Relationship Advice for Long Distance Partners: What You Need to Consider

by Gideon
January 29, 2022

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Today’s blog post gives some insightful relationship advice for long distance partners. I will be giving you all that’s important to know before starting a long-distance relationship and how to achieve lasting happiness despite the obstacles and tribulations along the way.

Let’s start by looking at some of the challenges of a long-distance relationship.

The challenges of a long-distance relationship

Long-distance relationships can be challenging because you are unable to see your partner as frequently as you would like.

You must also deal with the fact that you cannot physically touch them.

The most difficult aspect of a long-distance relationship is finding a process that combats emotional distance and promotes the development of a strong emotional connection or bond.

Almost every challenge in a long-distance relationship falls into one of two categories – it either helps or hinders the emotional connection between two partners.

Because there are simply too many variables, you shouldn’t get hung up on the intricacies or details of the best or worst ways to do a long-distance relationship.

When considering the difficulties of long-distance relationships, it’s much easier to consider them as a single global challenge: the difficulty of establishing and maintaining a strong emotional bond with your partner.

It becomes much easier to manage when you use that as a guideline to determine whether something is helping or hurting your relationship.

In a long-distance relationship, staying connected while apart is the entire goal.

When we look at relationship research, one of the primary factors that determine whether a couple stays together or separates is the level of emotional connection and their ability to maintain that over time.

The only additional challenge in a long-distance relationship is separation or distance between a couple. 

Nonetheless, an LDR couple is playing the same “relationship game” as any other couple.

If they can’t establish and maintain a strong emotional bond with each other, the relationship will suffer, just like any other romantic relationship.

relationship advice for long distance

As a result, the important question of how a couple can stay emotionally connected while separated in a long-distance relationship arises.

Let’s look at a few ideas.

Staying connected while apart in a long-distance relationship

To make a long-distance relationship work, it is critical to understand that the overarching goal is to stay emotionally connected to your partner.

Relationship experts say that if a couple cannot maintain a strong emotional bond with each other, their relationship is likely to suffer or end.

According to clinical psychologist Sue Johnson of Ottawa, author of several books, including Hold Me Tight: Sevying the Heart of a Lifetime, “what we’ve learned in the last 35 years of developmental psychology, social psychology, and our own lab’s work is that the secret to loving relationships and keeping them strong and vibrant is emotional responsiveness.”

Johnson continues, “Every couple has disagreements.”

Most marital problems stem from a lack of emotional connection and the inability to find a stable foundation or a safe haven with one another. 

In layman’s terms, if a couple wants to have a strong and long-lasting relationship, they must practise emotional responsiveness, which leads to emotional connection.

And creating an environment in which a couple actively and consciously makes room to discuss each other’s needs with openness and without criticism is one way to develop emotional responsiveness to each other.

The latter results in increased levels of trust in a relationship, as well as deeper feelings of intimacy as a natural byproduct.

In addition, I’d like to point out that long-distance relationship statistics are positive.

Approximately three million Americans live apart from their spouses during the course of their marriages, and 75%of college students have been involved in a long-distance relationship at some point.

According to research, couples who live far apart are more satisfied with their relationships than those who live close to each other.

They are also more committed to their relationships and have fewer feelings of being stuck.

When you spend more time talking and learning about each other, “one of the major benefits is that you do a lot more talking and learning about one another,” says Lori Gottlieb, a relationship psychotherapist.

“Being apart can also mean that you cherish the moments you do get to spend together even more than you would if you lived in the same place,” Gottlieb adds.

Ultimately, there is no one best way to develop a strong emotional connection as a couple because the best strategies for staying connected in a long-distance relationship will vary depending on the couple’s individual needs and preferences.

Relationship Advice for Long Distance

However, relationship experts do have an idea of what types of things work better than others for building deep relationships.

Some argue that couples must learn to interact openly and honestly with each other, share their thoughts and feelings, and spend time together doing things they enjoy.

When you’re in a long distance relationship, it’s also important to be supportive of one another and to make time for each other; in other words, prioritise your partner in your busy life despite being physically separated from each other.

Even if your partner isn’t physically present, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be a top priority in your life.

Yes, you may have to be more creative in order to establish and maintain a strong emotional connection with each other, but that is essentially the primary objective at the end of the day.

