How to Navigate a Long-Distance Relationship

How to Navigate a Long-Distance Relationship

To successfully navigate your long-distance relationship, you should know what it is, what it’s not, and how it works.

Here are three things you can do that will help you successfully navigate through your long-distance relationship:

  1. First thing is to understand that a long-distance relationship is different from a regular one so that you can adapt to it.
  2. Second, you should reflect on your own goals and your relationship goals to see where you are in your long-distance relationship, and where do you see it going.
  3. Finally, knowing common problems will help you prevent them and fix them when the time comes.

Previously, we’ve had a look at the stages couples go through in a long-distance relationship. Today, we’ll explore how to navigate through them in more detail.

1. What is a long-distance relationship

To navigate a long-distance relationship, first, let’s get clear on what a long-distance relationship is and what it is not. A long-distance relationship is a romantic relationship, where couples are temporarily separated by a long-distance. The two main aspects of this are the separation, which leaves you physically alone, and the fact that it is temporary.

Long-distance relationships and meant to last a long time. And when couples try to make them last as long as possible, they can bring a lot of suffering and struggle into a relationship. This doesn’t contribute to any of the partners nor the relationship as a whole.

Romantic relationships imply having physical intimacy. Not having that, like in the case with long-distance relationships, can be frustrating. The reason it is frustrating is that you expect this physical intimacy to be part of your romantic relationship, so you feel disappointed when it’s not.

So, do long-distance relationships ever work?

And yes, they do. Long-distance relationships are great when you are getting to know someone you’ve met online. They also work very well for existing couples who have to be apart because of study or relocation.

They don’t work if they last longer than a few months. And while couples can remain together, sometimes even for years, it doesn’t mean that their relationship is healthy. In truth, a healthy relationship can last as long as it satisfies each partner’s need for intimacy.

Some people need physical closeness to reassure them that they are in a loving and happy relationship. For others, it’s not that important to have somebody nearby to know that they are together. What matters is that both partners in a couple have similar needs or that at least they are aware of each other’s needs.

If you’re in a long-distance relationship, you need an understanding instead of compromising. If you know how often you should be together to be happy, you can make a plan to make that happen.

If you are not in a position to see each other more often, then regardless of your reasons, one of you or both of you can start compromising. And that doesn’t end well. For a short while, you can compromise a little bit, but long-term it just doesn’t work.

So to navigate your long-distance relationship you need a plan for how long your long-distance relationship will last and how often you will visit each other in the meantime.

To make a plan just have a conversation and talk about it openly and honestly. Don’t try to fit Your desires to the circumstances. Instead, understand your feelings, and together, try to find a solution that works for both of you.

As you can see, to navigate your long-distance relationship, you should adapt to how the distance affects different aspects of your relationship.

2. Common problems while navigating a long-distance relationship

Couples in long-distance relationships tend to blame the distance for all that is wrong with their relationship. But it’s important to differentiate between the problems that result from the way distance affect your relationship and the problems between partners. If you have a healthy and strong relationship as a couple you will be better able to adapt to a long-distance relationship.

However, if your relationship is shaky, to begin with, the distance will accentuate the problems which could have been ignored otherwise.

Communication is the key to recognising problems and fixing them when they arise. Being able to express your feelings and listen to the feelings of your partner can make or break your long-distance relationship. For example, if you have doubts or insecurities, you should talk about them and discuss them with your partner. 

In the long-distance relationship if you don’t say something it goes unnoticed. As opposed to a regular relationship, where the change in your behaviour can signal to your partner that something is off.

So good practice is to express as much as you can and want to make sure that important things are recognised and addressed by both of you.

If you don’t have clear and effective communication, doubts and insecurities can quickly grow in jealousy and distrust. In a long-distance relationship, you have a lot of time to yourself. This means you spend a lot of time going through your thoughts over and over. When you spend a lot of time thinking something, real or not, It will become real for you and will become a part of your life.

3. What is your current stage of a long-distance relationship

You can use effective communication at any stage of your relationship. If you are starting your long-distance relationship you can talk about things like what do you want your relationship to be, do you want to be romantic partners of friends, how fun do you want to visit each other, do you see yourselves living together at some point?

If you are already in a long-distance relationship with an existing partner then you could reflect on how well you are getting on. Is your long-distance relationship with this person as you have expected. Maybe things are getting better maybe they are not going so well.

It’s important to honestly reflect on your experience of this long-distance relationship. And also try to understand your partner’s experience as well. It’s not until you find this understanding that you can find the way forward that works for both of you.

Once you’ve reflected on yourself and talked about your relationship with your partner you can make a plan. Here several avenues are open for you. If your long-distance relationship is working then great. You could arrange reflection sessions with your partner, say once a week, to make sure you’re on track.

If something isn’t working in your long-distance relationship, maybe you could visit each other more often. It can even be the case of you having an open relationship. And if all else fails, you can break up temporarily or permanently.

Whatever the future holds for you, try to avoid making decisions unilaterally and then informing your partner afterward. As long as you are in a relationship, you should discuss things together and make your decisions together. This will minimise the amount of pain that comes with ending a long-distance relationship, which can be. Whatever the future holds for you try to avoid making decisions unilaterally and then informing your partner afterward.

As long as you are in the relationship you should discuss things together and make your decisions together. This will minimise the amount of pain that comes with ending a long-distance relationship. It isn’t an easy way to break up a long-distance relationship. Your options are to do it online or during one of the visits. Neither of these options is comfortable. Breaks ups are generally difficult, but long-distance relationship breakups are even more so.


Effective communication can help you navigate a long-distance relationship.

Another thing you need to adapt to a long-distance relationship is communication. A big chunk of our communication happens through body language. But that’s only possible when you have another person in front of you. In a long-distance relationship, your means of communication are texting phone calls and video calls.

And while you can still see a person, mostly their face, all the subtle signals from the body language are missing. You don’t get a certain feeling to navigate through conversation as you would when you are talking to someone face-to-face.

Do you understand another person you need all the information you can get about their feelings and intentions? When you don’t get as much information, it opens doors to misunderstandings. These misunderstandings are hard to fix. If it was easy, they wouldn’t come round in the first place.

To successfully navigate your relationship, make a plan with a timeline, and check that you are on track on specific dates.

We’ll have a quick look at how you can navigate through different stages of a long-distance relationship in a different article.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to navigate an open relationship long-distance?

To navigate an open long-distance relationship, try to keep on top of your feelings. If you are ok with it, great. But if your feelings change, don’t pretend that you are happy with the way things are. Stay true to yourself and respect your feelings and the feelings of your partner. Learn more

Alex Larryngton

Hi, I’m Alex:) As a Relationship Coach, I am someone you come to when you feel stuck in a relationship and want to find a way out.

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