’re interrogating her, make an effort to always check-in and ask her questions. Even as simple as ‘Why do you love that brunch place so much that you and your friends go to? What do you order?’ will help you feel connected to her everyday things that you usually miss.
Keep the Future In Mind
No, I am not single. I’m in a long distance relationship because my boyfriend lives in the future (-:
— Han Ban (@BagleyHannah) April 7, 2015
Hopefully, your distance isn’t a permanent set-up. While you may be apart because of school, work or other factors and patience is key while you both finish what you need to do for yourselves, it’s important to keep the end goal within view, even if it’s out of reach. If you haven’t already had the discussion of where you both hope to be in a few years, start the process now. By knowing when you might actually live in the same area, it will help get you through the tough times when you just want to see her, hold her and sleep with her already. Military couples will often say that knowing when their partner will return from their tour makes them hopeful because they know what to expect and what to look forward to.
Keep Her Close
Little gestures go a long way, regardless if you do romantic things while living together or while you live across the country from one another. Send her flowers, write hand-written cards or letters (yep, not just email) and surprise her with non-traditional romantic things, too, like her favorite coffee or something for the kitchen that she keeps forgetting. Seeing these items around her apartment or her office will remind her of you and keep you in her mind always. Even if you can’t physically be close, you can feel closer to her by making sure you’re a presence in her life.
This article originally appeared on Ask Men. For more like this from Ask Men, try: