How to Maintain a Long Distance Relationship

Long distance relationships (LDRs) suck. Period. There’s no way around it, it just sucks big time. The best thing about being in a relationship is spending time with each other and enjoying each other’s company so being physically separated by states, countries or maybe even continents and time zones literally takes the best thing out of the relationship. Sure, technology has advanced but no matter how great Skype is, it still always feels a lil’ bit like this…


Anyway, exchange season is right around the corner and the problem of LDRs may begin to manifest as a pretty damn real prospect for some of our collegiates! Be it you leaving, your partner leaving or the both of you leaving for exchange programs or internships or maybe even to return to your home countries, the thought of entering a LDR can be a pretty daunting one. Having recently entered a long distance relationship, I’ve personally experienced how shitty it can get and personally been through the stupid fights and general unhappiness it can cause and I wish I’d had some advice about how to deal with it all…

So here are some ways (from someone who’s actually been through this so it’s legit) to make sure your relationship doesn’t crumble under distance and time difference!



And talk. Of course, by talk, I don’t mean pointless blabber about the weather and that movie you saw yesterday although you can talk about that. By talk, I mean talk about it. Talk about the imminent separation and the ensuing LDR and the expectations you have of your relationship. Figure out how serious you both are about each other and whether you even want to maintain your relationship. If either one party is not ready to put in the time, effort and commitment required to maintain a successful LDR, then perhaps it’s better to cut the crap from the get-go, take some time to heal and go off on your own separate journeys without the pressure to maintain a relationship. But, well, if you’re reading this then you probably want to maintain the relationship so then the talking will revolve around your expectations of each other in the relationship which leads me to my next point…


Set them. It is of utmost importance that you lay down some basic rules about each other’s behaviour so you’ll both have a basic guideline of how to behave as part of couple when you’re not physically…coupled. Of course, shit will still happen because there are some things you didn’t think to say that he’ll do and vice versa but it’s still best to have a guideline. For example, my boyfriend and I have a basic ground rule of contacting each other at least every day in some way. Some couples try to resolve unhappiness and arguments ASAP because with an LDR you really can’t afford to spend the time you have with each other being pissed at each other. But that’s our ground rules and everyone has their own ground rules. Some girls would prefer if their boys don’t hang out one-to-one with other girls while they’re away and some guys would like their girls to inform them when they get home safely. Figure out what you both would prefer each other to do and set some guidelines for handling your upcoming LDR.

This may sound heavy but we’re not even at the worst part yet…which is the actual separation.

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SKYPE. FACETIME. HANGOUT. LINE. WHATSAPP. WECHAT. FACEBOOK. EMAIL. SNAIL MAIL. ANYTHING! You get my point. Communicate! As much as you can, try to schedule some time to talk to one another and video chat one another. Make use of technology as much as you can to keep in touch and connect with your partner and make sure you’re still part of each other’s life. Keep yourself updated with his life and keep him updated on your life. Set aside some time, ideally everyday (maybe not everyone has the time), just to listen and hangout with your partner no matter how unexciting both your days were. Sometimes, you might even want to send a postcard or letter by snail mail instead. Written words are much more thoughtful and look sexier than any Calibri, Times New Roman or even the hilarious Comic Sans. It’s important to do this so you don’t just drift apart due to your different activities and schedules. Sure, perhaps it’s inevitable to drift apart after being away from one another for a long time but if you neglect to consistently keep in touch with one another, the drifting apart will begin a whole lot faster.


Know it. Know your schedule and know his. This is extremely, extremely vital to maintaining an LDR especially one with completely different time zones. Let each other know your daily schedules and plans as much as possible so you can work out a time table of when to call one another and stick to it. This would minimize frustrations when attempting to contact one another since it’ll give you a much better idea of when contacting your partner will actually yield a response. It’ll also be good to schedule time when you’re free to go visit one another to give you some hope of seeing one another, which is especially important in a LDR that you know is gonna last for a long time (Think years. Don’t  balk, I know of people who’ve kept their LDRs going on up till now for three to four years). You need to have something to look forward to in order to keep the drive to maintain the relationship going. If money is an issue and you can’t see each other all that frequently then it’s good to have an idea of when the LDR will end and when you can finally be with one another.

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To illustrate this next point, I’d like to refer to my personal experiences. I’m someone who feels the most loved and expresses my affection towards my significant other with touch. And no, we’re not talking about dirty stuff. What I mean is that I often feel the most loved when my boyfriend hugs me, holds my hand, lies on my shoulder and generally keep his arm around me when we’re sitting together and in return, I often express my affection in a similar manner. However, the LDR meant that this sort of interaction was no longer physically possible so we went through some friction trying to get used to a new way of expressing our affection for one another. My point is, the distance put between you two is likely to wreck some havoc with the way you used to interact and express love for one another so find some way (which will be unique to each couple) to express your affection for one another than can withstand the distance.


Making new friends, having fun and enjoying life will make a LDR so much more bearable. Honestly, a LDR is not exactly rotten to the core (it almost is). On the bright side, the time you used to spend cuddling and canoodling with your partner is now freed up, leaving you with much more time to pursue your interests and the things you love. And the best way to distract yourself from the crappiness of a LDR and the heartache that come with missing someone is to fill up your life with fun stuff and fun people. Having your own activities gives you much less time to think about how much you miss your partner and how lonely it can get sometimes in a LDR and that helps by making the relationship and your general mood much less negative and keep all that negativity a safe distance away from influencing your relationship.


I’m actually good friends with a girl who has been part of a LDR for three years and counting. The couple also has no real hope of reuniting in the same country for an extended period of time in the next three years, or maybe even longer. And I was really curious as to how they kept the relationship going. She told me, with a sort of wise-beyond-her-years resignation to just let it go. Don’t obsess too much over the distance and learn to take the challenge of a LDR in your stride. Don’t let it overwhelm you and your partner since that can potentially do much more damage to the relationship than the actual distance. Just be happy that you have someone worth braving distance and time for.

Ultimately, if you’re about to embark on the inevitable journey of an LDR all anyone can say to you is good luck and all you can say is…

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