So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at some specific ideas for staying connected as an LDR couple.

More specific ideas for staying connected as a couple while being apart in a long distance relationship

Technology has undoubtedly made it easier for couples in long-distance relationships to stay connected and form strong emotional bonds.

Yes, there will be difficulties, but thanks to modern technology, they will be far easier to overcome than in the days of many of our parents and grandparents.

Here are some specific suggestions:

Have a regular routine in a long-distance relationship

The most difficult aspect of being in a long-distance relationship for many people is feeling disconnected from your partner.

You may feel as if you are losing touch and gaining nothing by being apart.

This can be difficult for people to comprehend, but it is completely normal.

Also, because this is the case, if you’re in a long-distance relationship, having a regular routine with each other is a must.

A consistent routine in an LDR is important because it can help both partners feel connected and supported.

Furthermore, a routine can help to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts, as well as make it easier for both partners to plan and coordinate their lives together, which is especially important when a couple isn’t physically together the majority of the time.

Here are some steps you can take to establish a routine:

  • Create a daily routine.
  • Schedule a specific time to check in with each other throughout the day.
  • Communicate clearly and regularly.
  • Keep communication short and sweet, but frequent.

The important thing is to stay connected because that will help keep your relationship strong and make the distance feel a little less daunting.

Establish trust and communication in a long-distance relationship

It is critical to establish trust and communication in order to maintain a healthy and happy long-distance relationship.

When you think about it, having high levels of trust is important in any relationship, but perhaps even more so in a long distance relationship.

Trust is essential in any relationship, but it is especially critical in long-distance relationships.

When you can’t see or touch your partner, you have to rely on them to be faithful and honest.

You must have faith in them to keep their promises and to be there for you when you need them.

If you don’t trust each other, your relationship will be filled with doubt and suspicion, making it difficult to maintain.

Trust is the bedrock of any relationship, but it is especially important in a long-distance relationship.

Regular communication and interaction will strengthen your relationship.

You must set aside at least 15 minutes each day to check in with your partner and see how they are doing.

Even if you can only talk for a few minutes, it is critical that you communicate with your partner on a regular basis.

Relationship Advice for Long Distance

If you don’t, you’ll miss out on an opportunity to grow together and strengthen your bond.

Create shared memories in a long-distance relationship

Following on from the previous point, it is critical to make time for each other in a long-distance relationship in order to create shared memories.

Dr John Gottman discusses the concept of “shared meaning.”

Shared meaning occurs when you and your partner have a common goal or vision in mind, and you both invest in that goal.

For example, if you both attend the same concert and have a shared experience, that is shared meaning.

There are a few things that can be done in a long distance relationship to create shared meaning.

To begin, it is critical to schedule regular conversations.

This can be accomplished through video chats, phone calls, or texting.

It is also critical to find ways to stay emotionally connected.

This can be accomplished by sending each other love letters, sharing photos and memories, or simply texting each other to let them know you are thinking of them.

Finally, it is critical to maintain a sense of playfulness in the relationship.

This can be accomplished by playing online games together, participating in activities that both of you enjoy, or simply spending time together doing things that are “out of the ordinary.”

In a long distance relationship, shared meaning can be created with time and effort.

However, the fact that one person frequently has the dominant role in any type of relationship could be a significant challenge in creating shared meaning.

That often means they have “authority” over the relationship and typically direct how it is run.

That can cause anxiety in the other person because they do not feel they have a say in the relationship.

To counteract this, however, it is critical to establish relationship rules and guidelines from the start.

These can include things like communication ground rules, agreed-upon activities, and other relationship-type expectations.

The key point here is to find ways to connect with each other’s lives while remaining sensitive to each person’s needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and expectations.

If you need more specific ideas, here’s a good article on wired.com called “10 Ways to Stay Connected With Loved Ones During the Pandemic” that may give you some ideas or can be used to brainstorm with.

Talk about your future in a long-distance relationship

When you’re in a long-distance relationship, it can be difficult to think about the future, but it’s necessary.

Yes, you must be realistic about the challenges you are currently facing, but you must also discuss how you intend to overcome them.

You must discuss your future plans, just as you would in any other love relationship, to ensure that you are both on the same page and moving in the same direction.

After all, a long distance relationship should be a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

The long-term goal should be to be together in all aspects of life and not be separated the majority of the time.

