How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work


How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work

When you know how to make a long-distance relationship work the right way, you can make it fun and exciting. If you don’t know how to handle your long-distance relationship properly, it can bring you a lot of suffering. Here is how you can make your long-distance relationship work:

  1. Recognise a long-distance relationship for what it is, not for what you want it to be.
  2. Decide what kind of relationship you want.
  3. Agree with your partner that you want the same thing out of this relationship.
  4. Make a timeline to keep track of your relationship goals. 
  5. Work on your communication to maintain an emotional connection and to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.
  6. Schedule regular visits to maintain physical intimacy while you are in a long-distance relationship.
  7. Make a plan on how long your long-distance relationship will last and how you will manage it until moving in together.
  8. If you are in a serious romantic long-distance relationship, agree on how and when you will move in together.
  9. Set an end date for the long-distance.
  10. Discuss how living together after a long-distance relationship will work for you and your partner.
  11. Prepare a strategy to handle the problems so that you can avoid unnecessary fights and arguments.
  12. Maintain trust by sharing your feelings openly and honestly with your long-distance partner.
  13. Take time to hear your partners feelings, doubts, and concerns without judging them.
  14. Always make your decisions together. If your feelings change, or you drift apart, discuss your feelings and desires before making any unilateral decisions.
  15. If you need some space to reassess your long-distance relationship, agree on having a week without talking or seeing each other.
  16. If your long-distance relationship doesn’t work, you can end it without negative feelings or arguments.
  17. Discuss what’s not working with your partner, and if you choose to end your long-distance relationship, you can still be friends and be in touch.
  18. Always try to find a way that works for both you and your partner.

Couples in long-distance relationships try to figure out how to make their relationship work. 

Many couples see their long-distance relationship as an inconvenience. When you see it this way, it will quickly become a struggle. When your long-distance relationship becomes a struggle, it will become progressively harder to maintain.

A long-distance relationship is an opportunity to be intimate with someone special while having a lot of time to spend on doing things you enjoy. You can also use this extra time for yourself, to work on your life goals and ambitions.

In this article, we’ll see how to ask the right questions and what you can do to make your long-distance relationship work. We’ll explore the problems that the distance brings and the ways to deal with them.

I hope that by the end of this article you will see that a long-distance can be an opportunity for you and your relationship. Along the way, I will answer the most common questions. 


What Is a Long-Distance Relationship and How to Make It Work?

A long-distance relationship is a romantic relationship where a geographical distance is a part of your relationship.

A long-distance relationship can work for new couples who are starting a new relationship online or for existing couples who have to be apart for some time.

Long-distance relationships can work great for a short period. As time goes on, it can become harder to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship. One of the reasons is the lack of physical intimacy

When you are in a romantic relationship, you expect sexual intimacy to be part of your relationship. However, when you are in a long-distance relationship, you can be away from your partner for weeks or months at a time.

Not having enough physical intimacy in your relationship end in your life can lead to sexual frustration. After some time, this frustration will negatively affect your relationship and your overall well-being.

Another problem in the long-distance relationship is poor communication. Suppose you don’t take care to express yourself clearly to your long-distance partner. In that case, there will be a lot of room for misunderstanding and confusion.

Misunderstandings can then lead to unnecessary arguments and fights that will eventually ruin your relationship.

To make your long-distance relationship work, you need to plan for how long it will last. A plan will also help you manage emotional and physical connection while you are apart.

If you don’t have an end date for your long-distance in your relationship, you will feel like this separation lasts forever. After some time, you may start feeling depression and anxiety. Stress and negativity can make your life hard and turn your relationship into a struggle.

To have a healthy and successful long-distance relationship, you should agree with your partner how much you communicate and how often you visit each other.

Being away from your romantic partner is undeniably tricky. It’s unavoidable for you to feel sad, lonely and frustrated when you can’t be next to someone you love.

In a long-distance relationship, you may want to blame the distance for all your problems. The distance doesn’t necessarily make your relationship harder, but it does make it different. If your relationship isn’t working, some problems might be there, even without the distance.

