Healthy long-distance relationships are possible thanks to the seemingly infinite methods of communicating with loved ones (messaging, calling, Snapchatting, tweeting, tagging).
Consistent communication is a major factor in maintaining a solid bond with a partner, whether they are in another city, state, or country. However, there are many elements that should be considered when entering into a long-distance relationship.
Here are 10 signs that you and your partner could go the distance.
They ask about your day.
Texting is the most convenient way of reaching friends and family, and long-distance relationships are no different. Calling or video chatting each week is recommended, but the majority of your conversations will probably take place over text, especially if you and your partner have different schedules.
Obviously, it is important to keep each other up to date on promotions, achievements, and big events, but the power of daily details should not be underestimated. Specifics help you understand your partner’s mood and fill in the gaps in your partner’s life that you’d otherwise be missing.
Ask questions and add a bit of colour to your own updates. You will feel closer to each other, and by the time you are reunited, the change from daily texting to face to face conversation will be more of a seamless transition.
They send packages in the mail.
An Instagram message may send at lightning speed, but there will always be something unspeakably romantic about receiving mail from a partner. Whether it is a package or a handwritten letter, a phone notification will never quite match the thrill of opening a piece of mail from someone you love.
Flowers, chocolates, and cards are classics for a reason, but a personal touch every now and then shows that your partner pays attention to what you like. If they send you dinosaur-shaped coffee mugs, a box of your favourite tea, or a special mixtape, you know your partner is in it for the long haul. And don’t forget to reciprocate with your own unique gifts that remind you of them.
They tell their family about you.
Meeting your partner’s family is an important step in every relationship, but some long-distance partners are unable to fulfil this milestone until they’re living together. Whether you have the opportunity to meet their family or not, your significant other telling their family about you is a strong indicator of your relationship having a future.
Likewise, if they talk to you about their family and update you on the lives of their parents, siblings, and grandparents, this means that they are building a bridge between you and the people closest to them. If their biological family is not a part of their lives, perhaps they find a sense of family in their friends. The notable factor is that they introduce you, whether in conversation or in person, to people they respect. This is a clear sign that they are proud of their relationship with you and want to share it with those they love.
Without the benefit of physical touch and intimacy, the bulk of a long-distance relationship comes down to various forms of talking and listening. Listening is more than silence on the other end of the line while you ramble about your day. Listening is an exercise that must be implemented daily.
If you mention that your back has been sore, an active listener will remember your pain and ask about your back after a particularly strenuous day. An active listener will try to remember the co-workers that drive you crazy and the barking dog that keeps you up at night.
Listening is not so much of a memory game as it is an active effort to be involved in your life. They don’t have to remember your boss’s name, but if they remember that your boss made you stay late on your birthday, that shows that they have been listening.
You’re able to work through arguments together.
Long-distance relationships are prone to miscommunication, tension, and natural division just like any other partnership. When individuals are around their partner for the majority of their day, arguments are broken down out of sheer need to continuing cohabitating.
The key to working through arguments from a distance is communicating how you feel. Magazines and blogs may offer “tricks” or “tips” to solving relationship problems, but the simplest solution is almost always speaking plainly and directly about what you need from your partner.
Vanessa Hudgens, who is currently dating actor Austin Butler through long-distance, advised People magazine that the key to overcoming arguments is simply talking openly with your partner. Hudgens said, “Always bring it up and just talk about it. Uncensor yourself and just be open.”
If they mention something that gets a rise of anger out of you, mention that you feel hurt and you want to know why they said it. Perhaps it could be a misunderstanding, or maybe they have a different perspective from you, but the important thing is that they know you’re in pain and have an opportunity to apologise.
They trust you.
Jealousy is a natural human emotion, but it often acts irrationally. The difference between feeling it and expressing it is crucial in a relationship. There will be many nights and weekends where both of you will find yourselves at bars, clubs, and parties amidst a sea of booze and strangers.
Seeing a picture of your partner with drunk strangers or new friends might lead to feelings of insecurity. Consider your envy, allow yourself to feel it, and then let it go. At the end of the day, if you trust your partner and they trust you, there is nothing to worry about.
