Long distance relationships (LDRs) have existed for as long as mass literacy. Originally, lovers would physically write to each other and send mail by horse, train, or balloon. The caveat with these old-school LDRs was that the lovers typically met physically at least once. This brief history is important to remember when considering modern LDRs; countless historical LDRs were successful before widespread, accessible technology—yours can be too.
Love Can Reach Thousands of Miles Away
Globalization and internet accessibility have allowed more people to fall in love than ever before. Today there are an estimated 14 million+ couples currently in LDRs. Of these millions of couples, about one-third of them “close the distance” within two years; more than 57% of Long Distance Relationships end in “closing the distance” through moving in together or marriage.
It’s worth noting that physical couples should expect to have time apart during their relationship; most commonly, these distance stents may occur due to work, family, or military obligations. Those with healthy relationships going into the time apart typically return from the separation with newfound appreciation and love.
Sometimes, this separation and time apart from each other may lead to divorce, and many people tend to get “divorce insurance coverage” when their partner goes away. There are some niche insurance companies that provide full divorce coverage, but securing assets in case of divorce is more common.
In order to avoid all the complications and stress that comes with divorce, below are ten tips for maintaining a healthy LDR. These tips mitigate some of the most damaging behaviors in LDR, but every couple is different. What works for one couple may not work for you, or vice versa. Find out what works for you and your spouse through honest and open conversations.
10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Long Distance Relationships
1. Manage Expectations
No one is a mind reader, especially those in LDRs. Understanding what you are to your partner and what they are to you is vital. If one person is committed to monogamy but never tells their partner, their partner may drift away; never knowing the relationship was more serious than they knew. Communication in an LDR begins when both people speak about each other’s expectations and agree to them.
At the same time, managing one’s expectations in the relationship is also necessary. If one partner wants a large gift delivered to their work—and they don’t communicate that–it likely won’t happen. Regarding managing expectations and communication, there is little to no difference between traditional and Long Distance Relationships. Both partners must be open about all their big and small expectations; it will make any relationship stronger and healthier from the beginning.
2. Set a Communication Schedule
One doesn’t need to be a fantastic communicator to thrive in an LDR. Being an engaged listener, patient, and open whenever possible is more important. These relationship aspects will grow from the outset, but couples can foster them using a communication schedule. Don’t be fooled; communication schedules can be as complex or simple as you decide—as free-forming as your relationship.
When implementing a communication schedule, consider it during natural breaks during the day. Usually, couples check in when they wake up, get to work, take breaks, go to lunch, commute, and sleep. If this seems intimidating, remember that your relationship can be as simple as morning and evening check-ins. Others may need to hear their partner regularly—five-minute calls are all it takes. In this aspect, traditional couples may stand to learn more about themselves and their partners from lessons given by LDRs.
3. Follow Each Other’s Social Media to Stay Up to Date
One of the most interesting aspects of life in modernity is the social media scene; chances are, at least one person in the relationship is interested in it. Those who take to social media will likely follow their partner’s media immediately; it’s the fastest way to stay up to date with events as they happen—sometimes texting takes too much time. Following is the fastest way to learn more about your partner since you can see them interact with others.
There’s also another thing to consider with social media: hidden accounts. A username search tool will reveal any hidden game, forum, or dating app profiles. At the same time, doing a reverse email lookup can result in finding properties, accounts, and more. Many of these tools are available online, including services that consider confidential information like criminal or arrest records. Regardless of the type of relationship, looking up new romantic interests is always a good idea—to be safe.
4. Set Certain Rules
Healthy relationships have boundaries, even between partners. Some relationships go even further, though, and the couple may decide to set specific rules. Traditional relationships may seem to have the upper hand here, but Long Distance Relationships can be just as intensive. Couples might tell each other their phone passwords as a rule—there’s no need for that in an LDR. Instead, LDR couples may share account passwords in an equally stressful proof of the point.
Setting specific rules doesn’t just have to do with accounts and media. Rules can apply to every aspect of a relationship. In a committed relationship, for example, one rule may be an expectation of monogamy or a change of health habits; these rules wouldn’t change if the relationship were traditional or long-distance. Moreover, rules can help both partners feel more secure in each other; this security comes at the cost of compromises.