If you are serious about your long-distance relationship, try the following:

  1. Work out your personal differences and preferences.
  2. Find out how the distance affects your relationship.

Here’s an article to help you better understand what is a long-distance relationship and what it is not.

Things You Should Do to Have a Healthy Long-Distance Relationship

  • Express your feelings as clear as you can.
  • Your feelings will change, so express how you feel at the moment.
  • Ask your partner how they feel about you.

Things You Shouldn’t Do In a Long-Distance Relationship

  • Hope and assume that they like you.
  • Be afraid of asking how they feel.
  • Take it personally if they feel differently. 

We all have our preferences. If you are unsure of how to express your feelings, this book will help you. Marshal Rosenberg and his non-violent communication (NVC) changed my world.


Is It Possible to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work?

It is possible to make a long-distance relationship work. But you should know:

  • Why do you want to make your relationship work over a long distance?
  • How long the distance will last?
  • What do you want by the end of your long-distance relationship?

Suppose you want a casual relationship or friendship. In that case, your long-distance relationship can last forever and work just fine.

However, if you want a serious romantic relationship, you need to plan when and how you will move in together. You should also discuss if you have the time and the means to move and how living together will work.

During a long-distance relationship, you may discover that it is not working for you. If this happens, you should figure out what exactly isn’t working and why. You can then find a way to fix your relationship with your long-distance partner or let go of your relationship if you decide that it would be better for everyone.

You may not be able to fix the problems due to your situation. It’s also possible that your feelings can fade, and you will drift apart. When your long-distance relationship is falling apart, sometimes it’s best to end it.

Whatever you decide, avoid suppressing your negative feelings and emotions, as they will make your life miserable and will ruin your relationship anyway.


Doubts in a Long-Distance Relationship

It’s normal to have doubts. Doubts tell you that something in your life or your relationship isn’t working for you. The healthy thing to do is to recognise the source of your doubts and check if you need to make some changes.

Doubts can also come as a result of feeling insecure or uncertain about something or someone. These insecurities and uncertainties can result from distrust in yourself or the other person.

Before we get too deep, the point is that it’s ok to have doubts. But if you don’t address them and move on, they can affect your behaviour and create issues that don’t have to be there.

So, if something is troubling you, share it with your partner and try to work it out together. But if you are no longer feeling great about your relationship, don’t cling on to it.


Are Long-Distance Relationships Worth It?

If you find that you are suffering more often than not (as is common in long-distance relationships), ask yourself if it’s worth it.

What works for some may not work for others. Just because some couples are happy to spend years in a long-distance relationship, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Suppose you love this person and excited about your relationship. Not only can you make it work, but you can also make it fun. 

You may find yourself in a long-distance relationship that’s not working for you for some reason. Before trying to push through despite feeling bad about it, ask yourself if you should be putting more work into a relationship that’s not working.

I’m not saying you should break up at the first sign of struggle. What I’m encouraging you to do is to take a fresh look at your relationship, see what you love about it and what you are not enjoying. It will help you make a more constructive decision. If you are considering breaking up, read this first.

Couples try to make their relationship work long-distance even if they aren’t happy with it. In some cases, couples can remain in a long-distance relationship for years, surviving all the hardships. And when they finally get together, they tell themselves it was worth it. 

While it may be worth it, after having invested years in the relationship, it’s hard to admit that it may not be worth it after all. It is a danger of being stuck in a relationship for the sake of making it work.


Why Is It Hard to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work?

In a long-distance relationship, the hardest thing is to be away from your partner. Most of the time, it’s because of circumstances rather than out of choice.

It isn’t easy to maintain your relationship without physical affection. You don’t get the comfort of physical touch, a kiss or a hug. 

Physical closeness helps you feel safe, calm, and content. It’s hard to navigate your relationship without it.

The distance can strain your relationship, making it hard to remain emotionally connected. In this situation, you may feel helpless. It may seem that all you can do is wait. You need to decide if you want to suck it up and stick it out or make your long-distance relationship work.