In Chris Bell and Katie-Brauer Bell’s “The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide” the authors, who dated long-distance themselves, emphasise the importance of being faithful and trusting that your partner will do the same. They stress that “fidelity is a natural extension of trust and honesty” and how all three “are equally important to the success of a long-distance relationship.”
Ultimately, presuming that your partner is cheating without due cause is an insult to them and their love for you. If they treat you with similar respect and confidence, you will be able to hurdle countless obstacles in the future.
They give you space.
When you are dating someone who lives hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from you, it can often feel like you are leading two separate lives, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Independence and identity are important building blocks to every relationship. In a way, you have a head start on other couples because you have already mastered the concept of creating a healthy amount of space between you and your partner.
Without their own activities, interests, and friend groups, people can begin to feel trapped by their relationship. It is vital to practice self-care and find things that make you happy outside of your partner.
“Self-care and personal development will make you a better person and partner – a major key to helping a long-distance relationship (and any relationship) work,” Shannon Smith, a relationship expert with the online dating service Plenty of Fish, told Business Insider.
“Enroll in a course, make your health a priority, schedule time with friends, or pick up a good book that you’ve been meaning to read,” she added.
Alternatively, it is important to share with your partner as well, so that they can celebrate your triumphs and help you weather your storms. Finding the balance between your place as a person and your place as a partner will lead you both towards long-term happiness.
Every visit is a reminder of why the distance is worth it.
According to Dr. Guldner at The Center for the Study of Long-distance Relationships, the average couple visits each other 1.5 times a month. In some cases, partners have to go months without seeing each other. And, for long-distance relationships that blossom over the internet, there are times where it takes years for couples to meet face to face.
Though living apart can sometimes be lonely, one of the benefits of dating long-distance is the unique type of joy that both partners experience while visiting each other. After a long time apart, they are able to share with each other their favourite local places and activities that fill their daily life.
It’s also a great excuse to go on trips and vacations together, whether it means meeting halfway or exploring a new place altogether.
These weekends and visits, though few and far between, serve as a reminder of why you have chosen to date long-distance in the first place.
They talk about the future in concrete ways.
It’s common for couples to daydream about what their lives will look like when the distance ends, but it is important to discuss specifics with your partner so that your future together can harden into something solid and reliable.
Of course, you can’t anticipate the future, but it’s good to have certain goals for what your relationship will look like when you live together. You can discuss the types of dates you’d like to go on, whether it’s a night out at the movies or proving once and for all that you’re a mini golf champion.
Through discussions, you can better understand whether your partner is introverted or extroverted in a domestic setting, and begin to temper expectations for a routine that will work best for both you and your partner. Keep an open mind, but feel free to talk about where you’d like to live or what names you could give your future dog.
Depending on how far along you are in your relationship, it is crucial to bring up the possibility of eventually having children or getting married to make sure that you and your partner are on the same page about what you want. These subjects can be hard to discuss from a distance, but they’re important topics that will affect the outcome of your relationship in the long run.
You understand that the goal line might move, or change completely.
One of the more notable days in a long-distance relationship is the day of the big move. Whether it’s you moving closer to your partner, them moving closer to you, or moving to a new city together, there’s almost always a move involved when the long-distance aspect of your relationship comes to a close.
It is helpful to know that long-distance relationships sometimes take months or years before the big reunion, and a lot can happen in that time. Having a move-in date helps the end goal of your time apart seem more like a reality, but try to introduce flexibility into you and your partner’s lives. If there is a promotion they deserve that could expand the time frame of being long-distance, you should both discuss what you think should happen next.
Accept the things outside of your control and know that you can never absolutely know what will happen in the future. This will benefit you both not just as a long-distance couple but as a long-term couple as well.
In all honesty, the only ones who truly know where their relationship stands are the people in it. Long-distance is difficult, but it is also very doable. Little victories add up in the end. If you put in the effort, champion your partner’s accomplishments, and listen to them talk about good days and bad days alike, you can make it through to the end.
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