In a long-distance relationship, it’s not always easy to feel connected while being physically apart. That said, you can do things to maintain the connection and ways to handle your relationship when feeling fade away.
There are six ways you can stay emotionally connected to your long-distance partner:
- Share your feelings
- Have meaningful conversations
- Play online games
- Send each other gifts
- Visit each other regularly
- Travel together
Emotional connection helps you feel close, even when you are apart. The way you maintain an emotional connection in a long-distance relationship is slightly different from when you are together.
Usually, getting to know another person involves a lot of touching. Physical touch can reassure you that all is well, and it can also tell you if something is wrong. Without physical contact, it’s hard to navigate the state of your relationship.
Once you met your long-distance partner in real life, you know how it feels when you are together. But how do you stay connected without body language and physical contact?
Getting to know someone in a long-distance relationship requires a good level of communication, trust, and understanding. When you are physically apart, emotional connection is easier to maintain than physical intimacy. But to stay emotionally connected, you still have to know how to manage your feelings and physical distance.
Due to the lack of physical intimacy in a long-distance relationship, your connection relies on maintaining emotional intimacy.
With effective communication, you can maintain an emotional connection and bring clarity to your relationship.
A healthy relationship is where you feel comfortable sharing your feelings with your partner and can hear what your partner wants to share.
This, of course, goes both ways. If your partner isn’t interested or doesn’t have the time to hear you out, why would you be in such a relationship?
One key takeaway is the ability to differentiate between expressing your feelings and making a request. All too often, people confuse these two.
Sometimes you feel sad. And you tell your partner: ”I’m feeling out of sorts today”. Now, you may have come across an immediate response that goes something like: “What do you want me to do?”
If all you want is understanding and empathy, you may not have anything to ask from your partner. And all you hear is them skipping the empathy and jumping straight into the action.
The freedom to express yourself for the sake of expression without any specific action is the first step to intimacy. But for the full connection to take place, you also need to have your partner acknowledge your expression and be OK with just being there for you, without necessarily having to do anything else.
2. Have Meaningful Conversations
Meaningful conversations can include your moving in date, planning your future together and others.
Effective communication is essential for a long-distance relationship work to work. It can help you maintain an emotional connection and bring clarity to your relationship. Clear and open communication can help you avoid arguments and bad feelings.
You can improve your communication with your partner following a few simple steps. With practice, you will no longer be afraid to express your feelings and desires.
A significant part of communication is done through body language.
In a long-distance relationship, you don’t have the luxury to observe your partner’s body. So to understand each other, you rely mostly on verbal and written communication.
The clearer you can express yourself through words, the easier it will be for your partner to understand what you mean. A lack of physical touch makes it harder to maintain an emotional connection.
In a regular relationship, you have easy access to your partner on an everyday basis. You get to see each other to talk to each other to maintain emotional intimacy.
Things like excessive communication can be just as destructive to your long-distance relationship as a lack of communication.
Here’s a workbook that is specifically designed to help you with your communication while walking you through different conversation topics
3. Play Online Games
Online games seem like a fun way to spice up your long-distance relationship by doing something together. But it’s much more than that.
Games can stimulate you and your partner in specific ways. For example, chess is more intellectual, slow-paced and allows you the time to be together while still challenging each other. Action games are faster and can be more emotionally stimulating.
The key is to find a variety of games that both of you enjoy and can play together.
There’s something else you can do…
During your visits, play some games together, next to each other. Then, when you are apart, you can play the same games online, and it will trigger the feeling of closeness through association with the same activity you did together.
If you want to spice up your relationship, here’s a guide for you:
4. Send Each Other Gifts
Emotional intimacy is the connection you feel with your long-distance partner. Thanks to the Internet, you can keep in touch with your long-distance partner as much as you want.
You and your long-distance partner can feel emotionally connected through talking, video calling and exchanging gifts.
The challenge in a long-distance relationship is the lack of physical closeness. While in a regular relationship, gifts are fun, they are a necessity in a long-distance relationship.
When you are alone, away from the person you love, anything you can touch that is associated with your partner and reminds you of them, is invaluable.
When it comes to gifts, from this point of view, it’s more about the meaning rather than the monetary value. An example would be a gift you give to your partner while on holidays or when you are having a fantastic time together.
This is known as an anchor. When you give your partner a gift while having an amazing time together, this gift will bring up the same feelings when you are holding the gift, even when you are apart.