Relationship Advice for Long Distance

As a result, it is critical for long-distance couples to be on the same page about the future because it can help to avoid misunderstandings and misplaced expectations, as well as provide guidance in the next phase of the relationship.

If both partners in the relationship are clear about what they want and where they see the relationship going, it can help to keep things running smoothly and make dealing with distance a little easier.

When couples in a long-distance relationship have a shared future goal, such as wanting to eventually be together in the same place, it can give the relationship much-needed direction and help to keep it interesting when you can’t be together.

Having said that, it is still advantageous and critical for an LDR couple to find ways to spend as much time together in person as possible.

Plan get-togethers in a long-distance relationship

I understand the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has posed for global travel, but with many countries beginning to open their borders a little more (unlike New Zealand), many couples will be able to travel a little more soon.

Many LDR couples live in the same country, which makes travelling a tad easier.

Regardless, the point is that it is critical to plan as many get-togethers as possible in a long distance relationship because, for any relationship to progress to the next level, you must spend time with someone in person and for extended periods of time.

That is the only true indicator of whether or not a relationship will work with a person.

If your entire relationship consists of romantic weekends filled with sex every other month, you run the risk of being lulled into a false sense of security because it simply does not mimic the reality of most long-term relationships.

As a result, if you’re in a long-distance relationship, it’s critical to find ways to connect with your partner in person as often as possible.

Yet, physical intimacy and sex are also crucial, so you must ensure that you keep that aspect of your long-distance relationship healthy and alive.

Keep your sex life alive in a long-distance relationship

To keep your sex life alive in a long-distance relationship, you must first change your mindset about intimacy in long-distance relationships, and then make it a priority to make time for intimacy a priority.

Make it a habit to call or video chat with your partner on a regular basis, and take advantage of these opportunities to get physical.

If the concept of long distance sex is completely foreign to you and you don’t know where to begin, here are a few pointers for beginners.

1. Communication is essential.

Many people make the mistake of believing that long distance sex necessitates major changes in their sex life or drastically alters their sex life.

On the contrary, the more comfortable you are communicating with your partner via phone or video chat, the more enjoyable and exciting your sex life will be.

2. Make use of your imagination.

Our brains are extremely powerful tools.

You can have a great time just staring at each other or talking about what you want to do in the bedroom.

3. Keep it wacky.

You and your partner can still have long-distance sex if you have a deep desire to be bawdy.

Just remember to be creative and think outside the box.

4. Embrace all things kinky.

Long distance sex “taboos” and kinky stuff can provide some hot and steamy fun.

You don’t have to have sex in person to get excited about it or have heaps of fun.

5. Make use of sex toys.

There are several reasons why using sex toys can be beneficial in long-distance relationships (or any relationship), but the most important one for me is that they can help you stay sexually connected to your partner.

When you’re in a long-distance relationship, you’re bound to miss intimate moments with your partner.

Fortunately, there are various ways to be intimate from a distance, but you can now add sex technology to the mix as well.

“You can enhance the mutual masturbation with haptically connected sex toys, like the Max2 and Nora by Lovesense, which is literally designed for long-distance lovers,” says Ian Kerner, a sexuality counsellor and author of “So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex.” His toy is a penis sleeve, hers is a full-fledged vibrator, and when they’re in sync, the movement of one toy triggers the response of the other.”

Max 2

As a result of constant research, feedback, and updates, Max 2 now has an improved sleeve, 360-degree contractions, and a redesigned vibrator. This newest addition to the Lovense teledildonic line is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience!

Nora

The Lovense team has been developing high tech vibrators since 2009! Nora is the result of years of development and is designed to live up to your needs and expectations. By working with our users, both the hardware and software has been continually perfected to live up to meet your needs.

Furthermore, LoveSense’s interactive sex toys enable couples to engage in long-distance sex.

When you move your toy on one end, the other reacts, allowing lovers to connect and play together no matter how far apart they are!

Isn’t that amazing?

Check out this video for a more in-depth explanation.

If you want to learn more, visit LoveSense’s long distance sex toys page.

6. Pay attention to one another.

Pay attention to what your partner enjoys, desires, and feels at ease with. Then do more of that.

On that last point, remember that no matter how kinky or taboo-busting your long distance sex is, it must be safe.