It may seem that a long-distance relationship is a lot of work. In a long-distance relationship, it’s easy to blame the distance when things aren’t going well.

A long-distance relationship works differently from a regular relationship.

One significant difference is the way you communicate. To make your long-distance relationship work, it’s worth learning the right way to share your feelings with your partner.

While the distance can complicate your relationship, the problem may be due to the difference in your personalities. Or you may have different preferences, beliefs, and values.

To resolve problems, you first need to get clear at what is a long-distance relationship. Once you realise what it means to be in a relationship with someone who is not physically present, you can foresee the possible problems and find the best solutions.

In a long-distance relationship, it’s hard to understand how someone feels. You can’t see your partner’s body language, nor can you touch them. So, maintaining the connection in a long-distance relationship differs slightly from when you are together.


How Long Can You Make Long-Distance Relationships Work?

You can make a long-distance relationship work as long as you and your partner are willing to make an effort. But it’s more important to have a healthy relationship than the one that lasts a long time.

Take a moment to reflect on your relationship to see if you are happy, or miserable most of the time.

Many couples try to make their long-distance relationship work even if they are unhappy, and their relationship becomes toxic. If you find yourself in such a relationship, take a week to reassess if it’s worth it or not.

Ask yourself, why are you struggling in this relationship? Maybe you’d be better off ending the relationship that isn’t working and finding someone else with whom you can be happy and enjoy your relationship.

You may find yourself in a long-distance relationship that lasts longer than you planned or longer than what you are happy with. If this is the case with you, take some time out to reassess.


How to Make a New Long-Distance Relationship Work?

You’ve met someone who lives far away. You have fond feelings towards each other, so you start a long-distance relationship. But getting to know someone long-distance can be challenging. 

When you start your long-distance relationship, it helps to know what you want from it. If you’re planning to have a serious romantic relationship, then at some point you will want to move in together.

Whatever your intentions, you can still spend a couple of months getting to know someone online to see if your conversation flows. If you are getting on well, you should meet up to see what it’s like being together in real life.

Until you meet a person, all you have is your idea of what they are like based on the information they provide.

After visiting each other for a few months, you may decide to move in and see what it is like living together.

Whatever you decide to do with your long-distance relationship, remember always to have fun and keep your relationship interesting and exciting.

The moment you or your partner lose interest, you should reassess your relationship. While it’s ok to try and make your long-distance relationship work, it’s equally important to keep it interesting.

To make your long-distance relationship work, you need to know how long it will last, and how you will manage your communication and physical intimacy.


How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work with Time Difference?

The time difference is one of the problems for a long-distance relationship. The obvious issue is to sync your schedules and availability when you can talk to each other. Another problem is being in the mood to talk. 

Your mood changes as you go through your day. You may feel energised at certain times and tired a few hours later. So, while you might be ready and willing to talk to your long-distance partner, they could be tired and needing a rest. 

When this happens, you might feel that they don’t want to talk to you. At the same time, if your partner decides to speak to you even though they druther have a nap, you may not get as much attention as you would have liked.


How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work Without Seeing Each Other?

Being in a romantic relationship without seeing your partner is very hard and can only work for a short while.

While a long-distance friendship or a casual relationship could work well, a long-distance romantic relationship is a whole different thing. The problem with having a romantic long-distance relationship is twofold. 

On the one hand, you usually see your long-distance partner once every couple of weeks or even less often. On the other hand, you’re not open to having sexual relationships with other people, unless you are in an open long-distance relationship.

The only way you can maintain physical closeness in a long-distance relationship is by regularly visiting each other and going on trips together.

When you don’t see each other for a long time, your feelings may fade, and you may drift apart. If your long-distance relationship isn’t working, sometimes it’s better to let it go. However, it’s not easy to let go of someone with whom you are in a relationship. You get used to having this person in your life, and you feel that without them, you will have emptiness in your life.

The fear of emptiness or attachment can be so intense that some people choose to stay in a relationship, even if they are unhappy.