5. Honesty is the Way
Honesty is the keystone of every long-lasting romantic relationship. In many cases, honesty is often more fundamental in Long Distance Relationships than in traditional relationships. It’s more important in LDRs because there is no way for a partner to know if something is going on. Couples in LDRs are only really aware of what they are directly told or see through social media. If conversations in private do not align with actions on social media, it’s a good time to talk about it.
Honesty is also important outside of a partner’s behavior. Being honest about certain things can dramatically improve the relationship overall. For example, those in a primarily texting LDR will find it helpful to be honest about each other’s communication styles. One person may consider periods aggressive, while the other has no idea; the only way to fix the problem is by being honest and open.
6. Surprise Each Other
Surprises may not work for every long distance relationships—but for those who like surprises, they’re always welcome. The caveat to this is, of course, communication before the surprise happens. After all, puppies are wonderful, but a surprise may be the wrong way to go. Surprises are some of the best ways to keep a relationship interesting. They go a long way in doing two specific things: showing appreciation and forethought. Both aspects are essential to display in any relationship—but surprises reaffirm these values to your partner.
Surprises may be challenging to arrange depending on the logistics. Many LDR couples will likely find the internet a wealth of opportunity. Usually, couples can secretly order boxes of products and goods through eCommerce stores. Websites like Etsy and Amazon are particularly good for this because they don’t require the homeowner to know the package is coming before it gets there.
7. Organize Visits
For those Long Distance Relationships that can afford it, organizing visits are some of the most fun things couples can do. LDR couples will meet at least once a year, but some couples can meet as much as twice a month or more. Organizing visits is more than fun—it’s a practical exercise that lets you view your partner in a stress run. In an LDR, it can be easy to forget that a romantic partner has flaws. Visits allow both parties to see their partner in a new situation, which can help inform and strengthen bonds.
8. Do Not Overload with Messages and Calls
Communication is essential in every relationship, but there is a difference between good discussion and overload. Overloading a partner with messages can be okay occasionally, but constant messaging can tip into overload quickly. Overloading a partner will never have a good outcome, as it frustrates or frightens them. It’s better to take a relaxed approach, especially in Long Distance Relationships.
Both partners are living their lives with their partner in the background. This can result in periods of no communication, up to several hours; the insecure partner may take this time to overload their partner with concern. Overloading like this can look, to the outsider, like a cautionary flag for an obsessive lover.
An obsessive relationship can be dangerous for both partners; the best way to avoid it is by knowing the signs and acting on your suspicions. For example, lovers who have turned obsessive will try to isolate their partner from others. A common way to do this is by using different or private phone numbers to harass their partner. A phone lookup tool can quickly dispel worries, but knowing all the obsessive relationship signs can save your life.
9. Make Your Partner Your Priority
As in any romantic relationship, priorities will shape the overall interaction. Healthy, long-lasting relationships are such because both partners prioritize each other. In traditional relationships, this is easier since the couple can do tasks together; choosing each other over other events and people consistently helps reaffirm and bond partners. People in Long Distance Relationships may find choosing their partner to be more difficult. If this occurs, it isn’t because the partner no longer desires the relationship; but because people are social animals. LDRs can be lonely, so choosing to go to a party over sitting at home might be necessary sometimes.
10. Be Romantic
LDRs are difficult because the beginning of the romance isn’t there to bolster the rest of the relationship. Romance in LDRs is a conscious effort, hopefully by both partners. From within an LDR, there is constant room for romance and affirmation. Daily check-ins are commonly used for romantic messages, sweet-nothings, and flirting.
Before committing to romance, however, it is vital to know the limits of your partner’s boundaries. Being romantic in any relationship will have results, but a healthy long distance requires thoughtful consistent effort.
Healthy Long Distance Relationships are Easy
There’s no real difference between an LDR and a traditional one. Both require honest, open communication from people willing to do the work. LDRs, in many ways, can help build and fortify a lasting romance. An estimated 10% of all LDRs end in marriage, but your relationship can be whatever you and your partner decide. The most important thing to take away from this list is the necessity of thoughtful interactions with your partner; making them feel loved is essential, but so too is compromise and patience.