In the ideal dating world, you will always be in the same vicinity as the person you're in a relationship with. That's kind of the whole point of dating right? You like that person so much you want to spend all of your available time with them. Right? But the reality is, that's not always the case. Sometimes there is a great deal of geographical distance between you and your significant other. And while most people will say they don't want to be in a relationship, most people will be in a long distance relationship at one point or another, whether that's an hour or a thousand miles or more!
One of the advantages of being in a long distance relationship is the fact that you are able to experience such closeness and togetherness and still have a great deal of independence and autonomy. But not having that person physically near you all the time does not mean that you can be any less invested or involved in the relationship. You still have to put in just as much (if not more) effort as you would if you were in the same location.
- Communicate twice as much as you would if the relationship was not long distance. Being long distance can lead to a quick case of out-of-sight-out-of-mind! You have to keep the lines of communication open to make sure the focus stays on each other and not outside distractions. (Outside distractions could be other people grabbing your interest or friends putting negative thoughts about the relationship into your mind.) You have to make up for that extra layer of connection that being face to face provides.
- Utilize social media. People maintained relationships while men went off to war (without Facebook or cell phones). We have no excuse nowadays. All of the tools are right at your fingertips. Some people don't like connecting with the person they're dating on social media to prevent issues with jealousy, but for a long distance relationship choosing to connect could be very helpful. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Skype and many many more. Plus there is texting, phone calls, and video calls.
- Give gifts and send mail. Everyone likes to get something in the mail that's not a bill or junk mail. The thrill of snail mail is quadrupled when it's from your boyfriend or girlfriend. Technology is an amazing tool, but don't forget the beauty of an old fashioned letter or sharing a physical book instead of an e-book. Getting something in the mail is a nice surprise and let's them know you are thinking of them. This could be flowers or an Edible Arrangement, but it could also be something more random and unique.
- Plan frequent visits. The no-brainer in a long-distance relationship should be to make plans to actually see each other in person. Skype and FaceTime is great, but uh... yeah you need to eventually hang out in person. Plus that out-of-sight-out-of-mind thing tends to creep back up the longer you go without seeing that person. Visits should be more frequent the closer you are to that person. For instance, every other weekend might work for a couple with an hour distance, but might not be feasible for a couple with a few states between them.
- Plan to move. If you can do all of the things mentioned above and more, you will probably be very successful at maintaining a relationship long distance. But this is not ideal for a long-term situation. One of you should eventually move so that you are in the same area.