There is a difference between attachment and having a bond. When two people have a bond, it’s a connection with awareness. Attachment is more like being together out of habit. While a bond is strengthened by understanding and connection, attachment makes people stay together out of fear of losing that person.

Many couples try to make a long-distance relationship work. But it’s more important to have a healthy relationship than putting effort into something that makes you miserable.


How to Make Long-Distance Relationships Work Sexually?

A lack of sexual intimacy is one of the main reasons why long-distance relationships don’t work.

One way to deal with sexual frustration is to agree to see other people by having an open long-distance relationship. However, this idea isn’t for everyone and if there is a risk of falling for someone else.

When you’re apart from your long-distance partner, you can spice up your relationship with sexting, interactive sex toys and virtual sex. But none of these things replaces physical closeness with someone you love. One thing you can do is to visit each other regularly.

If you have the means to see each other often, long-distance relationships are not as tricky. However, many couples are not in a position to do so.

One thing to consider when it comes to sexual life in a long-distance relationship is how much you and your partner need sex. Usually, one partner needs it more than the other. 

If you need sex more frequently than your partner, it would be harder for you to manage without it. In this case, you should share your feelings with your partner and allow them to help you by arranging more frequent visits or moving in sooner.

Note that a long-distance relationship is not a complete romantic relationship. It’s a phase in your relationship that allows you to get to know each other better. You can make the most out of your long-distance relationship by fixing the problems you may encounter along the way.

To make your long-distance relationship work sexually, you need to know:

  • How long will the long-distance last?
  • How often do you need to see each other for sexual satisfaction?
  • How will you satisfy your sexual needs while apart?
  • What do you want to achieve during the long-distance period of your relationship?
  • How will you know when it’s time to move in together, turn your relationship into a friendship or break up and move on?

How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work after Cheating?

Cheating is a combination of having sex and lying about it. With the lack of physical intimacy in the long-distance relationship, you can almost expect one of you getting sexually involved with someone else.

If this happens, it comes down to trust. If your bond with your long-distance partner is strong enough, you can talk about what happened, the reasons for it, and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.

If you don’t resolve the needs behind the cheating, the chances are it will happen again. Repetitive cheating is unhealthy and is a sign that you are in a toxic long-distance relationship.

If your long-distance partner cheated on you, you might choose to talk about it, or you may decide to end your relationship. Either way, try to understand what happened and why, so you can do better next time.


Key to Making a Long-Distance Relationship Work

Here are some key things you can do to make a long-distance relationship work:

  • Apply effective communication to maintain a connection with your partner.
  • An open and honest conversation can reassure you that your relationship is going great.
  • Knowing that you can express exactly how you feel, gives you a sense of security.
  • Get clear on what you want and what your partner wants for yourselves as individuals and for your relationship.
  • Use the three steps above to build trust and freely express how you feel and what you want.
  • Make a plan that meets your individual needs and sets you on the right path to a healthy long-term relationship.
  • You want to do all you can to make your long-distance relationship work.
  • But, if it doesn’t work, you now have the tools to talk about it and separate on good terms.

Now you can let go of the belief that relationships are hard. Your relationship is what you make it. So get creative.


Questions to Consider if You Want to Make Your Long-Distance Relationship Work

Here are some questions that can help you navigate your long-distance relationship:

  • Why are you in a long-distance relationship?
  • What do you expect from your long-distance relationship?
  • Why are you in a long-distance romantic relationship with this particular person?
  • What is a long-distance relationship?
  • What problems you may face while apart?
  • How does a long-distance affect intimacy in your relationship?
  • What are practical ways to have effective communication in a long-distance relationship?
  • How to apply effective communication to your long-distance relationship?
  • Why are you in a long-distance relationship?
  • What do you expect from your long-distance relationship?
  • Why are you in a long-distance romantic relationship with this particular person?
  • You can make a long-distance relationship work. But do you need to?
  • What if your long-distance relationship is lasting longer than what you’d like? 
  • What if now you are feeling sadness and frustration from not being able to be together?

