Many of us, myself included, have gone down the dreaded LDR (long-distance relationship) path with a significant other. Not being able to experience daily rituals together, go out on dates, and just wake up next to each other — not to mention the physical part — can test even the strongest of bonds. And don't get me started on the tearful airport goodbyes. That said, there are actually scientifically proven benefits of LDRs. A recent study found that couples separated by distance reported more intimacy than those who live close to each other thanks to more meaningful communication and idealising their partners' behaviours (you forget that your boyfriend always leaves the sink full of dirty dishes when he's not around).
When I asked fellow POPSUGAR editors and our readers what tips they had for making a long-distance relationship work, there were those who had negative experiences, sure, but there were also some handy tips for seeing the light at the end of the LDR tunnel. It pretty much comes down to trust and communication, but let's get the specifics:
Have an End Game
First things first. You need to have an honest talk about when you'll both be living in the same post code. And if you don't know the specifics yet, at least have a ballpark date in mind for when you'll talk about the next move. Both partners need to be on the same page so that you aren't in a weird relationship limbo.
Set the Ground Rules
Decide when and how often you'll talk. Figure out what tech resources you'll utilise for communication (Skype, email, text, phone, etc.). Don't go off the grid without letting your partner know you'll be MIA for a period of time. Make sure both parties are equally committed to the LDR and that your ideas about the logistics match up.
Be in the Moment
Don't set your expectations too high for when you do see each other. Every visit isn't going to be whirlwind romance with helicopter rides and the best sex of your life. This isn't The Bachelor. Part of what makes your time together so special are the little things, whether that's going grocery shopping together or snuggling on the couch. Boring is OK. And a part of "being in the moment" is not worrying about when you'll see each other next or being sad about your limited time together while you are together. Enjoy the time you have.
Think Outside the Box
If one of you is being relocated for work, see if the company will compensate with travel. It's possible you can negotiate home visits in your contract and agree on regular weekend visits paid by the company.
Put In the Effort
Be proactive about planning your next visit. Use various forms of communication, and get creative with ways to engage from far away. Some ideas include iPhone apps, Skype games, handwritten letters, photo journals, poems, songs, webcams, and care packages. You can both start the same hobby so you can talk about it together. Watch movies or a series on Netflix together at the same time, Skyping or texting during it. Send each other interesting articles to read and discuss. And, of course, send some naughty texts, have phone sex, or do a webcam striptease to spice things up.
Live and Let Live
A part of trusting each other is letting the other person live their life and have experiences you aren't a part of. You'll be doing yourself a favour by allowing both parties to enjoy time with friends apart from each other, not sulking at home waiting for the next visit. But then fill in each other on your social life so you both feel like you're a part of it, even when you're not. Have a weekly roundup of highs and lows to talk about.