I like the idea of gifts as something that helps people feel close, rather than expressing how much money you have with an idea to impress another person. This superficial approach has a momentary effect but doesn’t necessarily serve for a deeper emotional connection.
5. Visit Each Other Regularly
Visit each other as often as you can to maintain physical closeness.
For most couples, having the time and the money to visit each other as often as they’d like is a luxury. Yet, physical intimacy is an essential part of a romantic relationship. So, what are you to do?
You can entertain yourselves for some time with interactive sex toys, games and gifts. But it’s a temporary solution. And unless you find a way towards each other, your relationship will get hard, become a struggle, and bring you pain and suffering.
If you are already in a place where you are trying to survive a long-distance relationship, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Do you really want to spend the time of your life suffering in a dysfunctional relationship and if not, what can you do?
The answer is simple. You can try to find a way to make your long-distance relationship work until you can be together, or you break up and move on.
There’s also an option of an open long-distance relationship, but it’s not for everyone. So visiting your partner in a long-distance relationship frequently is ideal if you can afford it.
The best way to make the most of your visits as well as your time apart is by talking about it with your partner. If you are struggling to connect, this workbook will bring you together by discussing specific topics:
6. Travel Together
Travelling together with your partner is a great way to spend quality time together and explore new places.
Not only do you get to do things that both of you enjoy, but you can also build emotional and physical intimacy and take away beautiful memories.
There’s, of course, the question of time and money. But you can have fun planning your holiday for a few months while saving a bit of money.
Sounds like a fantastic way to spend time, but what if you enjoy different types of holidays. Well, in that case, it’s also an opportunity to test your communication and understanding.
If you want someone as part of your world, they need to be comfortable there.
Some people are open to trying different things, which may be outside their norms and comforts. Others refuse to make a single step past what they know.
So in a way, planning your trip and travelling together is a way for you to get to know each other better. In the end, you will have a better idea of what both of you like and don’t like. And you can decide if you get on well together to create and maintain a serious relationship.
It’ll also give you an idea if this long-distance relationship is worth it, knowing that you’ll get to be with each other for years ahead when the time comes.
The success of your long-distance relationship relies on how well you can stay emotionally connected while being physically apart. The lack of physical intimacy will most definitely test the strength of your relationship.
In a long-distance relationship, you can’t express yourself physically, which leads to sexual frustration. And unless you find a way to express yourself emotionally, your relationship will turn into a struggle.
Once you lose emotional connection, even your visits will feel awkward. And when that happens, it’s near impossible to find your way back to each other.
As your relationship develops, your feelings will change and then change again. While it can be challenging, try to avoid making rash decisions about your relationship. Instead, talk to your partner, express your feelings, take time to hear them out and decide what works for both of you.
How can COUPLES COACHING help you?
1. Subscribe to our Newsletter
Receive Tips & Advice on how you can improve your relationship.
2. Read our Blog
Learn all there is to know about relationships and how to make them work. Here you can find helpful articles for every aspect of your relationship.
3. Buy a Workbook
Check out our selection and choose the most relevant workbook for your relationship.
4. If you help right now…
If you have a burning issue…
If you are facing an important decision…
If you are lost and unsure about your relationship…Book a Coaching Session
Frequently Asked Questions
How to show love in a long-distance relationship?
Gifts and care packages are a fun way to give your partner something tangible, something physical that they can associate with you. One of the most romantic ways to express your love is by sending your partner a handwritten letter telling them how you feel about them and how much they contribute to your life.
Is distance an issue in a relationship?
The distance can be an issue when you don’t have the means to see each other as often as you would like. After a few months, you might find yourself struggling in a long-distance relationship while having sexual frustration that will penetrate other aspects of your life.
How to have an intimate long-distance relationship?
To have an intimate long-distance relationship, you need to have excellent communication, trust and understanding. A lack of physical intimacy will put a strain on your relationship, so you need to be able to express your feelings and needs freely, without the fear of judgement.
Can you fall in love over a long-distance?
Yes, you can fall in love over a long-distance. You can also fall in love with a fairy tale or a romance novel character. When you meet a person online, for example, you create an ideal. Then you weigh everything you learnt about this person against the image of them to see if their characteristics match. If they do, you fall in love and if they don’t you move on. Falling in and out of love is not the same as having a relationship.
How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?
You’ve met someone who lives far away. You have fond feelings towards each other, and now you are in a long-distance relationship. But getting to know someone long-distance can be challenging. So...
Breakups are emotionally difficult. But long-distance relationship breakups are even more challenging because you have to do it online. The biggest challenge of a long-distance relationship...