7 Tips to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work

Here are seven fundamental tips on how you can make your relationship work long-distance:

  1. Be your own person.
  2. Find out what’s important for you and your long-distance partner.
  3. Create a meaningful connection with your long-distance partner.
  4. Set your goals, make a plan and create a timeline.
  5. Agree on how often you speak with your long-distance partner.
  6. Agree on how often you will visit your long-distance partner.
  7. Make a plan for managing your long-distance relationship when you are apart.

These seven tips will help you move away from suffering a long-distance in your relationship towards creating a meaningful connection with your partner.


Conclusion

A long-distance relationship is challenging for most people. But as we have seen, it does not have to be. Following the steps above, you no longer have to just ‘make it work’, you can make it fun.

When you are asking yourself how to make a long-distance relationship, it’s a sign that you are at a crossroads.

You can see the long-distance as a source of your struggles or take it as an opportunity to reflect on your relationship and your personal development.

When you focus on trying to make it work, soon enough it will become just that – work.

Knowing your own feelings, needs, and preferences will bring depth to your personality. Sharing them with your partner will help you create a meaningful connection. And, it will bring understanding to your relationship.

In a long-distance relationship, couples see the distance as a troublemaker. But, being apart is an opportunity for you to work on yourself. It’s the time you can spend learning to connect to your partner and by doing so, make your relationship not only healthy but fun and exciting.

To make your long-distance relationship work, you need understanding, care, willingness and action. Here are the steps to get you started:

  1. Understand each other, your relationship and your situation.
  2. Recognise how much you care about yourself, your partner and your relationship.
  3. If you understand and care enough, the next step is to be willing to do something about it.
  4. Now it’s time to figure out what you can do to help yourself, your partner or your relationship.

You can do all in your power to make your long-distance relationship work. But, if it doesn’t work, you should talk about it with your partner and if it comes to it, separate on good terms.

If you found this article helpful, share it with others who need some guidance in their long-distance relationships.

If you are serious about making your long-distance relationship work and want a more hands on approach, this workbook is what you need:


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Frequently Asked Questions

Do long-distance relationships work?

Long-distance relationships work for people who meet online and want to get to know each other better. They also work for couples who are relocating and have to be apart for some time. In any case, it’s better if you can make it a short phase in your relationship.

How to make online long-distance relationships work?

To make a long-distance relationship work online, you need to have clear, open, and honest communication. It’s only possible if you work on improving your communication. You also need a clear plan on how to manage your relationship long-distance and a strategy to fix problems when they come around.

How to make long-distance relationships work in college?

Long-distance relationships can be hard to maintain while in college. You can try to make it work, but more often than not, it will keep you away from enjoying your college life.

How to make a long term long-distance relationship work?

Long-distance relationships aren’t meant to last for a long time. A romantic relationship implies physical intimacy. In a long-distance relationship, you only see your partner once every few weeks or once a month. Lack of physical intimacy can lead to sexual frustration and negatively impact your relationship and your overall well-being.

How to make your long-distance relationship work again?

If you already had a long-distance relationship that didn’t work, stop and ask yourself why. Sometimes, emotions take over, and it’s hard to say this situation for what it is. Having some time away from a relationship will allow you to see it from a different perspective. Once you can identify what didn’t work in your previous long-distance relationship, you can learn from it and do better next time.

How long can your romantic relationship last without physical intimacy?

Every person has a different need for sexual intimacy. If you are in a long-distance relationship, you may need physical intimacy more than your long-distance partner. In this case, it will be harder for you to cope with being away from them for a long time. The healthy way to deal with it is to talk about your feelings and needs with your partner. Together, you can find a way forward that works for both of you.


How Healthy Is Your Long-Distance Relationship?

Alex Barinov

Hi, I’m Alex:) I am a relationship coach. My passions include understanding life, relationships and human behaviour. As a coach, I help couples resolve their conflicts and create a harmonious and loving relationship.

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