So, if you or your partner are uncomfortable about any aspect of your sex, it may not be working for you, and you should discuss it with each other.

These are some good starting points to think about, but if you want to learn more, go to Huffingtonpost.com and read the article “19 Expert-Backed Tips For Keeping Your Long-Distance Sex Life Hot.”

Furthermore, assuming you can still travel and see each other on a regular basis, planning weekend getaways or longer trips to see each other is critical to maintaining your sex life in a long distance relationship.

However, a word of caution: don’t fall into the trap of making all of your trips about sex while neglecting other important aspects of your relationship, such as communication, adventure, and simply hanging out.

The reality of all relationships is that the physical component is only one aspect of the overall relationship, albeit an important one.

Deal constructively with conflict and disagreements in a long-distance relationship

Long-distance relationships, like any other, are not always rainbows and unicorns.

They, too, can experience disagreements and conflict.

However, in a long-distance relationship, dealing with fights and disagreements in a mature and adult manner is even more important than in a physical relationship.

Why?

Because you have time and proximity to work things out when you’re together as a couple most of the time.

You’re also in each other’s company, which allows you to better gauge the other person’s energy and where they’re at.

In an LDR, this is not the case.

Distance leaves a lot of room for miscommunication and potential conflict.

When fights and disagreements occur in a relationship, they can either be resolved maturely and adultly or they can cause further harm to the relationship.

The relationship can grow stronger if the couple is able to communicate effectively and resolve disagreements in a healthy manner.

However, if the couple does not resolve their disagreement in a healthy manner, it can lead to resentment, bitterness, and even the breakup of the relationship.

When it comes to long distance relationships, communication is even more important than usual in order to maintain a strong relationship and prevent the development of unhealthy baggage from past conflicts.

Because distance can exacerbate feelings of insecurity and uncertainty in a long-distance relationship.

And one of the best ways to combat those feelings of insecurity is to establish communication channels through which you can openly and honestly share your thoughts and express your feelings to your partner.

Relationship Advice for Long Distance

Also, by doing so, you are laying the groundwork for future communication when you do eventually see each other.

The truth is that long-distance relationships can be very difficult and stressful for both parties for a variety of reasons, making everything a little more fragile.

With that in mind, we must always remember that long-distance relationships can work well with a little effort, but you must be much more vigilant on top of things than a couple who is not dealing with the challenges of physical separation.

Be realistic in a long-distance relationship

To make a long-distance relationship work, both partners must be realistic about their abilities and limitations.

Furthermore, they must be realistic about what they will and will not do.

This entails being open and honest with each other about what is going on in their lives and not making promises they cannot keep.

When people are in a relationship, they may be tempted to idealise their partner as well as the relationship.

However, in a relationship, especially a long distance relationship, it is critical to be realistic about things.

When your partner fails to meet your expectations, idealising them can lead to disappointment and frustration.

Furthermore, being realistic about the relationship can assist you in identifying and addressing any problems that may arise in the future, as well as working to resolve any issues before they become too serious.

For example, if you’re in a long-distance relationship and your partner is frequently unavailable, being realistic (and honest) about this can help you manage your expectations about how things might progress in the future.

It could also be used as a red flag.

You can manage your expectations, level of commitment, and future plans this way.

Being honest with yourself and your partner will assist you in addressing existing issues before they escalate or in making important decisions much sooner rather than later.

Take Away

The most important thing for couples to remember about long distance relationships is that it takes a lot of effort and communication to make it work.

It’s difficult to be apart for extended periods of time, so it’s critical to stay in touch and ensure you’re both on the same page about where things are and where they’re going.

If you can keep things going by maintaining a strong emotional bond, your relationship can be as happy, healthy, and even intimate as if you were together all of the time.

About the author 

Gideon

Gideon is the founder of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a top-50 relationship blog (2021) and top-100 marriage blog (2021) which focuses on providing healthy relationship advice about love and life. He earned a Master's degree in theological studies before training as a professional counsellor and hypnotherapist (DipProfCouns., DipMSHT.) almost 10 years ago. He completed a graduate diploma in Psychology and is currently pursuing postgraduate Psychology studies at Massey University. He has been married to his wife for over sixteen years and is the father of two children. His articles have been published on Marriage.com and The Good Men Project.

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