I’m In A Long Distance Relationship: 5 Easy Things You Can Do To Make It Work

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I never imagined I would be in a long distance marriage yet here I am. A long distance relationship is unconventional, complicated and messy but it can work. People do it all the time. It just takes more effort. Here’s some simple advice on things to do in a long distance relationship to help keep your bond strong even when you don’t live under the same roof.

My husband Blake recently got a fantastic job that he couldn’t turn down. His new job ticks all the boxes in terms of money, career goals and field of work. Every box except for one- location!

His new job is located in Switzerland, more than 10 hours by train from where we live in France. At the moment, uprooting the entire family (which consists of 3 children and a grumpy cat) is out of the question so we’ve decided that he’ll have to live in Switzerland during the week and come home on the weekends until we figure out the next steps.

I’m officially in a long distance marriage, now what?

*disclaimer*  I am not a professional relationship counsellor. Listed below are some simple things you can do to help keep your bond strong, recommended by people who are actually in long distance relationships -they are not long distance relationship rules. This list is in no way complete. 

1-Send care packages and thoughtful gifts every once in a while:

How do you show someone you care or make them feel special? When the person you love is right there with you day in and day out, you have so many opportunities and so many ways you can do this.

When you’re in a long distance relationship however, the simple act of making someone feel loved gets tricky. You can’t cook their favourite meal, lovingly stroke or hold their hand, give them a back rub, go out on a spur of the moment date or any of those other things you used to be able to do any time you wanted.

So what do you do?

One thing you can do is send a care package to show your partner he or she is missed. It’s a simple gesture that doesn’t take a lot of time but is extremely thoughtful. Spouses of military personnel stationed overseas have been known to send care packages to their loved ones to lift their morale so if it works for them it might work for your long distance relationship too.

Here are a few Ideas for care packages.  

  • Movie night care package filled with popcorn, candy, and maybe a DVD.
  • A coffee care package filled with their favourite coffee, biscotti, chocolates and cookies.
  • Send a wedding anniversary care package using things like this modern list.
  • A valentines care package
  • A bubble bath care package – why not?
  • Love letter care package: Write a series of letters then send them all at once.
  • A collection of books.

2- Use technology to communicate regularly- daily even?:

We all know communication is the key to a healthy and open relationship but putting distance between two people makes communication kind of hard. You have to work twice as hard to keep the communication going.

So how, when and how often should you talk?

There are a lot of different opinions out there on just how often couples in a long distance relationship should talk. Some experts believe you should try to talk everyday if possible, texting and talking several times a day. Others believe once a day is enough and still others say daily is too often.

I personally don’t think there is one hard and fast rule on how often a couple in a long distance relationship should talk to each other. It really depends on your situation: your relationship, time difference, priorities, work schedule and more.

However often you decide to talk to one another, thanks to the internet and communication apps like Skype and Facetime, the ease with which we can talk, chat and speak face to face on our phones and our computers can make the distance and gap feel a little narrower. so take advantage of it and make sure to download and setup accounts on the devices you plan on using to communicate to one another with.

3-Manage your expectations- Don’t make assumptions about how things will work:

Don’t assume that you’re both automatically going to agree on how things will work in your long distance relationship. You might think talking once a day is enough but he might think it’s too much.

She might want you to come home more often but you think it’s too expensive and only want to come home every few months.

You’re not a mind reader and neither is your significant other. Communicate early and often about what you expect your long distance relationship to look like to avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings.

4-Schedule Regular visits and use your time wisely

In a long distance relationship, time physically spent together is a commodity. Things like money, distance and schedules are just a few of the barriers that can make regular visits difficult.

So when you can be in the same place at the same time, use your time wisely.

What will you do? How long will he or she stay? Try to plan your visits in a way that makes the best use of your time together. If you think about it, being in a long distance relationship can be a lot like dating. It doesn’t sound so horrible if you think about it like that does it?  Kind of romantic if you ask me.

5-Set an end date.

Anyone can go solo for a period of time but knowing there is an end date can give you some piece of mind. If you’re not sure about an end date, schedule a time in the future where you can both revisit and reevaluate your long distance relationship situation.

Does it make sense to continue living apart? Should one of you move, if so who? Should certain aspects of the current arrangement change? etc. etc.

Whatever your situation, long distance relationships can work. People do it all the time but you need to make a conscious effort and work together to make it work.

Good luck, not that you need it.

 

About the Author

Annie André Is a half Thai, half French Canadian/American freelance writer, digital marketer and author of THE LIVE IN FRANCE GUIDE: an expat travel and lifestyle blog featuring destination guides, inspiration, travel tips, personal advice and anecdotes on working, living and playing in France. ( Equal parts weird, wacky and wonderful).